La tecnología facilita la respuesta a los incendios forestales en California

Escuelas en todo el sur de California utilizaron sistemas de notificación masiva y otras formas de tecnología para enviar información y novedades a miles de padres de familia y estudiantes durante los devastadores incendios forestales que han causado un estimado de $US1 billón en daños, solo en el condado de San Diego.

Don Phillips, Superintendente del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Poway, el cual tiene 33,000 estudiantes y está ubicado en el norte del condado de San Diego, dijo que el uso del sistema Connect-ED, un sistema de notificación masiva producida por la empresa The NTI Group Inc., jugó un papel decisivo en la capacidad de enviar mensajes a estudiantes y padres de familia sobre las decisiones que fueron tomadas por el distrito en relación con los incendios.

Phillips habló con eSchool News el 24 de octubre mientras regresaba a su casa después de haber sido evacuado.

El dijo que el distrito había aprendido de las experiencias con incendios en el pasado que mantener informados al personal educativo, a estudiantes y a padres de familia es crítico durante tales emergencias. El distrito pudo usar su sistema Connect-ED para enviar varios mensajes por día cada vez que recibía nueva información.

El sistema del distrito tiene una lista estandarizada de contactos que contiene las direcciones electrónicas y los números de teléfono de los padres de familia, pero también incluye una lista de contactos para emergencias.

“[El sistema] llama a cada número de la lista. Nosotros pensamos que en algún momento dos tercios del distrito habían sido evacuados, y no podíamos confiar que esa gente tendría acceso al eMail o que podría recibir llamadas a los números de sus casas,” dijo Phillips. “La gran mayoría de estas personas tenía números de teléfonos celulares o números de contacto para sus amigos o parientes. La gente está haciendo conexiones, y [este sistema] llega casi al 100 por ciento de penetración [de esas redes sociales].”

La velocidad [del sistema], continuó Phillips, fue crítico en una situación como ésta, cuando los incendios estaban fuera de control y expandiéndose rápidamente.

“El domingo a las 9:20 de la noche decidimos cancelar las clases del lunes, y a las 10 de la noche todas nuestras familias ya habían recibido llamadas—eso significa poder alcanzar a 33,000 estudiantes y sus padres en un tiempo muy corto,” dijo él en referencia al domingo, 21 de octubre, cuando recién habían empezado los incendios. “La mayoría de los sistemas tradicionales llevarían cinco o seis horas, y un sistema [para un distrito] tan grande como el nuestro podría demorar hasta 10 o 12 horas para llamar a todas las familias.”

A medida que la crisis continuaba, Phillips añadió: “Ahora empezamos a darnos cuenta del sentimiento de pérdida y de trauma que nuestras familias están experimentando, y también queremos agradecer a todas las personas que han ofrecido ayuda de alguna forma; este sistema nos permite apoyar estos esfuerzos y mantener a las familias informadas. Anticipamos que un gran número de nuestras familias habrán perdido sus casas. No sabemos cuántas todavía, y los incendios siguen fuera de control, pero estimamos que fácilmente el número puede llegar a varias centenas.”

Cientos de maestros de San Diego trabajaron como voluntarios en el estadio Qualcomm como parte de un programa patrocinado por la Asociación de Educación de San Diego. Hicieron turnos de dos horas para ayudar a entretener a los evacuados más jóvenes con actividades como clases de tambor y juegos de palabras. Otros estudiantes se mantuvieron ocupados escribiendo y haciendo dibujos sobre sus experiencias.

La ciudad de San Diego movilizó alrededor de 12 autobuses escolares para el transporte de evacuados. A petición del gobierno municipal, los autobuses—incluyendo aquéllos que tenían equipos especiales para personas discapacitadas—fueron utilizados más que todo para trasladar residentes mayores a partes más seguras de la ciudad.

Al momento de publicación de este informe, el incendio no había causado daños a las escuelas o instalaciones escolares de la ciudad.

Para el cuarto día de la crisis, los incendios habían destruido 1,500 casas y forzaron la evacuación de por lo menos 500 mil habitantes—la evacuación más grande de la historia. Al menos 1,200 de las casas destruidas fueron del condado de San Diego.

“Obviamente, este va a ser un desastre que asciende por lo menos a US$1 billón,” Ron Lane, Director de Servicios de Emergencia del condado de San Diego, comentó durante una rueda de prensa.

El anuncio de la devastación en San Diego salió justo en el momento en que el Presidente Bush firmó una declaración calificando el incendio como un “desastre mayor” por haber quemado cerca de 410,000 acres o 640 millas cuadradas.

La declaración puso en marcha programas federales de recuperación de largo plazo para los gobiernos locales y estadales, familias, individuos, y ciertas organizaciones sin fines de lucro.

Miles de personas llenaron los refugios establecidos para la emergencia, donde muchas de ellas esperaban en agonía por saber si sus casas escaparon la destrucción.

“Llamé a mi casa y el contestador todavía funciona, así que sé que estamos bien,” dijo Fuli Du, residente de Rancho Bernardo, desde el estadio Qualcomm el 24 de octubre. “No sé cuándo voy a poder volver a mi casa, pero ya estoy listo.”

Vínculos:

Distrito Escolar Unificado de Poway

Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Diego

Connect-ED

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Votantes apoyan la enseñanza de habilidades para el siglo 21

Los resultados de una nueva encuesta dan otra indicación del creciente apoyo para la enseñanza de “habilidades para el siglo 21” en las escuelas estadounidenses. Según la encuesta, una abrumadora mayoría de votantes está de acuerdo en que las habilidades que los estudiantes necesitan para tener éxito en los trabajos de hoy son diferentes a las que eran necesarias hace 20 años.

La encuesta indica que los estadounidenses están sumamente preocupados porque los estudiantes en los Estados Unidos (EE UU) no están siendo provistos de las habilidades necesarias para competir en la nueva economía globalizada. El 88 por ciento de votantes dijo que las escuelas pueden, y deben, incorporar al currículo habilidades del siglo 21, tales como el pensamiento crítico y la resolución de problemas, comunicación y motivación, y habilidades de computación y tecnología. Además, el 66 por ciento de votantes dijo que los estudiantes requieren más que sólo enseñanza en lectura, escritura y matemáticas, siendo necesario que las escuelas incorporen un rango más amplio de habilidades.

La publicación de los resultados de esta encuesta ha coincidido con la campaña electoral para las elecciones del año 2008. Defensores de la tecnología educativa esperan que estos resultados puedan impulsar a los candidatos a reconocer la necesidad de instrucción en las habilidades del siglo 21.

La encuesta, que fue publicada el 10 de octubre, fue encargada por el Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).

Según los autores de la encuesta, Bill McInturff de Public Opinión Strategies y Geoff Garin de Peter D. Hart Research Associates, “los votantes no confían en que las escuelas estén haciendo lo necesario para asegurar que los estudiantes tengan las habilidades que necesitan para competir.”

“Entre 10 y 15 años atrás, la educación en los EE UU regresó a un enfoque sobre las materias básicas—las matemáticas, las ciencias y la lectura. Es probable que las cosas se hayan ido a un extremo. Esta encuesta demuestra un cambio en la actitud del país,” explicó Garin.

La encuesta, que fue administrada durante tres días en septiembre, solicitó las opiniones de 800 votantes registrados sobre el desempaño de las escuelas de sus hijos. El margen de error fue de más o menos 3.5 por ciento.

Según el informe, en respuesta a una pregunta sobre cómo calificarían las escuelas de su distrito escolar, el 53 por ciento de los votantes dio a su escuela una nota de “A” o “B.” Sin embargo, cuando los votantes tenían que calificar sus escuelas en comparación con las escuelas de países tales como China o India, las notas bajaron a “C” o “D.” Apenas el 13 por ciento de votantes estuvo de acuerdo enque los EE UU están haciendo un trabajo mejor en educación que otros países.

“Eso representa menos que uno de cada siete [votantes],” dijo Garin. “Es asombroso.”

McInturff dijo que la encuesta reveló que los votantes piensan que los estudiantes no están preparados para entrar al mercado laboral, que no tienen todas las habilidades necesarias para tener éxito en el mundo de hoy, y que no son suficientemente equilibrados en sus conocimientos. “Creen que los estudiantes deben tener más conocimiento de resolución de problemas, [necesitan] aprender diferentes idiomas, y [precisan] saber la historia cultural de varios países,” él dijo.

Las opiniones de los votantes son similares a las que fueron expresadas por empresarios en otra encuesta realizada el año pasado. En esa encuesta, también patrocinada por P21 en conjunto con el Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families y la Society for Human Resource Management, los empresarios dijeron que aunque las materias básicas siguen siendo una parte fundamental para la capacitación de cada empleado, las habilidades aplicadas—tales como trabajo en grupos, pensamiento crítico y comunicación—también son esenciales para tener éxito.

“Es importante notar,” dijo McInturff, “que las personas no quieren reemplazar las habilidades básicas, sólo quieren usarlas como una base.” Dos tercios de los votantes que participaron en la encuesta dijeron que las escuelas deben enseñar más que sólo lectura, matemáticas y escritura, y tres cuartos de ellos quieren por lo menos igual énfasis sobre las habilidades del siglo 21.

El 88 por ciento de los votantes estaba de acuerdo en que el pensamiento crítico y la resolución de problemas son habilidades importantes, pero apenas el 18 por ciento pensaba que las escuelas estaban haciendo un buen trabajo enseñándolas. El 77 por ciento de los votantes piensa que las destrezas de comunicación oral son importantes, mientras que tan sólo el 16 por ciento cree que su instrucción es adecuada. Finalmente, tres cuartos de los votantes dijeron que la ética y la responsabilidad social son habilidades importantes, pero sólo el 15 por ciento de ellos piensa que la manera como se incluyen éstas en la instrucción es buena.

¿Por qué hubo ese cambio de actitud comparado con hace 20 años? McInturff lo atribuye a [la existencia de] “una gran ansiedad económica que está justo debajo de la superficie.” Él cree que los estadounidenses están preocupados por los avances que China e India están haciendo en la educación y en el desarrollo de sus fuerzas laborales. “El hacer de la educación un tema importante permite empezar una discusión sobre cómo calmar nuestra ansiedad,” dijo él.

Vínculo:

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

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Wireless network mysteries solved

Atlanta, Georgia – November 2007. Mark Kaltman, president of Kaltman Creations LLC, has announced today the expansion of their line of RF Spectrum Analyzers. The expansion includes the addition of a new 2.4GHz RF Spectrum Analyzer software package and a 2.4GHz, 11 channel signal generator. Called the AirSleuth Pro and AirHorn (respectively), these products are designed for IT managers or MIS personnel that need to install, test, troubleshoot, analyze, and optimize wireless networks. Kaltman Creations claims that these products will take the mystery out of the RF side of Wi-Fi and WLAN.

Kaltman States, “Network managers often rely on “blind faith” when it comes to the set-up and performance of their wireless networks. The AirSleuth Pro and AirHorn are affordable solutions which take the mystery and guesswork out of the equation.”

The AirSleuth Pro allows the user to view Wi-Fi channels 1 through 11 individually or simultaneously with Peak, Average, and Raw trace modes. There are 10 powerful diagnostic modes including Traces, Spectrogram, Channel Time Course, Differential Channels, and Pie Charting. AirSleuth Pro also includes a real-time calculation of “Best Wi-Fi Channel” – i.e. the channel with the least interference. There is even a logging and playback recorder for extended monitoring.

Working independently or in conjunction with AirSleuth Pro is a new and innovative product called AirHorn. AirHorn is a stable & accurate 2.4GHz ISM band signal generator that can be selectively set to generate RF signals for any number of the 11 Wi-Fi channels. It has 3 transmission modes of Single Channel, Traverse all Channels, and Peak. AirHorn can be used to assist in antenna placement, RF shield effectiveness, wireless network stress testing, etc.

Kaltman continues, “Imagine being able to identify Wi-Fi RF dead spots or sources of interference. Or imagine being able to speed throughput, or being able to determine the ideal placement locations for remote antennas. Before the AirSleuth and AirHorn, the only way to obtain this kind of data and functionality required investments in expensive RF Spectrum Analyzers or the hiring of RF engineers.”

The AirSleuth Pro is sold as a software based (CD provided) application which includes a antenna, user’s guide and a frequently asked questions document. USB or PCMCIA versions are available for the same retail price of $395. AirHorn is also sold as a software based (CD provided) application at a retail price of $135. Kaltman Creations has also bundled the two together for a combined discount price of $499.

To facilitate the expansion of their RF product line, Kaltman Creations has also expanded their website presence to include detailed specification and product information. For more information, please visit their web site at www.RFanalyzer.net

Kaltman Creations LLC is dedicated to the design & development of new and unique products for the wireless, professional audio, IT & broadcast industries. With the introduction of the world’s first handheld motorized cable coiler; a unique new cable tie product; and low-cost RF spectrum analyzers, Kaltman Creations is setting the pace for innovative and highly unique product offerings. For additional information, contact Ray Esparolini at 678-714-2000 or visit: www.kaltmancreationsllc.com

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North Carolina secures USDLC’s online professional development for all teachers in the state

Under a recent agreement between North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the United Star Distance Learning Consortium, all 80,000 teachers in North Carolina will be able to choose from over 300 clock hours of online staff development available for renewal credit. Several North Carolina districts have already benefited from these programs.

Several North Carolina districts have already benefited from these programs. “We’re a small rural district. The nearest university campus is an hour drive from us so it’s not hard to see why cost-effective distance learning opportunities like USDLC are so important to our employees,” says Allen Lee, Instructional Technology Specialist, Tyrrell County School System, NC.

According to Ann McCormick, Media Supervisor for the Harnett County School District, USDLC’s Best Practices in School Library Media Programs, “has been one of the best staff development series that we have ever used in Harnett County.”

“I think this (Reading Readiness: Picture Books Enhance Reading Instruction, K-6 with Kathy Barclay) is a great learning opportunity for all new and experienced teachers. It also gives parents ideas of how they can become more involved in the learning process of their children,” says Jennifer Schoolfield, Huntersville, NC.

“Good step-by-step pointers (NCLB Achieving Success with At-Risk Students) on how to relevantly organize your classroom for differentiated learning. I enjoyed the video clips. Good examples of how to implement portfolio assessment, and I really liked how they sent the permanent portfolio to the next teacher,” comments Ann Spencer, Raleigh, NC. Ann also adds, “An exceptionally relevant topic (Teaching Students Right from Wrong in the Digital Age: A Technology Ethics Primer, 6-12 with Doug Johnson) —use of comparison between real and virtual ethical situations was great. Handouts are also excellent. The best features of this activity (Minipond Magic: Creating Aquatic Habitats and How to Use Them with Elizabeth Baird and Mike Dunn) were the step-by-step directions on how to put together a pond! – Then the identification of all of the things to look for there. I love the emphasis on the NC native species—I learned A LOT!”

North Carolina teachers have access to:

Books, Books, Books (14 clock hours K-5, 14 clock hours 6-12)

Keynote Addresses 1 (41 clock hours)

Keynote Addresses 2 (28 clock hours)

Literacy to Learn: Professional Development for 21st Century Educators

Elementary (30 clock hours)

Middle School / High School (30 clock hours)

Digital Literacy (30 clock hours)

Scientific Literacy (9 clock hours)

Best Practices in School Library Media Programs (streamed video) (20 clock hours)

Best Practices in School Library Media Programs (online modules)

(30 clock hours)

No Child Left Behind

Data-Driven Decision Making (15 clock hours)

Achieving Success with At-Risk Students (15 clock hours)

The Paraprofessional’s Guide to Achieving Excellence (15 clock hours)

Achieving Student Success in Reading Literacy (15 clock hours)

Achieving Student Success in Math Literacy (15 clock hours)

North Carolina teachers need to get prior approval from their local LEA central office or building level administrator to ensure the appropriateness of the courses in their personal professional development plans in order to receive renewal credit. All USDLC programs require the involvement of a locally assigned evaluator. Courses include an evaluation rubric to assist the evaluator in this role. Ten clock hours equate to one CEU. Fifteen CEUs are required every five years to renew teaching certificates.

LEA central office or building level administrators should contact Linda Walters, lwalters@dpi.state.nc.us, 1-919-807-3497 regarding username and password access for their teachers.

About USDLC

The United Star Distance Learning Consortium (USDLC) is a nonprofit multi-state educational consortium and winner of four highly competitive United States Department of Education Star Schools Grants. Committed to excellence in distance learning through blended technologies, USDLC’s mission is to ensure that all students and educators, regardless of circumstances or geographic location, have equitable access to high quality education opportunities. The consortium consists of the North Carolina and Illinois State Departments of Education; a university with an active preservice and inservice teacher education program – Western Illinois University (WIU); and an organization devoted to using blended technologies in instruction – the Center for the Application of Information Technologies (CAIT). Program providers include a statewide network of educators using the power of the Internet to improve K-12 education – LEARN NC; Oklahoma State University’s K-12 Distance Learning Academy with a long history of providing distance learning education; AMDG, Inc., a fully accredited academic institution with a complete career tech online high school diploma and a complete college prep online high school diploma; blendedschools.net, a not-for-profit consortium of Pennsylvania school districts that provides online K-12 courses for licensing; and eSpindle, a not-for-profit parent initiative, providing an online approach for the development of spelling and vocabulary skills for grades K-12. For information on USDLC and its programming, visit www.usdlc.org, or email: info@usdlc.org.

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SANAKO launches updated interactive learning software and new add-on modules

Updated SANAKO Study 500/1200 learning software solutions can now be used with an affordable, flexible licensing system that ensures that schools have exactly the resources they need for IT-based teaching. This flexible licensing system helps schools make the most of their IT infrastructure while avoiding expensive over-licensing.

The new Study software also offers easier and more efficient IT-based teaching, while the latest add-on Modules help teachers ensure that students are on top of their subject matter, and allow students to learn more effectively by continuing their drills outside of the classroom.

Flexible New Licensing System
SANAKO’s dynamic licensing method makes use of a flexible pool of common licenses, in which licenses are no longer tied to a certain tutor application. This allows a license user to reserve the learning application from the license pool only for the time application is being used. Once the user is finished with the application, the license will be returned to license pool to be for use by someone else.

This ingenious system allows Study licenses to be used more flexibly throughout the school – Sanako’s interactive learning software can then be used in any IT suite within the school, and no longer has to be reserved to specific locations. Schools can then make maximum use of all IT classrooms for interactive, cross-curricular teaching, thus maximizing their return on investment in progressive teaching methods. The system also allows schools to easily expand licenses as their needs grow.

New SANAKO Study Modules Add Punch to Learning Routines
SANAKO introduces the SANAKO Study Lite Recorder Module and SANAKO Study Poll Query, with the latter available for use with SANAKO Study 500 and 1200. The Study Lite Recorder Module is a stand-alone application that can also be used independently by students.

Study Lite Recorder Module is a two-track student recorder with specialized language learning features that supports independent student learning both on- and off-campus. The module provides learning continuity by supporting learning at home, and offers students more learning flexibility when installed across the school in open-access learning areas.

Study Poll Query Module allows teachers to run on-the-spot queries to determine student engagement. Students may also use the feedback feature to let teachers know if they are following the lesson or if they are having difficulty. This unique module provides teachers with a quick snapshot of student understanding of a given subject, allowing them to immediately correct mistakes and misconceptions. It helps support effective instruction and ultimately improves learning outcomes.

More information at www.sanako.com

SANAKO Corporation
SANAKO, formerly Tandberg Educational, is a learning technology company developing language teaching solutions, teaching and classroom management software, virtual learning and professional development solutions, as well as supplying customer services. We are the world leader in live language learning technology.

Today’s solutions include modern software, wireless and mobile systems that act as a catalyst for improving teaching outcomes by motivating learning.

Our sales network reaches customers all over the world and we’ve provided Tandberg Educational Quality to satisfied users in over 100 countries. We serve our customers through a network of resellers in 70 countries. Based in Finland, the company has sales offices in China, France, UAE, UK and US. SANAKO is a Microsoft® Certified Partner and Blackboard Building Blocks community member.

Blackboard, the Bb logo, Building Blocks, the Building Blocks logo, Blackboard Developers Network, and the Blackboard Learning System are trademarks/registered trademarks of Blackboard Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Usage by permission.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

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Writing program offers teachers free writing and publishing tools

Writing Matters, (www.writingmatters.org), a new writing program geared to grades is now offering free, safe web publishing tools for English Language Arts Teachers who want to turn their writing classrooms into vibrant publishing communities.

Offering a comprehensive set of writing units, Writing Matters spans the most commonly taught writing genres from memoirs to persuasive writing to poetry. Each writing unit includes a set of funny animations about key writing strategies as told by a cast of middle school students. Content was provided by national writing experts including authors such as Georgia Heard and Dr. Heather Lattimer.

Writing Matters was created by Teaching Matters, a non profit organization dedicated to improving learning through innovative technology. The free publishing tools are being underwritten with generous support from the New York Community Trust and CitiFoundation.

To sign up your classroom for this free publishing tool and join a growing community of online writers, sign up here (http://www.writingmatters.org/user/register) for a free account and online tutorial.

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Samsung Optical Drive allows consumers to create DVDs quickly and easily

San Jose, CA — November 19, 2007 — Samsung Electronics Ltd., the worldwide digital consumer electronics and information technology leader, introduces a powerful new optical disc drive, TruDirect™ SE-S204S, which allows consumers to create DVDs and burn digital content through a PC without the need for a hard drive. The TruDirect SE-S204S provides easy and fast real-time recording from nearly any digital device.

With camcorder and digital camera sales skyrocketing, predicted to be nearly 100 million units sold in 2008, consumers can now conveniently create DVDs in record time. Similar to VCR recording, users can connect a digital device such as a camcorder, digital camera or Web cam to their PC or notebook, and then connect the Samsung TruDirect SE-S204S to the computer to burn DVD movies directly.

“As a global technology innovator, Samsung has always been at the forefront of optical disc drive technology and further pushes the technology envelope with the introduction of the new TruDirect SE-S204S,” said Richard Aguilera, western regional sales manager, Samsung Storage Division. “The TruDirect SE-S204S enables users to easily and efficiently turn their digital videos or photos into DVDs in the easiest and fastest way ever.”

Compared to using a hard disk drive, the TruDirect SE-S204S dramatically cuts down on the time it takes to create DVDs as no pre-mastering, multiplexing or hard-disk buffering is needed, enabling real-time, fast, and simple recording of personal videos, photos or data files onto DVD discs. Creating a DVD of a one-hour video stream only takes one hour and five minutes and to create a DVD from a one-hour hard disk drive camcorder file just takes 30 minutes.

In addition to DVD creation, the TruDirect SE-S204S features some of the fastest speeds of an optical disc drive on the market today. It features 20X DVD+R and DVD-R writing, 16X DVD+R Dual Layer writing, 12X DVD-R Dual Layer writing and 12X DVD-RAM writing.

The TruDirect SE-S204S is shipping nation wide with a street price of $159.99

About Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2006 parent company sales of US$63.4 billion and net income of US$8.5 billion. Employing approximately 138,000 people in 124 offices in 56 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, Telecommunication Network Business and Digital Appliance Business. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.

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Round Rock Independent School District chose Encore to manage programs for special populations

Towson, MD — November 20, 2007 — Round Rock Independent School district, second largest school district in Texas’ Region 13, located outside Austin, Texas, selected Spectrum School Solutions, Inc. to provide a comprehensive, Web-based solution for managing programs for special populations. Round Rock implemented Spectrum School Solutions’ Encore™ program to manage data and individualized education plans (IEPs) for students receiving special services or interventions.

“Our district’s goal is to move to a more technology driven philosophy, so,

with this new philosophy in sight, we researched computerized special education programs that would meet our district’s needs and leave behind our old way of completing ARDs (IEPs) by hand,” stated Round Rock ISD’s Director of Special Education Linda Noy. “We also wanted a system that would be easily accessible to our teachers and that would reduce the time they spent on paperwork and ARD (IEP) meetings while increasing their time in the classroom.”

Endorsed by the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE), and designed specifically for the K-12 education market, Encore serves districts with enrollments ranging from 300 to over 300,000 students. Founded in 1994, Spectrum K12 provides school districts with solutions designed to close the achievement gap for special education and at-risk students by more effectively managing the individualized learning process for all students receiving special services or interventions.

“With Encore, we decreased the number of data clerks we needed to assist with paperwork from 21.5 to 12. Now we do not need as many individuals spending their time checking for complete ARDs (IEPs) and searching for data,” stated Round Rock ISD’s Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Toni Garcia. “We were able to reallocate those staff into positions that can work directly with the students.”

“Being able to align to our state reporting system, PEIMS, was crucial in our selection of Encore. Encore allows us to track and manage student data in a very concise way,” exclaimed Noy. “We also want to make certain that our special education process is in compliance. Encore’s built-in compliance checks prompt the user when something isn’t compliant so it can be corrected. With Encore, we can also build prompts into the system to meet the way we conduct the special education process in our district.”

About Round Rock Independent School District

Round Rock ISD is located in southern Williamson County and northwest Travis County and includes the City of Round Rock and portions of the City of Austin and the City of Cedar Park. The area covers 110 square miles encompassing high tech manufacturing and urban retail centers, suburban neighborhoods, and farm and ranch land.

More than 39,000 students currently attend the district’s four high schools, eight middle schools, 27 elementary schools, and three alternative learning centers. During the past five years, the number of students has increased by nearly 21%, and the annual growth rate of approximately 3.5% is expected to continue.

About Spectrum K12 School Solutions

Spectrum K12 School Solutions Inc. is the leading provider of special education and Individualized Education Program (IEP) management software serving approximately 10% of the U.S. K-12 student population including 20 of the top 100 school districts in the United States. Spectrum K12 helps school districts close the achievement gap for special education and at-risk students through more effective management of the individualized learning process for all students receiving special services or interventions. Spectrum K12 works collaboratively with districts of all sizes to deliver scalable, easy-to-use software solutions that lift the administrative burden from education professionals so they can focus on the most important part of their work: educating children and improving student achievement. For more information visit http://www.spectrumK12.com.

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WiFi and autism: a quick debunking

From Ars Technica: On Nov. 21, as most people in the U.S. were focusing on the next day’s holiday festivities, Engadget picked up on a potentially unnerving press release entitled “Link Between Wireless Technology and Autism Unveiled in New Scientific Report.” Given the increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi use, a clear link between this technology and autism should give pause. But a closer examination of the press release raises enough red flags that the announcement should be viewed with extreme skepticism…

Click here for the full story

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Teen’s suicide spurs anti-cyberbullying law

From CIO Today: A Missouri town has passed a law to prevent cyber bullying in response to last year’s suicide of 13-year-old school girl Megan Meier after Meier received intentionally hurtful messages on MySpace. The new law passed for Megan is prompting awareness of the need for stronger state and federal laws to stop cyberbullying and online harassment…

Click here for the full story

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