Connections: An Invisible Object
DVD. 50 min. Discovery Education. 2008. ISBN 1-60288-678-5. $59.95.
Gr 9 Up—History isn't a simple chronological account in this fascinating program, part of the popular Connections TV series aired on BBC and PBS, hosted by James Burke, science historian, author, and TV producer. Titles in the series trace paths of invention and discovery through their interrelationships in history. Viewers follow a serpentine thread from the space shuttle to agricultural fungus, the Pony Express, Joan of Arc, refrigeration, and beyond, connected by the concept of invisible inventions. Burke explores events with enthusiastic panache, winding forward and backward in time. Visiting international locations and reenacting scenes such as the revelers in Vau de Vire, France, where boisterous drinking songs gave rise to the term vaudeville, viewers are swept along the conceptual path. Difficult for conventional history exploration, the program takes a periodic breather to review what has been linked together in Burke's mercurial romp, and then it's off to the next set of connections. This title is suitable as a refreshing change from the usual historical or scientific fare, inspiring creative thinking and a sense of wonder.—Robin Levin, Fort Washakie School/Community Library, WY
Connections: In Touch
DVD. 50 min. Discovery Education. 2008. ISBN 1-60288-384-X. $59.95.
Gr 9 Up—This exploration of connections between such far reaching accomplishments as the Statue of Liberty and the establishment of the state of Israel, the Eiffel tower and modern oceanography, and Ben Franklin's ambassadorship to France and shipping channels demonstrates how seemingly unconnected events are actually interrelated. The events, discoveries, and developments discussed are as varied as the human imagination. The connections are presented through reenactments of historic events and explanations by the narrator and writer, James Burke. The program offers a virtual tour of the world, modern and historic, with views of ancient ruins, rustic third world communities, and contemporary cities. Titles in the series originally aired on the BBC and PBS. Since the events, discoveries, and developments covered occurred over many centuries, the relevance to a specific unit of high school history curriculum is questionable. However, this thought-provoking film would be valuable in an enrichment program.—Ann Weber, Bellarmine College Prep., San Jose, CA
Industry Trade Reviews
Silver Spring, Md. (Nov. 10, 2008) - Discovery Education has been honored with a 2008 Award of Excellence from Tech & Learning magazine for Discovery Education Assessment. Discovery Education Assessment employs a model of academic monitoring that quickly and accurately tracks student progress toward meeting state standards for reading/language arts, math and science. The service's research-based benchmarks and reports enable educators to revise instruction, enhance learning and improve test scores.
"We work very hard to provide educators and students with innovative and effective assessment tools that can help them improve academic achievement," said Hardin Daniel, Vice President of Educational Assessment for Discovery Education. "And we are honored to have been recognized for our efforts by Tech & Learning."
Research shows that more than 90 percent of schools using Discovery Education Assessment maintain or improve Adequate Yearly Progress status. Recently, educators in the School District of Palm Beach County's Polo Park Middle School found improvement in student achievement in science with Discovery Education Assessment.
In the 2007-2008 school year, Polo Park Middle School educators used Discovery Education Assessment's science benchmark tests twice to measure eighth graders' academic progress toward meeting Florida state science standards. Following each benchmark test, Polo Park Middle School educators reviewed the test data and adjusted their classroom activities to address areas and concepts students' test scores showed needed improvement.
This summer, school administrators discovered that their eighth grade students had registered a 14-point gain on the science portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). According to Principal William Latson, Polo Park's students achieved the highest gains in science scores of all the eighth graders in the county for the 2007-2008 school year.
The prestigious Awards of Excellence program highlights innovative software and Web products that break new ground in some important way and demonstrate clear superiority over similar products in the market. This year's winners were chosen by a panel of more than 30 educator-judges who test-drove more than 100 entries.
For more information about the Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence program, visit www.techlearning.com. For more information on Discovery Education, visit www.discoveryeducation.com or call 800-323-9084.
DVD. 27 min. Discovery Education. ISBN 1-60288-391-2. $49.95.
K-Gr 2—Colorful animated characters with curious minds introduce five concepts related to energy and forces: static electricity, friction, buoyancy, inertia, and sound. Clear and concise information is supplemented with entertaining examples. The storylines includes familiar activities, such as sledding and floating. The DVD is divided into segments by topic that can be accessed individually from the menu. Cause and effect relationships connect each activity to the topic. A song at the end of each segment reviews the concepts presented. A useful introduction to a science lesson.—Ann Elders, Mark Twain Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
(Series). 6 DVDs. 1 hr. ea. Discovery Education. 2008. $69.95 ser. Includes: Ordinary Supermen (ISBN 1-60288-521-4); Friends and Rivals (ISBN 1-60288-522-2); Landing the Eagle (ISBN 1-60288-523-0); The Explorers (ISBN 1-60288-524-9); The Shuttle (ISBN 1-60288-525-7); Home in Space (ISBN 1-60288-526-5).
Gr 6 Up—This informative and compelling series, produced to celebrate NASA's 50th anniversary, documents the history of the space agency, the development of aerospace technology, the cultural climate of the space race, and the modern scientific discoveries that have originated from space flight. The saga of the United States' space exploration is captured with dramatic pacing and nail-biting tension through both triumphs and tragedies. Historical footage provides a record of these achievements, including the selection of the first seven astronauts in 1959, Neil Armstrong's first space docking, the Mercury mission which sent the first American astronauts into space, the 1967 Apollo 1 disaster, the Apollo 13 and 16 lunar landing missions, and the work on the International Space Station, among other milestones. Interviews with astronauts and mission control workers provide an invaluable perspective into the history of space exploration. Narration by award-winning actor Gary Sinise bridges the contemporary interviews and historical footage. This series presents a fascinating chronicle of American space exploration and will enhance the study and discussion of these topics in middle and high school classrooms.—Ryan Henry, Daviess County Public Library, Owensboro, KY
Company: Discovery Education, One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD, 20910. Phone: (800) 323-9084. Internet: www.discoveryeducation.com.
Price: $1,695—Annual school subscription with 24/7 online access for a school’s educators and students. A 30-day free trial is available.
Audience: Grades K–5.
Format: Internet-based: video, audio, text.
Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a web browser and internet access.
PC users must have a media player to play the videos. Windows Media Player and QuickTime are available for download on the Discovery Education site. The Windows Media plug-in must be installed in the browser. Download instructions are included for Macintosh users.
Description: Discovery Education Science for Elementary provides an online standards-based curriculum in earth, life, and physical science through virtual labs, simulations, and reading passages using an inquiry-based framework.
Ease of Use A
Product Support A
Reviewer Comments A
Installation: No installation is required for this online program. A login is needed for access. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Discovery Education Science for Elementary is an extension of the Discovery Education Science for Middle School program. The material covers earth science (earth features, earth history, weather/climate, earth’s natural resources, the earth/sun/moon system, and space/the solar system); life science (plants, animals, cells, human body, living things, organisms/environment, and ecosystems); and physical science (matter, changing matter, energy, sound/heat/light, electricity/magnetism, and forces/motion).
The program offers appropriate resources to guide student learning through four online areas: Learn, Explore, Demonstrate, and Extend.
The Learn section provides reading passages and ebooks, as well as inquiry-based introductions with video segments. Audio support enables students to listen to the text as it is read.
The Explore section includes virtual labs and inquiry-based explorations of topics within a unit. The Demonstrate portion assesses student understanding through selected response questions or a teacher-generated question sheet. The Extend section enables students to access middle school resources and explore interrelated topics.
An interactive glossary provides explanations of scientific terms using animation, videos, and images. The glossary is excellent. The videos and images used to explain the scientific terms are creative and informative.
The Teacher Center offers a variety of tools including Assignment Builder (used to build and store assignments); Assessment Manager (used to build formative assessments and view results); and Classroom Manager (used to build and manage the classroom).
I really liked the customization features of this site. The My Content feature, accessible from anywhere on the site, allows teachers to collect, organize, share, and retrieve favorite resources. Using the Assignment Builder, teachers can build online activities and web-based projects that are stored on the Discovery Education servers and accessed through the Science Connection Student Center.
Step-by-step directions are included to guide teachers as they create inquiry-based lessons. Assessment is an essential part of the process; teachers can generate their own assessment questions.
The Process Skills Library and Featured Series Library provide resources and video clips.
Professional development offerings are provided in the form of 5-minute science content preparations, a Trainer’s Toolkit for enhancing staff development workshops, Tech Talk for initiating Discovery Education Science for Elementary at a school, best practices for inquiry-based instruction using short video segments, and interactive training with self-paced lessons.
The professional development resources would be very useful in training school staff and helping them use the program to its fullest extent. The self-paced lessons will help school staff quickly understand the program and find ways to make it fit student needs.
Classroom Applications: Discovery Education Science for Elementary offers a variety of options for use in the classroom. The content can be used for whole group instruction to reinforce curriculum. ESL (English as a second language) students would benefit from the audio support provided with the printed text. A classroom center could be set up for individual or small groups to view the video segments and then share their findings with the class. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: The program is intuitive and easy to use. Color-coding and simple formatting make it simple for the user to move from one feature to the other. Menu bars at the top of each screen provide quick access to content. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: A Help feature provides extensive support on getting started, troubleshooting, technical documentation, Teacher Center tools, and customization.
Users can request support through toll-free telephone assistance or by using an online email form. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: Discovery Education Science for Elementary offers the busy classroom teacher a fast and efficient way to provide students with access to reliable, easy-to-understand information on science concepts. The program provides suitable materials and resources to teach, review, and reinforce science learning. The resources are based on science standards and meet the needs of students with multiple learning styles.
The program offers students an engaging mix of practical demonstrations and explorations. The reading passages are leveled and will support literacy instruction across the curriculum. The Virtual Labs give students the opportunity to practice science "just like" real scientists. Math skills are reinforced as students make hypotheses, change variables, interpret data, and draw conclusions supported by the data.
Discovery Education Science for Elementary is an excellent way to engage elementary students in scientific inquiry. I highly recommend this program as a means of improving student achievement in the sciences. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Sally Finley, Educational Consultant, Coral Springs, Fla.
A new partnership will be announced today with Discovery Education to enhance student achievement in math, reading and science in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Discovery Education will provide CMS educators with professional development opportunities and high-quality digital resources to improve student achievement in all grades. Correlated with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, Discovery Education's digital content is scientifically proven to improve student achievement.
Contacts: Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education; Kathleen Johansen, CMS
Query most secondary school teachers on the subject of cell phones, and you're likely to get an impassioned rant about the device's insidious ability to provoke distraction in the classroom. All that giggly sub rosa texting not only robs students of attentiveness, they say, but also presents an inveterate disciplinary problem. It's why most school districts have strict cell phone policies, and most teachers are grateful for it.
But some forward-looking educators have begun to push the subversive idea that the high tech wizardry of mobile phones can be a powerful multipurpose mechanism for learning. Podcasts, video interviews, polling, quizzes, even homework assignments, can all be accomplished via cell phone to enhance students' learning experience, while the phone can also act as a versatile electronic aid to the teacher.
"Kids mostly see their cell phones as a social toy, not as a learning instrument," says Liz Kolb, adjunct professor at Madonna University, in Lavonia, Michigan, and author of Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education. "But if you can get them thinking of cells as an anytime, anywhere, Swiss Army knife-type data-collection tool, it can open up a whole new world. If their phones work so well for them outside the classroom, we need to get them thinking about bringing these tech tools inside and putting them to good use."
Kolb cites the example of a student studying ecosystems in science class. When he goes on spring break, his teacher can instruct him to take pictures with his cell phone camera of the various insects he encounters and upload them to an Internet site such as Flickr. When he comes back to class, everyone can share his pictures and discuss his findings.
Moreover, by downloading data to schools' Web sites, kids don't even have to bring their cells to class. The phone can accomplish much of what a computer can do, even while it stays at home. "In schools, we're saying no to cell phones when instead we should be telling students that this thing they use to text their friends could actually become something that's helpful in the twenty-first-century job force," says Kolb. "Instead of banning their use, let's put structures around them and create learning activities with them."
This could prove a hard sell to teachers who see cells only as a bane to good order. "Unless they see the instructional potential, teachers feel the same way about cells as they did about television way back when -- that it's just a distraction," says Hall Davidson, a director of the Discovery Educator Network , an online learning community dedicated to digital media. "But there's a shift going on, and once teachers realize the immediate impact of texting, plus all the other things you can do with a cell phone, more schools will come around and see that this is a really good, really serious tool."
After all, adds Davidson, just about every kid you know has one, and it doesn't make sense to squander their potential by prohibiting them in school. "About the only organizations that have a ban on cell phones anymore are the Taliban and your local high school," he says. "Anything that plays media can be used instructionally, so we shouldn't deprive our students of their own personal messengers, photo storage units, video studios, and radio stations right in their pockets."
Consumer Trade Reviews
Eighth-graders at Tortolita Middle School were treated to a pizza party along with a hands-on animal presentation by Comcast, Discovery Education and the Science Channel.
Last Thursday, animal handler Kimberly Wright brought in several animals — a hedgehog, gray fox, snapping turtle, porcupine, hairy armadillo, kinkajoo and an alligator.
The students were treated to the presentation and pizza party after they won first place in the “Science Matters!” contest.
Last year, students wrote a song and music explaining why science is important and why it matters to them. Tortolia Middle School was one of five first-place winners in the nationwide competition.
For years, educational accountability has been associated with student achievement—and with the teachers who prepare those students. But as the No Child Left Behind act has singled out more and more schools for corrective action, attention has begun to move from teacher effectiveness in the classroom to the work being done in the principal’s office. A new assessment for principals developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania has the potential to clarify what is meant by educational leadership and how it can be measured.
Discovery Education and Vanderbilt University are partnering to launch the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED), which is being exclusively distributed by Discovery Education.
“VAL-ED builds a picture of principal effectiveness by providing a detailed assessment of a principal’s perceived performance,” Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, said. "This assessment empowers administrators to effectively evaluate staff, diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and recommend pertinent professional development.”
VAL-ED was developed by Peabody faculty Joseph Murphy, Ellen Goldring and Stephen Elliott, and by Andrew Porter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, to provide detailed, evidence-based assessment of principals’ performance. It is aligned with the national leadership standards set by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium, which Murphy helped to formulate.
The design, testing and dissemination of the instrument have been supported with a $1.5 million grant from the Wallace Foundation of New York. VAL-ED has been field tested in 100 elementary schools, 100 middle schools and 100 high schools in 53 districts and 27 states.
The assessment measures principal performance in six core components related to student achievement, for example, setting high standards for student learning, creating a culture of learning and professionalism, and offering quality instruction.
There are already numerous measures available for evaluating principals’ performance, and VAL-ED’s authors reviewed 79 of these in the early stages of the assessment’s development.
One result is that the researchers have taken pains to incorporate psychometric properties in the measurement tool, and they have worked with principals to obtain their feedback. As part of the development process, they conducted cognitive interviews, where principals were asked to talk out loud about their thought processes as they completed the evaluation. In a nine-school pilot test conducted in 2007, the instrument was found to be highly reliable.
“VAL-ED is a clear improvement over previous evaluation instruments,” Discovery Education Assessment Director William Dycus explained. “Many school districts have created various instruments to measure the performance of principals, but few have been as meticulously researched and rigorously tested. By providing accurate and reliable data, VAL-ED aids administrators in making decisions that impact student achievement.”
The measurement’s developers acknowledge that VAL-ED still has its limitations. For example, it only measures perceptions of a principal’s performance. They urge that supervisors also consider factors such as actual student-learning gains or graduation rates in their evaluations of principals.
“VAL-ED is notable in that it gives 360-degree feedback. It can be used annually to facilitate a data-based performance evaluation, or it can be used more frequently to measure performance growth or provide principals ongoing feedback throughout the school year,” said Joseph Murphy.
The instrument takes about 20-25 minutes to complete in either online or pencil and paper formats. To provide the 360-degree perspective on performance, teachers, the principal and the principal’s supervisor complete the evaluation. The assessment instrument is composed of 72 questions, in which each respondent is asked to evaluate the principal’s performance on 72 behaviors. Respondents rate performance on a scale from 1 for “ineffective” to 5 for “outstandingly effective” after considering data on which the evaluation is based, such as school documents or personal evaluation.
The instrument then reports results in two ways. First, it shows how the principal compares with a nationwide peer-group. Second, it portrays a principal’s performance as basic, proficient or distinguished, as determined by experts. The developers envision that districts using the measure will determine how much weight to give the instrument, or the scores of certain types of raters, as well as whether to emphasize performance against peers or performance against a standard.
How VAL-ED works
VAL-ED measures principals' performance at the intersection of six core components and six key processes. Each core component refers to school characteristics that support teaching and student learning.
Key processes refer to the specifics of how leaders create core components. The six key processes are planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, communicating and monitoring.
Respondents are asked to give effectiveness ratings to questions measuring 72 leadership behaviors. For each question, they are also asked to indicate the sources of evidence used in determining their rating.
Results are reported as summary profiles of the six core component scores compared to normative profiles of principals across the country as well as proficiency standards (basic, proficient, or distinguished).
School officials in Blount County’s three systems are pleased to have made the grade on this year’s state Report Card. They realize, however, there is still need for improvement.
The state Report Card — which was released Monday — contains Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data, academic achievement grades, value added academic growth rates and attendance, promotion, dropout and graduation rates.
The state’s AYP reports were released in August.
This year’s graduation rates are from the 2007-2008 school year when Tennessee’s statewide graduation rate was 82.2 percent.
According to state Report Card data, Blount County Schools’ graduation rate has seen an improvement for the third straight year. The school system’s current graduation rate stands at 82.3 percent, which is still beneath the state’s goal of 90 percent.
Schools and school districts, however, can still be in “good standing” with the state if they meet or exceed an additional AYP indicator that determines whether they’re on track to meet a 90 percent graduation rate by the 2013-2014 school year.
Blount County’s two high schools met their graduation rate improvement tracks this year. William Blount High School’s graduation rate for the 2007-2008 school year was 88.6 percent, which exceeded the school’s 82.6 percent improvement track target.
Heritage High School’s graduation rate for the 2007-2008 school year was 81.2 percent, which exceeded its 80.9 percent improvement track target. “They’ve crossed one hurdle toward making AYP next year. They still need to meet their academic standards in math and reading. They’re taking a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Jane Morton, Blount County’s supervisor of 6-12 instruction.
If Heritage High School meets these academic standards, it will be able to move out of the “School Improvement 2” designation and into “School Improvement 1- Improving.”‘
’“We’re very happy and pleased with both schools, and their work to meet the ‘07-’08 (school year) grad rates. We’ve worked closely to support their efforts,” Morton said.
The state’s academic achievement grades are based on 2007-2008 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test results for grades three though eight and Gateway/end-of-course exams in algebra I, biology I, English I and II, physical science, math foundations and U.S. history.
Blount County Schools received an A in math, reading and fifth- and eighth-grade writing. The school system received a B in social studies, science and 11th grade writing.
“Our teachers are doing a wonderful job of individualizing instruction and also differentiating instruction for different learning styles,” Morton said.
Blount County Schools saw a decrease in their value added assessments, which measure student progress within a grade and subject. The school system — which received all As last year — received Bs in value added math, social studies and science assessments and an A in reading.
Morton attributed this decrease to the score’s rolling three-year average. “You’re losing a year of academic gains. So two years ago will always be a factor. We’ve been looking at our current value added scores to identify groups (of students) who need more instruction,” she said.Maryville rate improves Maryville City Schools’ graduation rate also improved for the third straight year.
The school system’s current graduation rate stands at 93.2 percent. Maryville Director of Schools Stephanie Thompson said she thinks the school system’s “attendance and graduation rates are a direct result of the relationship between faculty and staff members with (the system’s) students and their parents.”
The school system received all As in math, reading, social studies, science and writing assessments. “They’re a reflection of the focus that the school system has — and teachers do an outstanding job of concentrating on curriculum and instruction,” Thompson said.
Maryville received a B in math and As in reading, social studies and science for its value added assessments. Maryville school officials are currently working vigorously to bring up the B in math for next year’s Report Card.
“It’s technically above average, but it’s not what we want,” noted Dr. Mike Winstead, Maryville assistant director of schools. “We’re doing everything to make sure last year was an anomaly and not a trend.
“After receiving the Report Card, we’ve spent most of our time trying to pinpoint who’s not making the grades.
The system’s Discovery Education Assessment testing for grades 1 through 9 will be a good way to test student’s benchmark to see who requires supplemental education, Thompson said.Alcoa rate steady Alcoa City Schools’ graduation rate remained at 90.5 percent. “We’re pretty pleased with nine out of 10 (students graduating),” said John Campbell, Alcoa’s director of administrative services, who then explained the system’s plans to further aid its students. Alcoa has hired graduation coaches, implemented credit recovery courses and the high school’s ninth grade academy, he said.
Alcoa’s schools received all As in math, reading, social studies, science and writing assessments. The school system also received all As in these four subject areas for its value added assessment.
Alcoa school officials have been pleased with their scores. “Overall, we’re pretty happy with the results. There’s some areas we’d want to fix, but by the end of the game our kids are doing pretty well we think,” Campbell said. “We’ve not made massive leaps, but the subgroups we wanted to target are doing better. We’ve done better particularly with special needs students.”
Campbell praised the work of Alcoa’s faculty members. “Our teachers have a lot of autonomy — it’s really been a real team effort,” he said.
Fourth-graders at Alexander Elementary School are learning to be wise, wealthy and healthy this school year because of a pilot program launched by a teacher.
Seventeen-year teaching veteran Gwen Green initiated the program Wise, Wealthy and Healthy to make sure her students understood not only what they were learning, but why they are learning as well.
"I wanted students to connect the dots," Green said. "What they're learning in the classroom will prepare them for the future."
The mission statement for Wise, Wealthy and Healthy is to equip students with the knowledge of how making wise choices in behavior, bodies and mind will relate to their future (wealth).
"Our students come from varied backgrounds, and I want them to know that they can control their behavior no matter where you come from," Green said.
The program is incorporated into students' reading and math lessons.
"I work with them on how to read and analyze their standardized tests, so they know the areas they need to work on," Green said. "We use ThinkLink, which is a computerized assessment program. The program lets us know where we need to step up our lessons."
Alexander is also a Take 10 school, which is a classroom-based physical activity program for kindergarten to fifth-grade students.
In Green's classroom, her students do jumping jacks and lunges while reciting their multiplication tables.
To promote healthy eating choices, Green had her students visit the Web site www.MyPyramid.gov to learn the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.
"At the beginning of the year, I weighed the students and took their height," Green said. "With the increased activity, some of the students have lost a few pounds."
Green's students usually begin the morning with a 10-minute walk around the building.
"We check our heartbeat and then we cool down," Green said.
Ten-year-old Lukas Sherrod is one of Green's students.
"I think Take 10 helps kids stay fit," he said.
Johntazzie Montague, 9, said his favorite part of the day is taking a walk.
Another one of Green's students, Alexandra Anderson, 9, likes the program as well.
"I think it's great," Anderson said. "We get to do exercises to help with our future, help our hearts and stay in shape."
Anderson said doing multiplication tables while exercising helps her remember them better.
Green said she hopes to see Wise, Wealthy and Healthy become a school-wide program.
CHATSWORTH, Calif., Nov 07, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- FETC 2009, one of the largest conferences in the nation devoted entirely to educational technology, opens at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, FL, on January 21, 2009. The conference, which runs through January 24, provides K-12 educators and administrators an unparalleled opportunity to explore technologies across the curriculum, while increasing their familiarity with the latest hardware, software and successful strategies on technology use.
Registration has been brisk thanks to the robust conference programming and scope of the exhibit hall. Known as one of the most comprehensive and progressive ed-tech conferences in the country, this year's conference will present more than 200 concurrent sessions and 70-plus ticketed workshops focusing on hot-topic areas such as: digital content, future and emerging technologies, teaching and learning, administration and accountability.
Dynamic speakers, exhibitors and events round out the programming, beginning with the Opening Keynote on January 22. Philippe Cousteau, Chief Ocean Correspondent for Animal Planet, will address the importance of reaching beyond classroom walls in the pursuit of educational excellence. Cousteau, president of EarthEcho International and grandson of the legendary Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, produces several projects, including radio adventures for Public Radio International's "Living on Earth."
The Exhibit Hall at FETC, a dedicated educators' marketplace, enables attendees to see and purchase the latest innovations in classroom technology from 500 companies, including education and technology powerhouses Discovery Education, Pearson, Promethean and SMART. This hands-on, interactive environment is a key component of the FETC experience, allowing attendees access to the cutting-edge software and hardware that is shaping and reshaping today's educational landscape.
For more information on FETC 2009, including a detailed list of sessions, exhibitors, ticketed workshops and registration information, visit http://www.fetc.org/.
FETC, a division of the 1105 Media Education Group, is owned by 1105 Media, Inc., a leading provider of integrated information and media in targeted business-to-business markets.
About 1105 Media Education Group
The 1105 Education Group includes T.H.E. Journal, Campus Technology and Education Channel Partner publications and their respective online offerings; EducationPlaza, a state-specific marketplace for products and services; EduHound, an online resource for teachers and classrooms; and live events for the K-12 and higher education markets, including FETC, the annual Campus Technology conference, and the Congress on the Future of Content.
HUME – The Shiloh Board of Education approved a resolution Monday night announcing the district’s intent to sell $1 million in working cash bonds.
“We don’t have to issue them,” said district superintendent Gary Lewis. “This is to get the ball rolling.”
Lewis added that he checked with David W. Pistorius of First Midstate Investment Bankers earlier Monday and despite the recent turmoil on Wall Street, the bank is still selling bonds at 5 3/4 percent interest.
“After approving the resolution of intent, we have a three-year period to decide when to issue the bonds, in case we want to wait and watch the market,” said Lewis.
He stressed an option also exists to not issue bonds even after the resolution of intent is passed. The district incurs no expense until such time as the bonds are sold.
Working cash bonds represent a revenue source when the normal income steams are inadequate to address needs. For the last several years, Shiloh’s expenses have outpaced income because the declining Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of farm ground has generated substantially fewer local tax dollars.
When Pistorius made his presentation to the board in August, he emphasized receipts from the sale of working cash bonds does not represent found money for a rainy day.
According to Pistorius, Internal Revenue Service regulations require that a condition of the bond sale define how the money will be used. He additionally cautioned against the temptation of getting the money and parking it in an investment to earn interest as that practice violates IRS rules against arbitrage.
The motion to pass a resolution of intent to sell working cash bonds passed on a five to one vote.
Board member Paul Freebairn opposed the measure. Those voting yes were Kim Brown, Samantha Hutchinson, Mike Means, Debby Young and Dana Hales. Board member Tony Kile was absent.
Shiloh has already identified one major need for using working cash bonds. The district has set a goal of not only keeping pace with technology but also being ahead of the curve in how other schools use technology. The district’s technology program has lagged recently as local revenue sources dwindled.
An influx of working cash would permit a major purchase of both equipment and software to get the district back on track.
Lewis briefly discussed the advantage computer learning brings to the classroom during a report on the elementary school’s participation in Think-Link – an online testing service that immediately identifies areas where students are weak.
“The kids like it because it’s on the computer,” said Lewis. “I swear they are more interested. The technology is not only turning the students on to learning, but it is revitalizing the teachers, too.”