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From the Editor

What's on Your Not-to-Do List for 2009?


It’s almost February, but there is still time for reflection on the year just passed and for reminding ourselves of what not to do in the coming year. When I read the DA Daily articles each week day morning, especially the ones about the financial challenges that districts face each day, it can almost stop me in my tracks. Although things seem like they couldn’t get tougher, this may be a good time to strengthen your leadership model with some innovative ideas, rather than simply engaging in crisis management. This month we hope to stimulate your thinking in that direction.

New Technology Learning Models

So you got the funding for the laptop program, and purchasing additional technology may be harder right now. What’s next? Now may be the time to restructure the curriculum so the computers (or whiteboards or mobile devices) are really being used to their full potential—probably the toughest challenge. We need new and radically different teaching/learning models if we’re going to use technology to its full benefit. In this month’s Supervisor’s Opinion column, Eamonn O’Donovan writes about lessons he learned in starting a laptop program in the Capistrano (Calif.) School District.

Greener Schools, Healthier Students

Fuel costs are low today, but given the unpredictability of the market they may not be by the time you read this letter. In “Alternate Transportation Routes” we present examples of what districts across the nation are doing both to save transportation costs and to model sustainability. For example, according to the National Safe Routes to School Task Force, if 700 students in a district start walking or biking a two-mile round trip route to school instead of taking the bus, more than 11,500 pounds of carbon monoxide, as well as more than 230,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, will be kept out of the atmosphere in a school year.

Virtual Schooling

As an additional way to reduce costs, why not bring your district to new heights by redistributing the classroom? Offer your students the opportunity to learn beyond the confines of your district’s school buildings by letting them pursue individualized learning through participation in a virtual school. Could this be the missing link to get more students to further their educational careers? “The Rise of the Virtual Teacher” focuses on the special skills needed to teach online effectively.

And for further inspiration, don’t miss Alfie Kohn’s (satirical) words of wisdom. With all the talk about the need for 21st-century learning, he recommends stepping back and reflecting on our mission.


Judy Faust Hartnett, Editor