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We called him "Swampy" Hayes, or the "Swamp Fox," after Frances Marion, the Revolutionary War hero whose spying tricks infuriated the British.

It's blind to race, sex and even acne. And it's a place where popular and unpopular, gifted and at-risk, wealthy and poor take courses together as well as share stories and relate to each other's woes and wonders.

The "Great White" fire in Rhode Island earlier this year was a horror--killing nearly 100 people when rock fans were trapped inside a burning building with too few fire exits. Science laboratory safety expert Jim Kaufman worries that a similar tragedy could befall a school science lab anywhere in the U.S.

Use it or lose it. It's a cute saying, but it is particularly fitting for the brain-especially in small, developing brains. "During the first three years of life, there's an overabundance of activity in the brain," says Kenneth A. Wesson, education consultant at Neuroscience in San Jose. "If brain cells don't find a job, they will be eliminated. There is no welfare in the brain. These brain cells seek a job to do. They go dormant or are eliminated if kids don't have specific kinds of experiences and nothing to build on."

Whether you agree or disagree with the accountability called for in No Child Left Behind, one thing is starting to become clear--the standards and the Title I money attached to meeting those standards may depend a lot more on where you live than on how well you teach your students.

It was on Feb. 1, 2003, when Barbara Morgan, teacher-turned astronaut, lost some of her own.

When parents of students at New Egypt Elementary School in Plumsted Township, N.J., need to pick up their child for a doctor's appointment during the school day, many pause at the front door. They are prompted by a gentle, computerized voice and gaze upward into what may be the future of school security technology.

In New York City, everything is grand, even the plan "Operation Safe Schools" for addressing discipline problems among students.