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From DA

Have you ever heard of an idea that sounded crazy at first, but within 10 minutes you're convinced it's the best new thought you've come across in years? That's what our fundraising article this month feels like to me ("Fundraising Grows Up").

When students fall behind academically, is it more effective to hold them back a year so they can "catch up" or to promote them to the next grade so they can stay with their peers? According to most research, the answer is neither.

HomeworkNOW

HomeworkNOW.com

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Using private funds is nothing new to most school districts. Bake sales and student car washes have been funding activities for decades. Your district may already have a deal with a sporting goods company to subsidize its sports programs.

Lyle Rowland knows the name of each of the 238 students enrolled at Taneyville R-II School District, a K-8 district just east of Branson, Mo. What's more, he knows their parents, where they live and how some families earn their living.

First came the workshop. Then came a glimmer of an idea. Next came the goal, which changed everything.

It was Raymond Yeagley who set it all in motion. The Rochester (N.H.) Schools superintendent attended a Quality School Portfolio workshop a few years ago to learn about how the Web-based tool can help in collecting, analyzing and making sense of data. Using what he learned, he prepared a report on reading performance in Rochester's elementary schools.

Margaret Spellings/FAST FACTS

Date of birth: November 30, 1957

Education: University of Austin, bachelor's degree in political science and journalism

Last November, armed with only a computer, a microphone and free Audacity software, Will Richardson prepared his first online audio broadcast.

Have you ever had an idea so good that you know if you can just tell the right person, they'll agree and it will happen? That, more or less, was the script when the CEO of the School District of Philadelphia, Paul Vallas, met with Microsoft more than a year ago.

Students in Appoquinimink School District in Odessa, Del., were getting gypped for years. Nine years ago, they had library media centers that were showing signs of age, full of outdated material, sometimes 20 years old, and very few library media specialists.

01/2005

Thanks for the Apology

I was one of your readers who protested some of the columns written by Gary Stager. Therefore, I understandably was attracted to your editor's letter in the November 2004 issue ("Mea Culpa"). Only rarely do I find editors with the courage and mortification you displayed in your remarks. Therefore, I applaud you highly, not only for your response to readers who find Mr. Stager's remarks to be belligerently inaccurate, but also for your promise to tone them down.

Patrick Groff

Professor of Education Emeritus

Writing has received less attention lately than the other two Rs, reading and 'rithmetic, but rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Beginning in 2005, the SAT college entrance exam will require students to write an essay, and the ACT will include an optional essay component. Writing--sometimes called the neglected R--seems poised for a comeback.

Polycom

ClassStation solutions

www.polycom.com, Hardware, $16,999 and up

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