Montana launches web site for school parents

Montana parents befuddled by federal No Child Left Behind reforms or struggling with complicated immunization laws and graduation requirements have a new online resource.

The state Office of Public Instruction launched a web site Oct. 4 aimed at helping Montana parents more easily hunt down information on K-12 public school issues, such as enrollment and testing standards.

The new site (http://www.opi.state.mt.us/ parents) includes a directory of all public schools in Montana, resources on reading assistance and special-needs programs, school health and safety standards, and a how-to guide on enrolling children in public schools.

It also contains a section on homework and links to career and college resources in Montana and across the country.

“For Montana’s children to be successful students, a strong school and family partnership is essential,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Linda McCulloch said. “The purpose of this web site is to be responsive to the issues that are important to parents and their students.”

Although officially launched Oct. 4, Montana PTA members have been surfing the site and providing feedback since their annual convention in mid-September, McCulloch said.

Among the most used features are sections explaining new statewide tests and the impact of federal education reforms on Montana schools, she said.

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N.C. university system starts pilot file-sharing program

Four schools in the University of North Carolina system will participate in a pilot program that allows students to download music, movies, and other copyrighted material on the internet for free.

Four providers–iTunes, Ruckus, Cdigix, and Rhapsody–are participating in the test, spearheaded by UNC system administrators who for years have been searching for a solution to illegal file-sharing on campus.

Universities are responsible for monitoring any computers hooked into their networks and are expected to remove copyrighted files that are shared illegally.

Students probably will have to pay a fee for the program once the testing phase ends, said Tom Warner, director of coordinated technology for the UNC system. Similar services nationwide charge students $2 to $5 a month, officials said.

The cost of the pilot program will be covered by a major music label, which Warner declined to name. He also would not specify the cost.

The pilot schools are North Carolina A&T State and Western Carolina universities, UNC Wilmington, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. If the pilot proves successful, the entire UNC system eventually would be included.

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partners index

AAL Solutions Inc., of Ontario, offers a district-wide student information web solution called eSIS for real-time information access from a centralized location. Visit AAL’s web site:
http://www.aalsolutions.com
(800) 668-8486
See the ad for AAL Solutions on page 12

ACS Information Delivery Solutions, of Macon, Ga., is a provider of information delivery systems for K-12 schools. The centralized system provides fast access to information and learning resources to users regardless of location or workstation. Visit the ACS web site:
http://www.acs.cc
(478) 477-2278
See the ad for ACS on page 16

America Online, based in Dulles, Va., offers schools a safe and easy internet content program at no cost. Visit the AOL@School web site:
http://www.aolschool.com
(888) 648-4023
See the ad for AOL@School on page 26

Atomic Learning Inc., of Little Falls, Minn., offers a series of tutorials designed to help students and teachers use educational software more effectively. Visit the Atomic Learning web site:
http://www.atomiclearning.com/freetrial
(866) 259-6890
See the Atomic Learning ad on page 8

Autodesk Inc., headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., is one of the world’s leading digital design and content companies. Visit the Autodesk web site:
http://www.autodesk.com/ada
(415) 507-4936
See the Autodesk ad on page 10

CaseNEX LLC, headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., is a provider of products and services to teachers and public school administrators using the web. Visit the CaseNEX web site:
http://www.casenex.com
(434) 817-0726
See the CaseNEX ad on page 13

Century Consultants Ltd., of Lakewood, N.J., has been helping school districts manage information in innovative ways since 1977. Visit the Century Consultants web site:
http://www.centuryltd.com
(800) 852-2566
See the ad for Century Consultants on page 18

Cisco Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., is committed to helping schools take advantage of internet-based learning by providing eLearning initiatives and other programs. Visit the Cisco Systems web site:
http://www.cisco.com/directline5
(800) 553-6387
See Cisco’s ad on page 2

Comcast Corp., headquartered in Philadelphia, is principally involved in the development, management, and operation of broadband cable networks and in the provision of programming content. The largest cable company in the United States, Comcast serves more than 21 million subscribers. Visit the Comcast web site:
http://www.comcastcommercial.com/education
(800) COMCAST
See the Comcast ad on page 27

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), of Washington, D.C., is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the use of information technologies and the internet in K-12 education to improve teaching and learning. Visit CoSN’s web site:
http://www.cosn.org
(888) 604-5209
See CoSN’s ad on page 22

Global Internet Management, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., offers InfoServe, a suite of smart content and knowledge collaboration tools that enables schools to empower their existing web sites into dynamic, content-managed sites. Visit Global Internet Management’s web site:
http://www.gim.net
(800) 538-3539
See the Global Internet Management ad on page 20

Harcourt Assessment Inc., based in San Antonio, is a leading provider of high-quality assessment instruments and testing programs. Its educational products include the Stanford Achievement Test series and the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. Visit the Harcourt Assessment web site: http://harcourtassessment.com (800) 211-8378 See the Harcourt Assessment ad on page 31

Hewlett-Packard Co. North America includes the company’s K-12 education division (part of the Enterprise Systems Group), which offers a host of technology products, services, and solutions to help transform schools into 21st-century learning environments. Visit HP’s K-12 Solutions web site:
http://www.hp.com/buy/esn2
(800) 88-TEACH
See the HP ad on the back cover

Holt, Rinehart and Winston (HRW), of Austin, Texas, is a recognized leader in secondary educational publishing.
Visit the HRW web site:
http://www.hrw.com
(800) 225-5425
See the ad for HRW on page 15

Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, Calif., is the world’s premier chip maker. Visit Intel’s web site:
http://www.intel.com/education/realknowledge
(800) 628-8686
See Intel’s ad on page 5

International Business Machines (IBM) Corp., headquartered in Armonk, N.Y., provides powerful tools that help enrich educational programs. Visit the IBM web site:
http://www.ibm.com/easyaccess/k12/g240
(866) 426-1740
See IBM’s ad on page 11

Kurzweil Educational Systems Inc., of Bedford, Mass., is recognized as a leading developer of reading technology for people with learning difficulties and those who are blind or visually impaired. Visit Kurzweil’s web site:
http://www.kurzweiledu.com/myself
(800) 894-5374
See Kurzweil’s ad on page 14

LaserFiche Document Imaging, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., strives to deliver smart, flexible, and easily integrated document management solutions for a broad range of business and government needs.
Visit the LaserFiche web site:
http://www.laserfiche.com/schoolrecords
(562) 988-1688
See the LaserFiche ad on page 19

LeapFrog SchoolHouse, of Emeryville, Calif., publishes award-winning preK-8 curriculum and assessment content specifically designed for the classroom. Visit the LeapFrog SchoolHouse web site:
http://www.leapfrogschoolhouse.com
(800) 883-7430
See the ad for LeapFrog SchoolHouse on page 7

MiLAN Technology, of Sunnyvale, Calif., is a leading provider of physical-layer networking products and a pioneer in the field of media conversion.
Visit MiLAN’s web site:
http://www.milan.com
(800) 466-4526
See the ad for MiLAN Technology on page 21

Renaissance Learning Inc., of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., combines learning information systems software, research, and professional development resources to help educators dramatically accelerate learning for all students.
Visit Renaissance Learning’s web site: http://www.renlearn.com
(800) 338-4204
See the Renaissance Learning ad on page 23

SBC Communications Inc., of San Antonio, is a leading telecommunications company providing a wide range of products and services for K-20 education. Visit the SBC web site:
http://www.sbc.com
(800) 499-7928
See the ad for SBC on page 9

SMART Technologies Inc., of Calgary, is a market leader in developing products for shared spaces, including the SMART Board, an electronic interactive whiteboard. Visit the SMART Technologies web site:
http://www.smarttech.com/esn
(888) 42-SMART
See the SMART Technologies ad on page 25

Sprint Corp., headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., is a global communications company that serves 26 million customers in more than 70 countries. Visit Sprint’s web site:
http://www.sprint.com/heroes
(800) 829-0965
See Sprint’s ad on page 17

StoneCreek Financial, of Lawrence, Kan., was founded with the sole goal of bringing the benefits of the eRate program to any and all eligible institutions by assisting with the preparation, filing, and step-by-step follow through of the complete eRate process. Visit the StoneCreek Financial web site:
http://www.stonecreek-erate.com
(866) 306-3900
See the StoneCreek Financial insert on page 41

eSN Online Partners

Be sure to visit eSchool News Online www.eschoolnews.org and the School Technology Buyer’s Guide www.eschoolnews.org/buyersguide to learn more about these leading companies that believe an informed educator is their best customer:

Atomic Learning Inc., of Little Falls, Minn., offers a series of tutorials designed to help students and teachers use educational software more effectively.
Visit the Atomic Learning web site:
http://www.atomiclearning.com
(866) 259-6890

Cisco Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., is committed to helping schools take advantage of internet-based learning by providing eLearning initiatives and other programs. Visit the Cisco Systems web site:
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/strategy/education/index.html
(800) 553-6387

Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas, designs, builds, and customizes a broad range of computer products and services for consumer and professional use.
Visit the Dell web site:
http://www.dell.com
(800) WWW-DELL

Discovery Education, the newly created education division of Discovery Communications Inc., is a provider of digital video and multimedia-based learning. Visit Discovery Education’s web site:
http://www.discovery.com
(800) 323-9084

JDL Technologies Inc., of Edina, Minn., uses information technology to help K-12 school leaders provide the best resources available for their teachers and students.
Visit the JDL web site:
http://www.jdltech.com
(800) 535-3969

Sagebrush Corp., of Minneapolis, is a fast- growing leader in serving K-12 library media specialists in their efforts to provide access to information, stimulate interest in reading, and improve student performance. Visit the Sagebrush web site:
ttp://www.sagebrushcorp.com
(800) 533-5430

SBC Communications Inc., of San Antonio, is a leading telecommunications company providing a wide range of products and services for K-20 education. Visit the SBC web site:
http://www.sbc.com
(800) 499-7928

Sprint Corp., headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., is a global communications company that serves 26 million customers in more than 70 countries. Visit Sprint’s web site:
http://www.sprint.com
(800) 829-0965

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Up to $30 million in matching grants for LeapFrog technology

Through the LeapFrog PASS Program, LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. will provide up to $30 million in LeapFrog SchoolHouse classroom products to accredited preK-8 public and private schools across the nation. The LeapFrog PASS Program provides a matching gift of $500 per school toward the purchase of LeapFrog SchoolHouse products. The LeapFrog PASS program will award matching gifts until Dec. 31, 2005 or until the $30 million in gift supplies are exhausted.

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$5,000 to faculty who create outstanding new online coursework

The Bbionic Course Contest will recognize and reward faculty and instructional designers who create technologically rich and pedagogically sound online courses. The annual contest is open to faculty, staff, and administrators of Blackboard institutions. Five participants will each receive $5,000 for the best course entries. Applications can be submitted starting on November 15, 2004.

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Computers and cash for teaching students about personal finance

Any seventh through twelfth grade teacher who teaches money management skills is invited to enter the Practical Money Skills for Life Educator Challenge, sponsored by Visa U.S.A. and Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda. The grand prize winning teacher will receive a personal computer, $2,500 merchandise credit for classroom supplies, a year-long classroom subscription to USA Today, a school or classroom computer lab, a speaking opportunity at an educational seminar, and a position on Visa’s Practical Money Skills Educator Advisory Board. Two first place educators will receive a personal computer, a $1,000 gift certificate, and a position on Visa’s Practical Money Skills Educator Advisory Board. Twenty-five Honorable Mention winners will receive a certificate of participation and be featured on www.practicalmoneyskills.com.

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Win a trip to Hawaii for creative energy conservation projects

The fourth Igniting Creative Energy Challenge is an educational competition designed to encourage students to learn more about energy and the environment. Students are asked to submit entries that reflect the competition theme, Igniting Creative Energy, and demonstrate an understanding of what an individual, family, or group can do to make a difference in their home, school, or community. Students may express their ideas on energy conservation and the environment in the form of science projects, essays, stories, artwork, photographs, music, video, or web site projects. They may also submit recent service projects or results from the National Energy Foundation’s own Energy Patrol activities. A total of four grand prizes will be awarded to three students and one teacher. Three students, one in each grade cluster whose work best exemplifies the Challenge criteria, will receive a hosted trip to Hawaii April 26-30, 2005, for themselves and a parent or legal guardian. In addition, one teacher with the highest average score of student work from 15 or more qualifying entries will be chosen for a trip for two to Hawaii for the same fun and educational experience.

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$50,000 in reading software to help Florida high schools

Under the Peterson’s FCAT Success Grant program, five Florida public high schools with a history of low FCAT performance, and a willingness to use technology as a tool to improve student achievement scores will be selected to receive free access to Peterson’s FCAT Online Reading Course for up to 200 students in preparation for the FCAT administration in February. The value of the grant is $10,000 per school.

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Middle school gets preview of Texas’ long-range tech plan

The Bryan-College Station Eagle of Bryan, Texas, reports on a local middle school’s participation in the state’s Technology Immersion Project. The wider initiative calls for all students in grades 6-12 to have laptops by 2012. The two-year pilot program is costing the Bryan district $850,000, but the funds are matched by the Texas Education Agency.

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Parents unhappy with calculators in young students’ math class

The North Andover Citizen of North Andover, Mass., reports that some local parents are upset that first- and second-graders are allowed to do math homework with calculators. A new program at the school, called Everyday Math, teaches elementary-schoolers to use calculators rather than relying on traditional methods of solving math problems.

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