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Students Describe Qualities of Great Teachers
Viewing students as consumers -- and consumers with strong ideas about how their instructors should treat them as learners and individuals -- can help good teachers become great teachers in the eyes of the people who matter most, according to a new book.

Edutainers Make Lessons Engaging, Relevant
In coining the term edutainer, Dr. Brad Johnson and Tammy Maxson McElroy arent suggesting that teachers juggle at the front of the room, but rather that teachers should use some entertainer-type skills to help make lessons more relevant and engaging.

Veteran Actor Tony Danza Steps onto Classroom Stage
Years after studying to be a history teacher, actor Tony Danza decided to try his skills in the classroom as a high-school English teacher in Philadelphia. His experiences as a first-year teacher are featured in the A&E series, Teach: Tony Danza.

Books in the Home Can Predict a Childs Education Level
The presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a childs level of education than does parents income, nationality, or level of education. A 20-year study shows how investing in books can make a big difference.

An Inspiring Teacher Draws Inspiration from Students
Finding ways to put students at the center of their own learning and helping them find their passions are just some of the reasons Sarah Brown Wessling was named the 2010 National Teacher of the Year.

Designing Schools That Enhance Student Learning
The average school and classroom designs havent changed in decades, but some architects maintain that a few renovations could make classrooms more student-centered and lead improvements in test scores.

Creative Commons: Transforming Education Through More Accessible Resources
The Internet and digital technologies have transformed how people learn. Creative Commons provides the legal and technical infrastructure that makes it possible for educational resources to be widely accessible, adaptable, interoperable, and discoverable.

Siemens Foundation Chief Aims to Expand Programs Reach
The Siemens Foundation long has been known for honoring top math and science students. New foundation president Jeniffer Harper-Taylor wants to make math, science, engineering, and technology education more accessible to students at all grade levels.

Training the Next Generation of Science, Math Teachers
Building musical instruments to teach the physics of sound, and using geometry to construct life-size figures, are just two of the inspiring lessons brought to schools by teachers in the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellowship program.

Technology Integration, Projects Mark Top Administrators Work
Two administrators named the 2009 Outstanding Young Educators by ASCD are successfully using data, technology, project-based learning, and parent involvement to help transform their schools and inspire their students and teachers.

Technology Jump Starts the New Phys Ed
Dodge ball and out-of-shape, whistle-blowing phys ed teachers are becoming mere memories as PE teachers focus on using technology to enhance the health of individual students, according to a major survey.

Harry Potter, Magic Hook Kids on Science
As a new teacher, Alan McCormack turned to magic to conjure up more student interest in his science lessons. Then, when the Harry Potter books appeared, he wove aspects of those books into his lessons. His students were enchanted.

Math Games Can Target Key Instruction Areas
Classroom games these days may seem like an indulgence, but math consultant Dr. Nanci Smith shows teachers how to use games to differentiate instruction and reinforce skills that students need to tackle higher math. Included: Sample games for differentiating math instruction.

Heart Health Programs Move into Schools
Heart disease used to be largely an adult concern, but childhood obesity increased the risk of heart problems among children. The American Heart Association is raising its profile on programs schools can use to help students develop good health habits.

Steps for Making Good Schools Great
Good schools can be great schools if staff focus on best practices, common elements for instruction, and strategies to help all students learn, says Dr. Tim R. Westerberg, author of Becoming a Great High School: 6 Strategies and 1 Attitude That Make a Difference.

Renegade Lunch Lady Battles for Better Meals
Chef Ann Cooper, aka The Renegade Lunch Lady, is determined that all children have access to tasty, nutritional school lunches. So shes launched a Web site that could make mystery meat a thing of the past.

Practical Advice for Principals in the Field
Whether a principal is new to the role or to a school, there is always a lot to learn about a school, its culture, and people. The New Principals Fieldbook offers administrators practical advice on how to process and prioritize all that information.

Executive Gives Arts a Boost Where He Got His Start
Now a successful businessman and philanthropist, Richard Fields still remembers his elementary school music teacher with appreciation. He now is funding an extensive arts program at his former school to give todays students the experiences he had.

Okay, Grammar Still Isnt Fun, But Everyone Can Master It
Veteran English teacher Marian Anders wants people to know that when it comes to grammar, it does matter which option you choose, but learning to make the right choice neednt be the ordeal most people fear it will be.

Principals Tough Stand Turns School Around
Frustrated by what he considered low expectations and minimal structure at American Indian Public Charter School, Dr. Ben Chavis set out to reform the school instituting no-nonsense policies regarding attendance, appearance, and instruction. And it worked.

Sports Offer Autistic Kids Physical, Social Benefits
Participation in individual sports, such as martial arts and track and field, can have many benefits for children with autism, according to one neurologist. Children gain confidence and better awareness of their bodies, which can lead to improved communication skills.

Film War on Kids Calls for Scrapping Schools as We Know Them
The documentary film The War on Kids argues that public schools have become overly restrictive and ineffective due in part to an irrational fear of young peoples potential for violence. The films creator said he is not certain the existing system can be reformed.

Enlisting the Community to Promote Achievement
Concerned that many urban students, especially African-American ones, were underachieving in school, Hugh B. Price made community involvement in local schools a focus of his tenure at the National Urban League as well as the subject of a book.

See Me After Class
New teachers often feel as though they need to do everything right -- and end up feeling as though theyre doing everything wrong. Former first-year teacher Roxanna Elden shares anecdotes and advice from her new book on surviving the first year of teaching.

What Students Really Think of Their Education, Teachers
When 414,000 grade 6-12 students speak, educators should listen. A student survey showed that while many students enjoy school and learning, they want their education to be more relevant to their everyday lives.

Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Cheers -- We Deserve It!
Because only rarely do we teachers have cheerleaders welcoming us with pom-poms when we arrive for work, I thought I would do a little brass-band whooping and hollering for OUR SIDE.

Mathnasium Offers Workout for the Mind
Rather than stressing memorization and repetitive exercises, the Mathnasium Method of math instruction focuses on first helping children develop an intuitive idea of how numbers work and learning how to do math mentally.

NEA Leader Stresses Goal of Great Public Schools for All Kids
National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel wants to give all students access to a quality education in part by working to close the achievement gap, seeking more funding for public schools, and increasing parent and community involvement.

Lack of School Nurses Impacts Students Health, Academics
At a time when schools have more students with serious medical conditions, many schools cannot expand nursing coverage or are reducing it. School nurses say educators must recognize their vital role in keeping students safe and able to learn, and make hiring nurses a priority.

Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Can We Predict Who will Be a Great Teacher?
The interesting and fighting-words part of The New Yorker article can be summed up as follows: you cant tell from a piece of paper wholl be effective in a classroom.

Enlisting Students to Create a Culture of Academic Integrity
Over at least the past decade, academic cheating has become more widespread and more accepted by many students. One researcher is piloting a project in which students and staff create, implement, and enforce academic integrity policies to help reduce cheating.

Stanley the Christmas Tree Has Lessons for All Seasons
Stanley the evergreen has one wish: to be the centerpiece of a family’s Christmas celebration. While other trees sneer at him, Stanley never gives up his dream. The story Stanley the Christmas Tree reminds children to dream big and never lose hope.

Give Yourself a Gold Star! You Deserve it!
Ive decided that teachers need to give ourselves credit We deserve credit for the small, as well as the big, accomplishments. So if you (almost) never accept bribes or rarely file your nails during class, give yourself a gold star!

Using Old Newspapers to Teach History
Few people think of todays newspapers as tomorrows history books. But two history teachers have compiled reproductions of newspapers front pages to help students get a snapshot of events as they were reported.

Preventing MRSA in Your School
Many U.S. schools already have dealst with outbreaks of Methicillin-resisitant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially-deadly skin infection that spreads rapidly. Good personal hygiene and cleanliness are the best defenses against this serious illness.

The Importance of Nurturing Resiliency in Children
Societal pressures on families and children make resiliency an important characteristic for children to have. Once thought to be an inborn trait, resiliency can be developed and cultivated with help from educators.

Authors Make Case for Longer School Day
The common cry from many teachers these days is they need more time. For two authors, the solution is simple: Give teachers more time. Extending the school day will allow students to master academic subjects and spend time on enrichment programs, they say.

How Teachers Can and Must Reverse the ‘Boy Crisis’
In the book The Trouble With Boys former Newsweek reporter Peg Tyre outlines boys’ struggles in school, describes how education became less friendly to boys, and warns that failing to engage boys in school could seriously impact the nation’s future.

NYC Teacher Selected to Present Lessons from Antarctica
Middle-school science teacher Shakira Brown encourages her students to take part in hands-on learning. She will be following her own advice as part of an eight-week expedition to Antarctica. Brown plans to teach lessons for U.S. students live from the ice.

When Hovering Isnt Helping
Nowhere in my previous column concerning the need for students -- at all stages of their development -- to embrace appropriate independence and autonomy, did I suggest that parents should be barred from interacting with their children or with their childrens various instructors.

Offering Teens Shoulders to Stand On
Teenagers confronting adult-world issues probably wish there was simple advice for their grown-up questions. Retired educator William Lee Swisher has put together a short guide for adolescents that touches on finances, relationships, and responsibilities.

Stopping the Spread of GI Illnesses in Schools
Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses are among the most common maladies for young children, spreading rapidly through classes and schools. Using disinfectants on desks and hands, though, can slow the rampage of a stomach bug.

Believe, Achieve, Triumph!
Charter School Inspires Students to Reach Higher

In telling students to “Believe, Achieve, Triumph!” the faculty at César Chávez Academy Middle School hope to inspire students to see beyond immediate challenges and set high expectations for the future.

Top Teacher Ties History to Current Events
By tying the lessons of history to the issues of the day, Deirdra Grode, a seventh-and eighth-grade social studies and language arts teacher at Hoboken Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey, is teaching her students to be analytical and socially aware.

Resources to Help Reach and Teach Autistic Students
Autism Spectrum Disorders are the fastest growing diagnosis of childhood disabilities in the U.S. During National Autism Awareness Month, the NEA is highlighting some of its teacher and parent resources for reaching and teaching students with autism.

Documentary: U.S. Students No Match for Peers in India, China
China and India may be associated with lower-cost products and labor, but these countries are mass-producing highly-educated, motivated students -- who surpass their U.S. peers at every academic level. The documentary Two Million Minutes warns of a pending economic crisis if U.S. students can’t compete globally.

Applying Differentiated Instruction
Author and educator Rick Wormeli notes in his book, Fair Isn't Always Equal that differentiated instruction is more than dividing students into groups -- the key is putting them into groups based on what you know about them.

Fitness Champ Teaches by Example
Even though P.E. teacher Scott DeTore always has taken pride in keeping fit, he was surprised when he won two fitness contests last year. He uses those experiences, as well as his skills as a personal trainer, to inspire his students to embrace healthful lifestyles.

Leveling the High-School Field
While U.S. education officials have been focusing on elementary and higher education over the past few years, little has been done to improve high schools, especially in low-income areas. A national campaign aims to give all kids a quality high-school education.

Educators Seek More Flexibility in NCLB
Concerns that the No Child Left Behind Act is forcing schools to narrow their curriculums and stressing sanctions over incentives surfaced at different forums. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said some changes are likely to come.

Wonder Years Actress Extols Wonders of Math
After endearing herself to TV viewers as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, actress Danica McKellar discovered her love and aptitude for mathematics. McKellar hopes her book, Math Doesnt Suck, makes math more understandable for girls.

Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Home, Work Families Share Dys-Similarities
The most significant common denominator between the people you grew up with and the people you teach with is as follows: youre stuck with them. If all that close contact doesnt lead to actual revolution, then it usually leads to affection."

Developing More Resilient School Administrators
People who are resilient -- realistic optimists" who adapt to changes and learn from mistakes -- often are more effective leaders. More administrators are learning what it means to be resilient.

TFA Diarists Reflect on a Year in the Classroom
Blacksburg, Virginia, native Babak Mostaghimi is awed by his students concern for him following the Virginia Tech shootings; Will Hobart reflects on how his capacity for patience has grown, and Shani Jackson looks at the resiliency of middle schoolers.

Top Educator Finds Alternatives to Failure
Joris Ray, director of the Memphis City Schools alternative schools, believes that helping students achieve academic success leads to confidence and better behavior. That dedication helped earn him ASCDs 2007 Outstanding Young Educator Award.

Using Acting Skills in the Classroom
Students will be more engaged and behave better when educators teach with enthusiasm, using acting techniques such as physical and vocal animation, role-playing, and the use of suspense and surprise, according to the authors of a book on acting lessons for teachers.

Teach For America Diaries -- The Home Stretch
While Shani Jackson and Babak Mostaghimi cope with student fears and attitudes in the days leading up to state tests, Will Hobart gains an appreciation for inclusion practices.

An Insiders Look at Students Lives
As a school counselor, Barbara J. Kiernan got an inside look at the complex issues with which teens cope. Using composite characters, she wrote a book about those issues to let kids know they are not alone and to give insight to teachers about students lives.

Treasuring Found" Humor
Im a big fan of found humor" -- the sorts of things that arent meant to be funny but which brighten the dayIf you dont laugh at the absurdities of everyday life, youll miss a great deal of fun And lets face it -- most of us need all the fun we can get."

Teach For America Diaries
Its crunch time as the diarists prepare students for high-stakes tests and deal with students pre-test-weariness and anxiety. At the same time, they continue to learn more about their students challenges, fears, and resilience.

The Growing Role of Online Learning
Enrollment in online and blended courses -- those that combine online and traditional learning -- will continue growing, a study says. Educators need training and schools need plans to ensure online learning is integrated effectively and efficiently into schools.

Vigorous Exercise Can Lead to Academic Gains
A group of researchers found that exercise -- when it is vigorous enough -- can help improve students academic performance. While not all kids break a sweat every day, even some activity during the school day can help students focus, one of the authors said.

Hey, Kid, Pass the Lard, Er, Doughnut
As our students become healthierwe so-called adults seem to be getting more and more unhealthy in our eating habits For example, our students are eating fiber, whereas we are limiting ourselves to lard-based or polyurethane products."

Making Inclusion the Norm
Including special education students in "regular" classes and finding ways to meet their -- and all other students' learning needs -- should be the goal of every school, according to professor Dr. Mara Sapon-Shevin.

Teach For America Diaries
Mid-year brings the Teach For America Diarists more insights into their students troubles and dreams and an awareness of how much they can impact the youngsters in their charge.

Why Teachers Unions Are Needed
The growing number of mandates and non-educators enforcing them make teachers unions more critical than ever, according to professor Diane Ravitch. Unions need to ensure that teachers influence on curriculum and practices is not further eroded.

Improving School Environments Through Green Cleaning
As research mounts about the link between indoor air quality and health, and as more children enter school with respiratory problems, schools, districts, and even whole states are switching to more environmentally-friendly cleaning agents.

Enlisting Students to Make the Internet Safer
The potential dangers to young people using the Internet become more real every day -- yet, so do the opportunities for enrichment. iSAFE Inc. aims to help students understand and navigate online hazards, and encourage them to educate their peers as well.

A Look Back at the First Semester
The end of the first semester brought relief, reflection, and anticipation to the three Teach For America Diarists. While knowing they have a long way to go with their classes, they allowed themselves moments of satisfaction and celebrations of early successes.

Its Time to Repair Americas Schools
Stories of vermin, mold, asbestos, and water in classrooms have become all too common in the U.S., according to a report from the American Federation of Teachers. Its time for the nation to commit itself to repairing its aging and deteriorating schools.

Breaking the Homework Habit
The ideas that homework reinforces classroom lessons, helps children develop good work habits, and improves student achievement have no basis in fact, says Alfie Kohn. Homework should be assigned selectively rather than automatically, he says.

Acting Out Could Be Sign of Stress
Children today live with more uncertainty, stress, and trauma than those of a generation ago, leading many to act out in school. Teachers need to differentiate between kids who are disobedient and those who are anxious, says child trauma expert Barbara E. Oehlberg.

Top Administrator Focuses on Standards, Achievement Gap
Under the leadership of Dr. Beverly L. Hall, the Atlanta, Georgia, Public Schools have seen achievement rise as the achievement gap shrinks. For these efforts and others, Dr. Hall earned the award for the nations top urban educator.

Transitions Focus of Inclusion Week
Transitions between grades and schools are difficult for many students, but the challenges increase for students with disabilities or limited English skills. National Inclusive Schools Week this year focuses on supporting special needs students through transitions.

WatchDOGS Unleashed on Schools
WATCH D.O.G.S. is a K12 program that makes it easy for father figures to spend meaningful time in a school setting. The program is overseen by a Top Dog" volunteer dad who partners with the school administrator to identify opportunities for WatchDOGS dads.

A Framework for Raising Well-Balanced Children
Children may be pampered with a plethora of gadgets, but they are not nurtured in a way that helps them develop into responsible and caring citizens, argues Dr. Peter L. Benson. All segments of society must commit to childrens well being, he argues.

Students Make Connections" With Small School
Through Connections Schools emphasis on peace issues and non-violent conflict resolution, teachers not only hope to create a safer school environment, but change agents to send into a troubled Chicago neighborhood and the larger community.

Teach for America Diaries: October Presents New Challenges for New Teachers
Will Hobart forgets about a bad week after connecting with a student, Shani Jackson bids farewell to the rocky month of October and makes some changes to her teaching strategies, and Babak Mostaghimi becomes a daddy, a godfather, a cousin, and a confidant.

A Guidebook for Teens
Doesn't everyone at some point wish for a manual for... life? Nothing could be that comprehensive, but Sean Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens provides practical advice for navigating adolescence.

Channeling Boys' Rage
How can we help defuse angry males?

Why the Achievement Gap Refuses to Close
While more people are talking about the achievement gap among students of different ethnic backgrounds, progress on providing all students with a quality education remains slow, according to the authors of the book Unfinished Business.

NEA Launches NCLB Reform Effort
Many educators have expressed concerns about the requirements and sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the National Education Association has adopted a plan to reform the law, which it wants Congress to hear.

Ending Bullying by Teaching Kids Not To Be Victims
Bullying and teasing are part of life, says psychologist Izzy Kalman, so rather than trying to stamp out bullying, educators and parents need to teach children how to deal with bullying; that is, how not to be victims.

Board Chair Looks to Continue Urban Schools' Gains
Despite underfunding and the challenges of recruiting qualified teachers in key subject areas, urban schools continue to make gains, according to George H. Thompson III, this year's chairman of the Council of the Great City Schools' board of directors.

Teacher Wins $100,000 for Excellence
The Kinders of Texas believe excellent teachers deserve six-figure salaries, the same as other professionals. They decided to award $100,000 to an outstanding educator, kindergarten teacher Linda Alston of the Denver, Colorado, schools.

District Buys House for Homeless Kids
Concerned that students with unstable or no homes often wound up dropping out of school, the Maplewood Richmond Heights (Missouri) School District decided to buy a house and convert it to a group home for homeless teens.

65 Percent Solution: Gimmick or Gold Mine?
Founders of the First Class Education movement want all states to mandate that 65 percent of education dollars go to "in-classroom" expenses. While that may sound great, educators worry that the definition of classroom expenses is too narrow.

Help for Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities
More educators are teaching children with learning disabilities, at the same new regulations and strategies for helping these students are coming out. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has new resources to help all teachers.

Principal Unites School Around Student Strengths
When changes hit Khowhemun Elementary School in British Columbia, staff members and the community initially found it hard to adjust. Charlie Coleman, ASCD's 2005 Outstanding Young Educator, helped give the school focus and unified the staff.

Solid Leadership Key to Good Middle Schools
A multi-year, national study of leadership in middle schools led by professor Jerry Valentine of the University of Missouri-Columbia's Middle Level Leadership Center showed in part that successful schools had good leaders with positive attitudes.

Schools and Online Social Networking
Most educators working with middle and high school students are aware of the explosive involvement of youth on social networking sites. Few are prepared to deal with it. In this article, Nancy Willard discusses the risks and benefits of such sites and offers schools a comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access.

Helping Schools Promote Fitness, Healthful Diets
Spurred by a government report warning about the effects of overeating and inactivity among children, education and health officials formed Action for Healthy Kids, a group that works with schools to promote more healthful lifestyles for youngsters.

Using Student Ears, Eyes to Stop Crime
Building on the success of its community programs, Crime Stoppers USA is encouraging schools to set up Crime Stoppers in Schools programs. These programs allow students to anonymously pass on tips to authorities about potential crimes or threats.

Improv Team Acts to Curb Violent Behavior
Imagine being able to freeze the action in a dispute, step out of the "scene," and get feedback on your next move. The Urban Improv troupe lets students do that, and helps them see the non-violent approaches to resolving conflict.

Guide Offers Practical Character Education Lessons
With more teachers and parents seeing the need for character education, the not-for-profit Heartwood Institute has released a book of lessons for teachers and counselors to teach children ethics, social, and emotional skills.

Helping Boys Learn
Over the past several decades, boys' behavior and performance in school has continued to decline. Researchers like Michael Gurian say these are indications that schools are not structured to accommodate how boys' brains work and how they learn.

How Breakfast Choices Affect Learning
Research shows that children who eat breakfast do better in school. But one study found that eating whole grain foods with higher fiber and protein content, such as oatmeal, could enhance children's learning even more.

Teachers Have It Easy--NOT
Too many people still regard teaching as an easy part-time job at full-time pay. In Teachers Have It Easy, the authors attack those perceptions, by citing the long hours, sacrifices, and low salaries imposed on many teachers.

Ways to Teach Empathy Skills
Everyone has met people who are highly compassionate. But we would meet more of them if children were taught at an early age to be empathetic, according to author/teacher David A. Levine, who has created lessons and activities to teach empathy skills.

Remembering, Supporting, "The Forgotten Middle"
Many of today's students are what educators call "average," not distinguishing themselves academically, yet not doing poorly enough to warrant attention. One educator says these "forgotten middle" students have been ignored too long.

What H.S. Kids Want from Their Principals
High school students can be a tough bunch, but they also like knowing that someone cares for them. In Sent to the Principal, high school students talk about what principals can do to help them become responsible, confident adults.

Supplies In Demand
Step away from the marker...

Play Fair and Win
John Hourihan, a coach and writer, passes on lessons from two decades of coaching youth sports in his book, Play Fair And Win. Many children spend almost as much time with coaches as they do with teachers, and they can complement one another.

Principal Actions Key to Retaining Teachers
Often principals don't realize how much influence they have on teachers' job and career satisfaction. By employing certain p behaviors that convey support and respect, principals can be the difference between keeping and losing a teacher, according to some studies.

A Guide to Doing the Right Thing
How often do we ask ourselves, "What is the right thing to do?" and wonder if we are forcing our sense of what is right on other people. Ethicist Bruce Weinstein offers five principles everyone can use in ethical decision-making.

Help Students Rise Above the Clutter
Many children have trouble keeping track of assignments, but manage until the demands of multiple teachers in middle school overwhelm them. A book explains how teachers and parents can help students better organize their time and responsibilities.

Teacher of the Year Targets Education Inequities
Jason Kamras, the first National Teacher of the Year from Washington, D.C., wants people to know that urban children want to learn - they just need the resources and support.  

New Approach to Teaching Math, Science Spurs Gains
Instructing teachers to use computational math and science in their lessons has led to marked student improvement in two New York districts. Dr. Osman Yasar, director of the institute that trains teachers in this approach, explains why.

Ways to Engage, Nurture Middle Schoolers
Middle schoolers are active, inquisitive, impulsive, and that's what makes them fun, says author/educator Rick Wormeli. Rather than try to change the kids, he suggests ways teachers can structure their teaching to better engage young adolescents.

Teacher Education Programs
Too often new teachers walk into their first classroom assignment full of educational theories but short on practical training, according to consultant Dr. Howard Seeman. Teachers need more hands-on experience in classroom management, he said.

Report: NCLB Revolt Spreading
While it started slowly and quietly, the nationwide revolt against the federal No Child Left Behind continues to grow and intensity, according to a report from NCLBgrassroots.org. The U.S. Department of Education disputes the report's findings. Included: Information about how some states are challenging NCLB.

Creating Harbors of Hope Where All Children Can Learn
Educators and consultants Linda Dier and Wayne Hulley outline a process for creating "harbors of hope:" schools where all children feel safe and know they can succeed.

Creating School-Wide Anti-Bullying Strategies
Approaches to reducing bullying often focus on the conflicts among specific children. But what school counselor Stan Davis advocates and practices is a school-wide anti-bullying approach that encourages and outlines respectful behavior as well as consistent consequences.

Rethinking Reshaping Schools
For too long, devotion to the traditional school schedule and organization has hindered major school reform, according to education consultant Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Outside-of-the box structures can mean more time for innovative learning strategies.

Secretary of Education Staying the Course on NCLB
Test scores are up and the achievement gap is shrinking under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Staying true to the law is the best way to ensure quality education for all students, she told Education World.

Laughter is a Class Act
What do you do if you have 200 buttons made for the opening day of school and they all have the same typo? You turn it into a lesson. Regina Barreca describes how an oops" became an aha moment.

Got Questions? Ask the Homework Lady
The more homework students do, the more they learn, right? For too long, educators and parents have clung to that idea, according to "Homework Lady" Dr. Cathy Vatterott. Fewer, more focused assignments benefit students more, she says.

Strive To Be A Better You"
Pete Hall came to Anderson Elementary School in Reno, Nevada in 2002 as a young principal with a mission: to help children who desperately needed support. In two years, Hall changed Anderson from a failing school to one of the districts top achievers.

No Stopping NCLB
While educators might be reeling from adjustments they've had to make for NCLB, they better get used to it, said Dr. G. Thomas Houlihan, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). He called NCLB, "The tip of the iceberg."

Striving to Make Peer Mediation More Effective
Peer mediation programs have shown themselves to be effective in reducing student conflicts, but now advocates are working to make them more successful and easier to implement.

Using Different Styles to Help Weak Readers
The National Reading Styles Institute (NRSI) trains teachers to help struggling readers by identifying students' learning styles, and then adapting instruction to those styles. The approach works with older as well as younger students, according to NRSI executive director, Dr. Marie Carbo.

Teaching Manners in a Manner-less World
With manners in U.S. society at what some consider an all-time low, author and psychologist Dr. Alex J. Packer has written a humorous etiquette guide for teenagers that offers real-life lessons and explains the value of manners.

Report Calls for Overhaul of Administrators' Programs
A report on graduate education programs says they do a poor job of training school leaders. The system needs overhauling, according to the author, Columbia University's Dr. Arthur Levine. We talked with principals who have some suggestions.

Helping Schools Do What's Best for Special Ed Kids
Peter Wright struggled in his first years of school until his learning disabilities were identified and intensive remediation helped him learn to read and write. Now an attorney, Wright is helping parents and educators understand special education law.

Enforcing Dress Codes a Continuous Challenge
Dress codes are hard to create -- and harder to enforce -- but with enough parent and student involvement at the beginning, and consistent enforcement once they are in place, educators at three schools report that dress codes can work.

Teacher Evaluations as a Reform Tool
Standardizing teacher evaluations in a state can provide consistency and tie evaluations to performance goals, according to a report. Evaluations that define quality and strive to improve student and teacher performance can be strong reform tools.

Forum: Lunch Reforms Needed as Kids' Health Worsens
What children are taught in class about nutritious foods and what appears in school cafeterias often are at odds, according to educators and health. An award-winning filmmaker calls on schools to dump the junk food and make lunch a teaching tool.

"Filmmaker Gives Fast-Food Warning to Kids
When filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to eat nothing but McDonald's for 30 days for his movie Super Size Me, his health deteriorated more than anyone expected. Now he is urging schools to help steer kids away from fast food, through more healthful lunch choices.

Using Data Rooms to Map Your Way to Success
Got data? Most administrators would say of course. The trick is to get it off the shelves and into the open. By setting up data rooms to display, track, and analyze information, administrators can make meaningful, measurable changes in their schools.

Uniting A School Around Improvement
A former U.S. Army officer, Samuel E. Harris set out to change the culture at Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High School when he became principal five years ago. Harris's efforts have helped transform the school.

Getting the Most Out of Homework
When teachers know how homework fits in with their lessons and students understand the purpose of assignments, homework is more productive and helpful for everyone. A consultant talks about how to make homework more meaningful.

Teaching Health With Vigor -- At Age 91
After 35 years in the classroom, health teacher Eleanor Bralver is thinking about retiring -- someday. But at age 91, she is in no rush. Bralver said her goal is to help her students' live the healthiest lives they possibly can.

Creating ELL-Friendly Classrooms
With the increase of non-English speaking students, teachers are searching for strategies to help those students learn and feel part of the class. Teachers Kathleen Fay and Suzanne Whaley outline ways to help ELL students develop their literacy skills.

Mixing It Up to Make New Friends
During the third Mix It Up at Lunch Day sponsored by Tolerance.org, students across the U.S. were urged to have lunch with students outside their immediate circle of friends. The event is designed to break down social boundaries at schools.

How Understanding Poverty Can Help Low-Income Children Learn
Teachers often come from vastly different social and economic classes than their students, which can lead to culture clashes in the classroom. A new book by Dr. Ruby K. Payne helps educators understand low-income students, and discusses ways to improve their learning.

Welcome to Bennet Middle School
Bennet, the Manchester, Connecticut, middle school that does "whatever it takes," readies for another school year of finding ways to help a diverse group of students succeed.

Message to D.C.: Educators Need Money, Support, Respect
Educators often wish they could tell national leaders what schools need. Last night, they got their chance, as small groups around the U.S. brainstormed ways to get education in the national spotlight and make schools' needs known.

Helping Urban Students Succeed
Judy Farmer, the new chairwoman of the board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, thinks urban schools are doing a lot right, and more joint efforts by educators and communities can lead to greater gains.

Who Are We Proud to Be? Amistad Academy
Using chants, rewards, consequences, and lots of hard work, staff members at Amistad Academy charter school in New Haven, Connecticut, are helping urban students set and meet goals.

Reform from the Ground Up: Looking at School Design
Too often, when people talk about school reform, they never look at how the facilities themselves affect education. Paying more attention to school design can enhance learning, according to researcher Michael DeArmond.

Mobilize for Education September 22
A coalition of organizations, calling itself the National Mobilization for Great Public Schools, is asking people to meet at house parties September 22 to discuss education concerns and possible solutions.

Reaching Out to Illiterate Teens
After third grade, reading is less of a subject and more of a tool, as students begin reading for content. But many students enter middle and high school without basic reading skills, dooming their academic careers.

Tracing the Start of the Laptop Revolution in Schools
In 1990, fifth graders at a private school in Australia were introduced to laptops, and their learning was never the same. Author Bob Johnstone talks about the first laptop school, the response it received, and integrating laptop learning.

Different Strokes for Little Folks: Carol Ann Tomlinson on "Differentiated Instruction"
Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson understands the challenge of providing appropriate learning experiences for all students. Once a classroom teacher who had to simultaneously meet the needs of kids struggling to read at grade level and those who were ready for Harvard, she turned to differentiated instruction.

Learning With Laptops: An Urban School Shows Gains
Not everyone thinks of Internet research as a third-grade skill. But it is at East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut. Third and fourth graders are assigned laptops, and not only have test scores increased, but student motivation as well.

Seeking Help in the Accountability Era
Long known for its role in preparing students to take college entrance exams, Kaplan, Inc. now is spending more time helping school districts with curriculum and professional development. Kaplan's Seppy Basili talks about the company's role in those areas.

NCLB Rebellion Growing
Growing resistance to the No Child Left Behind Act has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Department of Education. But while some state officials push for implementation changes, advocates say adhering to NCLB is critical to closing the achievement gap.

Strike up the Band, Exit Stage Right!
In the Internet, TV, video game-age, kids draping a sheet in a garage to "stage" a "play" seems quaint. But author and performer Deborah Dunleavy wants children to create their own dramas and music, and has written guidebooks both kids and teachers can use.

Teacher of the Year Aims to Celebrate Teachers, Teaching
National Teacher of the Year Kathy Mellor, an English as a second language teacher in Rhode Island, is eager to spend her term celebrating teachers and teaching and encouraging school-community partnerships to improve education.

Paige Applauds School's Commitment to High Expectations
Secretary of Education Rod Paige praised efforts and accomplishments of teachers and students at Amistad Academy, a charter school in New Haven, Connecticut. Paige said the school exemplifies a key idea of the No Child Left Behind Act: every child can learn.

Focus, Higher Standards Can Bring Urban School Gains
As chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, Carlos A. Garcia says part of his job is telling people what urban educators are doing right. Recent academic gains in some cities are reason for optimism.

A Day With Experience Corps Volunteers
They worked all over New York City, almost all of them in fields other than education. Now they are a team, helping first and second graders at P.S. 154 in Harlem learn to read. Included: Descriptions of an Experience Corps program.

A "Nuts and Bolts" Approach to Classroom Successes
A former teacher, Dr. Jane Bluestein turned her pages of tips for teachers about classroom management and organization into a book and then a business. She works with educators seeking new ways to improve their teaching and interactions.

No More Lost Lunch Money
Probably every day in every classroom, a teacher hears, "I lost/forgot/spent my lunch money," sparking phone calls home, IOUs, or snack food searches. Pre-paid lunch programs can end the problems of missing money and save parent and teacher time.

Outstanding Young Educator Connects Learning With Life
"Jennifer Morrison is known for using her classroom as a living laboratory for best practices and for sharing research-based knowledge with her colleagues," said ASCD executive director Gene R. Carter. "She is the embodiment of what we envisioned when the Outstanding Young Educator Award was implemented."

Walking School Bus Paves Way to Healthier Kids
A new program eases traffic congestion around schools while putting more exercise into students' days. Perhaps your school should be the next stop for the "walking school bus," a program in which groups of children are led to and from school by adult volunteers.

Would You Switch Schools for More Money?
Staff turnover and inexperienced teachers increasingly are seen as hindrances to improvement in poor, low-achieving schools. Some see extra money as the best way to attract and keep good teachers in these schools.

Service Learning Thrives Despite Less Funding, Time
Even though demands on school time and funds continue to increase, service-learning programs remain popular, according to research. Principals praised their positive influence on student learning and school climate.

Starting School Reform from the Inside
Teachers and principals know their schools best, which is why they need to take the lead in school reform, says author Roland S. Barth. Only when everyone in a school commits to life-long learning will education change.

Making Peer Mediation a Part of Campus Life
Teen skirmishes over rumors, perceived put-downs, and he-said-she-said arguments might seem inconsequential to adults, but to kids they can be major distractions. Mediation by peers can clear up misunderstandings quickly and improve school climate.

Make Way for the New Report Cards
As districts revise curriculum and try to better measure how much of that curriculum students master and how well, new versions of report cards are inevitable. Education professor Dr. Thomas R. Guskey talks about some trends.

Author Says Technology Brings False Promises to Schools
When it comes to technology, too often educators think the more the better, the sooner the better, according to author Todd Oppenheimer. He argues that the current emphasis on technology use in schools drains resources from other subjects and prevents students from developing critical and creative thinking skills.

NMSA's Vision of Middle School Excellence
Late last year, the National Middle School Association released 14 recommendations for dramatically improving middle schools. NMSA president Linda Robinson has been hard at work spreading the word and her passion for the suggestions.

Author Does His Homework on Hot Topic
Everyone knows that doing homework is a must for a good education, right? Not necessarily, according to author John Buell. Revamping how much and what type of homework is assigned can create more opportunities for learning.

Restorative Practices Build Community, Responsibility
Although student misbehavior impacts many people at school, often only the student is involved in the discipline process. The restorative practices approach stresses correcting the harm rather than punishing the deed, and advocates including the affected parties in the process.

Students Map Neighborhoods With GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mapping and analysis software employed by the U.S. government, NASA, and other agencies, now is helping students locate and document hazards in their communities.

Gifted Education as a Whole School Model
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, advocates for lessons that challenge all levels of learners, including gifted students.

Home Visits Forge School, Family Links
Getting to better know students and their families can make parents powerful advocates in their children's education. Home visits can give teachers the insight they need to help all students succeed.

SteveSongs Transforms Kids Into Songwriters While Reinforcing Classroom Skills
Setting Christopher Columbus's journey, the virtues of kindness, and even the long "e" sound to music are part of a day's work for Steve Roslonek. The musician conducts workshops that use songwriting to reinforce skills and concepts taught in other classes.

Saying 'No' to Title I: Why Three Districts Did It
Nobody turns down federal grants -- or do they? Call it Yankee independence, but three Connecticut superintendents, new this year to the Title I list, decided the costs and mandates associated with accepting the money outweighed the benefits.

Firing Up Teacher-Student Communication
What do high school students really want from their teachers? According to the 40 students who expressed their views in Fires in the Bathroom: Advice to Teachers from High School Students, they want respect, honesty, and an understanding of them as individuals. Included: Students' tips for classroom teachers.

Uniting Against Cheating
When students began to complain about the level of cheating at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, principal John J. Brady knew it was time to face the issue directly. Faculty, students, and parents now are working to end cheating.

Signaling an End to Classroom Chatter
Some teachers are finding that mini traffic lights are as effective at regulating student conversation levels as the real signals are at controlling traffic flow. Devices such as the teacher-created Yacker Tracker tell students when to put the brakes on their chatter.

Singing for Societal Change... Again
Disrespect has become rampant in U.S. society, according to singer, songwriter, and activist Peter Yarrow of the trio Peter, Paul & Mary. Yarrow's curriculum, Don't Laugh at Me, teaches children to respect themselves and others.

"Not Much, Just Chillin'," a Window on Middle School Life
Washington Post education writer Linda Perlstein spent a year following five Maryland middle school students, and then wrote "Not Much, Just Chillin'" a rare insight into the lives of young adolescents.

Learning to Tap Away Stress, Anger
In Dr. Lynne Namka's book, Good Bye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings, Namka describes how teachers and parents can use tapping and reflection to help children release unhappy feelings.

Evaluating In-School Suspension Programs
Monitoring in-school suspension programs can make them more effective, or even unnecessary, if school climate changes occur, according to education analyst Anne Wheelock. Schools need to monitor who is suspended and by whom.

In-School Suspension: A Learning Tool
While educators agree that keeping suspended students in school is better than having them home unsupervised, schools need more than a room and a teacher for in-school suspension to change behavior. Included: Administrators share effective programs.

PTA President Seeks Larger, More Diverse Membership
Attracting and keeping involved parents, and reaching out to underrepresented parent populations, are among the priorities for Linda Hodge, the National PTA's new president. Hodge brings experience from the local and national level.

Rallying Cry from a "Champion for Children"
Emmy-winning TV producer/reporter Thomas Baldrick left his job to focus on efforts benefiting children. The author of two books that focus on kids and how adults relate to them, he visits schools and presents workshops for students, teachers, and parents.

Responsive Classroom Practices in Action
Once Responsive Classroom basics are in place, students take on more freedom and responsibility, and teachers can step back a little from a traditional role. Education World looks at how Responsive Classroom practices play out in schools and classrooms.

Responsive Classroom Practices Teach the Whole Child
By intertwining social and academic learning, advocates of the Responsive Classroom system say, children become more independent learners and more considerate people. Both students and teachers benefit.

Lead and Learn: Lessons from the Teacher of the Year
Teachers need to be educational leaders and life-long learners in order to serve as role models for the their students, National Teacher of the Year Dr. Betsy Rogers told Simsbury, Connecticut, teachers as they began the 2003-2004 school year.

Pay for Performance: What Are the Issues?
Merit pay, performance pay, knowledge-and-skill-based pay -- are making news as alternatives or supplements to the traditional teacher step system. But what do they mean for teachers?

Pay for Performance: What Went Wrong in Cincinnati?
Years of planning, discussions, and negotiations yielded a new, complex teacher evaluation/compensation system in Cincinnati. Education World examines Cincinnatis proposed alternative teacher pay plan and the reasons behind its rejection by the union.

Pay for Performance: It Can Work -- Heres How
While performance pay philosophies and plans abound, working systems are harder to find. Education World examines systems in two Colorado districts: Denver and Douglas County.

Pay for Performance: More States Brave Teacher-Pay Debate
Now that some U.S. states and school districts have stepped away from the 80-plus-year-old teacher compensation system, others are devising plans of their own.

No Child Left Behind Picks Up Steam
Under Secretary of Education Dr. Eugene W. Hickok responds to questions about new regulations related to the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those regulations deal with such issues as accountability, adequate yearly progress, teacher quality, school choice, and more.

25 Ways to Motivate Teachers
What special things do principals do to inspire teachers to keep on learning and improving? What do they do to make their schools fun places to work? Included: Principals share more than two dozen practical ideas for motivating teachers!

Voice of Experience: In Search of National Board Certification -- One Teachers Perspective
Considering a bid for National Board Certification? Educator Max Fischer shares his experience. It was the most challenging -- and rewarding -- teaching exercise of his career. Included: Fischers tips.

Department of Defense Schools: Their Secret Weapons for Success
One of the most successful school systems in the U.S. is not in an exclusive suburb in a wealthy state. Instead, it is scattered across the country and the world on U.S. military bases. Strategic planning, a conviction that all children can learn, and community support are among the reasons for the systems success.

Magnet School Draws Praise in First Year
In November, Education World visited the new University of Hartford Magnet School in West Hartford, Connecticut, a multiple intelligences school, as staff and students were adjusting to new schedules, assignments, and expectations. Education World returned as the school year ended. We found people just as upbeat as they were in the fall and eager to share stories about students' being more engaged in learning.

A Call for Better Middle School Transitions
The move from elementary to middle school, often at grade six, can be stressful and jarring for some youngsters. The National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Middle School Association recently issued a position paper calling on teachers, parents, counselors, and administrators to make the change a smooth one.

High Expectations Yield High Achievement
High-end research in such areas as physics, electronics, and biotechnology is a way of life at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Representing a collaboration of the school district, the state, and the business community, the magnet school is designed to prepare students to function in a technological world.

Paige, Kennedy on No Child Left Behind Act
Both U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy agree on the need for education reform, but they differ on whether funding is sufficient.

Reform Means More Than Just Small
Research has shown that smaller schools are more effective at meeting students' needs, but just breaking up a school into smaller parts does not necessarily change the climate, according to Indiana University researcher Thomas Gregory.

Colleges Go to High Schools
Several Ohio high schools are collaborating with area universities to offer college courses at high school campuses. The effort is designed to reduce the "senior slump," expose students to college work, and help them earn credits and save money. The courses also help teachers at the high schools develop new skills and see the value of setting high expectations.

Kids Give Plum Burgers a Thumbs Up
Plum burgers. Sweet potato pancakes. Turkey and plum hot dogs. Those are just some of the foods the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been testing in school lunches to see whether kids like the taste. The results have been encouraging -- which could mean both a way of using surplus foods and more-healthful school lunches for kids.

California Colleges, High Schools Collaborate
In an effort to reduce the number of students who come to campus needing remedial help in reading, writing, and mathematics skills, the California State University system is pairing with some high schools in the state. CSU faculty members work with high school teachers to ensure that students get the material they need to prepare for college.

Grants Help Baltimore Schools Aim High
Determined to expand reform efforts from elementary schools to middle and high schools, Baltimore City School District officials worked on a plan and then looked for support. Their efforts attracted $20 million in contributions from local and national organizations to reorganize the city's high school system.

Kids in After-School Programs Make Academic Gains
After only two years of funding after-school programs, mostly for elementary and middle school students, California has seen improvement in attendance and behavior at school and in the academic skills of children in the programs. Stressing academics and enrichment, the programs provide students with homework help, structured recreation, and a chance to explore different subjects.

Georgia Weighs Teacher Incentives
The Georgia General Assembly is debating two bills that would give 10-percent annual bonuses to teachers who earn national certification or to experienced educators who transfer or remain in low-performing schools. Legislators hope the measures will improve teacher quality not just in disadvantaged schools but also throughout the state.

No Child Left Behind: What It Means to You
President Bush's education plan, No Child Left Behind, sets new federal guidelines for teacher and school accountability and low-performing schools. It also pumps money into reading programs. How will those plans play out in classrooms? Education World talks with the heads of some education organizations to find out.

Vermont Teachers Return to Math Class
Determined to raise the mathematics skills of elementary school students, Vermont state education officials launched the Vermont Mathematics Initiative three years ago. Elementary teachers learn algebra, geometry, problem solving, and calculus so they can better understand and explain math to their students.

Putting Scholarship at Varsity Level
Hoping to establish the same recognition for academics that athletics receives, former high school history teacher Will Fitzhugh founded The Concord Review, a quarterly journal of outstanding high school history essays. Showing students examples of good writing and research is a way of getting them to aim higher, he says.

Wire Side Chat: Comedy in the Classroom: Just What the Doctor Ordered?
Emily Oldak, author of Comedy for Real Life, said "stumbling" into comedy led her to a career of teaching others to lighten up! In this Education World e-interview, Oldak explains the role of comedy in teaching and how it can ease the tensions of children in an unsettled world.

The World According to College Students
In the 25 years he has spent teaching history to college students, Anders Henriksson has read some "mind-numbing" essays on history exams. He recently compiled the most-absurd test responses into a book, Non Campus Mentis: World History to College Students. The result, Henriksson says, is "scary and amusing at the same time."

Microphone-Toting Teachers Grab Students' Attention
Teachers at two elementary schools in Baltimore County, Maryland, find that students jump to attention when the teachers use sound systems in their classrooms. The microphones boost their voices over background noises and help prevent "teacher-voice" strain.

When It Comes to Volatile Kids, Pick Your Battles
Dr. Ross W. Greene, a psychologist who works with easily frustrated children and their parents and the author of The Explosive Child, recently spoke at the Maryland School Psychologists Association annual conference. Greene advises parents and teachers that identifying the causes of a child's frustration and working with the youngster to develop coping skills can lead to fewer explosions and more compliance.

Defusing Explosive Children
Children who react to transitions and frustration with by screaming, becoming defiant, or even hitting others can try the patience of both parents and teachers -- and throw a class into turmoil. According to psychologist Ross W. Greene, the key to working with such children is helping them stay in control to keep outbursts from occurring.

Half-Grade Program Helps Students 'Excel'
Faced with a mandate to end social promotion, school officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, realized that they needed to help motivated students in key grades avoid retention. The result was Excel, a program that allows third, fifth, and eighth graders who might otherwise be retained to advance half a grade instead. As "half-graders," the students get the additional support they need to catch up with their classmates.

Teach for America Aims to Level Educational Playing Field
Nicole Baker is vice president of new site development and research and evaluation for Teach for America, an organization that recruits recent college graduates who majored in any field to commit to teach for two years in an urban or a rural school system. Baker taught fifth grade through Teach for America in Compton, California. She holds a doctorate in education from UCLA and joined the staff of Teach for America after serving as a research specialist for the Council of Great City Schools.

Autoimmune Diseases Hit Teachers Hard
Results from a recent study show that among teachers, the mortality rate from autoimmune diseases is twice that for people working in other professional occupations. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks its own internal organs. The new study suggests that some people may be predisposed to such diseases and that factors in the environment or exposure to infections trigger their onset.

Civility Policies Surfacing in Schools
Hoping to create more relaxed conversations among teachers, parents, and students, school districts in Mercer Island, Washington, and Issaquah, Washington, recently adopted guidelines for civil communication. They are designed to help people make their positions known courteously.

School Resource Officers Seeing Results
A survey of almost 700 school resource officers includes sobering statistics about the high number of crimes and assaults prevented by school-based police officers. A high school principal who lived through a school shooting told Education World that such officers not only help students feel safe but also give them someone in whom to confide.

Youth Frontiers: Changing the Way Young People Treat One Another!
Youth Frontiers President Joe Cavanaugh brings the virtues of kindness, courage, and respect to schools in day-long retreats in which "MTV meets Aristotle!" Education World writer Leslie Bulion speaks with Cavanaugh about his brand of character education for public schools.

How Do You Spell 'Stress Relief'?
With teachers under pressure to do more in the classroom all the time, stress can be inevitable. But stress can take a toll on a teacher's health and effectiveness as an educator. Several people who have conducted stress-reduction workshops recently shared their advice with Education World.

Recess: Necessity or Nicety?
The pressure for schools to improve student test scores is so intense that some are abandoning the childhood treasure of "recess" in lieu of more on-task time. Education World asked educators about recess practices at their schools and the importance of free time for kids to be kids. What might their responses tell you about the importance of recess at your school? Included: Tips for a safe and productive recess period.

No Time for Reading -- A Lesson Learned at Gunpoint! An Education World Editorial
Education World editor Linda Starr reacts to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, which found that 68 percent of U.S. fourth graders fail to achieve minimum grade level proficiency in reading.

Sick Schools Create Dilemma for School Districts
In the fifth and final part of the special report Sick Schools: A National Problem, Education World news editor Diane Weaver Dunne examines the dilemma sick schools create for school officials. The issues include disclosure, liability, identification, and funding remedies.

Causes and Effects of Sick Schools Vary
In the fourth part of the special report Sick Schools: A National Problem, Education World news editor Diane Weaver Dunne examines the varied causes and effects of environmental problems in our nation's schools. Research has found links between learning and environmental contaminants. Are school environments resulting in increased numbers of children with learning disabilities and ADHD? Can sick schools affect student concentration? Can school overcrowding exacerbate problems?

Schools + Landfills Might Add Up to Health Problems
In the third part of the special report Sick Schools: A National Problem, Education World news editor Diane Weaver Dunne examines health concerns raised by residents in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island about schools located on or near hazardous waste sites or landfills.

Environmental Injustice: Poor and Minorities Suffer Most from Sick Schools
In the second part of the special report Sick Schools: A National Problem, Education World news editor Diane Weaver Dunne examines how poor and minority school populations are exposed to more environmental hazards and therefore suffer a disproportionate amount of adverse health effects.

Environmental Problems Blamed for Making Kids Sick?
In the first part of the special report Sick Schools: A National Problem, Education World news editor Diane Weaver Dunne describes how environmental conditions in school may make students sick, yet no federal laws protect students from exposure to contaminants that pose potential health risks.

Old School Buildings: Prehistoric or Worth Preserving?
A recent report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) makes a case for renovating old school buildings instead of razing them. Although demolition might be the wisest choice in some instances, the NTHP offers resources for helping school boards decide whether to raze or renovate. Education World writer Ryan Francis recently spoke with members of three communities that have faced that dilemma.

Kids and Violent Play: An Education World
e-Interview With Jane Katch, Author of a Book About Children's Violent Play

In an e-interview with Education World, Jane Katch, author of Under Dead Man's Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children's Violent Play, reflects on her students' violent fantasy play and sometimes real violence. She talks about her students' favorite games, such as suicide, and how parents and schools can work together to limit exposure to media that portray violence

Strategies to Stem School Violence
National school crisis expert Scott Poland discusses the multiple causes and similarities of school violence, and he offers specific strategies that may help prevent more school violence. A member of the National Emergency Assistance Team that responds to school shootings across the nation, Poland is presently on location in Santee, California, the location of one of the most recent school shootings. From there, Poland offers Education World readers his unique insight about the causes of and solutions to school violence and threats of violence.

North Carolina Grows Its Own Teachers
The Edmonds Scholar program at North Carolina Central University provides 25 education majors a year with full scholarships. In turn, they agree to teach at least four years in a high-need district in the state.

Early Childhood Teachers: Do Qualifications Matter?
What kind of teacher qualifications result in good outcomes for very young children? Georgia's longitudinal study of its pre-kindergarten program points toward some answers.

Paige Testifies to Senate on Bush Education Plan
If you doubt that the present approach is broken and needs fixing, just consider that nearly 70 percent of inner-city fourth-graders are unable to read at even a basic level on national reading tests," Secretary of Education Roderick R. Paige told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Wednesday morning, February 15.

The Riley Years: Highlights of the Secretary of Education's Tenure
Richard W. Riley will leave a record of helping make education the nation's top priority when he steps down as the nation's top educator this weekend. For nearly 30 years, Riley has focused on improving education, first in South Carolina and, for the past eight years, throughout the nation. Included: Clinton, Kennedy, and Jeffords comment on Riley's tenure.

When Size Matters: Making Big Schools Feel Small
(An Education World E-interview With Paul S. George)

Educators have seen the fallout from big and anonymous schools -- kids don't flourish in those environments. Paul S. George, coauthor of Making Big Schools Feel Small: Multiage Grouping, Looping and Schools-Within-a-School, comments that schools need to do what it takes to foster long-term relationships between students and teachers.

Congress Approves Largest Education Budget in History!
Congress dug deep into the nation's pockets last week and gave the Department of Education an 18-percent raise. Highlights of the spending package include the first-ever allocation for emergency school renovations and substantial increases in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding for special education, Pell Grants for low-income college students, and after-school programs. Included: Highlights of the Education Budget.

Gay-Straight Alliances: Ground Zero for School Tolerance
No other extracurricular activity has sparked the controversy and legal challenge the formation of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs has. What upsets communities so? Why are students, their supporters, and those who oppose them willing to take this issue to court? Education World writer Leslie Bulion examines the issues with club advisers, opponents, and experts. Included: Tips for promoting tolerance in schools.

Teacher Earns Top Marks in Sexiest Bachelor Contest
High school teacher Thomas G. Gill of Virginia Beach beat 50 other single men to win the Fox Network's Sexiest Bachelor in America contest last week. In an interview with Education World, Gill talks about how his students and colleagues responded to his title, plus his priorities and other interests.

Information Sharing to Make Colorado Schools Safer
In 1994, an amended federal law opened the door for Colorado to enact a law this year to allow school and criminal justice officials to share information about violent and disruptive students. The new law is intended to help prevent future school violence. Will more states follow Colorado and the other states that have enacted this law?

Don't Get Even; Get Help!: Support for Victims of Bullies
Education World continues its week-long exploration of bullying with a story about students in one Canadian school who decided to do something about bullying in their school. They created www.bullying.org, a Web site designed to help victims of bullies deal with the problem in nonviolent ways -- and to help victims and others learn how to solve the problem.

Bullying Intervention Strategies That Work
"Bullying," according to noted expert Dan Olweus, "poisons the educational environment and affects the learning of every child." Learn what you can do to keep bullying behavior from poisoning your school. Included: Practical tips for changing the behavior of bullies and their victims.

Sticks and Stones and Names Can Hurt You: De-Myth-tifying the Classroom Bully!
Bullies are raised in the home, but their victims are too frequently created in the classroom. Learn how what you believe about bullies can hurt your students! Included: Ten myths about bullies, and the research that helped identify those myths!

Large Schools Should Take Lessons from Small Schools
According to the National Education Goals Panel, smaller schools have fewer discipline problems, and large schools can learn a few lessons from those schools. Included: The U.S. Department of Education hosts a satellite workshop on applying for Smaller Learning Communities grants on June 8 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

NEA Calls for Modernizing Nation's Schools
A National Education Association report calls for $322 billion to modernize the nation's schools. A bipartisan bill proposes loaning $24.8 billion in interest-free bonds for states and school systems to repair and renovate deteriorating and overcrowded schools.

Philadelphia School Board to Require Uniforms
Philadelphia public school students will be required to wear uniforms in September. Will the new rule improve student behavior? Will it result in more serious students and higher test scores? What do Philly's parents and school administrators think? What does the ACLU say about the new requirements?

New Standards Should Help Children in Noisy Classrooms
For more than two decades, research has established a link between noise and poor academic progress. New standards for classroom acoustics will be the first step in the effort to change all that. Taking control of noise in the classroom and in other places in the community is part of International Noise Awareness Day -- April 12, 2000.

What Can We Do to Curb Student Cheating?
A 1998 national survey found that four out of five top students admitted cheating at some point. In another nationwide study, nine out of ten high school teachers acknowledged cheating is a problem in their school. Is cheating a problem in your school? Has the Internet added some new dimensions to the problem? This week, Education World explores the problem of cheating. Included: Ways in which teachers combat cheating!

From the Principal Files: The School of My Dreams!
This month, Education World challenged our Principal Files principals to dream. "Imagine your dream school!" we told them. Dreams are relative things, one principal told us in response. And that is reflected in the dreams of 20 P-Files principals from around the world. Join Education World's P-Files principals as they share their visions of what a dream school might include. Most of their ideas are quite simple, practical, doable. So why are so many schools so far from their principals' dreams?

Detroit School Repair Program: A Model for Others
A marathon ten-week effort this summer resulted in some major improvements to Detroit's public schools. But the effort could not have succeeded without the cooperation and involvement of the city's business community. Organizations from Northwest Airlines to the Detroit Pistons provided personnel to see the program through in this renovation blitz that could serve as a model for other cities and towns large and small.

School Building Boom: BUILD Before the Schools Go BOOM!
A 1996 study clearly draws a correlation between the condition of school buildings and the student learning that goes on in those buildings. Recognizing the sorry state of many of America's schools ---along with a growing student population and the need to make room for new technology--- many cities and towns are taking long-overdue action. This week, experts Paul Abramson and Joe Agron share with Education World readers their observations and predictions about the current building boom in America's schools. Included: On-line resources to help educators make a case for school construction or renovation.

School Uniforms: Panacea or Band-Aid?
Does requiring students to wear uniforms directly affect school environment and student achievement, or is it the equivalent of painting the walls of a crumbling building -- merely cosmetic? What does the research say? What do students, teachers, and parents say?

Is Character Education the Answer?
As incidents of in-school violence become more common, and strict disciplinary techniques and increased security measures fail to control the problem, many parents, educators, politicians, and social leaders are looking for reliable methods of prevention. Is character education the answer?

Hard Hat Area: The Deteriorating State of School Buildings
The spending bill passed last month by Congress didn't include the monies President Clinton had asked for to address the crumbling state of America's school infrastructure. Education World examines the problem, offers resources for school administrators, and shares news of what some communities are doing to put their schools on "firm foundations."

Fighting for Better Indoor Air Quality in Schools
Is the air in your school building healthful to breathe -- or is it making people sick? If your school suffers from "sick" air, you can take action.

Turning Around Troubled Schools
Yes, it is possible to turn around consistently low-performing schools. That's the message of a recent Department of Education report. Read of some schools that turned around performance. Learn how they did it!

Can Uniforms Save Our Schools?
The New York City School Board recently voted to require students in all city elementary schools to wear school uniforms beginning in September 1999. The unanimous ruling, which is expected to affect more than a half-million students in the nation's largest school system, is the most recent development in a trend that is rapidly spreading across the country.

Programs Combat A Community Problem-Chronically Truant Students
What is the connecting link between restricted driving privileges, enforced community service, and reduced welfare payments? These strategies are components of truancy-prevention programs in effect throughout the United States.

Can Schools Stop Promoting Failure?
The "social promotion" pendulum swings back and forth. Educators in Chicago, DC, and North Carolina are setting new standards for student promotion and retention. And a new report from the American Federation of Teachers -- "Passing on Failure: District Promotion Policies and Practices" -- examines the issue.

1998 Education Appropriations Signed Into Law
The 1998 appropriations bill provides "what is plainly the best year for American education in more than a generation," says President Clinton.

School Bus Discipline: Solving the Problem
Is school bus discipline a problem in your school? Two school bus discipline policies available on the Web might serve as effective models.

Bully-Proof Your School
Recognized as more than just a problem between kids, schools are called upon to put forth a team effort to end bullies' longtime reign of terror.