Discovery Educator Network Launches Three New Blogs

Orlando, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2007)–Discovery Education´s Discovery Educator Network has launched three new educational technology weblogs. The blogs, Media Matters, Digital Passports and Digital Storytelling, are designed to share insights from leading educational technology experts on how to incorporate the latest digital assets in the classroom to help meet the challenges of teaching 21st century learners.

"These blogs reinforce Discovery Education´s commitment to providing educators with a global community to collaborate and share resources on integrating the latest technology into their classroom curriculum," said Coni Rechner, vice president, Discovery Educator Network. "We´re pleased that DEN has three passionate educational technology experts overseeing these blogs, ensuring that our educators will get the inside scoop on cutting-edge technologies and how they can make an impact on engaging today´s students in learning."

Media Matters (http://discoveryeducation.typepad.com/media_matters/) focuses on all things related to Digital Media and education and is hosted by Hall Davidson, who joined the Discovery Educator Network team in 2006 after serving as the Director of Education Television Services at a California PBS affiliate for 15 years. Hall has served as a technology advisor for software manufacturers, commercial and PBS broadcasters, organizations including the California School Library Association and Technology for Results in Elementary Education and taken part in numerous technology education task forces and committees.

Digital Passports (http://discoveryeducation.typepad.com/digital_passports/) features explorations into new and interesting online technologies that are used by today´s technology-savvy generation, including Web 2.0 websites. The blog is managed by Steve Dembo, who has worked as a kindergarten teacher and Director of Technology at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, Illinois, before joining Discovery Education in 2006. As the Online Community Manager for the Discovery Educator Network, he oversees the DEN virtual community, including a network of over 20 educational blogs. Steve´s personal blog, Teach42.com, is renowned in the EdTech community and his Teach42 podcast was one of the first educational podcasts, serving as the inspiration for many other educators to create their own shows.

Digital Storytelling is managed by Joe Brennan (http://discoveryeducation.typepad.com/digital_ storytelling/), an expert in digital storytelling who has over 30 years of classroom experience, the last 12 serving as the AV/Media Coordinator at Niles West High School in Illinois before retiring last June. Every week, Joe reviews resources, blogs and provides insight into the world of digital storytelling.

The Discovery Educator Network (www.discoveryeducatornetwork.com) is a global community of educators who are passionate about the power of digital media. The DEN website provides a forum for educators to exchange ideas, resources and best practices on integrating multimedia content in their classroom curricula. The network also provides professional development opportunities for users of Discovery Education products and services, including meetings and events, interactive online workshops, teaching tips, best practice videos and project demonstrations. Since its launch in the summer of 2005, more than 20,000 educators have become DEN members and 250,000 educators have been trained through the program.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is a division of Discovery Communications, the leading global real-world and knowledge-based media company. The leader in digital video-based learning, Discovery Education produces and distributes high-quality digital video content in easy-to-use formats, in all core-curricular subject areas. Discovery Education is committed to creating scientifically proven, standards-based digital resources for teachers, students, and parents that make a positive impact on student learning. Through strategic partnerships with public television stations across the country, its public service initiatives, products, and joint business ventures, Discovery Education helps educators around the world harness the power of broadband and media to connect their students to a world of learning. For more information, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

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FETC 2007 NEWS AT-A-GLANCE FROM EXCELSIOR SOFTWARE, INC.

Orlando, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2007)–Excelsior Software is committed to raising student achievement by providing parents and educators with instant access to student progress information, increasing teacher productivity, and improving home-to-school communication. Here are the latest steps Excelsior and its partners have taken toward attaining these goals:

Robert Marzano Identifies Assessment & Grading Practices That Work In New Book
Dr. Robert Marzano draws on more than 35 years of research to formulate expert advice on best practices for creating truly reliable assessments and implementing accurate grading methods. Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work, published by ASCD (December 2006), provides guidelines and steps for designing a comprehensive assessment program that ensures assessments and grades lead to timely, accurate feedback on standards-based learning goals. He discusses how improving and enhancing classroom formative assessments can greatly increase student achievement. In addition, Marzano highlights Excelsior´s Pinnacle Plus system as his recommended grading and assessment software solution largely due to the system´s alignment to the following characteristics:

– The software should allow teachers to establish multiple measurement topics of their own design and easy entry of scores for those topics
– The software should provide the most accurate representation of a student´s score on each measurement topic at the end of the grading period, and
– The software should provide graphs and tables of student´s scores. (Marzano 2006)

To order a copy, visit http://shop.ascd.org/productdisplay.cfm?productid=106006.
The Next Generation of Pinnacle Plus Coming in Summer 2007
As Excelsior celebrates its 20th birthday, the company is looking ahead to the next generation of its Pinnacle Plus system–Pinnacle Web–due for release this summer. Incorporating innovative, state-of-the-art technologies (AJAX, used to create Google Maps, et al) the new solution will be entirely web-based. This transformation to an online, zero-footprint model allows teachers and administrators the scalability and mobility that previous iterations and competitor options cannot provide, and eases the work of technical staff by providing fully centralized, SQL server functionality. In addition, hosting Pinnacle Web online gives districts a lower-cost alternative–the investment in multiple servers and hardware is reduced, which translates into less maintenance. Pinnacle Web´s state-of-the-art technology offers an intuitive, "smart" user interface, calling for minimal training. Look for more information to come this Spring.

Excelsior Software Products Named Finalists in the SIIA Codie Awards

Following two consecutive years of earning dual honors in the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Codie Awards, Excelsior Software has again been named a finalist in two categories. Pinnacle Plus has been recognized as a finalist in the "Best Course/Classroom Management Solution" category, and Pinnacle Education Solutions is named a finalist in the "Best K-12 Enterprise Solution" category. The newly introduced Pinnacle Education Solutions suite of applications offers educators practical tools designed to save teachers and IT staff time, keep parents and administrators informed, and raise student achievement. Both products were selected from more than 1,000 high-caliber nominees as one of the best in the software and information industry. Established in 1986, the Codie Awards remain the standard-bearer for celebrating outstanding achievement and vision in the software, digital content and education technology industries.

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Ark. House passes cyber-bullying measure

Arkansas News Bureau reports that the Arkansas House has passed legislation that requires school districts to discourage cyber-bullying. House Bill 1072 was introduced by Rep. Shirley Walters and would expand state law requiring districts to have policies in place to prevent bullying of students, including online bullying. Walters said she filed the bill in response to an incident in the Greenwood School District where two students were suspended for maintaining a web site that school officials argue contained threatening material. This bill would amend the current definition of “bullying” to include the language “by electronic act.” The bill also stipulates that bullying can occur both on and off of school grounds…

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‘Grammar Girl’ podcasts a huge success

CNN.com reports that Arizona technical writer Mignon Fogarty has turned the sometimes dull subject of grammar into a popular podcast. Fogarty’s program, “Grammar Girl’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing,” has been explaining since July 2006 the finer points of grammar and language usage. Fogarty says that she got the idea for the podcast during vacation. Sitting in a coffee shop editing technical documents, Fogarty discovered so many grammatical errors, that she realized her expertise in the subject would lend itself well to a short tip-based program. Currently, the show is the 47th most popular podcast on the iTunes music store. At one point, it had climbed as high as number two…

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Bush to Congress: Renew NCLB this year

President Bush wants to add elements to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that will ensure the competitiveness of American students by strengthening math and science education–but he also is making another run at giving poor students private school vouchers, a move a Congress controlled by Democrats appears ready to block.

The White House on Jan. 23 unveiled details of the president’s proposals for overhauling NCLB, which is up for renewal this year. Bush also briefly touched on NCLB in his State of the Union address, urging Congress to renew the education law this year.

After a great deal of buildup leading up to the State of the Union that it would focus heavily on domestic issues, only 203 of the speech’s 5,510 words dealt with education. Nearly half of Bush’s speech–some 2,500 words–focused on the war on terror, seeking to persuade the Democratic Congress to give his controversial strategy for Iraq a chance to work.

On NCLB, Bush said: “Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act–preserving local control, raising standards in public schools, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.”

Bush said the task before Congress now is “to build on this success–without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform.”

“We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools–and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better,” he said. “We must increase funds for students who struggle–and make sure these children get the special help they need. And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills.”

He concluded: “The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America’s children–and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law.”

The administration’s proposal calls for giving vouchers–called “promise scholarships” in the president’s parlance–to students in schools that persistently fail to meet progress goals set by the federal law.

“This is not for every kid in America. This is for those kids who are trapped in the absolute worst schools that just don’t seem to be capable, or willing, to make the changes necessary to serve those students well,” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan said before the president’s State of the Union address.

The administration tried to include such a measure in NCLB when it was first signed into law five years ago. Democrats, then in the minority party, blocked the effort.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who became chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education when Democrats took over Congress this year, said he would work to keep vouchers out of the education law.

“We need new and creative ideas for helping our schools to improve and our students to succeed. Instead, the president has proposed more of the same,” Kennedy said. “Once again, he proposes siphoning crucial resources from our public schools.”

Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who chairs the House committee overseeing education, called the voucher proposal unacceptable. “It didn’t pass muster when Republicans controlled the Congress, and it certainly won’t pass muster now that Democrats do,” Miller said.

NCLB seeks to ensure that all children can read and do math at grade level by 2014, which has placed unprecedented demands on schools. They have been required to step up testing, raise teacher quality, and place more attention on the achievements of minority children.

Besides promoting vouchers, the administration is calling for other changes to the law. One would require states to publish a report card showcasing how students do on state tests compared with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a rigorous national test. Such a move could put pressure on states to strengthen their assessments and standards.

The administration also wants to make tutoring more widely available, by ensuring that school districts notify parents of their options under the law. In addition, Bush wants to expand the Teacher Incentive Fund, which supports efforts to reward teachers who raise student achievement and work in needy schools; expand the Striving Readers program, which targets literacy instruction in grades 6-12; and increase funding for Title I in high schools, to ensure that more students graduate on time. According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, only about 70 percent of students graduate from high school on time–and only about half of minority students receive a high school diploma in four years.

To prepare students for success in the new global economy, Bush wants to incorporate the educational elements of his American Competitiveness Initiative–which he unveiled in last year’s State of the Union Address–into the reauthorization of NCLB.

The administration aims to increase the rigor of math and science classes by training more teachers and making Advanced Placement (AP) classes available to more students in these disciplines. Bush also wants to create an Adjunct Teacher Corps of talented professionals who will share their expertise in the classroom, and he wants Congress to enact the recommendations of the National Math Panel he formed last year.

In addition, states are required to add science testing in three grade levels by 2008, and the president wants the renewed education law to specify that all students will achieve proficiency in science by the 2019-20 school year.

The president’s proposals in the area of competitiveness are likely to get a much warmer reception on Capitol Hill than his call for vouchers. Shortly before Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address, House Democrats introduced a plan of their own to keep America competitive in the new global economy. The Democrats’ plan made improved education its centerpiece and called for incentives for students to pursue careers in science and technology (see story: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=5978).

Besides renewing NCLB, Bush urged lawmakers packed into the House chamber for his State of the Union address to send him legislation helping more Americans afford health insurance, reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and overhaul immigration laws.

Links:

White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov

State of the Union 2007
http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/index.html

“Building On Results: A Blueprint For Strengthening NCLB” (Bush’s proposals)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/education.html

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Student Performance and Creative Learning Programs Highlight FileMaker Pro Solutions at 2007 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/– FETC Conference — The role of FileMaker Pro database solutions in maximizing student performance and managing creative educational programs will be featured at the 2007 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), January 24-26, 2007, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL http://www.fetc.org/fetc2007/2007/general_info.cfm).
FileMaker, Inc. representatives will be showcasing FileMaker Pro K-12
solutions in Booth # 902.

On Friday, January 26, at 1:50-2:45 p.m., Bob Barboza, Resource
Specialist for the Paramount Unified School District, Paramount, CA, and Greg Walker, Data Solutions Administrator, Pinellas County Schools, Largo, FL will conduct "Kid´s Talk Radio: A High Motivational Math and Science Learning Program," a session about an educational program that gets kids excited about learning and at the same time helps schools to creatively meet AYP goals. Barboza will show how students build sound effects studios and radio stations to practice study skills, math, science, reading, and writing.

Also on Friday, January 26, at 1:50-2:45 p.m., Michael Perry, Adjunct
Business Professor, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University, GA, will conduct "Easy Rubrics + Rapid Grades + Clear Standards = Successful Performance," a session designed to teach how to automatically distribute rubrics and grades electronically. Participants will explore the advantages of electronic distribution of performance and assessment information and how to create FileMaker Pro databases that work with Mac, Windows, and Palm operating systems.

FileMaker database software helps schools in collecting, managing and reporting on student and administrative data. More than 10,000 K-12 schools use FileMaker in their data-driven decision-making processes to achieve greater operational efficiency, comply with federal and state reporting requirements, and track student performance. Recently, Technology & Learning magazine named FileMaker Pro a 2006 Legacy Award winner.

Educators can experience a 30-day free trial of FileMaker Pro 8.5, the award-winning database software, which includes the K-12 Education Starter Kit, featuring five education starter solutions, a K-12 resource guide, and a student assessment white paper. The trial can be downloaded at http://www.filemakertrial.com/k-12. Trial CDs will also be distributed in the FileMaker booth.

About FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker Pro is used by millions of individuals and workgroups around the world to be more productive and efficient. Business, education and government customers rely on FileMaker to manage people, projects, images, assets and other information. In addition to being the number one-selling easy-to-use database software, the award-winning FileMaker product line also includes low-cost Applications that automate basic business tasks, ready-to-use Starter Solutions, and tools to create and share solutions from the desktop to the web. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple Inc.

FileMaker is a trademark of FileMaker, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The speakers, schedules and events are subject to change without notice. The trial CDs and other products are only available while supplies last.

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Prosper From Pearson Assessments Honored as Finalist in Software & Information Industry Association´s 2007 Codie Awards

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Jan. 23, 2007 – Pearson Assessments today announced that the newest version of its Prosper assessment system is a finalist in the Software & Information Industry Association´s (SIIA) 22nd Annual Codie Awards. Prosper is recognized in the "Best Student Assessment Solution" category.

The Codie Awards recognize 72 categories of outstanding products and services. This year´s finalists represent an impressive array of technology and business excellence, passion and success. They were chosen from more than 1,200 nominations, submitted by more than 600 companies – breaking the record set in the 2006 awards.

The "Best Student Assessment Solution" category recognizes the best stand-alone, computer-based or online solution for high-stakes assessments/preparation for high-stakes tests at the K-12 or postsecondary levels.

"Educators use Prosper to develop classroom tests and then to analyze the results so they can tailor instruction to meet student learning needs," said John Harnett, president, Pearson Assessments. "We are honored to have this formative assessment system recognized by the information technology industry."

Launched in October 2006, the new capabilities in Prosper version 4 were developed based on feedback from educators using the assessment system and other experts. Prosper version 4 includes new reports that allow teachers and school administrators to quickly identify at-risk students and standards that require instructional intervention. New networking capabilities make the software easier to install, manage and share data throughout a school. Enhanced imaging capabilities allow educators to easily score performance items and compare them to objectives.

"The 2007 Codie finalists represent real winners even at this stage of the contest," said Ken Wasch, president, SIIA. "Competition is fiercer than ever, and that makes selection as a Codie finalist a real achievement. All the companies on this year´s list should feel justifiably proud of their recognition."

In the next step of the Codie Awards process, SIIA members will select winners in each category. The 2007 Codie Awards will be presented on April 17 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. For a complete list of the 2007 Codie Award finalists, visit www.siia.net/codies/2007/finalists.asp .
For more information about Prosper, visit www.PearsonAssessments.com/Prosper .
About Pearson Assessments

Pearson Assessments (www.PearsonAssessments.com ) provides assessment instruments and data capture tools and technologies for use in education, business and health care settings. Backed by a half century of knowledge and expertise, Pearson Assessments – integrating Pearson NCS and the assessment division of AGS Publishing with the original Pearson Assessments business – offers products and services to deliver the accurate, reliable and usable information that professionals seek. Pearson Assessments is a business of Pearson Education (www.pearsoned.com), the world´s largest integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. Pearson´s other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

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Bush to Congress: Renew NCLB this year

President Bush wants to add elements to the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that will ensure the competitiveness of American students by strengthening math and science education–but he also is making another run at giving poor students private school vouchers, a move a Congress controlled by Democrats appears ready to block.

The White House on Jan. 23 unveiled details of the president’s proposals for overhauling NCLB, which is up for renewal this year. Bush also briefly touched on NCLB in his State of the Union address, urging Congress to renew the education law this year.

After a great deal of buildup leading up to the State of the Union that it would focus heavily on domestic issues, only 203 of the speech’s 5,510 words dealt with education. Nearly half of Bush’s speech–some 2,500 words–focused on the war on terror, seeking to persuade the Democratic Congress to give his controversial strategy for Iraq a chance to work.

On NCLB, Bush said: “Five years ago, we rose above partisan differences to pass the No Child Left Behind Act–preserving local control, raising standards in public schools, and holding those schools accountable for results. And because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap.”

Bush said the task before Congress now is “to build on this success–without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform.”

“We can lift student achievement even higher by giving local leaders flexibility to turn around failing schools–and by giving families with children stuck in failing schools the right to choose something better,” he said. “We must increase funds for students who struggle–and make sure these children get the special help they need. And we can make sure our children are prepared for the jobs of the future, and our country is more competitive, by strengthening math and science skills.”

He concluded: “The No Child Left Behind Act has worked for America’s children–and I ask Congress to reauthorize this good law.”

The administration’s proposal calls for giving vouchers–called “promise scholarships” in the president’s parlance–to students in schools that persistently fail to meet progress goals set by the federal law.

“This is not for every kid in America. This is for those kids who are trapped in the absolute worst schools that just don’t seem to be capable, or willing, to make the changes necessary to serve those students well,” White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan said before the president’s State of the Union address.

The administration tried to include such a measure in NCLB when it was first signed into law five years ago. Democrats, then in the minority party, blocked the effort.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who became chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education when Democrats took over Congress this year, said he would work to keep vouchers out of the education law.

“We need new and creative ideas for helping our schools to improve and our students to succeed. Instead, the president has proposed more of the same,” Kennedy said. “Once again, he proposes siphoning crucial resources from our public schools.”

Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat who chairs the House committee overseeing education, called the voucher proposal unacceptable. “It didn’t pass muster when Republicans controlled the Congress, and it certainly won’t pass muster now that Democrats do,” Miller said.

NCLB seeks to ensure that all children can read and do math at grade level by 2014, which has placed unprecedented demands on schools. They have been required to step up testing, raise teacher quality, and place more attention on the achievements of minority children.

Besides promoting vouchers, the administration is calling for other changes to the law. One would require states to publish a report card showcasing how students do on state tests compared with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a rigorous national test. Such a move could put pressure on states to strengthen their assessments and standards.

The administration also wants to make tutoring more widely available, by ensuring that school districts notify parents of their options under the law. In addition, Bush wants to expand the Teacher Incentive Fund, which supports efforts to reward teachers who raise student achievement and work in needy schools; expand the Striving Readers program, which targets literacy instruction in grades 6-12; and increase funding for Title I in high schools, to ensure that more students graduate on time. According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, only about 70 percent of students graduate from high school on time–and only about half of minority students receive a high school diploma in four years.

To prepare students for success in the new global economy, Bush wants to incorporate the educational elements of his American Competitiveness Initiative–which he unveiled in last year’s State of the Union Address–into the reauthorization of NCLB.

The administration aims to increase the rigor of math and science classes by training more teachers and making Advanced Placement (AP) classes available to more students in these disciplines. Bush also wants to create an Adjunct Teacher Corps of talented professionals who will share their expertise in the classroom, and he wants Congress to enact the recommendations of the National Math Panel he formed last year.

In addition, states are required to add science testing in three grade levels by 2008, and the president wants the renewed education law to specify that all students will achieve proficiency in science by the 2019-20 school year.

The president’s proposals in the area of competitiveness are likely to get a much warmer reception on Capitol Hill than his call for vouchers. Shortly before Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address, House Democrats introduced a plan of their own to keep America competitive in the new global economy. The Democrats’ plan made improved education its centerpiece and called for incentives for students to pursue careers in science and technology (see story: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=5978).

Besides renewing NCLB, Bush urged lawmakers packed into the House chamber for his State of the Union address to send him legislation helping more Americans afford health insurance, reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and overhaul immigration laws.

Links:

White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov

State of the Union 2007
http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/index.html

“Building On Results: A Blueprint For Strengthening NCLB” (Bush’s proposals)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/education.html

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Pearson Digital Learning to Offer WriteToLearn With NovaNET Online Educational Courseware

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jan. 24, 2007 – Pearson Knowledge Technologies (PKT) announced today at the 2007 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) that Pearson Digital Learning will offer WriteToLearn as a complementary product to its NovaNET® courseware. Launched in January 2006, WriteToLearn is PKT´s Web-based learning tool that helps students develop writing and reading comprehension skills.

"We are excited to have Pearson Digital Learning distribute WriteToLearn," said Lynn Streeter, president, Pearson Knowledge Technologies. "As the only writing development product that gives students the immediate, targeted feedback necessary to develop reading comprehension and writing skills, WriteToLearn is the perfect accompaniment to Pearson Digital Learning´s innovative educational courseware."
With WriteToLearn, students practice essay writing and summarization skills, and their efforts are measured by Pearson´s state-of-the-art Knowledge Analysis Technologies" (KAT) engine, which automatically evaluates the meaning of text by examining whole passages. Students receive immediate, specific feedback on their work, and teachers easily monitor student efforts individually or as a class.

Pearson Digital Learning will sell WriteToLearn with NovaNET, a comprehensive, online courseware system designed for grades 6-12. From delivering thousands of hours of research- and standards-based, interactive curriculum to integrated assessment and student management, NovaNET allows schools to reach struggling students and recover lost credits, increase graduation rates and reduce dropout rates, challenge advanced students who want to move ahead and provide individualized learning at a distance.

"At Pearson Digital Learning, we are focused on providing innovative, research-based digital learning solutions that improve teaching and learning for students," said Bob Roliardi, president, Pearson Digital Learning. "Including WriteToLearn as a complement to NovaNET will offer schools an effective tool for helping students develop the reading comprehension and writing skills critical for academic success."

For more information, visit www.WriteToLearn.net or www.pearsondigital.com/novanet/wtl

About Pearson Knowledge Technologies

Pearson Knowledge Technologies is the developer of products and services based on a unique automated text analysis technology that evaluates the meaning of whole passages. The company´s Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine immediately measures writing and content in a way that simulates a skilled human grader and encourages better subject knowledge. Pearson Knowledge Technologies´ writing and reading skills products, such as WriteToLearn, Intelligent Essay Assessor and Summary Street, use the KAT engine to help improve writing, reading and comprehension skills as well as build content knowledge for education and other markets. For more information, visit www.PearsonKT.com

About Pearson Digital Learning

Working side by side with educators for over 40 years, Pearson Digital Learning is the leader in proven, comprehensive technologies for preK-12 education. The company´s mission is to provide the innovative, research-based digital learning solutions that elevate the art and science of teaching, and inspire children to reach their greatest potential. Reaching more than 20 million students annually, Pearson Digital Learning´s products include: the SuccessMaker Enterprise and NovaNET educational courseware; and the KnowledgeBox® digital learning system. Pearson Digital Learning is also the exclusive distributor for the Waterford Early Reading Program and Waterford Early Math & Science, adaptive computer-based instruction developed by the Waterford Institute. For more information, visit www.PearsonDigital.com .

Pearson Digital Learning and Pearson Knowledge Technologies are businesses of Pearson Education, the world´s largest integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. Pearson´s other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

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K12 Alerts® Tapped by Fairfield School District to Implement Advanced Parent Emergency Notification System

White Plains, NY – (January 24, 2007) – Fairfield Public Schools can now forget the days of time consuming phone chains and flyers sent home in backpacks. K12 Alerts® an innovator of web-based email, text to cellphone and telephone emergency messaging solutions for schools, today announced that they have implemented their high performance parent notification and data collection system for the Fairfield Public School District. Utilizing the K12 Alerts® platform, parents receive emergency and other important notifications by e-mail and text messaging to their cellphones about school closings, early dismissals, impending natural and man-made disasters, school calendar updates, budget information and any other important district news.

For Fairfield, K12 Alerts® offers real-time tracking to determine whether parents have opened an emergency notification. For parents, K12 Alerts® also provides a self-managed account system that lets parents maintain emergency contact information and children´s information online. By registering on the school district´s K12 Alerts® signup web site (https://www.k12alerts.com/fairfieldschools/), parents and staff can receive e-mail and text to cellphone notifications virtually in real-time. Individual opt-in email addresses and text to cellphone numbers are kept confidential and are not made available to organizations, businesses, or individuals. Parents can specify which schools and grades that their children attend and also specify which sports and clubs they would like to be notified about.

The ability to utilize low-cost e-mail in a fast, flexible manner to deliver high-quality communication pieces is a key feature of the program. K12 Alerts® has the capacity to send graphic-rich e-mail newsletters at a fraction of the cost of mailing printed materials — and is instantly able to track who opens it and when; making sure that parents and community residents are notified. K12 Alerts® contains features which include browser-based tools such as a graphical template builder (newsletters and alerts messaging), advanced K-12 list manager (contact databases by school and grade), query list builder and increased scalability.

According to Gregory Bender, president and CEO of K12 Alerts®, "School districts demand fast, reliable, effective and secure communication solutions that do not drain their internal resources and manpower . Our outsourced solution solves critical K-12 School District communication barriers in real-time, allowing parents and community members to receive critical and time sensitive information immediately. Schools can enjoy tremendous cost-savings utilizing our advanced parent notification system."
According to Dr. Ann Clark, Superintendent of Fairfield Public Schools, "Keeping parents informed and up-to-date with the latest information in our fast paced school community can be a challenge. The ability to send regular updates on district initiatives, emergencies and events to segmented mailing lists by school, grade or the entire district with a click of a button makes communicating with our parents significantly more efficient and effective than postal mail or phone chains; parents will enjoy the peace of mind."

"Our e-mail and text to cellphone technology platform creates cost-savings, efficiencies and real-time alerts we believe are imperative in today´s school environment after 9/11 and other news related events around the nation. We are committed to helping school districts such as Fairfield maximize their investment in technology infrastructure and lower operating costs," said Bender.

K12 Alerts® is located at 445 Hamilton Avenue, White Plains, New York and can be reached at 914.220.8326 or via their website at http://www.k12alerts.com.

About K12Alerts®

Message Logix, Inc. is the creator of K12 Alerts® a powerful e-mail, text to cellphone and telephone notification system, facilitates the fast delivery of e-mail, text to cellphone and telephone messaging notifications and student emergency data collection. K12 Alerts® is an emergency messaging and critical student information management platform for school districts that enables school officials to send real-time emergency messages to parents´ work and home e-mails, text to cellphones and telephones and gather information. Privately held, Message Logix, Inc. is headquartered in White Plains, NY. For more information, please visit http://www.k12alerts.com, or call (914) 220-8326.

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