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Matching an urgency many have felt for some time, professional development for K-12 staff is now an articulated-and funded-national education priority. Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as much as $3.2 billion will be available for staff training. In addition, the act stipulates a hefty percentage of new federal grants be devoted to correlated staff development.
Advances in projector technology are making these machines one of the HOTTEST tech trends in schools today
Everyone knows about show-and-tell. Years ago, students brought in various toys, books or even rocks from the backyard to show the rest of the class. Now, it is the teachers who are conducting show-and-tell, every day with almost every lesson. Only it isn't just a fun diversion, but a professional must.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (www.doc.gov) reports that more than 54 percent of the national population uses the Web, and the number of Web pages is climbing into the billions. Meeting the demand for information on the latest and best online educational resources has never been greater or more complicated.
Perhaps it is because I taught in an era when computer courses and technology careers were almost exclusively male bastions, or because most of the participants in my Internet staff development programs are female, but I am always encouraged to meet and work with district technology coordinators who are women. These professionals include Dianne Martin of Mountain Home Public Schools in Arkansas, Barbara St. Onge of Torrington Public Schools in Connecticut, Leslie Flanders of the Scott County Schools in Kentucky, and Joan Peebles of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin.
It began in 1994 as a small project that brought together a newly hired deputy superintendent and development officer. Great teamwork, perseverance and the lessons we've learned during the past eight years have resulted in $38 million in competitive grants for our small urban district.
That first project began with a superintendent directive to conduct a brainstorming session for a new grant opportunity. When we asked what the grant was about, participants excitedly responded that it was "about $50,000." It was a very brief meeting.
TEAMING WITH NATURE
This rural district emphasizes an environmental approach to all aspects of curricula
A few summers back Kane Area (Pa.) Middle School Principal Jeff Kepler and five teachers from his seventh-grade team spent a week looking at rocks, bugs, trees, birds and dirt. They took the temperature and measured the pH of soil; they cored trees to determine age; they kept nature journals and brushed up on their map reading skills.
FULFILLING HER MOTHER'S DREAM
The progress in this Hamilton City, Ohio, district led to kudos from President Bush
When Janet Baker was growing up in Hamilton, Ohio, her mother told her the president had sent her a letter stating he wanted little Janet to work hard and do her homework because he might need her help in Washington, D.C., someday. Well, it took about 45 years, but her mother's white lie has come true.