$950,000 to help develop parental involvement programs

The purpose of the PIRC program is to help implement successful and effective parental involvement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student academic achievement and strengthen partnerships among parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel in meeting the educational needs of children. The PIRC program supports school-based and school-linked parental information and resource centers that further the program’s goals.


$105,800 for projects that balance technology and the environment

Over the last 27 years, the Lindbergh Foundation has endeavored to honor the Lindberghs’ legacy by funding projects that improve the quality of all life by seeking a balance between technological advancements and environmental preservation. Each year, the Lindbergh Foundation awards 8-10 grants in amounts up to $10,580 each (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927). Over the years, Lindbergh Grants have become increasingly well known, supporting innovative ideas often at an early stage in their development and establishing pilot projects that subsequently receive significant additional funding from other sources.


Up to $1.75M for summer arts-education programs

This program is intended to raise the quality and availability of arts education in communities nationwide. It supports rigorous, challenging summer arts-education programs that enable children and youth to acquire knowledge and skills in the arts, as well as gain lifelong interests in the arts and culture. As part of this program, grantees will be required to participate in an evaluation and assessment training workshop. Each organization must send at least one person–either the project director or evaluator–to attend a one-day session in Washington, D.C.


Welcome to ASCD 2006

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) Annual Conference and Exhibit Show begins Saturday, April 1, at the Lakeside Center at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. More than 600 sessions will allow attendees to explore ideas in education, examine new developments in content areas or grade levels, and expand professional development learning.

ASCD said more than 13,000 educators are expected to attend the three-day event, which will feature sessions presented by nationally known consultants and academicians on a wide variety of topics, including No Child Left Behind, teacher leadership, worldwide learning, technology, closing the achievement gap, and What Works in Schools.

The theme for this year’s conference is "Constructing the Future, Challenging the Past: Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership," and different topic strands include learning and teaching, leadership and organizational development, and policy and advocacy.

The learning and teaching area will focus on how to improve reading and writing in content areas, how to integrate the arts and technology across the curriculum, and fostering a worldwide perspective, and much more.

Leadership and organizational development topics include preparing and sustaining quality educators, learning how to build leadership capacity and efficacy, how to capitalize on the potential of technology, and increasing diversity among educational leaders.

During discussions on policy and advocacy, conference attendees will focus on how to encourage and apply effective advocacy skills, how to build strategic partnerships to influence policy, and how to challenge mediocrity.

The conference’s Saturday opening general session, "Growing a Mind: What We Are Learning About Learning Should Influence What We Are Teaching About Teaching," will be delivered by Mel Levine, co-founder of All Kinds of Minds, a nonprofit institute that helps struggling students.

During his session, Levine will give an overview of recent discoveries about the "wiring" of children’s minds. In addition, he will update participants on new advances in the understanding of learning, variations in brain performance, and the risks involved in labeling students.

Bonnie St. John, a leadership coach, speaker, and author, will deliver a second general session speech, "Keeping the Winning Spirit," on Sunday. St. John will offer up personal stories to challenge attendees to break through to new levels of performance in all circumstances.

Other speakers include education specialist Sarita Brown will offer strategies to accelerate success for Latino students, lecturer Carl Glickman will provide insight into the deeper problems causing the achievement gap, and education reformer Deborah Meier will focus on schools as a model of democracy and learning.

Various sessions include the annual ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award, which is given to an educator who has advanced excellence and equity in teaching and learning, "Closing the Achievement Gap Through Postsecondary Education," in which a panel will discuss practical guides and new models to encourage students to stay in school, and during "Ten Trends You Cannot Afford to Ignore," presenters will discuss trends that will shape educational delivery systems of the future and the implications for schools.




School district converts to paperless meetings

The PressofAtlanticCity.com reports that the New Jersey School Boards Association has sponsored a workshop on paperless meetings at its annual conference. In 2003, the Vineland school district has switched to paperless meetings. Prior to this, Diane Rafferty, secretary to the Vineland school superintendent, used to prepare the materials for board members, school officials, etc. on paper. This meant a mountain of copying, resulting in time and resources wasted. Now, Rafferty puts all of the information on disk. As costs of adopting technology drop, increasing numbers of school districts are willing to give this strategy a try…


$15.6M from Target to help schools buy technology, books, and supplies

The Target Take Charge of Education school fundraising program awarded $15.6 million to schools nationwide in its first donation of 2006. Take Charge of Education dollars are donated to schools twice each year, and schools can use the funds for anything they need, from technology to books, school supplies, and grants. The fundraising program gives payout checks to schools in March and September. Currently, more than 108,000 schools and 7 million Target guests are enrolled in the program.


Under NCLB, more schools are falling behind

The Washington Post reports that according to preliminary statistics by the U.S. Department of Education, more than a quarter of U.S. schools are failing under the terms of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law. According to the preliminary study, at least 24, 470 schools–27 percent of the national total–did not meet the federal requirement for “adequate yearly progress” in 2004-2005. Under the law, schools that don’t show sufficient academic progress face penalties that can include replacement of administrators and teachers…


Free computer lab, software, and site licenses for tech-savvy teachers

The 2006 Knowledge Adventure Teacher Awards Program is an essay competition open to K-12 educators who are using technology to help students excel in the classroom. Educators must complete an online entry form, which includes a brief essay on how the nominee is using technology to help his or her students succeed in their academic endeavors. Each month, beginning in April 2006 and running through January 2007, a panel will select a Teacher of the Month. In January 2007, the Teacher of the Year will be chosen from all the essays submitted.


$20,000 for researchers to fund conservation activities

The objective of the Conservation Trust is to support conservation activities around the world as they fit within the mission of the National Geographic Society. The trust will fund projects that contribute significantly to the preservation and sustainable use of the Earth’s biological, cultural, and historical resources. The Conservation Trust’s strength lies in supporting cutting edge programs that might be overlooked by other organizations, owing to the risk involved in working with new investigators and in new fields.


Tool Factory awards $3,700 in prizes to five winners

Tool Factory has chosen the five grant winners from its Fall 2005 Tool Factory/Olympus Classroom Grant program. More than 1900 applications were received. $3,700 in prizes will be awarded to each of the five grant winners, including three FE-130 Olympus Digital Cameras worth $600, $500 in cash, 30 Tool Factory Digital Camera Basics books, and $2,000 in Tool Factory software. Winners are: Karen Schulz from Wildwood Middle School in Wildwood, Mo.; Donna Sacco from Arlington Traditional School in Arlington, Va.; Andrea Swink and Caroline Demarkis from Park Ridge Elementary School in Stafford, Va.; Julie Sparrow from Edmondson Elementary School in Brentwood, Tenn.; and Michael Heu from Crawford Educational Complex  School of Law and Business in San Diego, Calif.