You are here

From DA

If your district has unused and used textbooks stuffed in a closet somewhere, you may have an untapped revenue source.

Revenue shortfalls are facts of life for school districts, and in many districts budget cuts are even threatening an area as fundamental to teaching as textbooks. Increasingly, K-12 administrators are turning to pre-owned textbooks to save money and maintain educational standards.

Female elementary school teachers may project a fear of math onto their female students, causing them to do poorly in the subject, according to a new study, “Female Teachers’ Math Anxiety Impacts Girls’ Math Achievement,” published by the University of Chicago on January 25, 2010. With over 90 percent of elementary school teachers being female, this finding has brought attention to gender roles within elementary education and could have administrators seeking additional professional development for teachers anxious about math.

Just days after the nation's governors, state commissioners of education, school administrators and education experts proposed draft common core standards for K12 in English and math, major education groups responded.

The National Education Association, the National School Boards Association and the Alliance for Excellent Education tout the new standards as promoting 21st-century skills of collaborating, problem solving and critical thinking.

He's patrolled the streets of Chicago, kept the local trains running on time and become a player in the highest echelons of City Hall. But at age 38, Ron Huberman—born in Israel and raised just outside of Chicago—is facing his most formidable challenge.

In districts with Hispanic populations, English language learning is a priority, particularly in the elementary grades, which many students enter still speaking Spanish as their primary language. In affiliation with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), a private, non-profit organization focused on reducing poverty and discrimination and improving opportunity for Hispanic Americans, about 100 community-based charter schools serve districts like these across the United States.

Whether charter schools are effective in helping students learn English is under debate in Massachusetts, where the state Senate passed a bill in November, backed by Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, to change some low-performing public schools into charter schools as a way to improve students’ learning and performance.

Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier recently pointed out a troubling fact: About 2,800 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders were two or more years older than their classmates. "BIG problem," he posted via Twitter, a Web site that allows him to post text messages and share them with "followers"—other users of the service who are interested in receiving the messages.

For the Tempe (Ariz.) Elementary School District, Facebook and Twitter are just one element of a comprehensive marketing strategy officials are using to lure more parents to the district at a time of declining enrollment. In the 2008-2009 school year, the district lost 250 students.

“We are constantly looking and exploring new ways to try to retain students that are here in our district and to bring in new kids,” says Gary Aungst, the district’s director of community affairs and marketing.

A first of its kind, the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act has been introduced to set national standards for the practices of controlling disruptive and potentially dangerous students. The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in early December 2009, was in response to two studies revealing hundreds of cases across the nation of the misuse of restraint and seclusion.

 

HONORED

Superintendent Frank S. Porter of Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif., is the 2010 recipient of the Leadership through Communications Award for his enhancement of school-to-parent communication.

The release of the highly anticipated National Broadband Plan, scheduled for February 17, has been delayed, leaving advocates for broadband reform in suspense. In a letter to Congress on January 7, Chairman Julius Genachowski of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requested an extension of one month to process the information the organization has gathered and to receive additional input from stakeholders. The FCC is creating the National Broadband Plan as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The 2010 National Superintendent of the Year ceremony, which commemorates the contributions and guidance of public school superintendents, will be held February 11 at the National Conference on Education in Phoenix. We asked the four finalists what their number-one priority is for 2010.

The latest trend in the rapidly advancing and fiercely competitive interactive whiteboard market reflects the ever-increasing popularity and global appeal of this technology: support for multiple languages. A variety of manufacturers have recently added or expanded their language resources because of U.S. demand for teaching ELL students, the use of the devices in foreign language classes and strong sales in countries around the world.

Proving once again to be a leader in school technology, the Vail (Ariz.) School District is now providing wireless access in school buses. In early December 2009, the district installed its first wireless router attached to a cellular 3G network in one high school bus. Although the district paid for this out of pocket, officials hope to obtain a $15,000 Qwest Foundation Grant from Qwest Communications to fund routers in the 20 buses that run the longest high school routes.

Pages