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From DA

She was a gentle girl-taller than other fifth-graders at Winston Churchill Elementary School in Schaumburg, Ill., and incredibly shy and withdrawn.

Worst of all, Sandra couldn't read a word.

At the official unveiling the kids had snacks and apple juice to celebrate. Toasts were proposed. One student suggested a toast to the artist. Another proposed thanking the school volunteers. Then one boy raised his glass, "To Cesar Chavez!"

HyperStudio and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002

Apink starfish on a bright blue background on a computer screen introduces a special creation from a bunch of third-graders in Tennessee.

"Animals in the Coral Reef" is spelled out colorfully on another screen and written as if a child innocently scribbled it.

This is the beginning of a HyperStudio project that third-graders in Laura Peacock's class in Memphis' Orleans Elementary School created last year.

Aliterate citizen has command of a large and expressive vocabulary. Schools "do vocabulary" presumably in the hopes of creating thoughtful thinkers and articulate communicators.

Vocabulary is developed by immersion in a social culture rich in stories, songs and other people to converse with. Despite the intuitive and scientific evidence of this truth, schools still insist on drilling new words into kids.

Groundwork for the recently approved education bill started simply enough. Educators, business people, parents, and community leaders in Hamilton, Ohio, met last March.

A universal truth in the life of a teacher or administrator is that there are never enough hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year. And professional development is especially hard to squeeze onto a filled calendar.

His resume is 19 pages. He has written numerous books and won many awards. And he's leading one of the nation's most diverse school districts.

His name is Jerry Weast, hired in the summer of 1999 to lead Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, and as you might have guessed, he has a plan for improvement.

By now, most readers probably know the story of Christine Pelton, a high school science teacher in Piper, Kan. If not, here's a quick recap.