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Trends and insights from across the nation.

Sign Language Learning

Oregon School for the Deaf teacher Gayle Robertson speaks with sign language in Salem, Ore. All over the country, legislators are wrestling with questions about state-run residential schools for the deaf and the blind, expensive to operate and serving dwindling populations, as more families opt to keep children at home and search out help from local school districts.

Going Green

Taylor Warner, a junior at Clarke County High School in Berryville, Va., is a member of the school's garden club and a mentor to many younger students. Beyond the practical aspects of growing food and vegetables, gardening also helps with academics and gives older students an opportunity to learn something about leadership.

Cell Phone Debate

Steven Cao, a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, poses for a portrait in front of the school with his cell phone. Cao says, "My mother, she needs me to have the cell to call me and check up on me." A ban on cell phones in New York's school system is creating an uproar among parents and students alike, with teenagers smuggling their phones inside their lunches and down their pants, and grown-ups warning they need to stay in touch with their children in case of another crisis like Sept. 11.