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From DA

Education funding cuts in this tough economy mean current students may once again tell their grandchildren, “When I was your age, I had to walk to school uphill—both ways.”

For example, a budget shortfall in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Texas means that students living inside a two-mile radius of its 81 campuses will walk or carpool to school.

“We’re not cutting fat,” says Kelli Duram, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District assistant superintendent for communication. “We’re cutting into bone marrow now.”








A student is illuminated by a prototype of a solar-powered school bus stop safety light in Taylor, Michigan.


For overworked guidance counselors, students seeking detailed and relevant information about colleges, and parents looking for advice on issues such as financial aid and standardized tests, virtual college fairs can help.


Guidance counselors in particular could use a little help. Despite the American School Counselor Association’s recommendation of a 250:1 student-to-counselor ratio, the national average for 2006-2007 was 475:1—and that was before the recession forced many districts to cut counselor positions or leave vacancies unfilled.


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave the keynote address at the third annual Superintendents’ Symposium organized by testing agency ACT and school improvement solutions company America’s Choice, which had a theme of improving the college and career readiness of graduating high school seniors. National 2009 ACT scores released in August found just 23 percent of the record 1.5 million graduating seniors who took the test met all four college readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading and science, and just 70 percent took a core curriculum.









The stimulus bill charges newly appointed FCC chairman Julius Genachowski with creating a national broadband plan by February 2010.


John Long, superintendent of the Warren County R-III School District in Missouri, knew that one of the school campuses was badly in need of an upgrade.

Michael Smith admits he doesn’t talk much about his Web site or weekly blog with the staff, school board or community in his rural Oakland, Ill., district, because most folks probably don’t know what a blog is. That’s not a disrespectful dig, but reality: In his agricultural district 200 miles south of Chicago’s bustle—comprising only 300 students, 50 staff, two schools, and one principal—tending a Web site isn’t as high on anyone’s task list as teaching, farming the corn and soybean crops for which the region is known, or football.

Going back to school means something completely different to today’s IT administrators.

A suburban school systewas saddened when its third student in several months died by suicide. The superintendent shared the most recent tragedy at a meeting with other local superintendents and was startled to learn that across four neighboring districts, nine teenagers had died by suicide in the last 18 months. Were they in the midst of a suicide cluster? If so, how could they stop it? Did these teens all know each other? How will further deaths be prevented? Who is most at risk?

No textbooks are to be found in this honors biology class at Empire High School in Vail (Ariz.) School District.

With more than four decades of experience in both urban and suburban districts, Gerald Kohn knows how difficult it can be to change the culture of a school district beset by poverty, social issues and politics. Yet he accepted the challenge of bringing change to the Harrisburg School District in central Pennsylvania eight years ago, because, he says, “nothing gives me more satisfaction than being able to succeed.”

When students fail courses or drop out of school, it isn’t good for them or their districts, which are under federal and state mandates to improve test scores and graduation rates. With those mandates and about 1.2 million students dropping out each year—or one every 26 seconds—“there is more pressure today than ever to help students stay in school and graduate on time,” according to Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

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