Five Big Deals
Curriculum and administration changes you should know about
1. The National Academy Foundation announced a national initiative to create 13 new academies of engineering, part of a planned national network of 110 academies by 2010. The academies are being funded by a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Motorola Foundation, Verizon, and Xerox are providing additional support of $1 million each. The pilot sites will be located at schools in California, Georgia, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
2. San Diego Unified School District announced that it purchased Carnegie Learning’s Cognitive Tutor Bridge to Algebra program at a cost of $177,000. It is part of the district’s plan to improve adequate yearly progress performance in 11 middle and junior high schools. Carnegie Learning’s program includes textbooks, ongoing professional development, classroom instruction, and software that adapts to each student’s skill level.
3. Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools awarded a five-year contract to Library Video Company to equip its 135 schools with LVC’s Safari Montage WAN (wide-area network) Manager, a video-on-demand and digital media management system. Baltimore County Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools are already using the system, which gives these districts the ability to supply digital video to classrooms, despite the low-bandwidth limitations in a number of their schools.
4. The Blount County (TN) Board of Education purchased 3,000 software licenses in a deal to use the graphics software SmartDraw. Principals will use SmartDraw to create emergency evacuation plans, fire safety diagrams, and more. Students in the county’s Career Tech School will be using the program for home design and landscaping projects.
5. The Idaho State Department of Education has re-upped its agreement for a fourth year with PLATO Learning, a maker of e-learning software. The Idaho PLATO Learning Network reaches K–12 schools, correctional facilities, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and teacher preparation programs.