SETDA Names New Executive Team
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA; http://www.setda.org) has announced that Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D. will lead SETDA after the resignation of Melinda George last week. Wolf will be responsible for leading the direction of the organization, including policy recommendations regarding No Child Left Behind (NCLB), development of membership professional development services, and sharing data about the Enhancing Education Through Technology grant program to federal policy-makers. She will also continue working with key partners to emphasize the role of educational technology in data and accountability, teacher quality, and student achievement. Sara Hall, who was SETDA's director of strategic relations, will take over for Wolf as SETDA's deputy executive director where she will further develop the organization's corporate partnership program, tools and resources, conferences, and partnerships.
For the full story, visit http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=113413
Cisco Makes $20 Million Commitment to Expand Hurricane Rebuilding Initiative Into Louisiana
Cisco Systems Inc. has revealed the expansion of the 21st Century Schools Program (21S) into Louisiana, representing the second phase of a $40 million initiative that was announced last October. Cisco is now investing the remaining $20 million 21S commitment over three years to help Louisiana with education rebuilding activities. This second phase of the 21S program—dubbed the Louisiana Education Initiative (LEI)—will help build a world-class education system in Louisiana, beginning with eight schools within the Jefferson Parish Public School System, reaching 5,200 students. Cisco's investment in the Louisiana Education Initiative will include technology solutions aimed at improving student outcomes and economic growth opportunities for specific schools and communities in Jefferson Parish. The technology provided will include highly secure broadband networks that foster better communication between schools, parents, local businesses, and the community. Additionally, Cisco intends to bring together a coalition of education and community leaders, as well as private and nonprofit organizations, to help extend the reach and impact of the program.
For the full story, visit http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2006/corp_031506.html
Texas School District Selects PLATO for Acceleration, Remediation, Credit Recovery
PLATO Learning Inc. has been awarded a $748,000 agreement with Ysleta Independent School District in Texas for acceleration, remediation, and credit recovery (ARC Program) in response to a district request for proposals. PLATO Learning will provide software and professional services to 11 high school, middle school, and alternative learning institutions in Ysleta ISD for three years. Middle and high school curricula in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies will be complemented with 19 days of professional development to guide successful implementation, help the district differentiate instruction to meet unique learner needs, and support program evaluation.
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Former Cleveland School District CEO Joins Harcourt School Publishers
Harcourt School Publishers recently announced the appointment of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the former CEO of the Cleveland Municipal School District, to the newly created position of superintendent in residency. In her new position, Byrd-Bennett will serve as a resource to superintendents and school boards nationwide. She will also act as liaison between school districts and Harcourt School Publishers to seek school district input in the development of new products and to arrange district participation in Harcourt School product evaluations.
Before coming to the Cleveland Municipal School District, Byrd-Bennett held two urban superintendencies in New York, where she also taught at the elementary and high school levels. She was the supervising superintendent for the Chancellor’s District, responsible for direct oversight of the lowest performing schools in the New York City Public Schools, where she was credited with dramatic improvements in student achievement. Prior to that, she was superintendent for the Crown Heights School District in Brooklyn, where she was credited with reestablishing order and instructional focus. Additionally, Byrd-Bennett has been an adjunct professor at several New York City colleges and universities.
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FTC Retains COPPA Rule Without Changes
Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its decision to retain, without changes, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule, which implements the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This was followed by the release of a federal register notice (online at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2006/03/P054505COPPARuleRetention.pdf) in which the commission presented its findings on why it retained the rule’s sliding scale approach to obtaining parental consent for the online collection of personal information from children, which takes into account how such information can be used.
Based on public comments and its own experience in implementing the rule, the FTC determined that the risk to children’s privacy from an operator collecting personal information for internal use only remains relatively low. The commission also determined that more secure technologies that might be used to obtain parental consent for information collection and internal operator use are not yet widely available at a reasonable cost. It further determined that the sliding scale approach has worked well, and that its continued use may foster the development of children’s online content. Based on this evaluation, the FTC decided to retain the sliding scale approach indefinitely while it continues to monitor technological developments.
For the full story, visit http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/03/coppa_frn.htm
Inspired Teacher Scholarships for Visual Learning Recognize 30 Educators in Seven Countries
Inspiration Software has recently announced the 30 educators from seven countries worldwide who will receive its 2006 Inspired Teacher Scholarships for Visual Learning. For the eighth year, this scholarship program supports professional development activities for educators in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities who champion the integration of visual learning and technology into their curriculum. And for the second year, the scholarship program also recognizes educators who are new to visual learning and demonstrate a desire and capacity to learn and apply visual learning techniques in their classrooms. Recipients are each awarded $750 scholarships that they can use for a wide range of professional development activities, including attendance at a conference, training event, or professional education course where visual learning is a key topic. For a full list of this year’s scholarship recipients, and information on the 2007 scholarship program, visit http://inspiration.com/companyinfo/pressreleases/index.cfm?fuseaction=view&ID=149