X-Factor Student Achievement Awards 2007: a 300-word entry brings $30,000 to a K12 school district.
The program challenged public school educators to submit one or more 300-word descriptions of a creative "X-factor" idea that would raise student achievement in their districts.
Proposals could be targeted to student groups, classes or schools, as long as each was practical, did not take long to implement, was transferable to any size district and had measurable results. The grand-prize winner would receive $30,000 seed money to jump-start the initiative, and as Susan Koch, vice president of marketing at AutoSkill International put it, the program provided "a forum to share new ideas and the financial means to test the winning concept in a real-world classroom
Entries were submitted online with a deadline of June 30, 2007, and we were gratified by the number, quality and variety of proposals received from school districts throughout the United States. The many ideas included purchasing interactive whiteboards and portable readers, equipping mobile learning labs, hiring mentors and tutors, initiating classroom videoconferences, organizing field trips, providing career training, and implementing curriculum programs in almost every content area.
The proposals were judged by the entire editorial staff of DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION over a period of several weeks, and each idea was reviewed and discussed multiple times to narrow the field. In addition to editorial and educational experience, our seven editors also brought unique perspectives to the table, including Judy Hartnett's thoughts as a parent of a middle school daughter, Angela Pascopella's concern for disadvantaged students and "green environment" proposals, Zach Miners" interest in electronic media, and Ken Royal's admiration for a teacher whose love of books changed his life forever. But tough decisions had to be made, and after extensive negotiations, we unanimously chose the grand-prize winner, one runner-up, four finalists and 20 school entries for honorable mention.
We are pleased to announce that the winner of the $30,000 award for the 2007 X-Factor Student Achievement Awards is Lou Ann Miller, physical education teacher in the Mohawk School District in Pennsylvania, for "Fitness Buddies." Proposed in collaboration with reading/language arts and wellness teachers, the project explores the link between physical activity and academic achievement. In a new fitness center, students will use technologies such as Sportwall International and Dance Dance Revolution to deliver cardiovascular workouts in a game format. Participants will have fitness buddies from the high school wellness program to record data and keep individuals motivated, and fitness and academic achievement will be evaluated throughout the year.
Congratulations to Lou Ann Miller, the finalists and every participant in the X-Factor Student Achievement Awards. Creativity is alive and well in American schools!
--Odvard Egil Dyrli, Editor-in-Chief