Web Site on K-12 Standards Efforts Lauded
It's a well-kept secret. But probably not for long.
One of the best World Wide Web sites on the K-12 standards movement has been created not by a Washington think tank or an Ivy League professor. Instead, it is the brainchild of a technology-savvy assistant superintendent in Putnam Valley, N.Y., a 1,500-student district with just two schools 40 miles north of New York City.
The Internet site, which has been on-line since last fall, includes links to the professional groups responsible for the voluntary subject-matter standards, such as the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Academy of Sciences, along with drafts of the standards themselves, collections of journal articles about standards, and relevant documents from the U.S. Department of Education and the Library of Congress, among others.
"It is one of the most comprehensive Web sites for academic standards that I know of," said Kirk Winters, an Education Department policy analyst. Mr. Winters even has Putnam Valley's standards home page "bookmarked" on his World Wide Web browser so he can access the information quickly.
"It is truly impressive for something so comprehensive to come out of a small school district," added Ron Dietel, the director of communications at the Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Testing at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The idea of setting up the standards site on the Putnam Valley district's home page evolved out of Assistant Superintendent Charles Hill's own interest in technology and the district's recent efforts to draft academic standards.
"I thought it would be a good idea to set up links, and as it grew, I began to realize that no one else was doing that," said Mr. Hill, a self-taught computer aficionado.
Classroom Connect magazine recognized the standards page as the "best Web site of the month" in February, and the district even received a personal thank-you letter from U.S. Undersecretary of Education Marshall S. Smith.
One reason for the kudos may be Mr. Hill's commitment to keeping the page up to date. "Over the furlough, I saw the Atlantic magazine piece that Paul Gagnon wrote on standards, and I thought, 'Gosh, I wish someone would put the article on-line,"' Mr. Winters said. "Then I turned to Charlie's page, and it's there waiting for me."
Putnam Valley's Developing Educational Standards World Wide Web site can be found at http://putwest.boces.org/Standards.html.