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From replacing print textbooks with digital content created by teachers or gathered from outside sources to encouraging students to explore the world around them digitally, many districts are creating a new type of student-friendly teaching and learning environment that goes beyond just adding computers to classrooms.

Experts agree that key steps in creating a successful RTI program include having buy-in from teachers and specialists; starting small, such as with one school or grade in a district; and a demonstrating commitment to training and professional development.

Each district has different needs and problems and therefore requires a different infrastructure, according to Andrea B. Ogonosky, a licensed psychologist and an independent consultant in RTI. And every district has its own philosophy, which will then steer the kind of RTI system it will develop, she continues.

In the 2007-2008 school year, the 830-student Milam Elementary School in the Conroe (Texas) Independent School District started to pilot an RTI program. Before implementing RTI into K8, “we analyzed and looked at district-level data trends,” including district common assessments, standardized assessments and outcome assessments, according to Andrea B. Ogonosky, a licensed psychologist and an independent consultant in RTI who helped the Conroe district.

In more districts than ever, Response-to-Intervention programs are gaining ground, nipping learning problems in the bud and keeping more students out of special education classes when they truly need intervention, which, of course, is the goal.

When the bell rings at the end of the school day, many elementary students in Rosa Parks School in Portland, Ore., go to the local Boys and Girls Club to receive homework help and take part in fun activities. They don't have to travel far to get there. That's because the Boys and Girls Club of Portland Metropolitan Area, which also serves neighborhood kids who don't go to Rosa Parks, is located in the same building as the school, the result of a partnership between Portland Public Schools and the local Boys and Girls Club.

 

Smith System

Flavors Seating

Classroom furniture

Facilities, $82-$372

The digital modern update of the overhead projector, visual presenters continue to be one of the most popular segments of K12 education technology, as educators find more ways to use them in classrooms across content areas and grade levels. When used with a projector or monitor, these devices enable educators to display everything from documents to dissection specimens, even microscopic objects through the lens of a microscope.

Our country's Advanced placement programs are booming and have been for some time. In May 2000, approximately 769,000 students took 1.3 million AP exams in this country. By May 2009, approximately 1.7 million students took nearly 3 million exams—a growth rate of 130 percent in nine years. The 1990s saw an even greater rate: 145 percent. What's behind this impressive growth?

Cathie: Just when you thought the youth of today couldn't spend any more time on their electronic devices, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report, "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds," documents that they actually are.

Elliot: "The average young American now spends practically every waking minute—except for the time in school— using a smartphone, computer, ?" That's the lead line from the article on the report that appeared on the front page of The New York Times.

Secondhand computers are one way to bridge the gap. Some dealers provide multiyear warranties that limit risk.

In May, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold a final vote on a new social studies curriculum to be used for the next seven to 10 years by Texas' 4.7 million K12 students. Because its textbooks are standardized at the state level rather than by individual school districts, Texas has the second-largest market in the nation, and publishers scramble to get their books chosen. The high cost of creating different editions for other states prevents publishers from forming alternate editions; thus, Texas' standards are often replicated for use in other states.

In May, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) will hold a final vote on a new social studies curriculum to be used for the next seven to 10 years by Texas’ 4.7 million K12 students. Because its textbooks are standardized at the state level rather than by individual school districts, Texas has the second-largest market in the nation, and publishers scramble to get their books chosen. The high cost of creating different editions for other states prevents publishers from forming alternate editions; thus, Texas’ standards are often replicated for use in other states.

The very tragic death of a Connecticut teenager involved in a school bus accident has reopened debate about the merits of seat belts on school buses. On January 9, Vikas Parikh, a 16-year-old student at Rocky Hill (Conn.) High School, died from a traumatic head injury when his school bus struck another car and plunged down an embankment.

 

RESIGNATION

California's State Secretary of Education, Glen Thomas, has resigned to aid his ailing mother. Thomas, the fifth education secretary the state has seen in six years, is credited for assisting with their Race to the Top application.

The popularity of thin clients may soon diminish as districts catch wind of zero clients, the latest computer technology that is even thinner and lower maintenance. Zero clients, small silver portals the size of a Big Mac box, differ from thin clients in that they have no internal processing at all. "It is more or less a portal between the user and the keyboard," says Mark Lamson, director of technology for the Westerly (R.I.) Public Schools (WPS ). "It records key strokes back to a virtual machine which is running securely in the data center."

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