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SchoolhouseBeat, a Publication of American School & University
A Prism Business Media Property February 27, 2007 | Vol. VI No. 44
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What's News
Stats Corner
Construction Corner
Bonds & Levies
Coming Up


What's News

Little Rock desegregation case ends

  • A federal judge has released the Little Rock (Ark.) School District from decades of court monitoring of its desegregation efforts. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the judge's order declares that the 26,600-student district is "completely unitary in all aspects of its operations." In 1957, despite a U.S. Supreme Court desegregation order, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus tried to thwart black students from enrolling at Central High School, setting off one of the biggest crises of the civil-rights era.
  • A teacher at a Philadelphia high school is recovering from a broken neck after being assaulted in a hallway by two students when he took an iPod device from one of them during class. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Frank Burd, 60, was confronted in the hallway by a 17-year-old student who brought the iPod to an 11th-grade math class. A 15-year-old student joined the confrontation and either punched or helped to trip Burd, who hit his head against a locker. Burd suffered two broken bones in his neck and a gash to his head.
  • The last Catholic school in Northern New Hampshire will close its doors in June. The Manchester Union-Leader reports that enrollment at St. Michael School in Berlin, N.H., has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2000, and the decline was expected to continue. This year, it has 52 children in pre-school to grade 5. Berlin once had seven Catholic schools.
  • School planners in Wake County, N.C., say if they want to avoid year-round calendars for new elementary and middle schools, it will cost about $285 million in additional funding. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the district would need to build nine additional schools by 2010 to create more traditional-calendar options for families. The money would be in addition to the $970 million bond issue voters approved last year to combat Wake's climbing student enrollment. Opponents of mandatory year-round schools say they plan to sue the district over its plans to convert 22 schools to a year-round schedule.
  • Want more of the latest news in education? Click here.

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    Stats Corner

    Don't crowd me

  • 15: Percentage of public school principals who in 2005 described their school as overcrowded.
    • 78: Percentage of principals with overcrowded schools who said they were using portable classrooms to deal with crowding.
    • 53: Percentage of principals with overcrowded schools who said they were converting non-classroom space to classrooms to deal with crowding.
    • 44: Percentage of principals with overcrowded schools who said they were increasing class size to deal with crowding.

    Source: National Center for Education Statistics, "Public School Principals Report on Their School Facilities: Fall 2005"

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    Enter Your Projects in the 2007 Educational Interiors Showcase

    American School & University is now accepting entries for the 17th Annual Educational Interiors Showcase. Entry deadline for this competition honoring educational interiors excellence is March 5. Portfolios are due April 4.

    Click here for the official 2007 Educational Interiors Showcase Call For Entries.

    • Showcase your outstanding projects in the August 2007 Educational Interiors Showcase issue.
    • Unmatched national recognition for you and your project.
    • All photographs and entry materials can be sent as digital files.
    • Your project is featured free on AS&U's newly remodeled site with a link directly to your project.

    Email Molly Roudebush or call her at (913) 967-1959 for more information about the Educational Interiors Showcase, including new options for 2007. Ask for a complimentary copy of the 2006 issue.


    Clean hands

    Last week, we asked what you thought about a proposal in the Illinois legislature that would legally require students in Chicago public schools to wash their hands before eating. Here is some of your feedback:
    • "It never ceases to amaze me that our legislators, with all the real problems we face, continue to look at these (matters) instead of debating real issues," says an administrator from Ohio. "This would be an impossible law to enforce, and what are the penalties? Get real, Illinois, and focus on some issues like adequate and fair school funding that you can do something about."
    • "Oh my goodness...isn't this just common sense?" says a reader from Texas. "Why does it have to be a law? What would the punishment for breaking this law be?"
    • "The schools do not need a law," says a reader from Illinois. "Educators as well as health-care providers are all in agreement on the benefits of hand washing. (Some) schools have a challenge keeping supplies such as towel and soap dispensers protected against vandals. Students can't wash hands if the dispenser for the soap is gone. Laws won't change that."

    This week, a Washington Post article says that many middle school students complain about their lockers being too small. Do you think middle and high schools should provide students with larger lockers?

    A. Yes. Students need more space to hold larger textbooks and more school materials, not to mention coats and other personal belongings.
    B. No. Students already bring too many non-essential items to school, and they do not need more excuses to visit their lockers during the school day.
    C. Other.

    What do you think?

    E-mail your answer and any other comments HERE and we'll publish them in next week's Schoolhouse Beat.

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    School of the Future Symposium Featured at TechEd

    An in-depth panel discussion of the School of the Future will be a featured part of TechEd 2007 in Ontario, Southern California. Panelists include Casey Green, The Campus Computing Project & Roz Chivis, Philadelphia School District, among others... MORE

    Register for TechEd 2007 online at

    Construction Corner

    Addition planned at elementary school in New York

  • The Schodack (N.Y.) Central School District is planning to build an addition to Castleton Elementary School. The Hillsdale Independent says that the district will demolish a section of the existing school, then construct an addition, which will have 24 larger classrooms, a new gym, library and cafeteria. The project also calls for a new playground, two tennis courts and a basketball court. The architect is Stieglitz Snyder Architecture.
  • The University of Hartford is scheduled to break ground in April on a new performing arts center. The University of Hartford Informer says that the project calls for renovating the former Thomas Cadillac Building so it can house the dance and theater division of the university's Hartt School. The center will also feature two performance studios with an audience capacity of 200 and 120 people. The center will be open to the public and will include a bank and coffee shop. The architects are Smith Edwards Architects and Howard Performance Architecture.
  • The Cherokee County (S.C.) school district is planning a $6.3 million addition at Blacksburg High School. The Gaffney Ledger says the two-story addition will house ninth-grade students and is being built on the former faculty parking lot adjacent to the school cafeteria. The project includes 12 regular classrooms, two physical science labs, special education classrooms and an addition to the band room. The architect is Southern Management Group.
  • Would you like to see your school construction project featured here? Send information via e-mail to Schoolhouse Beat.

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    Architects & School Facilities Planners Will Gather at School Building Expo, March 6-8, in West Palm Beach

    The nation's largest expo of school building products, and a conference co-sponsored by AIA, is March 6-8. AS&U is among the sponsors.

    Hundreds of architects and school facilities planners will attend the School Building Expo, March 6-8, in West Palm Beach, Florida. It includes over 150 exhibits. Expert sessions cover LEED for K-12, pitfalls in green construction, and designing spaces to teach science and technology. Jeff Lackney, Bob Kobet, and Mike Nicklas are among the presenters.

    Register at or call 800-746-9646.

    Bonds & Levies

    Wisconsin district wins funds for high school upgrade

  • The Greenfield (Wis.) school district has won approval of a $37.8 million bond proposal that will pay for renovation of the district's aging high school. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that the district needs to upgrade the 49-year-old facility to address inadequate mechanical, heating and electrical systems and to improve security and accessibility. District voters also approved a second $4.35 million proposal to build a new school auditorium. The district tried unsuccessfully in 2002 and 2003 to pass a bond issue that would have paid for a new high school.
  • Voters in the St. Francis (Minn.) Independent School District 15 have rejected a $19.89 million bond proposal.The Coon Rapids Herald says the vote was the fourth time residents had repudiated a request for funds to build an 800-student elementary school. Without the new building, the district has to rely on 30 portable classrooms. The district also may explore year-round calendars as a way of alleviating elementary school crowding.
  • The College Station (Texas) district has placed a $67.42 million bond proposal on the May 12 ballot. The Bryan College Station Eagle says the money would enable the district to build two elementary schools, renovate high school athletic facilities and make other repairs.
  • The South Kitsap (Wash.) district is asking voters to approve a $163.2 million bond proposal. The Kitsap Sun says if voters approve the March 13 mail-in ballot question, the district will be able to build a second high school, replace an aging elementary school, and repair and upgrade other facilities in the district.
  • For more news on school bonds and referendums, visit American School & University online.

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    Be a part of a comprehensive collection of data, facts, and statistics about the physical size and growth patterns of colleges and universities. Participate in the Society for College and University Planning's 2007 Campus Facilities Inventory (CFI) Survey. Only participants receive current datasets (2006 & 2007). Deadline: April 27, 2007. Learn more at:


    Upcoming events:

  • Feb. 28-March 2: National Association of Independent Schools, annual conference, Denver
  • March 1-4: American Association of School Administrators, 2007 National Conference on Education, New Orleans
  • March 6-8: National Roofing Contractors Association, 120th Annual Convention and Exhibit, Las Vegas.
  • March 15-17: International Technology Education Association, 69th annual conference, San Antonio
  • For more upcoming education-related events and conferences, visit our online calendar.

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    Coming Up

    In February's American School & University magazine:

    Weight rooms. Exercise bikes. Basketball hoops. A jogging track. Racquetball courts. That's what you'd expect to see at a recreation center on a college campus.
    But wait a minute--what's this? Jumbo flat-screen TVs lining the walls? Sushi bars? Coffee bistros? Whirlpools? Massages? Climbing walls? Multiple swimming pools? Water slides? Tanning parlors?
    Is this a college campus or a vacation resort? Colleges and universities hope the answer is some of both. Many schools have spent millions of dollars to create recreation spaces with lavish touches that are appealing enough to satisfy existing students and lure potential ones....

    Look for the entire article, "The Good Life," in February's American School & University magazine or on the web.

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