Virginia teachers searching for an inspiring lesson on constructing bar graphs, dissecting the Earth's layers, or even Edgar Allen Poe's prose can now plug into the World Wide Web for answers.
Roxane Gilmore, a classics professor and the wife of Republican Gov. James Gilmore III, has launched a Web site to help teachers across the state share information in an effort to prepare students to meet the state's new standards. The Standards of Learning require that, by 2004, students pass a series of tests in core subjects to earn a high school diploma.
"The first lady wanted to find a way for teachers to help each other, and it's particularly helpful in districts which don't have the resources to teach as well as they'd like to," said Lila Young, a spokeswoman for the governor.
The site--located at www.knowledge.state.va.us --has logged an average of 12,235 hits a day since it went on-line Oct. 19. Besides offering detailed lessons developed by teachers in dozens of subjects, the site features schedules of teachers' conferences and discussion groups.
Earlier this year, Gov. Zell Miller of Georgia launched a program in which new mothers in his state are sent home from the hospital with a classical-music recording to play for their babies.
But what about those infants who might not be able to hear the music? In addition to getting the tapes and compact discs, new parents will now receive a checklist to help them determine whether their child might be having hearing problem.
Prepared by the Deafness Research Foundation, an education and advocacy center in New York City, the checklist covers the first 36 months of life. For example, from birth to 3 months, parents should take note of whether their baby reacts to loud sounds and is awakened by loud voices and other sounds. At 6 to 10 months of age, babies should know common words, such as cup or shoe, and should respond to their names, a ringing telephone, and other voices.
Gov. Miller, a Democrat who is leaving office in January, has made early-childhood education a priority in his administration. He announced the hearing program at a press conference last week.
--Jessica Portner & Linda Jacobson
Vol. 18, Issue 12, Page 13