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Nutrition Advocates to Schools: Shape Up

Soda is out, but students are exercising less. Junk food is being scrutinized, but recess is still iffy. Childhood obesity rates are climbing and schools, say advocates, must monitor what calories students are taking in and burning up.

Maryland to Take Over Troubled Schools

State school board officials in Maryland, the first in the nation to invoke a provision of No Child Left Behind to take control of some Baltimore schools, are considering financial penalties in the wake of the General Assembly's vote for a one-year moratorium on the takeover.

World History Is Dismal in Most States

Larry Price of Wilson County (N.C.) Schools is not so different from the other inspirational superintendents featured in this magazine, except, perhaps, for one thing: his ability to tend a farm plot. In spite of a penchant for farming due to his upbringing in rural Nash, N.C., however, Price's career took a sharp turn from planting seeds in the ground to reaping what he and his teachers sowed by way of smart students in the classroom.

Holly Herndon no longer waits for district officials to crunch the local assessment numbers before she can make decisions on instruction. Herndon, like other teachers in Florida's School District of Indian River County, can access her classroom's assessment results-24 hours after the exams are scored-using a new data management software tool.

The overwhelming thought I had as I attended numerous EduComm sessions at the magazine's show in Orlando last month-and walked the massive InfoComm floor-is that the future is now.

Reacting to MySpace

I JUST READ [Gary Stager's] article ("Guess Why They Call It MySpace," May 2006, page 78). While I agree with him in principle, we have blocked the site and others like it at our district. Why? Because we had one student threaten to kill another student using MySpace.

The "problem" the Internet has created is that there are no more rumors. If you hear something you can quickly see if it is true or not simply by accessing the Internet and the site(s) where it originated.

Problem: When a Syracuse (N.Y.) City School District faculty member was going to be absent, he or she would call the principal and start a chain reaction. The principal would then call the superintendent's office and two office staffers would spend four hours a day finding substitutes.

Solution: Using Sub-IT software, from central xchange, the district has reduced the number of people involved in finding subs and cut in half the amount of time the office staff has to be directly involved.

Tableau Software

Tableau 2.0

www.tableausoftware.com

Software, starts at $499/license (with 50% academic discount)

Nothing that involves dispersing money seems to come out fair-and still school systems manage to attract budget directors who gear up for the challenge on an annual basis.

Barr Security

BARRicade Visitor Management System

www.barrsecurity.com, Basic System, $5,995;

Additional Software Licenses, $205; Self-serving stand-alone kiosk $9,995

If he were a character in a Perry Mason episode, John Q. Porter would be the protagonist. Pacing methodically across his art-deco office, impeccably dressed in pinstripes-spats, even-his department's assistant Diane Watts would shadow behind, scribing ideas that churn from his brain about his latest dilemma.

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