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From the Editor

Throughout my long career in teacher education and supervision in K12 school districts, I participated in almost every staff development model anyone can suggest, starting with print-based courses at a distance. The in-person options included doing national tours for school executives in major cities, sponsored by companies such as Microsoft and the former Compaq; week-long summer programs in colleges and universities; weekend and after-school programs in school districts; presentations at professional conferences; and one-day workshops hosted at hotels across the country.

A great privilege early in my career was editing the original words of the Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher, Jean Piaget, for one of his few articles directed to teachers. As a doctoral student, I had been captivated by Piaget’s theories that children pass through four major intellectual development stages, which influenced the federallyfunded “lab-centered” curriculum programs of the era—particularly in science and mat —and I later wrote chapters on Piagetian psychology for three texts.

I have been drawn to the power of satire and parody throughout my life and career, and learned early on that humor can make points more forcefully than other kinds of expression. As a child, I studied how the Jewish comics in New York used humor to emerge from poverty, and later followed black and Hispanic performers who carried on those traditions to triumph over prejudice and injustice.

Throughout my career as a secondary school teacher and teacher-educator, I asked students Odvard Egil Dyrlito submit anonymous evaluations to assess the quality of my teaching.

On Friday, December 14, 2012, as our January 2013 issue was about to be published, we received the horrifying news with the rest of the world about the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a community just 35 miles from our office. Several staff members have ties to the town and the children of a colleague are students at the school. But while we were relieved that our colleague’s children were safe, we were grief-stricken at the loss of so many others.

Odvard Egil DyrliGrowing up in a bilingual home near New York City, where my brother and I were the only ones who spoke Norwegian in our elementary school, I remember being asked to translate for newly-arrived Scandinavian students whose parents were assigned to the UN.

Odvard Egil DyrliSince participants in the District Administration community are the most informed consumers in K12 education, it is with great pleasure that we announce their selections for the 2012 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products in this issue. DA reaches school superintendents and other key executives in virtually every district in the United States, and no one is better qualified to comment on district spending options.

Odvard Egil DyrliAfter serving as editor-in-chief of District Administration magazine a few years ago, and then leaving temporarily to work on other projects, it is an enormous personal privilege to return as executive editor and greet our many readers again. Or, as they say in the movies, “He’s back...!”

What changes have you accomplished that will make this school year different from last? In an era of having to doing more with less, what progress have you made?

Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Will there be more of an emphasis on critical-thinking skills and deeper understanding of concepts in your schools?

In the near future, we will see fewer traditional school buildings. Taking their place will be affinity schools, organized around students’ interests, and more STEM labs strategically located to offer easy access. Blended learning will be the norm, with individual students needing their own device. Networks will deliver higher levels of broadband performance to accommodate the growth in online learning. Technology combined with global learning will change the ways schools look today.