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August 2007
NECC Conference<br />
NECC Conference

Remaking a Winner

On May 18, 2007, Patricia Kavanagh got a well-deserved makeover. An English teacher at Marshall Fundamental Secondary School, in Pasadena, California, Kavanagh was the 2006 winner of the $25,000 EXPO Classroom Makeover. She was selected from more than 10,000 entrants.

The makeover, sponsored by Scholastic and EXPO, is unique in that it is student driven. Students nominate classrooms and teachers, as well as provide pictures and 100-word essays suggesting why their nominees deserve the makeover. In addition, the contest fosters an appreciation of the power of color in the classroom. This was taken into consideration when the makeover was designed.

But it was interactivity that registered as most important with teachers, and so EXPO included the Mimio—“an interactive whiteboard system that is changing the way teachers teach and students learn.” The Mimio can work with either Mac or PC, and allows the instructor to create a successful technological setup within the classroom. The Mimio comprises a full line of products with the intention of developing technology as a supplement to education. Also, the classroom was stocked with the EXPO products that have become most familiar: dry-erase boards, markers, and so on.

The EXPO Classroom Makeover 2008 contest will also be focused on creating a stronger learning environment. Semifinalists come out with a $5,000 makeover. Head over to for information. Submissions will be collected through October 15, 2007.

Visions of the Future

One morning this past June, the Scholastic Auditorium at New York headquarters was full of people hoping for a glimpse into the future. It was the company’s annual National Advisory Board (NAB) meeting.

Moderated by Ernie Fleishman, senior vice president, Education and Corporate Relations, the panel focused on the company’s role in the future of education.

Dr. Pedro Noguera, professor of Teaching & Learning at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, centered his comments around the central conceit of a “minority majority,” noting that public schools are unprepared for the booming levels of student diversity. He suggested, therefore, it was Scholastic’s job “to weigh in on the public debates and be a voice of reason protecting our children.”

Dr. Willard Daggett, president of the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), provided an alarming insight by noting that the language-arts standards being taught are lower than the standards found in entry-level jobs. This discrepancy is due to the simplicity of the texts presented to students versus the complexity of the occupational manuals presented to workers. In addition, Dr. Daggett addressed the technology that governs daily life.

Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams, chief scientist, Soliloquy Learning, Inc., and senior literacy advisor for PBS, discussed the importance of relevancy in the way children approach literature.Literature must be accessible to them in both subject matter and presentation.

Dr. Alfred Tatum, assistant professor, Literacy Education, at the Northern Illinois University College of Education, took up the same cry by saying, “It’s not just about students’ literacy, it’s about students’ lives.”

Alberto Carvalho, associate superintendent, Miami-Dade County (FL) Public Schools, is rooted more in educational policy than in theory. Carvalho suggested that it’s “not a skill set problem, it’s a will set problem. We know what has to be done and need commitment at the federal, state, and local levels to move forward.”

CIO Honor Awarded

At SchoolNet, Inc.’s fourth annual EduStat Summit, Teachers College Columbia University and the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) awarded Derek Roh, director of IT Services for Baldwin County Public Schools, in Loxley, Alabama, the David T. Kearns Public School CIO of the Year Award.

This prestigious award was created in 2005 to recognize public school chief information officers who are making significant contributions to academic achievement and administrative process.

The award is named in honor of David T. Kearns, former CEO and chairman of Xerox, who served as deputy secretary of education from 1991 to 1993. As founder and board chairman of New American Schools, Kearns has vigorously pursued his mission to help save public education and provide an equal education to every American.

“The David T. Kearns Public School CIO of the Year Award was launched two years ago as an opportunity to celebrate the best of the best, as well as to raise awareness about how technology is improving school district performance,” said Jonathan D. Harber, president and CEO of SchoolNet. He adds, “Derek Roh is an inspirational example of a shining star committed to raising the education bar to exceed expectations, and not merely meet them.”

The judging panel included Stacey Childress, lecturer, Harvard Business School; Geoffrey H. Fletcher, editorial director of T.H.E. Journal; Amy S. Perry-DelCorvo, strategic initiatives director, Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES; Marianne Pack, CTAP 6 director, California Technology Assistance Project; Susan Patrick, president and CEO, North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL); and Bill Rust, research director, Gartner, Inc.

The judges chose three finalists that systemically used IT to accomplish the core missions of the school district; used IT to positively impact students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the community; and demonstrated exceptional leadership beyond their school districts. @

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