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January 24, 2012
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News for the Education Profession

ASCD Special Report: The Resourceful School (Part I)
Shrinking resources -- financial and otherwise -- present many challenges for schools and educators that are already under great pressure. Yet, despite these difficulties, some public K-12 schools are quite successfully embracing the "do more with less" attitude. This ASCD SmartBrief Special Report, "The Resourceful School," shares their stories.

Part I of this report examines strategies employed by schools and districts that are truly doing more with fewer resources and funds. It highlights how some are effectively leveraging technology -- in some cases, turning to Bring Your Own Technology programs -- while others are using paperless plans, shorter school weeks and "green" initiatives to achieve their goals.

Part II of the report, to be published Thursday, will focus on innovative leaders, as well as trends and triumphs that schools struggling to meet adequate yearly progress are experiencing.

We hope you find our special report on the resourcefulness of schools and their leaders helpful. If you don't receive ASCD SmartBrief daily, we urge you to sign up for our timely e-newsletter. ASCD SmartBrief delivers the stories making news in your profession directly to your inbox -- for free.

  At a Glance 
  • How schools are coping in the wake of the "Great Recession"?
    Many states plan to spend less on education this year than in 2011 -- a symptom of the country's economic downturn that has caused schools to cut back on services and, in some cases, raise class sizes or drop courses with lower enrollment. This article from ASCD's current Educational Leadership offers insights on how best to navigate these difficult times from four educational leaders: Michael A. Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University; Allan Odden, professor of educational leadership and policy analysis and co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Anthony Rolle, professor at the University of South Florida's College of Education and chairman of the college's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; and James W. Guthrie, senior fellow and director of education policy studies at the George W. Bush Institute. Educational Leadership (December 2011/January 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Download our free whitepaper on how understanding motivation is key to effective recognition programs.
  Best Practices 
  • Should districts adopt a four-day school week?
    A minimum of 292 school districts across the country -- up from an estimated 120 just two years ago -- have switched to a four-day school week to help cut costs and manage budgets, a new survey shows. Districts that adopt the practice often extend instruction during the remaining four days to ensure seat-time requirements are met. Some say, however, the schedule is hard on working families, who must find child care one day each week. The Washington Post (10/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Educators share ideas for cutting costs
    Several teachers and administrators in this article share ways in which they are doing more with fewer resources. Tami Brass, director of instructional technology at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in Minnesota, says she uses less expensive technology, such as replacing laptops with cheaper netbooks and tablets. Davonna Rickard, a principal in Pennsylvania, says her school went paperless to cut costs and eliminate waste. Educational Leadership (December 2011/January 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers fill a void by writing their own textbooks
    Some high-school teachers who can't find the teaching materials they need have written their own textbooks. A teacher in Utah wrote a book about sports psychology after finding there were none available for high-school students, and a teacher in Georgia encountered a similar problem when textbook manufacturers did not respond to a change in the state's math curriculum. A potential drawback is that teachers often can repeat in class what they've written in the textbook. U.S. News & World Report/High School Notes blog (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Download our free whitepaper for key insights on the importance of cocurricular activities in overall student development.
  Technology to the Rescue 
  • Tips for spending on school technology
    Doug Johnson, director of media and technology at Mankato Area Public Schools in Minnesota, offers 10 suggestions for wisely spending technology funds. Among his tips are to use effective budgeting techniques, buy in groups, use sustainable technology and ensure the technology matches the need. He also suggests using free software, adopting cloud computing, eliminating spending on obsolete technology and providing appropriate training. Educational Leadership (December 2011/January 2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers use digital content to customize textbooks
    Teachers can customize textbooks using available digital and open educational resources, writes journalist Audrey Watters. Having teachers help build digital textbooks allows them to deliver relevant instruction and align textbooks with lesson plans, Watters writes. She suggests resources to help teachers create their own texts. Watters' blog (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Students' own technology supplement school resources
    Students in a Kentucky school district are being encouraged to bring their own technology to school, says superintendent Keith Davis. He says the devices will help supplement resources the district cannot afford. "We are trying to buy devices for our classrooms when we can, but there’s just not enough money for us to buy one for every kid," he said. "If there's a student who has their own and wants to use it, well, then that frees up the school computer for someone who doesn't." The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Some Mo. students use their own technology in class: A high school in Kansas City, Mo., is filling in the gaps of its available technology by allowing students to bring their own devices to class. Under its new Bring Your Own Technology policy, students can bring iPads, smartphones, laptops and other devices to school. While some teachers say the policy puts more technology in the hands of students, others question whether students will become distracted and whether the policy is fair to disadvantaged students who may lack access. The Kansas City Star (Mo.) (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Free whitepaper: Differentiating Instruction
Download our free whitepaper exploring how tailored lessons can engage students at varying learning levels.
  Going Green 
  • School board in Miss. district reduces paper, spending
    A Mississippi school district is taking the paperless classroom model and applying it to its five-member school board. The board has ended its practice of reviewing paper notebooks and instead conducts its business using laptop computers. Officials say the model is more efficient and saves money. At a single meeting, officials say they saved about 1,000 pieces of paper -- at a cost of 1 cent per page. Madison County Herald (Canton, Miss.) (1/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Ky. districts cut fuel costs with hybrid buses
    Districts in Kentucky have a fleet of 160 hybrid school buses, which use a combination of diesel fuel and electricity to operate. The state is in the early stages of an experiment to determine if the buses could yield significant savings in fuel spending. In Jefferson County, which has 50 hybrid buses, officials expect to save at least $75,000 thanks to the hybrid buses' better gas mileage. WLEX-TV (Lexington, Ky.)/The Associated Press (1/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  ASCD Resources 

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