Top 25 Criticism
This morning we received our copy of DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION. I immediately turned to the cover story ("The Top 25 Education Technology Advocates," December 2001, p. 33) and found myself utterly astonished by your choices for the list, which failed to include Jamie McKenzie.
To me, there is a difference between detailing the efforts of people who are excellent examples and choosing the "top" advocates: those who have made sustained, innovative efforts nationwide without ever losing sight of the concept that technological tools are only components in the effort to achieve educational excellence; those who never forget that children are the most important part of the educational process.
Ava M. Biffer Library Media Specialist Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School Moodus, Connecticut
Student Grading Opponents
Loved the column in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION ("The New Three-Fifths Compromise," Speaking Out, February 2002, p. 21). As a middle school principal I fought to get rid of student grading and fortunately had good back up from the superintendent. It was only teachers who had been teaching for many years who used the deplorable practice. And not the good experienced teachers. If immediate feedback is needed, let the child check his own paper.
Anne Giddings Middle School Supervisor Newington (Conn.) Public Schools
I just wanted to drop you a quick "amen" to your Speaking Out piece in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION ("The New Three-Fifths Compromise," February 2002, p. 21). As a technology coordinator I obviously do not grade papers. However, many times in the course of working on classroom technology I have witnessed peer grading at its best, and at its worst.
I clearly remember the horrors of fifth grade and the paper swap. I can't imagine how terrible the kids felt who routinely had it announced that again they received an F. I was humiliated enough that my straight-A friends knew I was getting Cs.
Thanks for speaking out for those of us who weren't on the honor roll.
Alicia M. Kessler Technology Coordinator Neoga CUSD No. 3 Neoga, Illinois
Praise for Tech Upgrades
I want to thank you for an excellent article in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION ("Top 10 Tech Upgrades for 2002," January 2002, p. 24). I am a new assistant superintendent in a smaller school district and we have no IT person other than me. We have a consultant or two but much of the big-picture work falls on me. I am not a "techy" of sorts, so your article provided a concise yet comprehensive focus/vision for us to use. The Laguna Beach USD will certainly be better off because of your article. It really did help.
Steven Keller Assistant Superintendent Laguna Beach (Calif.) Unified School District
I just read the article regarding technology upgrades for the coming year. Your 10 upgrades are definitely issues we are trying to work through. Aligning software to curriculum is my department's main focus. We are a department of eight teachers to support 3,600 teachers and 260 administrators in the area of curriculum and instruction related to technology integration.
As the nation tightens up and aligns everything, so are we. The difficult part is helping teachers understand the whole alignment thing. We also struggle helping the technical side of the house understand why we need certain programs and features of the machine to work correctly.
Lisa Long Educational Technology Administrator Tucson (Ariz.) Unified School District
Making Time for Conversations
I read your Speaking Out column ("Introducing the Latest Leadership Trend-Talking," January 2002, p. 56) and just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your insights. It really does seem like a no-brainer, but finding time for meaningful, engaged conversation is a real challenge facing all of us in education today. I have had our schools add open agendas to their staff meetings and have done the same thing at our administrators' meetings in order to increase the opportunity for relevant dialogue.
I am planning to share your article with my principals and district staff at our next meeting.
John R. Morton Superintendent Newton Public Schools USD 373 Newton, Kansas
A District Plus item in our February issue failed to mention contact information for the item "How to Save on Telecommunications Costs." The American TelEd Communications Alliance can be reached at 888-870- 8677; its Web page is located at www.atalliance.org