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Administrator Magazine
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Leadership Profile: Dr. Timothy Mitchell

Superintendent, Chamberlain, South Dakota School District 7–1

Salary: $83,000

Age: 49

Career Path: Mitchell came to Chamberlain in 1995 as a middle school principal. Just a year later, at age 35 and with no administrative certificate, he was leading the district. He was the youngest superintendent in the state at the time, but now he's a 15-year veteran (with his certification), whose wife teaches in the district and whose youngest daughter is a junior at the high school.

District Challenges: The district serves the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation. One in five students are in special ed, and one out of two are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. All of these subgroups bring challenges, but officials were caught off guard when NCLB test results initially found the district had two of the state's lowest-performing schools.

District Results: Last year, all of Chamberlain's schools made AYP in all subgroups for the first time. "I'm very proud to be the spokesman for people who did a lot of work to make it happen," Mitchell says.

Changing the Culture, Part 1: Mitchell admits his attempt at a top-down philosophy didn't work when he started. "I developed goals and non-negotiable things and shoved [them] down everybody's throat. It didn't work worth a hoot."

Changing the Culture, Part 2: On his second attempt, Mitchell created a coalition of teachers, and asked them how schools could improve. Using some of the same ideas, the teachers took the lead and got results. "It took a lot of years to change the culture," he adds. "I don't beat a dead horse, but sometimes I say, School improvement one retirement at a time."

Meeting with Duncan: In mid-November, Mitchell and eight fellow rural superintendents met with lawmakers, DOE officials, and DOE Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss the stimulus, school improvement strategies, and No Child reauthorization. Rural superintendents made several points, including that the DOE should replicate successful practices of rural schools rather than forcing them to comply with federal laws they feel were written for urban districts.

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    Watts Library™—Indians of the Americas

    Watts Library™—Indians of the Americas


    •     Maps, charts, and graphs created expressly for Watts Library
    •     Sidebars highlighting fast facts, quick biographies, and other extracted information
    •     Timeline (in all social studies titles)
    •     Glossary
    •     "To Find Out More" (books, organizations, websites, films/videos, audio)
    •     "A Note on Sources" (a note from the author describing his or her research materials and processes)
    •     Index


      11/1/05 Library Media Connection
      Presenting a particular Native American culture in each book, this series is both a good introduction to and a nice beginning research series for upper elementary and middle grade students learning about these people groups. Titles reviewed cover the Apache, Maya, and Wampanoag. Each volume covers the history of the group and their present lives in well-done text and nicely chosen illustrations. The Apache and Maya books include a creation story from the culture and give the likely details of their arrival in the Americas. All the volumes cover the life of the group, including such items as family life, leadership structure, and more. The arrival of European explorers and American settlers is discussed, with the problems they brought given with some sympathy toward the native cultures. Side notes, set apart by font and graphics, give further details on the idea being covered. The end material is helpful and includes a timeline, glossary, index, and places to find out more information. A table of contents and notes on the author's sources are also in the volume. As some of the volumes' information is based on archeological evidence, a good project for students might be to check the biological sources for the latest word from the field. The entire series is well worth checking out.


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    Grades 5-7 $160.65
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    American Indian Foods

    American Indian Foods

    by Jay Miller

    Another great title from Scholastic. Detailed description coming soon.

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