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In 2003, the information specialists of Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools (HCPS) noticed that the district's newly hired librarians had a substantial turnover rate. The district, consisting of over 48,000 students, 6,500 staff members, and 63 schools sprawling across suburban Richmond, was retaining a mere 56 percent of new librarian hires.

"We've got to be willing to do something about test scores and to deal with ineffective teachers who have tenure and are hiding behind the union. It's coming to a head where the public is saying, 'We've had it now,'" declares David Cicarella of the New Haven (Conn.) Public Schools.

Statements like this one have become commonplace among reform-minded school leaders around the country. What makes Cicarella's comments remarkable is that they are not coming from a frustrated superintendent or enterprising principal, but from the president of the city schools' teachers union.



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On January 12, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers gave a speech to members of her organization titled “A New Path Forward: Four Approaches to Quality Teaching and Better Schools.” The speech represents a pivotal change in a longstanding conflict between district leaders and union members.

Here are excerpts:

“In too many places, our public education system—which educates over 90 percent of our children—still operates on the Industrial Age model."

Math instructional content translates well into software, as is evident by the high and ever-growing number of titles available. It covers all grade levels and ranges from assessments and interventions for struggling students to edugaming titles designed to reinforce concepts or provide further challenges for gifted students. But math software is not limited to such circumstances; programs that are supplemental to curricula and designed to integrate into everyday classroom instruction are also a large part of the industry.

Kathy Cox, the superintendent of schools for Georgia, believes "excellence is not an accident."

She made a name for herself by winning $1 million proving she was smarter than a fifth-grader on a popular television show. And since her election in 2002, Cox has earned complaints and kudos for tackling testing and implementing new curriculum standards and graduation requirements for Georgia.

As she prepares for possible reelection next fall, she remains committed "to be part of the solution"— a promise she made to her students when she entered politics over a decade ago.

A classroom lecture at Capistrano Connections Academy in Southern California involves booting up the home computer, logging on to a Web site, and observing a teacher conducting a PowerPoint presentation of that day's lesson entirely online. Through microphone headsets, students can watch on their home computers, respond to the teacher's questions, and take part in classroom discussions.

From costly lawsuits on behalf of victims to negative media coverage, such as the one recently played out in the District of Columbia Public Schools when Chancellor Michelle Rhee stated that one teacher was laid off for suspicion of sexual misconduct, districts can face potentially devastating consequences as a result of sexual abuse of their students by district employees.

Many are aware of the practical implications of sexual harassment of students by school staff, but such situations can also have considerable legal implications, as well.

While the legal aspects of staff-to-student sexual harassment take a back seat to the moral and emotional considerations, the legal framework provides school administrators with a helpful basis for drafting policies, conducting investigations, and making decisions.

The classroom teacher noted changes in eight-year-old Jenny's attendance and behavior. Jenny seemed less motivated to perform in school, her homework was no longer completed, and she was often unkempt and prone to falling asleep in class. The teacher had heard a rumour about Jenny's living situation but did not want to pry into her private life.

There was a time when textbooks added value to K12. In the old days, (1) content was truly scarce, and age-appropriate content was scarcer still; (2) teachers came to rely on the instructional resources such as the lesson plans and assignments that accompanied textbooks; and (3) students spent a significant portion of the school day, upwards of 50 percent, with their noses in textbooks, absorbing content.

The National Council of teachers of Mathematics wants high school students to make sense of their math. The organization is excited about the recent unveiling of Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making, a book published last October (and part of what will become a full series), in which NCTM builds on three decades of advocacy for standards-based mathematics learning of the highest quality for students.

Though online learning is by no means new, it has been rapidly increasing in popularity over the past decade. “Since about 2002, online learning has been growing nationally at about an average of 30 percent each year,” says Allison Powell, vice president of the International Association for Online Learning (iNACOL).

The design of this site is text-heavy, with a somewhat inefficient use of space. The home page has sections dedicated to news, board meetings and useful links.

The Glen Cove (N.Y.) School District is composed of six schools serving some 2,900 students. The district employs 270 teachers.

With 18,000 students in 25 schools, and with data spread across 25 separate databases, the Kyrene School District in Tempe, AZ, had a data management nightmare.

District administrators knew they needed a better system for managing student information.