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Table of Contents

Jan 2006

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Cover Story

What do you get when you take seven strong school district leaders, add insight, wisdom and hard work?

Find out how these superintendents created a consortium, what they accomplish together and how you can follow suit.

Features

To teach one way or various ways?

That is the question swirling in a junior high school in New Jersey.

The 2005 Nation's Report Card, a large sample, fifty-state assessment of reading and math achievement among fourth and eighth grade students, provides cause for cautious optimism. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings touts steady gains among American students and says the results demonstrate that schools are on the right track. Math achievement scores rose to the highest level in 15 years for both fourth and eighth grade students.

Administrators across the nation have long recognized the need to focus efforts on attracting high quality teachers to their districts, especially those in low-performing, remote and inner-city schools. But after the teacher arrives at the school, then what?

Thanks to growing reliance on technology and increasing sophistication on the part of digital miscreants, security issues are uppermost in the minds of many districts. To fend off the worms, viruses and hack attempts that happen every day, many IT managers and superintendents have implemented firewall-based security systems that give them at least some shelter from the storm.

The mission of a school is to facilitate learning. Learning depends on teachers, buildings, curriculum, materials, and, increasingly, security.

Curriculum director Jerry Foucher says nobody paid much attention to the development of course content for social studies and civics classes in his district. Until last school year. Then there was uproar.

The controversy started in March, about the time of the outbreak of war in Iraq. The district, Farmington (Mich.) Public Schools, was introducing changed graduation requirements, including a new international affairs class geared toward making students better global citizens.

After hearing about the class, some parents were unhappy. And they complained. Bitterly.

What do you get when you take seven strong school district leaders, add insight, wisdom and hard work?

Find out how these superintendents created a consortium, what they accomplish together and how you can follow suit.

Solutions

Cost-benefit analysis. High yield. Economic return. Such phrases from the world of finance have been cropping up in recent reports and articles on preschool education. What kind of yields can be expected on pre-K investments? As a financial advisor might say, "It depends on the quality of the investments."

Only 10 miles outside of Lincoln, Neb., far from the devastation that still haunts the Gulf Coast, Roy Baker feels the desperation of Hurricane Katrina's victims. It's impossible for him not to: this soft spoken yet determined superintendent of a school district so quaint in size its entire facility exists on one campus, Baker dealt with crisis first hand in May 2004 when a tornado swept through Norris County severely damaging most of what was in its path.

Briefings

Ten States Allowed to Use Growth Models to Calculate AYP

In November, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced a pilot program to let up to 10 states use growth models to determine Adequate Yearly Progress. Many states and lobbyists have requested this approach.

Departments

Canon

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