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Problem: It sounds like a Nancy Drew novel: The Case of the Missing Books. Except, for the Lee County School District in Fort Myers, Fla., the problem was all too real. During a standard review of costs by the governor's task force, a process that analyzes possible cost savings and procedure improvements in Florida's schools, a startling discovery was made about textbook losses. The task force estimated that from 1997 to 2002, the school system had lost 62,272 books, representing approximately $2 million.

While reports of rising childhood obesity rates have prompted schools to examine what gets served in the cafeteria and in school vending machines, interest in student health has not yet sparked a revolution in what gets served in the classroom. Health education is not identified as a core subject in the No Child Left Behind act; neither does the legislation call for highly qualified health teachers. Only 16 percent of states require student testing on health education topics.

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Arnie Glassberg was perfectly happy for more than 20 years as an assistant superintendent. No superintendent rungs need be added to his career ladder, he swore to family and friends.

Liz Pape vividly remembers the first time she conducted a presentation on the benefits of K-12 distance education courses. It was at a 1997 national conference for school administrators. The audience's reaction was anything but enthusiastic. The room was filled with doubt, apprehension and skepticism.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools (Maryland)

www.aacps.org

Fifth and sixth graders are rehearsing for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Marti Agler's highly gifted class of 12. The Boise, Idaho, students recently finished analyzing Macbeth, as well as parliamentary debates about school vouchers and drilling for oil in the continental U.S.

After running a 13-year marathon, 52 percent of all U.S. public school students in 2004 faced a final hurdle as they neared the finish line: mandatory exit exams. The merits and drawbacks of these exams are being debated, and the buzz among onlookers and researchers goes something like this:

Character traits like trustworthiness, integrity, authenticity and respect are like "money in the bank" when it comes to dealing with unhappy parents. But dealing with a parent on a power trip takes special care. Here's how to identify and deal with three common types:

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