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After five long years, Jerry Hayes and his former students at Grayling (Mich.) Elementary School finally saw their work pay off.

In the spring of 1990, Mr. Hayes and his 4th graders decided on a class project based on reading they had done about messages sealed in bottles and tossed into the sea. In their bottle, they placed a dollar bill, a marble, and a note signed by 18 students asking anyone who found the bottle to respond.

On a trip to Cincinnati, Mr. Hayes launched the sealed bottle into the Ohio River. A week short of five years later, 15-year-old Steven Franks found the bottle in Blytheville, Ark.

Mr. Hayes said he was surprised that the bottle turned up, but added that two previous bottles with messages he had launched with the help of his daughter had also been found.

Mr. Hayes said last week his current students are preparing another bottle that he and his wife, Maureen, will launch on an upcoming trip to London.

The Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory has named Ethel Simon-McWilliams its executive director. She will take over from Robert R. Rath, who is retiring in August. The laboratory, based in Portland, Ore., is a nonprofit educational research-and-development institution serving schools and communities throughout the Northwest. ... Joseph A. Fernandez, a former New York City schools chancellor, has stepped down as the president of the Council of the Great City Schools. Mr. Fernandez, who had been the president of the Washington-based organization since 1993, is an education consultant in Winter Park, Fla. ... Thomas Sobol, the New York State commissioner of education, who announced his resignation earlier this year, will join the faculty of Teachers College, Columbia University, as a distinguished visiting professor. Mr. Sobol, who steps down as state chief this summer, hasbeen invited by the college to serve for a two-year, renewable term beginning in the fall.

Robert Jasna has been named the acting superintendent of the Milwaukee schools. Mr. Jasna, who is the system's deputy superintendent, will take over from Howard L. Fuller, who resigned last month over differences with the school board.

--Adrienne D. Coles

Vol. 14, Issue 33

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