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Disney's Planet Challenge is teaming up with Disney's Friends for Change as the in-school edition of a multi-platform initiative that inspires kids and their friends to make a positive impact on their world.

Information and useful toolkits are available at to encourage kids to help people, their community and the planet. While visiting the website, kids and their friends can:

As districts across the country debate the boundaries of social media in the class room, Missouri took an unprecedented step by passing the first statewide law banning teachers from individual communication with their students on social networks. The bill was passed with bipartisan support in the Missouri legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon on July 14. The Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, which became effective Aug. 28, was created in response to a middle school student who was sexually abused by a teacher following communication on Facebook.

Mobile learning is on the rise, and consequently, so is the need for mobile connectivity. According to a 2010 survey of E-rate consumers, including public schools and libraries, conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 50 percent of respondents said they plan to implement or expand the use of digital textbooks and other wireless devices.

A North Mecklenburg Vikings player.

One of the controversial issues of late has been the rise of "pay-to-play," in which parents pay user fees so that their children can participate in interscholastic athletics.


What was once 28,000 square feet of paved schoolyard asphalt is now a full-fledged garden complete with walkways, a storage shed and an iron fence. The 500 preK-5 students at Brooklyn, N.Y.'s P.S. 216 elementary school are the first students in the city to experience an Edible Schoolyard program.

Rosa Parks Elementary

The "Big One" is coming, said Chris Goldfinger, professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, at the American Institute of Architects' Portland conference in late June. Goldfinger, a renowned expert on earthquakes, believes that within the next 50 years, Washington and northern Oregon face a 10 to 15 percent chance of an offshore quake that could cause a powerful tsunami, and southern Oregon has more than a 37 percent chance of experiencing a magnitude 8 or higher earthquake.


Q: What is the best way to help school district leaders and school boards manage the message and be sure that school incidents are communicated accurately?

Rick Shaw President and founder of Awareity Lincoln, Neb.

We are often reminded that there is a time for everything. As the book of Ecclesiastes puts it, "a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak." I believe the time has also come for educators to listen, to speak, to mend and to change some aspects of the public education system. We need not wait for Superman or the Department of Education to shape this change. The changes I speak of must come from within—from educators who work to teach the skills and improve the lives of students in American public schools every day.