Thursday, July 31, 2008

Continued "Works in Progress" on ONE-D Drop-Out Prevention Strategic Initiative

With the August 4th & 5th fast approaching, I am sending you this reminder to RSVP for the Conversations with Intermediaries at


As one of more than 300 school, union, and community leaders at the One D Dropout Prevention Summit this past April, you are invited to attend "Conversations with Intermediaries" at Lawrence Technological University on Monday, August 4 or Tuesday, August 5, 2008.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for you to meet with proven "Turnaround Partners" in smaller sessions designed to help school and community leaders improve conditions in their schools to reduce the dropout rate. You can meet representatives from EdWorks, First Things First, and the Institute for Student Achievement, all of whom have achieved amazing results in partnering with high schools in other cities around the nation.

Please see the attached schedule to select the sessions you should attend and register at by Friday, August 1. I look forward to seeing you as we work together to improve graduation rates in our region. If you have any questions, please call Annette Grays at (313) 226-9419 or email her at
Thank you,

Michael F. Tenbusch
Vice President, Educational Preparedness
United Way for Southeastern Michigan
1212 Griswold Street
Detroit, Michigan 48226
w (313) 226-9437
f (313) 226-9324

Thursday, July 24, 2008

AIM Program (A SHINING EXEMPLAR of 21st Century Digital Learning)

This Little Light of Mine

Written By: Unknown, Copyright: Unknown

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine
Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine
Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
Shine all over Detroit, I'm gonna let it shine
Shine all over Detroit, I'm gonna let it shine
Shine all over Detroit, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
Let it shine til Jesus comes, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine til Jesus comes, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine til Jesus comes, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Model the Practice!

Signature Models for 21st Century Learning

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



Stand up, get involved to save children


This will be the last "What Works" column.

I reserve the right to report occasionally on any program I run across that shows results in saving the lives and futures of African-American kids. But this is the last in the series I started 19 months ago to spotlight such programs.

Let me begin by thanking you for your overwhelming response to my request for nominations, and to thank everyone from every program who allowed me to peek behind the scenes. From the Harlem Children's Zone in New York to SEI (Self-Enhancement Inc.) in Portland, Ore., I have been privileged and uplifted to see dedicated people doing amazing work.

I am often asked whether I've found common denominators in all these successful programs, anything we can use in helping kids at risk. The short answer is, yes. You want to know what works?

Longer school days and longer school years work. Giving principals the power to hire good teachers and fire bad ones works. High expectations work. Giving a teacher freedom to hug a child who needs hugging works. Parental involvement works. Counseling for troubled students and families works. Consistency of effort works. Incentives work. Field trips that expose kids to possibilities you can't see from their broken neighborhoods work.

Indeed, the most important thing I've learned is that none of this is rocket science. We already know what works. What we lack is the will to do it. Instead, we have a hit-and-miss patchwork of programs achieving stellar results out on the fringes of the larger, failing, system. Why are they the exception and not the rule?

If we know what works, why don't we simply do it?

Nineteen months ago when I started, I asked Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children's Zone why anyone should pay to help him help poor kids in crumbling neighborhoods. He told me, "Someone's yelling at me because I'm spending $3,500 a year on 'Alfred.' Alfred is 8. OK, Alfred turns 18. No one thinks anything about locking him up for 10 years at $60,000 a year."

Forget the notion of a moral obligation to uplift failing children. Consider the math instead. If that investment of $3,500 per annum creates a functioning adult who pays taxes and otherwise contributes to the system, why would we pass that up in favor of creating, 10 years later, an adult who drains the system to the tune of $60,000 a year for his incarceration alone, to say nothing of the other costs he foists upon society?

How does that make sense? Nineteen months later, I have yet to find a good answer.

Instead, I find passivity. "Save the Children," Marvin Gaye exhorted 27 years ago. But we are losing the children in obscene numbers. Losing them to jails, losing them to graves, losing them to illiteracy, teen parenthood, and other dead-ends and cul-de-sacs of life. But I have yet to hear America -- or even African America -- scream about it. Does no one else see a crisis here?

"I don't think that in America, especially in black America, we can arrest this problem unless we understand the urgency of it," says Tony Hopson Sr., founder of SEI. "When I say urgency, I'm talking 9/11 urgency, I'm talking Hurricane Katrina urgency, things that stop a nation. I don't think in black America this is urgent enough.

"Kids are dying every single day. I don't see where the NAACP, the Urban League, the Black Caucus, have decided that the fact that black boys are being locked up at alarming rates means we need to stop the nation and have a discussion about how we're going to eradicate that as a problem. It has not become urgent enough. If black America doesn't see it as urgent enough, how dare us think white America is going to think it's urgent enough?"

In other words, stand up. Get angry. Stop accepting what is clearly unacceptable. I'll bet you that works, too.

LEONARD PITTS JR. is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132. Write to him at

Sunday, July 20, 2008

OUR 21st Century NSF Grant Strategic "BIGGER PICTURE" continues to UNFOLD!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Senate school budget creates room for more competition

Detroit will remain Michigan's only first-class school district under a budget deal hammered out by the state Senate. But parents who see the irony in describing the miserable Detroit Public Schools as "first class" will have more options for getting their children a decent education.

That's the best outcome that could be hoped for, and the compromise package should be approved when it goes to the state House this week.

Detroit has enjoyed first-class status as the state's only district with more than 100,000 students. That has entitled it to additional funds from the state, up to $15 million more in some years.

But the district is expected to fall under 100,000 when classes resume in September, setting off a scramble in the Legislature to redefine the size of a first-class district. Senate Republicans wisely tied a lowering of the first-class threshold to 60,000 students to a preservation of a law that opens Detroit for more charter schools once enrollment falls below 100,000.

So Detroit keeps its special funding, which we hope it will use to rapidly address a dropout rate that may be as high as 75 percent. And parents who are tired of waiting for the Detroit Public Schools turnaround will have more options.

Some GOP senators wanted more in exchange for preserving the first-class status, including a much-needed state audit of the district's finances.

With the district facing a $400 million deficit -- roughly one-third of its total budget -- a careful accounting of how it is using its money would seem to be in order.

"That's a fairly significant gift for the district of Detroit for which we get nothing in return," Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, Senate Education Committee chairman, said after he voted no on the plan. "We get no deficit reduction plan, no power to audit the district."

But in truth, the introduction of more high-quality charters is the best education reform Detroit parents could ask for from the Legislature. It will force Detroit school district to either fix itself or wither away.

Parents who have an alternative will not keep their children in failing schools. This is, in effect, a last chance for Detroit to get it right.

And some opportunities for reform remain. The Senate allotted $15 million to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's small school initiative -- about half of what she requested. The money will be used to spur and reward the creation of smaller high schools with site-based management, giving principals the power to hire and fire teachers.

By demanding such practices from schools, which will compete for up to $3 million per grant, Granholm's venture fund may serve as a catalyst for improving teacher quality in areas with high dropout rates.

And the governor promises to spend as much as one-third of the money on the best charter schools -- spurring all schools to compete harder and innovate to better serve their students.

The Senate deal maintains an opportunity for Detroit Public Schools to turn itself around. And it also frees parents and children from the long wait for better schools.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Shades of Things to Come (By DESIGN)



School aid plan gets Senate approval

Funding increase not enough, some say


LANSING -- The state Senate approved a school budget compromise Thursday that would give school districts an additional $56 to $122 per pupil and set aside $15 million for districts to create new, smaller high schools aimed at reducing dropout rates.

The House is expected to take action on the school budget when it returns to session Wednesday. The $13.4-billion school aid plan would be the last large piece of the 2008-09 budget to be enacted. Lawmakers finished most of the rest of the budget before they broke for summer recess two weeks ago.

But some school officials say that although they're pleased to see an increase, it won't come close to covering their rising costs.

"Our fuel costs went up 42%, our health care costs are increasing about 10% and our retirement costs continue to go up. Those are double-digit increases," said Betsy Erikson, spokeswoman for Bloomfield Hills Schools, which would see an increase in state funding of less than 1%.

Richard Repicky, superintendent at Fraser Public Schools, said this will be the seventh year in a row the district will have received a state increase of about 1%.

"If it was one year at 1%, we'd be fine. But seven years in a row at 1% is killing school districts."

The $15 million for smaller high schools is less than half of the $32 million Gov. Jennifer Granholm had requested. The fund would give out $3 million in direct start-up grants to some districts with high dropout rates, rather than pay off bonds to build the revamped high schools.

Senate Republicans, who hold a majority, held fast against selling more state bonds for the school plan, which Granholm had proposed.

The basic grant to all schools would increase depending on how much each district now receives; lower-spending districts would receive larger increases. The increases are about half of what Granholm originally proposed because state revenues have come in less than expected since January.

The conference committee agreement also would add $10 million to early childhood education programs.

Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks, chairman of the House-Senate conference, predicted most of the increase will pay for school districts' increased costs for heating and gasoline for buses.

Robert LeFevre, lobbyist for the Macomb Intermediate School District, said he doubts the state will have the money to pay for the proposed increases by the end of the year because of a still-faltering economy.

"We've told our districts to budget as low as possible," LeFevre said. "It's very uncertain what the numbers will be."

The budget deal also calls for a change in the definition of what constitutes a first-class school district, although the impact of the change was not immediately clear.

Currently, only a district with 100,000 pupils or more qualifies as a first-class district. Only Detroit meets that threshold, which gives it some financial protections and also prevents community colleges from sponsoring charter schools in its boundaries.

The funding bill eliminates a long-standing provision that prohibits other school districts from establishing their own schools or programs within the City of Detroit without the Detroit school board's permission. That would not apply to charter schools, however, which are governed by a separate law. But the district is expected to fall below 100,000 students this fall, and the state school aid bill would drop the minimum enrollment to 60,000 for a first-class district.

However, the definition of a first-class school district also is in the school code, and that may need to be amended to make the change effective, according to district spokesman Steve Wasko.

"We certainly feel it was an appropriate move from the Senate," Wasko said.

Contact CHRIS CHRISTOFF at 517-372-8660 or

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Drop-Out Interventions


Preschool prevents dropouts

BY BRIAN MACKIE • July 16, 2008

When high school students do not graduate on schedule, or drop out, they lose, and we all lose. When children get a "Great Start," we all win.

As they reconvene today in Lansing to complete work on budget bills, state legislators can make sure we are all winners by including funds for proven dropout-prevention programs in the school aid bill.

Law enforcement leaders want kids to stay in school, because we know firsthand and through research that high school graduates are less likely to turn to crime. Dropouts are 3 1/2 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times as likely to be in jail or prison.

Across the country, 68% of state prison inmates did not receive a high school diploma. According to researchers, a 10% increase in graduation rates reduces murder and assault rates by about 20%.

High-quality preschool is a proven dropout-prevention program. Evidence from several long-term evaluations of the effects of preschool shows that participating in high-quality preschool increases high school graduation rates by as much as 44%. Yet in Michigan, only two of every three eligible at-risk 4-year-old children have access to publicly funded preschool programs such as Great Start School Readiness and Head Start. The remaining third go unserved and are on long waiting lists due to inadequate funding.

Another proven dropout-prevention program proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in the education budget calls for smaller high schools. Such schools, with programs that work with students and their parents, have been proved in other states to be viable interventions to reduce dropout rates and keep students on track for graduation.

Michigan's dropout crisis not only threatens the public's safety but also damages the state economy. Dropouts earn less, pay fewer taxes, and are more likely to collect welfare and turn to crime. The economic losses over time will further erode our fragile economy.

Increased investments in effective programs such as preschool and smaller high schools are needed now in Michigan to increase graduation rates and to save valuable tax dollars in the long run to reinvest in other priorities. We cannot continue to build more prisons to solve the problem of crime. Getting at the front end of crime by nipping it in the bud with proven interventions that give children a "Great Start" are in everyone's best interest.

We know that preventing dropouts saves money and lives. We pay now or we pay much more later on. Let us take the responsible route today and pay the tab, rather than pass it on to future generations.

BRIAN MACKIE is the Washtenaw County prosecutor and statewide cochairman of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan,, a nonprofit organization led by police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors. Write to him in care of the Free Press Editorial Page, 615 W. Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48226 or at

The AUTHENTICITY of the DIGITAL COMMONS (Informs OUR Understanding)


To me, "Personal Democracy" is an oxymoron. Democracy may be a lot of things, but the last thing it should be is "personal." I understand "personal responsibility," such as a family having a recycling bin in which they put their glass and metal every week. But even then, a single recycling bin for a whole building or block would be more efficient and appropriate.

Democracy is not personal, because if it's about anything, it's not about the individual. Democracy is about others. It's about transcending the self and acting collectively. Democracy is people, participating together to make the world a better place.

One of the essays in this conference's proceedings—the book "Rebooting Democracy"— remarks snarkily, "It's the network, stupid." That may go over well with all of us digital folks, but it's not true. It's not the network at all; it's the people. The network is the tool—the new medium that might help us get over the bias of our broadcasting technologies. All those technologies that keep us focused on ourselves as individuals, and away from our reality as a collective.

This focus on the individual, and its false equation with democracy, began back in the Renaissance. The Renaissance brought us wonderful innovations, such as perspective painting, scientific observation, and the printing press. But each of these innovations defined and celebrated individuality. Perspective painting celebrates the perspective of an individual on a scene. Scientific method showed how the real observations of an individual promote rational thought. The printing press gave individuals the opportunity to read, alone, and cogitate. Individuals formed perspectives, made observations, and formed opinions.

The individual we think of today was actually born in the Renaissance. The Vesuvian Man, Da Vinci's great drawing of a man in a perfect square and circle—independent and self-sufficient. This is the Renaissance ideal.

It was the birth of this thinking, individuated person that led to the ethos underlying the Enlightenment. Once we understood ourselves as individuals, we understood ourselves as having rights. The Rights of Man. A right to property. The right to personal freedom.

The Enlightenment—for all its greatness—was still oh, so personal in its conception. The reader alone in his study, contemplating how his vote matters. One man, one vote. We fight revolutions for our individual rights as we understood them. There were mass actions, but these were masses of individuals, fighting for their personal freedoms.

Ironically, with each leap towards individuality there was a corresponding increase in the power of central authorities. Remember, the Renaissance also brought us centralized currencies, chartered corporations, and nation states. As individuals become concerned with their personal plights, their former power as a collective moves to central authorities. Local currencies, investments, and civic institutions dissolve as self-interest increases. The authority associated with them moves to the center and away from all those voting people.

The media of the Renaissance—the printing press—is likewise terrific at myth-making. At branding. Its stories are told to individuals, either through books, or through broadcast media directed at each and every one of us. Its appeals are to self and self-interest.

Consider any commercial for blue jeans. Its target audience is not a confident person who already has a girlfriend. The commercial communicates, "wear these jeans, and you'll get to have sex." Who is the target for that message? An isolated, alienated person who does not have sex. The messaging targets the individual. If it's a mass medium, it targets many many individuals.

Movements, like myths and brands, depend on this quality of top-down, Renaissance-style media. They are not genuinely collective at all, in that there's no promotion of interaction between the people in them. Instead, all the individuals relate to the hero, ideal, or mythology at the top. Movements are abstract—they have to be. They hover above the group, directing all attention towards themselves.

As I listen to people talk here—well-meaning progressives, no doubt—I can't help but hear the romantic, almost desperate desire to become part of a movement. To become part of something famous, like the Obama campaign. Maybe even get a good K-street job out of the connections we make here. It's a fantasy perpetrated by the TV show West Wing. A myth that we want to be part of. But like any myth, it is a fantasy—and one almost entirely prefigured by Renaissance individualism.

The next renaissance (if there is one)—the phenomenon we're talking about or at least around here is not about the individual at all, but about the networked group. The possibility for collective action. The technologies we're using—the biases of these media—cede central authority to decentralized groups. Instead of moving power to the center, they tend to move power to the edges. Instead of creating value from the center—like a centrally issued currency—the network creates value from the periphery.

This means the way to participate is not simply to subscribe to an abstract, already-written myth, but to do real things. To take small actions in real ways. The glory is not in the belief system or the movement, but in the doing. It's not about getting someone elected, it's about removing the obstacles to real people doing what they need to to get the job done. That's the opportunity of the networked, open source era: to drop out of the myths and actually do.

Sadly, we tend to miss the great opportunities offered us by major shifts in media.

The first great renaissance in media, the invention of the alphabet, offered a tremendous leap for participatory democracy. Only priests could read and write hieroglyphs. The invention of the alphabet opened the possibility for people to read or even possibly write, themselves. In Torah myth, Moses goes off with his father-in-law to write the laws by which an enslaved people could now live. Instead of simply accepting legislation and government as a pre-existing condition—the God Pharaoh—people would develop and write down the law as they wanted it. Even the Torah is written in the form of a contract, and God creates the world with a word.

Access to language was to change a world of blind, enslaved rule followers into a civilization of literate people. (This is what is meant when God tells Abraham "you will be a nation of priests." It means they are to be a nation of people who transcend heiro-glyphs or "priestly-writing" to become literate.)

But this isn't what happened. People didn't read Torah—they listened as their leaders read it to them. Hearing was a step up from simply following, but the promise of the new medium had not been seized.

Likewise, the invention of the printing press did not lead to a civilization of writers—it developed a culture of readers. Gentlemen sat reading books, while the printing presses were accessed by those with the money or power to use them. The people remained one step behind the technology. Broadcast radio and television are really just an extension of the printing press: expensive, one-to-many media that promote the mass distribution of the stories and ideas of a small elite.

Computers and networks finally offer us the ability to write. And we do write with them. Everyone is a blogger, now. Citizen bloggers and YouTubers who believe we have now embraced a new "personal" democracy. Personal, because we can sit safely at home with our laptops and type our way to freedom.

But writing is not the capability being offered us by these tools at all. The capability is programming—which almost none of us really know how to do. We simply use the programs that have been made for us, and enter our blog text in the appropriate box on the screen. Nothing against the strides made by citizen bloggers and journalists, but big deal. Let them eat blog.

At the very least on a metaphorical level, the opportunity here is not to write about politics or—more likely—comment on what someone else has said about politics. The opportunity, however, is to rewrite the very rules by which democracy is implemented. The opportunity of a renaissance in programming is to reconfigure the process through which democracy occurs.

If Obama is indeed elected—the first truly Internet-enabled candidate—we should take him at his word. He does not offer himself as the agent of change, but as an advocate of the change that could be enacted by people. It is not for government to create solar power, for example, but to get out of the way of all those people who are ready to implement solar power, themselves. Responding to the willingness of people to act, he can remove regulations developed on behalf of the oil industry to restrict its proliferation.

In an era when people have the ability to reprogram their reality, the job of leaders is to help facilitate this activity by tweaking legislation, or by supporting their efforts through better incentives or access to the necessary tools and capital. Change does not come from the top—but from the periphery. Not from a leader or a myth inspiring individuals to consent to it, but from people working to manifest it together.

Open Source Democracy—which I wrote about a decade ago—is not simply a way to get candidates elected to office. It is a collective reprogramming of the social software, a disengagement from the myths through which we abdicate responsibility, and a reclamation of our role as citizens who participate in the creation of the society in which we want to live.

This is not personal democracy at all, but a collective and participatory democracy where we finally accept our roles as the fully literate and engaged adults who can make this happen.

[Postscript: At the conference's closing ceremony Personal Democracy Forum founder Andrew Rasiej announced he would be changing the name of the conference to the Participatory Democracy Forum.]

Pontiac Schools THOUGHT-LEADERS "Meet and Greet"

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Meet and Greet" the New Interim Superintendent and School Board Turstees

Oakland Press

Pontiac schools' interim leader to meet with public


PONTIAC -- Residents will have the chance to meet new Interim Superintendent Linda Paramore and learn more about school plans for fall at two events next week.

A "Meet and Greet" is planned for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday where the public can meet Paramore and school board trustees. The event will be held at the Odell Nails Administration Building on Auburn Road, off northbound Woodward, with Paramore and the board of trustees.

On Tuesday, Paramore is holding a public forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the auditorium of Pontiac Central High School at 300 W. Huron to talk about what students and parents can expect in the fall with the new initiatives the board approved June 30.

The topics include the reconfiguration of elementary schools to include kindergarten through sixth grade in each of the 10 schools. Until now, only Rogers Elementary had a sixth grade and all other sixth-graders attended the middle schools.

This year, the three middle schools will be downsized to include only seventh- and eighth-graders.

The new preschool academy to open at Frost, with full- and part-time preparation for kindergarten as well as full- and part-time day care, will be another topic at the forum.

In addition, the advantages of the district's new centralized enrollment office will be described.

The one-stop shop for records will be installed at Whitmer Human Resource Center.

Applications for enrollment in any of Pontiac's schools will be on hand at the forum.

"We want to make sure all of the stakeholders are well informed and everyone is ready for the school year and ready to embrace these new initiatives," said Lisa Williams, former principal of Crofoot Elementary and newly appointed executive manager for instructional improvement.

"We think it is important that people have the information well in advance," said Williams, who noted Paramore has initiated the theme of "Pontiac Schools, Look Up!" for the coming school year.

In order to reach as may people as possible, the district has mailed fliers, initiated an automated phone system to notify parents, students, school personnel and community members, and publicized it on the Phoenix Center marquee.

Paramore plans to introduce the school board as well as new administrators on her team, including Williams; Felix Chow, the new interim deputy superintendent of business and auxiliary services; Anne Parker, interim manager for human resources; and Darryl Cosby, chief of security. Cosby plans to bring a public safety corps to high schools and middle schools beginning in the fall. The corps will have police authority to maintain a safe environment for learning.

In addition, a representative of the district's special education program will be there to answer questions about how changes will affect children with special needs.

"I just hope the community will come out and meet the superintendent and the board. We are looking forward to embracing a new year," Williams said.

Contact staff writer Diana Dillaber Murray at (248) 745-4638 or

Pontiac Schools NEW Interim Superintendent and Interim CFO

Oakland Press

New interim superintendent for Pontiac schools chosen at meeting

By JACQUELYN GUTC Of The Oakland Press

At a special meeting held Tuesday afternoon, the Pontiac Schools Board of Trustees named Linda Paramore as the district's new interim superintendent.

Paramore served as interim chief academic officer through Oakland Schools for the past year and has presented a new curriculum that will be implemented in the schools.

Paramore is a retired curriculum administrator from the Southfield school district.

"I'm just happy to serve," she said. "I'm pleased. It's a good place. I've been here for almost a year, it's easy to fall in love with Pontiac."

She said the district will begin a search for her replacement of her position as interim chief academic officer.

The board also announced that Calvin Cupidore, who has held the post of interim superintendent for the past year, has been reassigned to work on projects the board said were critical and urgent. His term as interim superintendent expired Monday.

Board Vice President Gill Garrett said the decision to change Cupidore's position came in regard to the district choosing to move in a different direction.

"He served well as the interim superintendent in that capacity," Garrett said. "With the new assignment that was given to him, those were some things that needed to move up. Those were some items that needed to have a total focus to them."

Cupidore's main focus will be the sale of surplus properties Garrett said.

"That was one of the things that was etched on last year's budget that didn't get accomplished and now it's etched in his budget to get accomplished," Garrett said.

In a written statement, the board said: "It is hoped that with full attention to this matter, the disposition of these properties will be completed in a short time."

Garrett said the district has six vacant properties it would like to sell.

Before taking over the interim superintendent job a year ago, Cupidore had been the chief financial officer of the district for almost two years.

At Tuesday's meeting, the board announced its decision to bring Felix Chow on board as interim superintendent of business and auxiliary support services, or chief financial officer.

Chow has worked as a consultant to Oakland Schools since ending his time as superintendent of Hamtramck Public Schools in December.

"I know there's a lot of work that needs to be done," Chow said. "It's challenging, but I'm ready for the challenges."

He said he hopes to help the district set realistic expectations for what it wants to accomplish.

"I'm looking forward to working with Dr. Chow. He's very knowledgeable," Paramore said. "And there are good people in this district who really want to see the district improve. As we build leadership in the district and build leadership capacity, then when we leave we'll be able to have people move right into the positions."

Both Chow and Paramore are set to stay for the entire 2008-2009 school year, if necessary.

In the board's statement, it said it chose to work with Oakland Schools to fill the temporary positions so when the district hires a permanent superintendent, that person can hire a team of their own.

The board planned to hire a new superintendent by Tuesday, but when one of two finalists dropped out in May, trustees started the search again.

Contact staff writer Jacquelyn Gutc at (248) 745-4687 or

Saturday, July 12, 2008

DRIVING US to Inevitable Digital Solutions

The New York Times

July 11, 2008

High Cost of Driving Ignites Online Classes Boom

NEWTOWN, Pa. — First, Ryan Gibbons bought a Hyundai so he would not have to drive his gas-guzzling Chevy Blazer to college classes here. When fuel prices kept rising, he cut expenses again, eliminating two campus visits a week by enrolling in an online version of one of his courses.

Like Mr. Gibbons, thousands of students nationwide, including many who were previously reluctant to study online, have suddenly decided to take one or more college classes over the Internet.

“Gas prices have pushed people over the edge,” said Georglyn Davidson, director of online learning at Bucks County Community College, where Mr. Gibbons studies, and where online enrollments are up 35 percent this summer over last year.

The vast majority of the nation’s 15 million college students — at least 79 percent — live off campus, and with gas prices above $4 a gallon, many are seeking to cut commuting costs by studying online. Colleges from Massachusetts and Florida to Texas to Oregon have reported significant online enrollment increases for summer sessions, with student numbers in some cases 50 percent or 100 percent higher than last year. Although some four-year institutions with large online programs — like the University of Massachusetts and Villanova — have experienced these increases, the greatest surges have been registered at two-year community colleges, where most students are commuters, many support families and few can absorb large new expenditures for fuel.

At Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass., for instance, online enrollments were up 114 percent this summer over last, and half the students queried cited gas costs or some other transportation obstacle as a reason for signing up to study over the Internet, said April Bellafiore, an assistant dean there.

“Online classes filled up immediately,” Ms. Bellafiore said. “It blew my mind.”

Enrollments in online classes expanded rapidly early in this decade, but growth slowed in 2006 to less than 10 percent, according to statistics compiled last year by researchers at Babson College in Massachusetts. Some recent increases reported by college officials in interviews were much larger, which they attributed to the rising cost of gasoline. Pricing policies for online courses vary by campus, but most classes cost as much as, or more than, traditional ones.

At Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., online enrollment rose to 2,726 this summer from 2,190 last year, a 24.5 percent increase. “That is a dramatic increase we can only attribute to gas prices,” said Jim Drake, Brevard’s president.

Dr. Drake and officials at several other colleges expressed concern that mounting fuel costs could force some students to drop out of college altogether, especially since only a fraction of courses at most colleges are offered online. Dr. Drake has put Brevard on a four-day week to help employees and students save gas.

David Gray, chief executive of UMass Online, the distance education program at the University of Massachusetts, said that at an educators’ conference this week in San Francisco, officials from scores of universities discussed how the energy crisis could affect higher education. “There was broad agreement that gas price increases will be a source of continued growth in online enrollments,” Mr. Gray said.

Once an incidental expense, fuel for commuting to campus now costs some students half of what they pay for tuition, in some cases more. Sergey Sosnovsky, who is pursuing pre-engineering studies at Bucks County Community College, paid $240 a month for gas during the spring semester, while his full-time tuition cost about $500 a month, he said. Other students here and in half a dozen other states told similar stories.

Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo., which enrolls residents on both sides of the Arkansas-Missouri border, had 52 percent more students sign up for Internet-based courses this summer than last, said Witt Salley, the college’s director of online teaching and learning.

One student taking online coursework for the first time is Kameron Miller, a 30-year-old working mother who lives in Buffalo, Mo., 40 miles north of Springfield. Her commute to classes in her 1998 Chevy Venture during the spring semester cost her at least $200 a month for gas, Ms. Miller said. This summer, she is taking courses in health, humanities and world music — all online.

“I don’t feel I get as much out of an online class as a campus course,” Ms. Miller said. “But I couldn’t afford any other decision.”

Among the four-year institutions reporting increased online enrollment, UMass Online, which enrolls students at its five Massachusetts campuses and worldwide, experienced 46 percent growth this summer over last among students at the university’s Dartmouth, Mass., campus. At Villanova University in Pennsylvania, enrollment in online, graduate, engineering, nursing and business courses has increased more than 40 percent this summer, said Robert Stokes, an assistant vice president there.

Waiting lists for Web-based courses have lengthened at some institutions. At the University of Colorado, Denver, for instance, 361 students are on the waiting list for online courses for the fall term, compared to 233 last year on the same date, said Bob Tolsma, an assistant vice chancellor.

In Tennessee, the six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers overseen by the Tennessee Board of Regents enrolled 9,000 students for online courses this summer, compared with about 7,000 last summer, a 29 percent increase, said Robbie K. Melton, an associate vice chancellor.

“We had to train more faculty and provide more online courses because students just couldn’t afford to drive to our campuses,” Dr. Melton said.

Sandra Jobe, a 46-year-old bookkeeper who is studying for a master’s degree in education at Tennessee State University, said she reduced the number of trips she had to make each week to the university’s Nashville campus to two from four by enrolling in an online course.

“The campus experience is good; I wouldn’t diminish that,” Ms. Jobe said. “But when you’re penny-pinching, online is a good alternative.”

South Texas College, which has five campuses in Hidalgo and Starr Counties in the Rio Grande Valley, saw a 35 percent increase in online enrollments this summer over last, said William Serrata, a vice president. Other years have seen summer increases of 10 percent to 15 percent, he said. “This really speaks to students’ not wanting to travel due to the gas prices,” Mr. Serrata said.

Elvira Ozuna, who is 37 and studying for an associate’s degree in occupational therapy, was driving four times a week, 50 miles round trip from her home to South Texas College’s campus in McAllen. But this summer she enrolled in two online courses, eliminating that commute.

Ms. Ozuna said she found online work more difficult than classroom study. “But I saved on the gasoline,” she said.

Distance education is no silver bullet that can alone solve the challenges posed for higher education by rising gasoline prices, officials warned.

For one thing, many students, especially in rural areas, lack the high-speed Internet connections on which online courses depend.

“The infrastructure doesn’t exist to give all rural students clear online access,” said Stephen G. Katsinas, a professor at the University of Alabama. “Rural America is where the digital divide is most dramatic.”

Furthermore, most colleges still offer only a fraction of their courses over the Internet. Bucks County Community College, for instance, will offer 414 credit courses during the fall term. Only 103 of those will be offered online, and another 48 as hybrid courses, that is, partly online but with some campus visits required. So most students will still need to come to campus.

Mr. Gibbons, who is 20, works days and aspires to be a writer. He said his online course, “Introduction to the Novel,” had been a good experience, especially the Web-based discussions of Jane Austen’s novels. (He likes posting comments by e-mail better than speaking in class.) He said he still preferred on-campus study, “but with the price of gas jumping up, I’ll probably be taking more courses online now.”

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Informs our 21st Century Understanding

Nets for students 2007


1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:

a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.

identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Communication and Collaboration

Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:


interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.

b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.

contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

3. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.

locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

process data and report results.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:


identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.

b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.

collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.


use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

5. Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:


advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.


exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.


demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.


exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:


understand and use technology systems.

b. select and use applications effectively and productively.
c. troubleshoot systems and applications.

transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

© 2007 International Society for Technology in Education. ISTE® is a registered trademark of the International Society for Technology in Education.

World rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system—without prior written permission from the publisher. Contact Permissions Editor, ISTE, 180 W. 8th Avenue, Suite 300
Eugene, OR 97401-2916 USA; fax: 1.541.302.3780; e-mail: or visit

Saturday, July 05, 2008

NSF GRANT: By Design / BEGIN with the END in MIND!

Creating the 21st-Century Classroom

Preparing today’s youth to succeed in the digital economy requires a new kind of teaching and learning. Skills such as global literacy, computer literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and innovation have become critical in today’s increasingly interconnected workforce and society--and technology is the catalyst for bringing these changes into the classroom.

In a 21st-century learning environment, all students are able to learn. Project-based learning allows students to acquire 21st-century skills in the context of real-world scenarios, and the integration of video and other media to support instruction links students with outside resources and enables teachers to address many learning styles at once. In fact, the 21st-century learning environment doesn’t just wait for teachable moments; it literally creates them at will.

At eSchool News, we’ve seen schools transforming through the use of technology to meet the needs of a new, tech-savvy generation of learners. Now, with the generous support of AVPartners, we’ve combed our archives to assemble our best content related to the creation of 21st-century classrooms. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to peruse these resources and learn how other educators are defining 21st-century learning as you strive to implement this vision of education in your own schools.

. --The Editors

eSchool News Articles

  • eSN Special Report: Visual Learning
    Wed, Jan 02, 2008 Primary Topic Channel: Video technologies
    These are special times for visual learning. Spurred by dramatic advances in digital technology, the use of video as an instructional tool is finally coming into its own as a mainstream feature of American education. [ Read More ]

  • Voters urge teaching of 21st-century skills
    Mon, Oct 15, 2007 Primary Topic Channel: Research
    Results of a new poll commissioned by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills shows the vast majority of U.S. voters believe students are ill-equipped to compete in the global learning environment, and that schools must incorporate 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication and self-direction, and computer and technology skills into the curriculum. But the upcoming presidential election, researchers say, presents a perfect opportunity to charter a new path to success for America's students. [ Read More ]

  • Public wants more tech in classrooms
    Wed, Aug 01, 2007 Primary Topic Channel: 21st Century skills
    Americans recognize the importance of technology in reforming the nation's schools and making them relevant for the 21st century, a new survey suggests--but they disagree on how schools should impart key 21st-century skills to their students. [ Read More ]

  • 21st-century school represents 'the will to change'
    Tue, May 01, 2007 Primary Topic Channel: Multimedia
    At the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering in Stamford, Connecticut, educators have turned a 40-year-old school building into a modern model for teaching and learning. And if it can be done here, school leaders say, it can be done anywhere. [ Read More ]

  • Creating a '21st-century school' for learning and working together
    Sun, Oct 01, 2006 Primary Topic Channel: 21st Century skills
    Like many school systems, Maryland's Charles County Public Schools had different tracks for high school students who were going on to college and those pursuing vocational training. This outdated model ultimately reduced the status of voc ed to a lower level than academic programs. James Richmond, our district superintendent, championed the idea of a 21st- century school that would bring vocational and academic students together in one facility. [ Read More ]

  • W.Va. focuses on 21st-century learning
    Thu, Apr 06, 2006 Primary Topic Channel: 21st Century skills
    As educators nationwide consider ways to address the need for 21st-century learning, West Virginia appears to be ahead of the curve and could serve as a model for other states to follow. [ Read More ]

  • 'Interactive teaching' engages learners
    Wed, May 11, 2005 Primary Topic Channel: Handheld technologies
    A wireless handheld technology similar to the remote control you use to control your television set is transforming large, impersonal college lecture courses into dynamic, interactive learning labs. Although initiated mostly in colleges, this style of instruction--dubbed "interactive teaching" by its proponents--has potential far beyond the lecture hall. [ Read More ]

  • Audio-visual technology a bright spot on college campuses
    Tue, Dec 06, 2005 Primary Topic Channel: Research,Multimedia
    At least half of the nation's higher-education classrooms will be equipped with digital projectors, control systems, audio or video conferencing equipment, or other audio-visual (AV) technology within the next five years, a new study projects. [ Read More ]

  • NC Gov. announces 21st Century Center
    Fri, Apr 22, 2005 Primary Topic Channel: School Administration ,21st Century skills
    Faced with the challenge of preparing today's students for success in anincreasingly global economy, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, April 21,announced the development of a first-of-its-kind Center for 21st CenturySkills. [ Read More ]

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

YAPO CLC Board of Director's Meeting Agenda 7-3-2008


an authorized Neighborhood Network Center

Meeting Agenda

July 3, 2008

26 Leanne Lane

Pontiac, MI 48340

(248) 338-7346/(248) 338-4771 (fax)

    1. Call to Order
    2. Roll Call
    3. Adoption of Agenda
    4. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes – June 4, 2008
    5. Executive Director’s Report
    6. Old Business
      1. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes - February 14, 2008
      1. Website
      2. NSF ITEST Grant

    1. Treasurer’s Report
      1. Corporate Book
      1. Budget
      2. Fundraisers
          1. Silent Auction
      1. Community Activities - Carnival

    1. New Business

    1. Announcements

    1. Adjourn