PEN> PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 9, 2004

  • From: Gleason Sackmann <gleason@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: K12Newsletters <k12newsletters@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 09:00:00 -0600

K12NewsLetters - From Educational CyberPlayGround

Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2004 23:48:47 -0800
Subject: PEN Weekly NewsBlast for January 9, 2004
To: "PEN Weekly NewsBlast" <newsblast@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Public Education Network" <PEN@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Public Education Network Weekly NewsBlast
"Public Involvement. Public Education. Public Benefit."
Gearing up for an election-year fight over the centerpiece of his
education agenda, President Bush hailed his "historic" No Child Left
Behind Act Thursday and announced he will seek a substantial increase in
its funding for 2005. Speaking to a group of educators and supporters at
an elementary school in Knoxville, Bush called the act, which he signed
into law two years ago Thursday, "a great piece of legislation which is
making a difference around our country." White House spokesman Scott
McClellan told reporters Bush's 2005 budget proposal calls for an increase
of more than $2 billion for elementary and secondary education, a 48
percent boost over 2001. That announcement seemed a clear effort to
counteract fierce criticism on the education front. Many leading
Democrats, including some who helped pass the measure two years ago, have
lambasted Bush for forcing schools to meet certain testing standards
without giving them the resources to do so. Several have said Bush's 2004
budget under funds the act by $9 billion. The No Child Left Behind Act
requires unprecedented testing of students. Schools that don't meet
federal standards for improvement after five years could be restructured
-- a move that could include firing some or all of the staff. Bush,
speaking at Westview Elementary School before a fund-raising event, said
the act is yielding concrete results. "The fourth-grade math test scores
around the nation are up nine points since 2000," he said. "The
eighth-grade math scores are up five points. ... Reading tests are
increasing for fourth-graders. We're making a difference." Bush said that
in the past, the federal government would send money to local schools "and
hope something happened." The No Child Left Behind Act, he said, is
"historic because for the first time the federal government is spending
more money and now asking for results."

In just two years, a new federal law has shaken up what it means to be a
successful school. For the past half century, American public schools have
been defined by how well most of their children succeed. Schools (and
local real estate agents) touted high "average" SAT scores or the students
winning top awards. The No Child Left Behind law shines a bright light on
the students who aren't making the grade. For the first time, the federal
government is enforcing a requirement that all public-school students be
tested annually in core subjects. For the first time, the students in each
racial, ethnic, and income subgroup are expected to show results. And for
the first time, schools face the prospect of losing federal funding if
those results aren't there. By defining the good school as one that proves
all students are learning, writes Gail Russell Chaddock, the act is
already reshaping US education in controversial ways. Among the
criticisms: The requirements don't come with enough new money to pay for
them. The new focus on the worst-off kids means the gifted children are
now being left behind. The law is prompting some states -- which must each
create their own tests -- to game the system by setting low standards. The
law's impact relates to enforcement as much as its provisions. Many of the
requirements sparking protests have been federal law for nearly a decade.
During the Clinton presidency, Congress required that all states should
define standards for what students should know at each grade level,
measure whether all groups are achieving them, and ensure that there are
highly qualified teachers in every classroom. But President Bush's law has
tight deadlines and tough penalties. These include requirements that
schools deemed "in need of improvement" pass their federal dollars to
parents in the district, to pay for alternative educational services such
as tutoring. Parents can also transfer students to a higher-performing
public school. In one response to criticism the US Department of Education
allowed schools to give alternative tests to their most severely disabled
students, so long as they represent no more than 1 percent of the students

Presidential candidate Howard Dean writes that the second anniversary of
the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act is little cause for
celebration. In his view, while the ideals espoused in No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) are admirable, the realities of the Bush plan are not, "NCLB
imposes rigid and expensive mandates on public schools. It judges adequate
yearly progress using a one-size-fits-all formula, a measure that gives
schools an incentive to lower testing standards in order to meet federal
requirements and, sadly, to push out students that may bring down a
school's average score. Under these new standards, 26,000 of America's
93,000 schools "failed" to make adequate yearly progress in 2003 and many
are not receiving the additional support they need to improve. This
federal takeover of public education is the last thing we need. I never
understood why Washington politicians think they can design a
cookie-cutter policy that will work for all local schools. Parents,
teachers, and school boards need resources and support, not Draconian
measures that set them up for failure. But perhaps worst of all, the
president and Congress have consistently underfunded the NCLB budget. The
president's own 2004 budget proposal would underfund the act to the tune
of $9 billion, leaving local communities -- many of which are already
facing severe budget gaps -- to make up the difference. It is absolutely
unconscionable for the president to demand that states pay for federally
required programs without properly funding them. Since NCLB passed, we
have been hearing horror stories from states desperately looking for money
to meet requirements? Most communities will likely meet NCLB budget
shortfalls by raising property taxes, local government's usual source of
education funding? It doesn't have to be this way. We can reform NCLB so
that it invests in schools and assists students in meeting high standards
judged by more than just standardized tests. We can make sure that the
federal government fulfills its responsibility to give every child a
chance to succeed, especially in our poorest schools, so that No Child
Left Behind becomes more than just a campaign slogan.

Despite an increased focus on improving education in this country, some
worry that high schools are being overlooked, reports Claudette Riley. A
recent national report by the nonprofit Alliance for Excellent Education
contends that every state -- including Tennessee -- needs to boost high
school reading scores, graduation rates and college readiness. "Where are
high schools today? They are in need of improvement," said Alliance
Executive Director Susan Frost. The crux of the report is that public
education cannot make long-term progress unless some of the extra money
and academic help now pouring into elementary and middle schools gets
siphoned off into high schools. "We are investing in young children and in
college aid, but we have created a 'missing middle' -- little or no
investment in our older students," Frost said, noting that elementary and
middle schools are getting the bulk of the new federal money allocated
under the No Child Left Behind law. "We've got a lot of measurement of
high schools but not a lot of focus on how to help kids to graduate or to
be able to take high school courses." To meet new state and federal
accountability goals under NCLB, districts must test students in grades
3-8 in reading and math every year. In high school, students are tested
only once in reading and math.

States are struggling to meet federal requirements on academic proficiency
for students with disabilities, according to a new Education Week report.
"Quality Counts 2004: Count Me In: Special Education in an Era of
Standards," Education Week's eighth annual state-by-state report card on
public education, examines what the states are doing to test special
education students, hold schools accountable for their performance,
prepare teachers to educate such students, and pay for special education
services. The report found that, in general, the percentage of special
education students performing at the proficient level or higher on state
tests lagged 30 percentage points or more behind that of general education
students -- a important gap in light of the performance goals of the
federal No Child Left Behind Act. "Quality Counts 2004" also updates
Education Week's annual report cards on education in the 50 states and the
District of Columbia and presents extensive state-by-state data on a wide
range of education policies.

Community organizing is a vital strategy for improving education. Because
community organizing engages students and their families, mobilizes
constituencies that are deeply and continuously invested in educational
success, and is explicitly about building power and citizen ownership, it
offers an avenue for sustained educational change. "Supporting the
Education Organizing Movement: An Exchange Between Intermediaries" by
Rosanna Bayon Moore and Susan Sandler has been recently released by
Justice Matters Institute. This report documents a gathering in June 2003
of organizations that provide various types of support to community
organizing efforts to improve schools. The report captures the themes that
emerged from this discussion of challenges, questions, and opportunities
for those working to support and enhance the impact of education
organizing.  This report can be downloaded at:

Traditionally, the ideal candidate to lead a school system was someone who
had experience supervising large staffs and managing big budgets. Someone
who had been a coach and who knew the ins and outs of school construction.
You know, a man. But some say that it's time for a new tradition, one in
which women -- who make up about 75 percent of the national school system
work force -- assume more superintendent positions and are more widely
recognized as being capable of doing so. They say that on the route to a
superintendent's job, women should no longer walk alone. "There is still a
belief out there that won't go away that women in tough leadership
positions are not equipped to handle that. Some school boards are in the
dark ages and are not ready to move forward," said Margaret Grogan,
chairwoman of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
at the University of Missouri-Columbia. "I think that the more women who
are successful and the more their stories are out there, the more school
boards will say the gender issues don't matter." Gender has always been an
issue in the hierarchy of school system leadership. Grogan said many women
don't speak publicly about the gender-related challenges they face for
fear of being perceived as weak, or of wanting preferential treatment or
hand-holding. But privately, reports, Kayce T. Ataiyero, they recount
anecdotes about conversations with colleagues and community members in
which gender bias was clear.

Spend a few hours talking about education in Greeley, 60 miles northeast
of Denver, and a familiar pattern emerges: Community members are upset
with failed reforms and low student performance in the Greeley Public
Schools, one of the voucher districts. They point to the achievements of
the Catholic and Lutheran schools in town, noting that they don't have
"the same problems" as the public school district, writes Glenn Cook.
They're glad the state is doing something -- anything -- to bring
improvements to a district that has struggled for decades. But dig a
little deeper, and those same community members conclude that vouchers are
not necessarily the answer. Indeed, their answers mirror national polls
showing that support for vouchers declines considerably when questions are
asked about accountability and church-state issues. Litigation has proven
to be synonymous with vouchers, and organizations and advocacy groups on
both sides of the debate line up to take part in every lawsuit.

The creative adaptation of school choice policy has beset state officials
with troubling questions.  Cyber and home school charter schools have
become a prominent part of the charter school movement and begun to
challenge conventional learning by delivering curriculum or instruction
through the Internet and by minimizing the use of personnel and physical
facilities. Most controversially, these institutions use taxpayer dollars
to help families provide unsupervised instruction within a private
residence. A recent paper by Luis Huerta and Maria Fernandez at Teachers
College, Columbia University, and sponsored by the National Center for the
Study of Privatization in Education, examines how alternative charter
school designs impact state policies, with particular attention given to
developments in California and Pennsylvania. In these two states, the
public scrutiny of cyber and home school charter schools has led to
demands for public accountability, legislative debate, and litigation. Of
pressing concern is the need to construct a regulatory framework to
accommodate these new models of schooling. Blurred definitions of
non-classroom charter schools may lead to exploitation by speculators and
budget crises in local districts.  Huerta and Fernandez conclude that it
is important to determine the appropriate financial allocations for
schools that operate with reduced personal and facilities, as well as,
establish the division of financial responsibility between state and local
educational agencies.

The SEED School is the nation's only publicly supported boarding secondary
school in an inner-city setting.  Kids live at SEED from Sunday evening to
Friday afternoon and go home most weekends, reports Perry Bacon, Jr.  The
academic program is challenging. High school students are required to take
four years of math and three of science and Spanish. To help those who
aren't used to this level of work, class sizes are small -- usually fewer
than 14 students -- the school day is an hour longer than at most D.C.
public schools, and the focus, particularly in the lower grades, is on
periodic tests that determine each student's progress. The school is not
designed for kids with mental disabilities or behavior problems, but it is
not an elite academy that caters only to the best and the brightest.
Places are doled out strictly by lottery. Last spring 213 youngsters
applied for the 140 spots in last fall's entering seventh-grade class. Yet
several challenges remain. While students at SEED outperform their
counterparts in other southeast Washington schools on standardized tests,
their scores are still low. SEED seniors have an average SAT score of 834,
not much higher than the 800 average throughout the Washington system. The
school has tried to improve its performance by strengthening its
curriculum. But as a result, 21 of the 63 eighth-graders were unable to
move on to ninth grade last year. Six of those youngsters chose to drop
out rather than repeat the grade. Retention was a problem even before the
tougher standards went into effect. Only 23 of the 40 students in the
school's first entering class are still there. "SEED looks like a very
innovative model, but it is too early to tell," says Nina Rees, a U.S.
Department of Education official who studies charter schools. And SEED is
expensive. Because of the extra cost of housing students, SEED spends
about $24,000 per student, more than double the allotment for the typical
D.C. public school. Despite those problems, the school's founders remain
committed to their mission and have set their sights on an even more
ambitious dream: developing a network of public boarding schools around
the country.,9171,1101040112-570286,00.html

Parents expect school leaders to provide their children not only a quality
education, but also a safe and secure learning environment. Unfortunately,
the drugs and violence that plague many communities sometimes penetrate
our schools with outcomes that range from disruptive to tragic. This
reality weighs heavily on school principals, who bear the daily
responsibility to ensure the safety of their students and staff.  Gerald
N. Tirozzi writes that there is no magic solution to curbing violence or
the sale of drugs in our society -- let alone in our schools. Our elected
officials regularly create laws meant to protect citizens from these acts
and punish violators. In that context, zero tolerance policies created by
local school boards and district personnel to deal with weapons, physical
violence or drugs in school are altogether appropriate in the continuing
effort to protect students and staff. However, as zero tolerance policies
are developed and implemented, several rules should be heeded: (1) Engage
parents and the entire school community in developing the policy. Clearly
articulate the policy to staff, students and parents to mitigate
misinterpretation; (2) Fairly and consistently administer the policy.
Ensure the punishment is age- or grade-appropriate and fits the "crime";
(3) Assure due process for accused students. Provide suspended or expelled
students with alternative educational services and counseling; (4) Ensure
that disciplinary action taken against students with special needs is
consistent with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act; and, (5) Collect and analyze, and disaggregate student
discipline data. Review the policy and practice annually. Detractors of
zero tolerance policies point out well-publicized cases of unreasonably
severe penalties for what some consider minor incidents. Supporters don't
have it so easy, writes Tirozzi. You won't see many news reports praising
schools for an "uneventful" week. It is difficult to measure how often
zero tolerance policies prevented violence, drug traffic or a student from
carrying a weapon into school. School leaders too often have been placed
in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position over zero tolerance

Soft drinks should be eliminated from schools to help tackle the nation's
obesity epidemic, and pediatricians should work with their local schools
to ensure that children are offered healthful alternatives, the American
Academy of Pediatrics says. In a new policy statement, the academy says
doctors should contact superintendents and school board members and
"emphasize the notion that every school in every district shares a
responsibility for the nutritional health of its students." Some schools
already limit contracts with vendors of soft drinks and fast food, though
the soft drink industry has fought efforts by some states to mandate such
restrictions. Legislation limiting the amount of fatty foods and sugary
drinks that could be sold in Massachusetts schools -- and would have
banned soda sales in the facilities -- was introduced last year. Although
some schools rely on funds from vending machines to pay for student
activities, the statement by the pediatricians says elementary and high
schools should avoid such contracts and that those with existing
arrangements should impose restrictions to avoid promoting

Five years after a groundbreaking study warning of a growing childhood
obesity trend, the group that said kids should get 30 minutes of daily
physical activity has now doubled its recommendation. The National
Association for Sports and Physical Education issued new children's
fitness guidelines, reports Mel Melendez, including boosting children's
daily physical activity to one hour. The recommendation doubles the
group's original 30-minute guideline, which health advocates say has
proven ineffective in the battle against the bulge among youngsters 5 to
12. "Like adults that don't complete the 30 minutes of daily exercise
recommended for them, kids aren't getting their time in either," said
Chuck Corbin, professor of exercise and wellness at Arizona State
University East in Mesa. "We really need to turn this around or we'll end
up with a nation of overweight adults battling all sorts of health
issues." According to the most recent report by the Office of the U.S.
Surgeon General, 13 percent of children 6 to 11 and 14 percent of
adolescents 12 to 19 in the United States are overweight. Arizona's
limited education funding and the push to boost students' standardized
test scores have resulted in schools slashing physical education
curriculums in favor of academic enrichment programs, Corbin said. Phoenix
parent Janeen Nichols said she could attest to that. Her youngest son,
Thomas, 8, has one 30-minute weekly P.E. class, which she said "just isn't

Moving an organization toward higher performance is not a linear
projection. Real-life change doesn't happen in predictable stages. Given
the complex and puzzling environment of school systems, the author
cautions educators that change needs to be navigated, not managed. Francis
M. Duffy provides eight principles for transforming an entire school
system into a high-performing organization of learners: (1) Learn the
three paths to whole-system transformation: (improve how work gets
done/improve the district's internal social "architecture"/improve the
district's relationship with its external environment); (2) A school
district's external environment is complex and unstable; (3) The change
path from the present to the future is not a straight line; (4) The
capacity to anticipate the future and respond quickly to unanticipated
events is partially a function of a school district's internal social
architecture; (5) Biological metaphors most accurately describe how social
networks function; (6) Creating a web of accountabilities using networked
teams does not mean that authority and control are surrendered to the
networked "mob;" (7) A networked social architecture stimulates creativity
and innovation; and, (8) Peak performance is an illusion.

Long before children ever pick up their first book, before they read a
sentence or hold a pen to paper, parents and teachers are at work
developing their literacy skills. In many schools across the country,
kindergarten has become an important building block for literacy, a place
to assess linguistic difficulties and to develop early language and
"pre-reading" skills that put students prepare students for learning.
Unless, of course, those children don't speak English. "Often people have
assumed that schools should wait to teach English-as-a-second language
(ESL) students English before working on their reading skills," says Nonie
Lesaux, coauthor of a new study on reading development. But her research
shows the opposite can be true. By training teachers to focus on
preliteracy instruction, a combination of activities that explicitly
emphasize the sound system of the language, such as rhyming, and storybook
reading, research has found that when young children develop phonological
awareness, their skills in a second language may be vastly improved.
According to Lesaux, instructional strategies alone will not suffice
without taking into account cultural differences in learning, "It becomes
of paramount importance, especially with older learners, to consider
cultural orientation in literacy education when there is a dominant group
of English Language Learners in the classroom."

In this Education World column, middle grades teacher Brenda Dyck
describes how she uses Edward DeBono's "Six Thinking Hats" strategies to
help students power up their thinking. "This colorful strategy exposes
learners to six different styles of thinking and helps them look at a
problem from six different perspectives," she writes. You'll find links to
an excerpt from DeBono's book, a complete description of Brenda's Thinking
Hats technique -- even a picture of her Hats bulletin board!

Quality, experienced teachers seeking new jobs in public schools serving
low-income communities are invited to join RISE (Resources for
Indispensable Schools and Educators) for free to access an online database
of positions at pre-screened schools in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and
Chicago.  Those teachers not currently seeking new jobs join RISE to
connect with other like-minded educators and get access to special
financial discounts on classroom materials/supplies as well as continued
professional development opportunities like National Board Certification.
Visit the RISE website below to apply or for more information.  Contact
Carol Lee at clee@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or (415) 399-9929 with questions.

The last decade has seen a heightened focus on state assessment systems
and the use of exit tests. The standards movement, which emphasizes the
creation of curriculum standards and the assessment of achievement of
those standards, has provided the framework for such systems, while
concerns about education quality and a desire to improve student
motivation have combined to increase the importance placed on such
assessments. Recent efforts to implement the federal No Child Left Behind
Act have also created an impetus for increased testing and accountability
requirements -- for students, teachers, schools, and school systems. The
study highlighted in this issue of ResearchBrief attempts to profile the
current status of states with high school exit exams and the use of such
assessments within an environment of increased testing and stronger
accountability. The bottom line: Although exit exams can help educators
identify and address the curricular needs of students, the exams may also
narrow instruction to tested areas, while unnecessarily expanding
instruction within those areas as educators attempt to cover all the
identified standards. When considered broadly, the cost of implementing
and supporting such tests may rise to more than $1,000 annually per

Jessica Glenn, a 17-year-old with a pair of rings through her bottom lip
and one in her eyebrow, praises Elvis, a service dog, lavishly. But she
knows there is much work left to do before the gangly pup is ready to be
placed with a wheelchair-bound person who might depend on him for such
tasks as opening doors, flipping light switches and unloading the clothes
dryer. Glenn is a student at Dorothy Thomas Exceptional Center, a place
for chronic truants and others who can't seem to get along at traditional
schools. She's found her niche -- and perhaps her calling -- in the
school's unique Kids and Canines program, in which troubled teens spend
part of their day training and caring for service dogs. "I didn't like
talking to people," said Glenn, sitting in a wheelchair she uses during
the school day so Elvis can get used to it. "I was really quiet. I skipped
(school) for like two months straight. They put me in a smaller classroom,
and it didn't work. I stopped coming." Three years later she's one of the
top trainers in Kids and Canines and helps teach other students. Her
furry, lovable charges have helped instill in her new confidence, patience
and persistence. She hopes to turn it into a career. The heart of the
program is 53-year-old special-education teacher Jennifer Wise, who
started Kids and Canines in 1998 with a grant from the state's Department
of Juvenile Justice.

When teacher union president Adam Urbanski sat down at his kitchen table
17 years ago to write a peer review plan for the Rochester, N.Y., school
district, he thought he might be on the cutting edge of a new trend. At
the time, Rochester was only the third district in the country, following
Toledo and Columbus, to take up peer review. However, the practice never
caught on, writes Ed Finkel. Today only a handful of school districts have
adopted this method of evaluation that calls for teachers to review each
other. Urbanski suspects he knows why. "There is a fear that it will turn
teachers against teachers, and lead to massive snitching," he says. "Peer
review seems to be controversial only where it doesn't exist." Elsewhere,
teachers are wary that peer review will lead to dissension in the ranks
and confusion about the lines of authority between teachers and
administrators. However, Rochester teachers see peer review as an
opportunity to have a say in their own fate, says Urbanski. "The program
is viewed as cultivating good teaching rather than weeding out bad
teaching," he says. Mentor teachers observe their subjects in the
classroom, demonstrate lessons for them, relieve them so they can observe
best practices elsewhere, direct them to relevant workshops and courses as
well as reading they can do, meet one-on-one to talk over issues that
arise and evaluate teachers' work products. "They spend substantially more
time with the teacher than any supervisor could, and their judgment is
valued in a commensurate way," Urbanski says. "Very often, we see
administrators yielding to the judgment of the mentor." The Rochester
program has produced two significant results: More first-year teachers are
fired (up to 12 percent), and fewer teachers who are retained drop out of
teaching. Teacher retention in Rochester is over 90 percent, up from 65
percent before peer review began. Only a few of the tenured teachers who
undergo mandatory peer review are ultimately dismissed, he notes. The
superintendent has the final say, and teachers have the right to contest
that decision in court.  Rochester is unique in requiring mentor teachers
to carry a part-time course load. "The single greatest advantage is that
they remain connected to the realities of the classroom," Urbanski says.

With high staff turnover and rising retirement rates, many districts have
put recruiting -- and keeping -- skilled educators near the top of their
priority list, and Boston is taking an aggressive approach by running its
own programs to prepare, certify, and induct new teachers and principals.
Managed with the Boston Plan for Excellence, a local education fund and
PEN member, Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) is designed much like a medical
residency, placing trainees with a Master Teacher for a full year of
invaluable classroom experience as preparation for their own classrooms.
Also a year-long program, Boston Principal Fellows (BPF) has participants
work side by side with an experienced principal who can model both school
management and instructional leadership. Both Teacher Residents and
Principal Fellows also take coursework customized to district priorities
and taught by district staff, faculty from area colleges and universities,
and community leaders. Both programs are no cost if graduates work in the
city's public schools for three years; Principal Fellows also receive a
full salary for their year. Start-up funds for BTR were awarded by
Strategic Grant Partners, a consortium of family foundations, and BPF is
supported by a federal grant and by The Broad Foundation. Both programs
are midway through their first year and are recruiting now for
SY2004-2005. Deadline to apply for BTR: January 31, 2004; for BPF: January
27, 2004. Details are on the web:

Many studies on teaching interventions have shown that the way teachers
teach and learn depends on whether their beliefs are confronted in ways
that allows for change to occur. If teacher education programs are to make
a difference in the deep structure of knowledge and beliefs held by the
student teachers, their beliefs should be surfaced and acknowledged. The
challenge for teacher education goes beyond imparting a knowledge base
that is, at best, uncertain, to fostering conversations that incorporate
the preconceptions and varied interests and messages that affect how
student teachers view and learn from their teacher education programs.

A major earthquake occurred in Iran's Kerman Province on December 26. The
following outlines UNICEF's emergency response activities following the
devastating earthquake and the appeal to raise at least $1 million in
support of the relief efforts. The current death toll from this massive
earthquake is more than 28,000.  Over 70,000 people are homeless, many of
whom are finding temporary shelter with family members while others are
living on the streets or in tents.  Many children have been orphaned and
thousands more are without proper clothing, shelter and medical attention.
Immediately following the earthquake, UNICEF rushed three flights of
emergency supplies to the earthquake victims. The first flight left within
hours after the earthquake from neighboring Afghanistan, where UNICEF's
ongoing relief program released vital emergency supplies from its
warehouse.  That small plane carried medicine, medical equipment, tents,
tarpaulins and children's blankets, as well as a physician from UNICEF's
staff in Kabul. UNICEF continues to provide items such as first aid
supplies, blankets, water purification tablets, portable generators,
School-in-a-Box kits and tents.  Additional priorities for UNICEF include
the reunification of children with surviving relatives, assisting with
trauma and establishing schools and other safe environments for children
emotionally traumatized by the disaster. If you would like to support
UNICEF meeting the needs of Bam's most vulnerable children, please make a
donation at:

Are your students ready for some good news?  YES! is an award-winning
ad-free national journal filled with inspiring stories of individuals and
communities engaged in creating a more just, sustainable and peaceful
world. YES! offers teachers and students inspiring case studies of
practical solutions to a broad range of environmental and social justice
challenges.  By casting a spotlight on the positive, we profile everyday
heroes, young and old, at home and abroad, who are making a real
difference today. YES! offers hope, inspiration, and will give students a
sense of what is possible. YES! is published quarterly by the Positive
Futures Network, an independent, nonprofit organization. In honor of the
important role educators play in helping young people envision and create
a more positive future, YES! offers teachers a FREE one-year subscription.
Educators find YES! a powerful tool for informing students about
ecological and social problems while also providing hopeful solutions and
channels for constructive action. Teachers can sign up online:

|---------------GRANT AND FUNDING INFORMATION--------------|

"Applying for Overseas Education Missions"
Does the notion of studying educational systems abroad intrigue you? The
two most common routes for K-12 school leaders run through the Fulbright
Teacher and Administrator program and the International Seminar for
Schooling, co-sponsored by American Association of School Administrators
(AASA) and the University of Texas.

"Healthy Lifestyles Grants"
National 4-H Council, with funding established by Kraft Foods, Inc. in
partnership with Cargill, is offering grants of $7,500 to develop or
expand innovative and fun programs that partner youth ages 5-12 with
adults. The programs should help communities create educational programs
and public awareness that will confront and reverse the climbing trends of
obesity. Application deadline: January 23, 2004.

"Clay Aiken Awards"
Youth Service America and The Bubel Aiken Foundation are proud to present
the Clay Aiken ABLE to SERVE Awards. Twenty-five grants up to $1,000 each
are available to encourage young people, between the ages of 5 and 22 with
developmental disabilities to plan and carry out service projects in the
United States for National Youth Service Day 2004. Eight grants of $1,000
are available for youth with disabilities planning projects in Australia,
Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore or South Africa for
Global Youth Service Day 2004, also on April 16-18. Application deadline:
February 9, 2004.

"Third Annual Character's Cool Contest"
The MindOH! Foundation's third annual Character's Cool Contest is
accepting entries until January 31st at The contest is a national online
contest to help middle and high school students reflect on what it means
to have good character. The theme for this year's contest is tolerance,
and students can fill out the online survey to win prizes such as a
Nintendo Game Cube, a portable CD/MP3 player, gift certificates, games or
sports memorabilia. Students can also enter the essay contest to win cash
prizes of $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $175 for third
place. The school with the most entries wins the grand prize of a new
computer and a one-year subscription to MindOH!'s Discipline and Life
Skills Series. The second place school receives Project Wisdom's character
education materials. Last year's contest involved almost 7,000 students
from 37 states and this year's contest is promising to attract even more

The Grantionary is a list of grant-related terms and their definitions.

GrantsAlert is a website that helps nonprofits, especially those involved
in education, secure the funds they need to continue their important work.

"Grant Writing Tips"
SchoolGrants has compiled an excellent set of grant writing tips for those
that need help in developing grant proposals.

FastWEB is the largest online scholarship search available, with 600,000
scholarships representing over one billion in scholarship dollars. It
provides students with accurate, regularly updated information on
scholarships, grants, and fellowships suited to their goals and
qualifications, all at no cost to the student. Students should be advised
that FastWEB collects and sells student information (such as name,
address, e-mail address, date of birth, gender, and country of
citizenship) collected through their site.

"Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)"
More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make
hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to
find. The result of that work is the FREE website.

"Fundsnet Online Services"
A comprehensive website dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations,
colleges, and Universities with information on financial resources
available on the Internet.

"eSchool News School Funding Center"
Information on up-to-the-minute grant programs, funding sources, and
technology funding.

"Philanthropy News Digest"
Philanthropy News Digest, a weekly news service of the Foundation Center,
is a compendium, in digest form, of philanthropy-related articles and
features culled from print and electronic media outlets nationwide.

"School Grants"
A collection of resources and tips to help K-12 educators apply for and
obtain special grants for a variety of projects.

"The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force
it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the
child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually
damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is
crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create
conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest --
schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern -- will
never be enough."
- Lyndon Baines Johnson (U.S. president)

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