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From DA

I always valued taking part in outdoor education, conservation and camping programs with school groups. But no outdoor experiences compared to those special educational opportunities in summers and school vacations that involved traveling to national parks, including Acadia National Park in Maine, Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and the Sequoia National Forest in California. Each one truly defined grandeur in unique ways, offering unparalleled aesthetic natural environments.

One of the best ways to spend the summer is curled up with a good book. The following are nominees for books that will inspire, provoke or entertain educators. Professional development for you and your staff is only a bookstore away. Why not stay connected with your colleagues this summer by starting a book club? You can find all of these books and more at

Summer Reading

The Book of Learning and Forgetting by Frank Smith

Principal: I don't know what I am going to do with some of my teachers. They are so resistant to using technology and stuck in their ways. I move heaven and earth to bring the best computer infrastructure to the school, and they just let it sit there.

Sound familiar? Administrators repeat these words over and over on the battlefield of technology integration in our public schools. There are many "reasons" for this, but this month's column exposes the nasty truth. Public schools don't do an adequate job of technical support. Read the teacher retort below:

It's a common question, but a good one. Our administrator profiles usually include the title of the book our featured superintendent is reading. The answer can reveal more about the subject than any quote from a school board chairman.

Facing a cross-country flight the other day, I bought the book,

Habits of Highly Ineffective Educators

Sometimes being reminded of what not to do is an effective way of getting educators on track. Enter Chicago-based Wavelength, which creates theatrical performances, videos and workshops using humor to elucidate issues in public education. After watching the Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Educators presentation, a group from two schools in Newburgh (N.Y.) Enlarged City School District came up with reflective questions for teachers and administrators.

The "People's Education Secretary"

The professional wrestler known as The Rock likes to call himself the "people's champion" because he considers himself to be popular even if he is not currently holding the title. U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige could call himself the "people's education secretary" judging by his recent moves.

It's a never-ending question between school boards and superintendents: Who has authority over what issues and how can both sides coexist peacefully and effectively?

Research shows that students achieve more when schools recognize and respect languages other than "standard written English." So, why have educators been slow in adopting corresponding practices?

Conflict is inevitable. So, when you think about keeping your schools safe, consider communication.

Images of students fleeing deadly shooting sprees in 1998-99 in Colorado and Arkansas set a new tone in classrooms nationwide.

It's an age-old tradition, something that has been around since the beginning of modern man. Some experts say it is the core of any violence prevention or safety technique around.

It's talking.

Take a troubled urban school district with almost two dozen non-performing schools, impoverished students and racial imbalance and what do you get? A recipe for educational disaster?

What is insane? In Niagara Falls, N.Y., residents are used to crazy behavior. Besides the disconcerting monthly suicides, there are the stunts. People have walked tightropes over Niagara Falls, gone over in barrels, big plastic balls, kayaks, even jet skis.

But to Niagara Superintendent of Schools Carmen A. Granto, insane is something else. It is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to differ. It is sending home the same report card, quarter after quarter, and expecting parents to get more out of it than they do.

Long, long ago, in some mythical classroom of the lost world, if you wanted to know how well a student was learning, you'd just ask the teacher. Teachers then not only had eyes in the back of their heads, but powerful eyes all around that could read the body language of 30 students at once, zero in on one child's scrawl while evaluating another's doodles, and see which kids added with their fingers and which read with their lips.