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View from the Top

Executive Insights on Education Leadership

District Administration magazine exists to help school district leaders make informed decisions on behalf of their students, staff, and communities. One way we accomplish this is by putting you in touch with corporate executives who are leading their companies to provide educators with innovative products and creative solutions. In continuing that endeavor, I'm pleased to share with you this View from the Top special section of DA.

View from the Top offers executive-to-executive insights from corporate leaders with a passion and vision for education. I'm sure you will find it refreshing to hear directly from these dedicated executives as they share with you their candid perspectives on the education market and their enthusiasm about their involvement in it.

As you read this collection of letters I'm sure you'll be encouraged by the commitment these leaders have to providing the best products and services possible to your school district. Better yet, View from the Top may help you to expand your vision and inspire you to new levels of innovation and achievement in your leadership position. Our goal for View from the Top is simple; to give you, our readers, key industry insights that can help you achieve even greater success.

Please let me know what you think.

Daniel E. Kinnaman


The Impact Of Email In K-12

Email solutions such as ePALS SchoolMail? have made K-12 communication and collaboration a safe and highly productive means for students, teachers and parents to connect and share information. A recent UC Irvine study reported: "Across almost all subject areas, email was used more by high-achieving classes than by low achieving classes" and that "87% of teachers reported believing that having a computer with email was 'valuable' or 'essential'."

As a pioneer in K-12 email and collaborative technology, we have had the good fortune of seeing the impact that a safe and customized email solution can have in the classroom or home. Advanced safety and monitoring controls, simplified administrative controls, built-in language translation can enable a multilingual closed school-safe email environment touching all stakeholders.

ePALS SchoolMail allows ideas and information to flow rapidly through the district, important interaction, school documents and homework assignments to be shared or stored, teachers and parents to communicate more easily, the power of email is harnessed so that students communicate in a pedagogically relevant manner. Web-based email solutions are affordable, do not require hardware purchase and significantly decrease in-school tech support needed to manage the system.

The use of safe email:

Builds literacy, writing and shared-learning skills

Integrates simple collaborative technology into the curriculum

Provides a parental component / a home-to-school connection

Enables eMentoring and global classroom exchanges

Assists with professional development

Allows for customized filtering, monitoring, profanity and keyword blocking

Provides spam, virus and attachment checking and blocking

Enables email broadcasts to specific school groups

Enables a customized school interface and email address

School email has a dramatic improvement in literacy skills where students are motivated and engaged to write and read. Email gives students the confidence to interact and view the vocabulary and writing styles of teachers, parents and peers and incorporate them into their own skill set. Products such as ePALS SchoolMail creates an array of possibilities and can be a powerful eLear ning tool accessible from school and home.

Tim DiScipio - Chairman & Co-Founder,ePALS Classroom Exchange

Plato Learning

As 2003 draws to a close, I am pleased to look back on a year of great accomplishments made even more special as we celebrated PLATO Learning's 40th anniversary. Each day we deliver on the promise of our Company mission - to ensure the success of all learners throughout their lifetimes.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to witness success every day in elementary schools, middle and high schools, colleges and community programs across the United States and around the globe, and PLATO Learning is privileged to assist educators in bringing that success to students at all stages of learning. The coming year will bring new challenges to states, districts and schools, but continuous improvement in teaching and learning will remain our joint focus. As a leader in computer-based and e-learning instruction, our commitment is to provide outstanding educational technologies and professional development to help leaders meet these evolving challenges.

We partner with thought-leaders in the education industry to ensure that we develop the best products and services for schools, improving the lives of both administrators and students. Earlier this year, we brought together a panel of nationally-recognized education leaders and researchers to offer guidance and recommendations on the best products and research programs that PLATO Learning can develop to address the evolving challenges administrators and teachers face each and every day. It is by partnering with these leaders that PLATO Learning can provide the education community with thought-provoking research such as our recently published white paper, "Choosing and Using Learning Technology: Making Evidence-Based Decisions." As leaders seeking guidance in sifting through the many programs available to you, and competing for ever-tightening budgets, I encourage you to download this paper via our web site at

We are rewarded by hearing about schools achieving success through the use of PLATO Learning technologies. One telling example is at Calera High School in Shelby County, Alabama. Beth Glasgow, the school's technology resource teacher, recently shared the story of their success with us. "Just one year after the introduction of PLATO Learning products, 100 percent of our graduating class passed the Alabama High School Graduation

Exam. We use onsite professional development and PLATO Learning correlation ser vices to assist our teachers, too. Thanks to PLATO Learning, students and teachers at Calera are equipped with the necessary academic skills and tools for a bright future."

Calera High School illustrates just one of many examples of how we partner for change with every one of our clients. PLATO Learning is proud to be the first education technology company and of our long history of student success. We look forward to continuing our tradition of of leadership and strong partnerships with education leaders as we face another year of challenge.


John Murray

President & CEO, PLATO Learning

To learn more about how your school district can become a part of the PLATO Learning family, please visit our web site at

Fred S Anton

Chief Executive Officer

Dear Educator:

Did you know that music can help you create a powerful link between your school and community, while improving your students' overall performance?

It's true. Music education actually improves students' academic performance in other subjects while teaching vital lessons about discipline, teamwork, and self-respect. In fact, countless studies have confirmed the connection between music training and enhanced academic performance. In the year 2000, the College Entrance Examination Board reported that music students scored 93 percent higher than average on their SATs. Studies have also recorded 26 percent more measurable brain activity in musicians.

To help students develop the broad set of literacy skills they need to perform effectively in an increasingly global and complex world, today's educators must choose instructional techniques that interconnect subject areas.

Setting the standards for music education

Music education plays a critical role in child development - academically, socially, and spiritually. At its most fundamental level, music is vital to humanity, so it is important for us to find the most dynamic, effective educational tools to share the gift of music with our children.

We believe in the inspiring power of music. That's why Warner Bros. Publications developed Expressions Music Curriculum, a program that takes music to a whole new level. We collaborated with musicians, composers, educators, and other industry experts to create this curriculum. It was designed for master teachers, beginning teachers, and everyone in between. With diverse multi-cultural content and authentic recordings, this curriculum helps today's teachers make music a vital part of every child's life.

Expressions Music Curriculum is the first literacy-driven, interconnected K-12 curriculum that is built from the Nationals Standards of Arts Education (Music). This program begins with Music Expressions, the general classroom component that builds a solid foundation for continued learning. It continues with a middle school component and methods such as Band Expressions and Orchestra Expressions.

Music has the power to transform young minds, and we must work together to ensure that music instruction becomes an important part of every child's education. When we accomplish this goal, we will have taken a giant step toward helping our children achieve success in the complex world of the 21st century.

Fred S. Anton

CEO, Warner Bros. Publications

For more information about Expressions Music Curriculum, please call 800-327-7643, ext. 1778.