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Apr 2002

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Cover Story

The foreign language steering committee at Chartiers Valley School District in suburban Pittsburgh has a lot to talk about. In fact, to describe a typical monthly meeting agenda as ambitious would be an understatement.

Features

The foreign language steering committee at Chartiers Valley School District in suburban Pittsburgh has a lot to talk about. In fact, to describe a typical monthly meeting agenda as ambitious would be an understatement.

She was a gentle girl-taller than other fifth-graders at Winston Churchill Elementary School in Schaumburg, Ill., and incredibly shy and withdrawn.

Worst of all, Sandra couldn't read a word.

At the official unveiling the kids had snacks and apple juice to celebrate. Toasts were proposed. One student suggested a toast to the artist. Another proposed thanking the school volunteers. Then one boy raised his glass, "To Cesar Chavez!"

Opinion

Up until now, the explosive development of integrated multimedia on the Web for K-12 teaching, learning and administrative applications tragically made the Internet even less accessible to disabled students and staff. Barriers for people with hearing, visual and physical disabilities include screen features that cannot be perceived by colorblind users, rapidly changing displays that are difficult for dyslexic individuals to understand, and mouse sevices that may not be usable with certain physical disabilities.

Solutions

Gail Anderson Uilkema knew when she took her job as superintendent of the 2,600-student Piedmont (Calif.) School District in 1987 that this job would different from those she held previously.

For one, her son began in kindergarten that same year, giving her a wonderful perspective of how children, and parents, how well the district does its job.

In a few short years, the Frontier School District in Red Rocks, Okla., has more than doubled the percentage of its students pursuing a college education. Not coincidentally, at the same time the rural district has nurtured a commitment to learning and achievement among all of its students.

Briefings

Debate about tuition reimbursement for private school instruction began anew in February when President Bush released his proposed federal education budget for 2003.

District PLUS

Distill the Rumor Mill

Allegations that the district was not treating a girls' sports team equally to a boys' team. Safety concerns about a telecommunications tower being built on the intermediate school campus. Talk that the first day of school will be delayed. At Chartiers Valley School District in Pittsburgh, administrators prefer to proactively address rumors like these.

Departments

It's funny how practices that we know work in the classroom are sometimes the last concept we use when trying to solve a problem in the "real world." Take the notion of Piaget that people learn by "scaffolding" new information onto what they already know. When I started in this position a little more than two years ago, I leaned heavily on the staff and education experts Dan Kinnaman, Gil Dyrli and Gary Stager to teach me the hot issues in education, the principles behind those issues, and the business landscape in the K-12 arena.

Rethinking School Board Membership

Ijust read your editorial (See "Holding School Boards More Accountable," DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION, March 2002, p. 7) referencing the shameful events that took place in Unified School District in Kansas City, Kansas.