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From DA

In a recent Web seminar about Data-Driven Decision Making, three experts in the field - Douglas Reeves, CEO and founder of the Center for Performance Assessment; Stephen C. Jones, superintendent of Norfolk (Va.) Public Schools; and Howard Woodard, the chief information officer for the Georgia Department of Education - answered your questions on this topic. Here's a sample of what was covered. (To view the entire presentation, visit

It is a commonly held belief that participation in school sports helps build character. Students can learn everything from teamwork to good sportsmanship from their time on the playing field, the theory goes. A new report from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement shows that these assumptions might be correct.

Joseph Brown Sr. applied for the superintendent's position at Grand Meadow (Minn.) School District #495 because the one-campus school building boasts a monolithic dome structure.

Strong Management Helps Avoid Construction Woes

As New Jersey has learned, lax oversight of school construction programs can cause costly problems. But it doesn't have to be that way. Strong management by state agencies and local school districts can keep programs out of trouble, according to school and construction authorities.

Tests Reveal American Schools Have Long Way to Go

During seventh grade a friend and I created a publication as an alternative to the school newspaper. It was quite a challenge in the days before access to photocopiers, but entertaining our handful of readers made the effort worthwhile.

The Great Debate

After reading "The Great Debate" (March 2006, p. 75), which is an excellent article, I am struck by some comments made by Nick Matzke.

At Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Ore., blog posts and e-mails have replaced paper notes stuffed in teachers' mailboxes. Staff meetings, now devoid of the exchange of routine information, are done in half the time and focus solely on best practices and curriculum. Planning for the staff holiday party? Done online. So too are the principal's advisories to staff, including recommended magazine articles, notice of cancelled meetings and even notes and minutes from various staff meetings.


Surveys show that most teachers, students and parents positively perceive laptop initiatives, but few controlled studies have examined the relationship between various laptop programs and student achievement. As district officials weigh options for investing limited technology dollars, they may wish to consider what the research can (and can't) tell us.

Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. faced a hot scare in the cold war. The Soviet Union launched in 1957 the first satellite, Sputnik, into space, sending the U.S. into a tizzy of fear. So the government poured billions of dollars into the space program as well as better math and science programs in American schools.

Now, the nation's schools are facing an economic scare in part due to countries like China and India taking on more American jobs.