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From DA

Jenny, a third-grade girl, commented after receiving the results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, “I cried repeatedly when I heard the news, and so did my mom.” Jenny had failed the high-stakes test necessary for promotion and as a result was required by state rules to repeat third grade. Jenny now considers herself a failure and a loser.

Jim Klein, director of information services and technology at the Saugus (Calif.) Union School District, is leading an ambitious plan to rethink how writing is taught in his schools. It’s centered not just on social tools but on planning for and executing writing in multimedia as well.

Crick Software

WriteOnline —Less than $1 per student annually

WriteOnline is an online word processor for students aged 9 and up. Features include text-to-speech capabilities for reading aloud what students have written, word prediction tools to guide struggling writers, and Wordbars, unique onscreen word banks that help to expand vocabulary. WriteOnline is also newly available for free in a boxed copy for all subscribers, providing an alternative for districts with slow or unreliable Internet connections.

Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y.

Program Title: Non-Credit Continuing

Education Course

Description: University College partnered with faculty members from the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education to offer a noncredit professional development program for K12 administrators. The program covers contract negotiations, human resources, board of education meetings and electronic records management. Upon completion, a noncredit certificate is given.

Format: Online and classroom

Tight budgets are convincing many K12 districts to turn to refurbished computers as a way to get more technology into the hands of more students.


Deciding between new or used computers? Here’s a rundown on the benefits of buying refurbished equipment:

- Savings. Costs are typically half to a third that of new equipment, so districts can afford to put more computers in the hands of students.

What's your refurbished computer’s pedigree? Knowing where it came from can help determine how well it may perform, and for how long.

A sweetheart deal may turn out to be less of a bargain if you end up paying a lot of unexpected costs down the line.

To help make sense of the market, here’s an insider’s guide on used computer standards:


West Warwick Public Schools started buying refurbished computers in 2006. Jim Monti is the district’s director of technology.

Choosing refurbished computers over new ones saved a Virginia school district $230,000, which allowed it to budget a wireless network. The Louisa County Public Schools in Mineral, Va., purchased Dell units from CDI, North America’s largest supplier of certified, refurbished computers.

The Tool Factory and CDI have teamed up to offer customized technology for special education students. CDI will provide the computer hardware, while the Tool Factory will contribute tailored educational software. Initial offerings will focus on early learning and autism.