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Like other districts with schools that are not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals for five consecutive years, Hawaii is restructuring its low performing schools as required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Unlike most other districts, however, Hawaii, a single statewide district, has been doing it for five years with the support of three independent education consulting firms working directly with administrators and teachers in the failing schools.

If you haven’t read the new MacArthur foundation report Living and Learning with new Media (http:// bit.ly/SooSe), which discusses how our kids are using social networks and tools to connect, you might want to consider it sooner rather than later. In a nutshell, the study found that kids are using online social technologies in impressive numbers to stay connected to the people they already know and, more importantly for us, to connect to other people around the globe they don’t know but with whom they share a passion or an interest.

<b>What exactly is the "New PE," and how can technology help districts embrace it? </b>

<b>Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida</b>

At Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Polar heart rate monitors have introduced a “wow factor” to physical education that has motivated students to take on personal ownership of their fitness achievements.

If you're shopping for a new computer, what do you look for? A unit that's reliable, that can handle all your software applications and that is backed by an iron-clad warranty.

There's no reason to restrict your search to new computers. Recertfied computers can meet all of those requirements, too — at about a third to one-half the cost of new equipment.

For the most part, K12 is just beginning to realize the potential of mobile technology. A 2009 study of 25 mobile learning initiatives worldwide by the Joan Ganz Conney Foundation Center chose them as having the greatest potential to revolutionize teaching and learning methods. But this technology has already arrived in some districts, whose leaders cite its ability not only to be more mobile than laptops, but more affordable, more reliable, and just as powerful. DA columnists Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris inspired us this month to create a full Mobile Learning Guide.

Shifting Roles: A Positive Trend


I enjoyed the 9th Annual Salary Survey article (“Administrator Roles Shift with the Times,” September 2009). The story spotlighted certain positions. It was reassuring to see that our salaries in Greenville County were for the most part in line with the survey data.








 

RAISING THE BAR


A report issued by the New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project in September, and since been held up as clear evidence that charter schools are doing a better job than traditional schools, is now facing criticism that its claim of being an “apples to apples” study just isn’t true.

Saying that many schools of education are doing a “mediocre job,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called for a “sea change” in how they train teachers. In an address on Oct. 22 at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Duncan said, “America's university-based teacher preparation programs need revolutionary change—not evolutionary tinkering.”

Larry Williams, assistant superintendent for facilities and construction in the Lewisville (Texas) Independent School District, received the Pinnacle of Excellence Award at the annual meeting of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) in Chicago in October. He was honored for spearheading a project to make his department’s work more efficient and more cost-effective. It included the initiation of the “classroom blitz,” in which every 60 days each of the district’s 4,000 classrooms is inspected.








The G. Weaver Hipps Elementary School's artful design maks the building's original identity as a big-box store.









The six schools at the high school campus are arranged like fingers protruding from a hand.


A unique window of opportunity has opened for states and districts to finance school construction and renovation. Through the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) program, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal government will provide tax credits, in lieu of interest paid by the state or district, to bondholders.






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