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<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.













Jim Shelton is the DOE's point person for the 13 fund.


“Technology really wasn’t something ‘normal’ back when I was in school,” says Kari Rhame Murphy. But today, the same young girl raised in the 1950s Louisiana home of two teacher parents is the chief technology officer of a district that is one of the most highly funded in Texas, thanks to its nearness to the Houston Ship Channel. A former middle school math and computer technology teacher—the latter, at a time when teaching computers was virgin territory—Murphy now instructs the teachers and administrators of Deer Park ISD.

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