Educators focus on dropout prevention

As education leaders align their programs with the goals set forth by Education Secretary Arne Duncan under the Obama administration, a major point of emphasis is turning around underperforming schools and stemming the nation’s dropout rate.

The proposed 2010 federal budget has marked $50 million for dropout prevention work, and the federal stimulus package adds another $3.5 billion to help turn around low-performing schools. How this money is spent could be influenced by a new report from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) that investigates the links among students who are at risk for dropping out, their families, and the communities where they live.

With only 60 to 70 percent of students graduating from high school nationally, the report, called "Partners in Prevention: The Role of School Community Partnerships in Dropout Prevention," holds that schools will reach struggling students effectively only if educators implement comprehensive dropout prevention plans that include strong school-community partnerships.

Developing partnerships with a range of individuals and organizations in the community is a critical step in dropout prevention for schools of all sizes, said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn.

The report’s recommendations include:

• Promote community partnerships to encourage student retention.
• Develop a comprehensive student data system that can help identify potential dropouts.
• Deliver the needed training to schools and districts to help them foster effective partnerships and dropout prevention plans.
• Create multiple pathways to graduation.

States can use expanded learning opportunities (ELOs), such as after-school, summer learning, extended day, and extended year programs, to reduce student dropout rates, according to a new issue brief from the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). 
"Reducing Dropout Rates through Expanded Learning Opportunities" recommends that states identify likely dropouts early and provide targeted intervention through ELOs, increase access to ELOs for students at risk of dropping out, and establish statewide systems to ensure ELOs are effective and are tied to dropout-reduction goals.
Governors across the country are actively working to implement policies and practices to deal with the "alarming rate" at which students are dropping out of school, said NGA Center Director John Thomasian.

"This is a particularly important task during difficult economic times. The steps outlined in this issue brief supplement other strategic state efforts to curb student dropout by using extending learning opportunities to support academic rigor, boost student engagement, and provide students with supportive relationships that can lead to high graduation rates," Thomasian added.
The NGA Center also recently issued "Achieving Graduation for All: A Governor’s Guide to Dropout Prevention and Recovery," which provides a comprehensive action plan for states to curb dropout rates, help youth succeed, and strengthen state economies.

Despite a tough fiscal environment and strained school budgets, district leaders need to solve the dropout problem "by enacting policies that work toward 100 percent high school graduation," said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr., chair of the NGA’s Education, Early Childhood, and Workforce Committee.

Recommendations include promoting high school graduation for all, targeting youth who are at risk of dropping out, reengaging youth who have dropped out of school, and providing rigorous, relevant options for earning a high school diploma.

The report’s recommendations will be put into practice through the NGA Center’s State Strategies to Achieve Graduation for All initiative. States are eligible to apply for the year-long initiative, which will give grants and technical assistance to teams in up to six states to develop state policies and practices that lead to an increase in high school graduates.

A few states, including Louisiana, are highlighted in the report for their exemplary dropout prevention actions and policies.

Among the Louisiana efforts cited in the NGA report is the state’s inclusion of graduation measurement in its accountability program. The NGA study recommends that graduation rates should not just be included in state accountability systems, but that the measurements should be heavily weighted.

"Louisiana is a leading state in this area," the authors note, as evidenced by Louisiana’s Graduation Index, which rewards schools for both dropout prevention and recovery.

Since the state’s Graduation Index was implemented in 2007, the measurement accounts for 30 percent of the School Performance Score for Louisiana high schools. The remaining 70 percent comes from student scores on state assessments. Louisiana also penalizes schools for each student identified as a dropout. The aim is to encourage schools to reach out to those students who appear to be on the path to dropping out.

The study also indentifies Louisiana as being on the forefront of targeting at-risk youth and points to the state’s Dropout Early Warning System (DEWS), which flags students as at risk of dropping out. Here are some of the indicators that students are at risk: if students are absent 10 percent of the days they have been enrolled, if their current GPA is 1.00 or less, if their GPA has dropped by at least a half point, if they are over the typical age for their grade level.

In their recommendations, the report’s authors stress the need for states to rely on creative solutions to replace traditional programs that are proving ineffective. As an example, they again point to Louisiana, and specifically to the state’s Recovery School District (RSD), which has absorbed the state’s chronically low-performing schools.

"In Louisiana, this intensive support structure has helped drive student performance," said the report’s authors, referring to the fact that the annual graduation rate for RSD high school seniors rose from 39 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2008.

In response to the Obama administration’s heavy focus on dropout prevention, companies are issuing products to target the problem.

Pearson Education recently launched Prevent, a software program that aggregates student information data points to pinpoint which students are most likely to drop out of school.

Data include a student’s grade point average, discipline history, attendance, and grade level. The software includes an early warning system for educators and helps them determine how to prevent students from leaving school without a diploma most effectively.

According to current estimates, some 1.2 million students drop out of school each year–equivalent to 7,000 students a day. Figures from the National Center for Education Statistics show that nearly one in three ninth graders at public high schools do not earn a diploma in four years. Students who never receive a high school diploma earn some 80 percent less than their degree-earning peers and are more costly for state and local governments.

"When you look at the dropout problem, the country is bleeding. We are literally bleeding out these students," said Gary Hensley, founder of Prevent and director for student growth at Pearson.

Hensley said educators need to be aware of and support the effort to decrease student dropout rates, especially in today’s economy.

A typical school guidance counselor serves 479 students on average, and using Prevent will help educators recognize the dropout danger signs earlier, providing more individualized attention to these students, Hensley said.

Educators in California’s Anaheim Union School District have used Prevent for nearly two years. Using the product has allowed educators to identify students who might not be as obviously at risk for dropping out as other students, said Frederick Navarro, the district’s assistant superintendent.

"Before Prevent, educators would invest their time with obvious at-risk students and practice random acts of guidance with others. We can now make strategic decisions about how to save students from dropping out, and we can ensure that no students slip through the cracks," Navarro said.


Pearson Prevent

"Partners in Prevention: The Role of School Community Partnerships in Dropout Prevention"

"Achieving Graduation for All: A Governor’s Guide to Dropout Prevention and Recovery"

"Reducing Dropout Rates through Expanded Learning Opportunities"


Budget cuts threaten Missouri virtual school

Budget cuts could force Missouri’s statewide virtual school to close midway through the academic year, leaving students with half-earned credits scrambling to complete their education.

Some students, just a few credits shy of graduation, could wind up as high school dropouts. Others, struggling with cancer, could miss their only chance to earn a degree.

The school in question is the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program, which offers internet-based courses for everyone from kindergartners to high school seniors. The online public school began just three years ago and already has served a few thousand students.

About half the children are taking courses to supplement their education in traditional public or private school classrooms. For the other half, the online school is their only school.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced last week that he was halting state funding for the online school’s second semester as part of $204 million in budget cuts caused by declining state revenues. (See "Budget woes continue to plague education.")

The Democratic governor said students still could continue their courses if parents or local school districts paid the cost. But that’s a big "if," considering many schools and families already are financially strapped because of the recent recession.

"What the governor has done is basically kicked those kids out of their school and removed the opportunity for them to take those classes," said Brian Baker, a Cass County commissioner who wrote the virtual-schools law as a Republican state legislator in 2006.

Missouri was in the middle of the pack nationally when lawmakers voted to create the publicly funded online school. Now, 35 states have state-led virtual schools or online programs, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning.

In Missouri, demand for the online courses has exceeded the supply of money from the state.

The online school grew from a $5.2 million program with more than 2,000 students in the 2007-08 academic year to a $5.8 million program with about 2,500 students in its second year, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Because of budget troubles, lawmakers already had scaled back the virtual school this year to a $4.8 million program serving 1,600 kids who enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.

About 2,000 were turned away when the free slots filled up. A small percentage of them enrolled anyway after their parents or local school districts paid $325 per course, said Monica Beglau, executive director of the eMINTS National Center, a nonprofit business unit of the University of Missouri that runs the online school.

A majority of Missouri’s online students are in high school, and many need just a few course credits to graduate, Beglau said.

Because of the budget cuts, "we have kids right now who are saying, ‘If I can’t get the second semester, I’m going to just drop out and quit now,’ " Beglau said.

Other students are taking online courses at home because they are undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and crowded classrooms would pose a hazard for their weakened immune systems, Beglau said. Now their parents will have to make a choice–send their children to school and risk their health, or keep their children at home and deny their dreams of earning diplomas, she said.

"If I’m a parent with a sick kid, do you think I have a lot of expendable cash to pay tuition?" Beglau asked rhetorically, her voice cracking with emotion.

It might be equally unrealistic to expect local school districts to pay the bill for every student in their geographic area who wants to take an online course.

"Districts are obviously in very difficult financial times, and it may get worse before it gets better," said Brent Ghan, a spokesman for the Missouri School Boards Association. "It would be a challenge for most districts to take on additional expenditures at this time, though some might be willing to do it."

If neither parents nor school districts can afford it, Missouri’s online school might have to shut down in January, Beglau said. If so, the school’s 48 teachers and seven administrative and technical staff members could lose their jobs.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said the governor supports the online school but had to make tough choices to balance the state budget. The virtual school is funded with revenues from the Missouri Lottery, which now are projected to fall about $40 million short of the $290 million anticipated when the budget passed, he said.

"The realities of the budget are what’s driving this," Holste said.


Missouri Virtual Instruction Program

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon

International Association for K-12 Online Learning


Blackboard works on Google integration

Blackboard Inc. and Northwestern University have teamed up on a project to make the education version of Google Apps available to students using the Blackboard Learn platform with a single sign-on.

Developed by Northwestern’s information technology development team, the software that integrates Blackboard and Google Apps Education Edition has been released as open source and is available for other institutions to use or build on free of charge.

One of the first campuses to deploy Google Apps two years ago, Northwestern says it has seen a sharp rise in the number of students who use the web-based productivity tools every day. The integration of Google Apps with Blackboard’s learning management system will make users’ lives easier and more productive by offering access within the course environment, the university says–eliminating the need to log in separately to a Blackboard account to check grades or assignments.
This fall, more than 30 Northwestern faculty members and 1,000 students reportedly are using the software integration, which automatically enrolls individuals in courses as collaborators on Google’s documents, calendars, and spreadsheets. As a result, instructors now can leverage Google Apps to enhance their ability to give collaborative assignments, campus officials say, and students can more easily organize group meetings, interactions, and presentations.
"Google’s eMail and calendars have fast become the preferred way for our students to organize much of their academic and personal lives," said Mort Rahimi, vice president and chief technology officer for Northwestern University. "Connecting Google’s collaboration and communication tools with Blackboard services is a natural fit. It helps make the Blackboard environment more familiar and productive, and it brings together the innovative work of these two technology leaders for higher education."
"This integration has provided a perfect platform for class members to collaborate with one another and perform all of the tasks required to build a web site," said Geraldo Cadava, assistant professor of history at Northwestern, who is teaching a course that requires the creation of a collaborative, web-based encyclopedia. "Students in the class write entries, edit them, and continuously modify the site’s appearance and layout. They have truly taken ownership of the site and have demonstrated much excitement about this tool’s potential."

The integration of Google Apps and Blackboard’s software is made possible by technology that allows schools and others to create and share enhancements to the Blackboard learning environment. It joins more than 150 free or open-source "Blackboard Building Blocks" available to Blackboard users at the Open Source Community for Educational Learning Objects and Tools (OSCELOT) web site. OSCELOT is an independent volunteer community working to develop and share open-source solutions for education.



Google Apps Building Block

Blackboard Inc.

Google Apps Education Edition


Wondershare Disk Cleaner Released

Version, the competitive system utility gets on its stage
October 29, 2009 — Wondershare Corp., the one committed to developing the world top consumer software, announces the release of its new system utility Wondershare Disk Cleaner (Version on it home page. This is the third system utility to supplement the two previous ones, Wondershare Registry Optimizer and Privacy Protector.

“This is an important part in our products strategy. We are going to construct a full-range system utility product line,” said Steven, Wondershare chief engineer of System Utility Division. “And this, Disk Cleaner, is one excellent in this line. The easy operation enables you to make your disks clear in no time. It has a smart and powerful scan engine that identifies junk files precisely without omission or wrong deletion. Even old papa won’t make computer crash after using it.”


Key Features of Wondershare Disk Cleaner
Disk Cleaner
Junk Files Scan: The advanced scan engine locates junk files precisely and quickly and then removes them. Junk files refer to temporary Internet files, temporary Windows files, fragmentations, invalid programs and many more others. You can select which hard drive to clean, what type of files to clean—whether to include read-only files, system files, hidden files or 0-byte files, etc, and what kind of extensions to clean—add include and exclude types into filter, as well as exclude folders


Junk Files Review: When scan is finished, all junk files are listed. The cleaner will give details on files’ properties and let you open these files to check in case you have special use of them.


Disk Analyzer
The analyzer shows occupancy distributions for each local drive, giving you a numerical overview of distribution of files. According to the result of analysis, you are able to know what you are going to clean and your cleaning job will not be blindfold.


Simple but Effective Operation
Wondershare Disk Cleaner is an easy-to-use tool and will do all cleaning job by just a few mouse clicks.
1. Click Start Searching;
2. Click Start Clean.
Then the cleaning work on hard drives is done.


Pricing and Availability
The full version of Wondershare Disk Cleaner Copy is available for $19.95. Upgrade pricing is free of charge for life. For more information and get a free trial version, please visit Wondershare Disk Cleaner.


Wondershare Information
Established in 2003 and located in Shenzhen, Wondershare has extended its business worldwide. The company owns rich product lines, providing multimedia processing applications such as PPT to DVD, Video Converter; business tools such as DemoCreator, QuizCreator, Mobile software such as iPhone Transfer; system utilities such as Registry Optimizer and special utilities for Macintosh. The products and solutions are adopted and welcomed by world top companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Coca Cola, and IBM and so on.


Official Website:
Phone: +86-755-86117747 ext. 809 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 6pm GMT+8)
Fax: +86-755-86117737
Manager: Andrea


Sytropin HGH Spray

Good health and vigor aren’t just for the young. There are people in their 40s and 50s enjoying limitless energy and strong health. Athletes in their prime are experiencing sensational physical prowess.

What’s the secret, you wonder. And why aren’t you one of those people?

The clue lies in the human body itself, which produces the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH is responsible for tissue repair and cell regeneration in the body. As we grow older, the level of HGH declines.

In a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was revealed that users of HGH have less body fat and a greater amount of lean muscle mass. More and more people have discovered the benefits of HGH supplements. Sytropin HGH Spray, the leading HGH secretagogue without a prescription, is an advanced blend of HGH and L-Group amino acids known for their anti-aging effects.

Thousands of men and women are using ( Sytropin and are enjoying the pleasures of optimal health and physical strength. Some of the benefits of Sytropin are improved skin, healthier hair, greater cardiac output, better sleep, improved memory, stronger bones and an enhanced immune system. Clearly, the entire body benefits from the use of HGH as it gains in stamina and vigor.

Sytropin is Convenient

There are no needles. ( Sytropin comes in a spray at a fraction of the cost of prescription injections. Sytropin HGH Spray is highly recommended by it users because of its benefits. It is a true homeopathic HGH combining six potent Growth Factors and eight amino acid releasers in one oral spray. All this with a risk-free 90-Day Guarantee. If not totally satisfied, simply return for a refund.

Sytropin Superior Design

( Sytropin HGH Spray has all the benefits of a prescription hormone minus the annoying injections. When compared to pills, it is far more superior, as they are broken down in the stomach, where they lose some of their strength. Sytropin HGH Spray is different in that it is immediately absorbed through the lining of the mouth for full potency anti-aging effect.

Sytropin HGH Spray was developed to be safe, effective, easy to use and without side effects. People who have tried Sytropin HGH Spray have seen amazing results in a week. It’s the only HGH supplement so effective at delivering fast and lasting benefits.

All you have to do is try it. You’re health will never be the same.

For more information, please visit:  ( HGH Spray or contact us at


Vitamins for Hair Growth – Restore Hair Growth With Vitamins


 Vitamins for hair growth help supplement nutrients and minerals necessary for healthy, naturally growing hair. Temporary hair loss – “Diffuse” hair loss – is often the result of stress, medications, and hormonal changes – such as pregnancy or menopause, or lack of nutrition. Hair grows through cycles or phases.

The Anagen growth phase is often 3-4 years long. Diffuse hair loss is related to the interruption of this growth phase and either the hair falls out or stops growing. Unfortunately, similar to a plant that goes left unattended without water or fertilization, it slowly withers and dies.

Vitamins for hair growth ensure that the minerals, nutrients and nutrition necessary for healthy hair development and growth are maintained. Formulated especially with amino acids and minerals, supplements are not only good for your hair, but the side effect is stronger, faster growing nails and improved skin tone.

Vitamins – Nutrition for your Hair

Hair is built from proteins that require proper nourishment to maintain health and growth. As the hair moves through its cycle of growth, nutrients often determine the length of that growth phase and the general well being of the follicle – much the same as fertilizing and watering a plant greatly influences its size, yield and health. Without proper nutrition, growth phases of the hair – which are generally 3-4 years can and will be interrupted and shortened.

When the growth phase of a follicle is finished, it begins a resting phase of 2-3 months after which it falls out and a new bulb and root begin life anew.

Without proper nutrition, you can experience premature hair loss, elongated resting phase, and new hair growth can be slowed and new hair generation can be weak, brittle, fragile or slow growing. Proper hair care can help stimulate hair growth and restore natural growing hair.

Restoring healthy hair

Hair growth vitamins are formulated to target the needs of the hair. Amino acids, moisture and hydration and certain vitamins and minerals are needed for the healthiest hair possible given your genetic history – too bad we can’t change some of that!

Assuming vitamins will not alter our genetic make-up, we can conclude through studies, that they do help grow our hair healthier and faster. Many hair vitamins contain some of the following nutrients:

Vitamin B-12, Niacin, Manganese, Biotin, Zinc, Panthonenic Acid, Essential Amino Acids, Arginine ,Tyrosine ,Cystine Glutamic Acid .Lysine.

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ClassLink Chosen by NYC iSchool as its Virtual Desktop Solution

CLIFTON, NJ, November 2, 2009—ClassLink is pleased to announce that NYC iSchool has selected ClassLink’s award-winning LaunchPad as its virtual desktop solution. LaunchPad provides NYC iSchool teachers and students 24/7 anywhere access to their personalized desktop including all of their software and files. ClassLink, creator of multiple industry leading educational technology products, and the innovative NYC iSchool are excited to be partners in creating a new 21st century technology-enriched learning environment for NYC students.

“ClassLink LaunchPad is our solution to bridge the digital divide in our school. LaunchPad allows us to provide our students anytime anywhere access to our technology, and their data, without the expense of a one-to-one laptop program,” said Alisa Berger, Co-Principal, NYC iSchool. “Another benefit to using ClassLink solutions is the ease of maintenance. No longer do I need to provide maintenance to individual computers; all maintenance is done at our main server. Plus, the support we receive from ClassLink is wonderful.”

NYC iSchool is a model program developed through a special initiative from the NYC Chancellor’s office. It is a nurturing high school that offers a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum with a focus on interdisciplinary study of real-world problems, individualized learning, and on-line coursework. Technology is infused into and believed to be an important aspect of every content area and facilitates the individualized programming and on-line work. NYC iSchool selected ClassLink’s LaunchPad to both expand and enhance their students’ technology experience.
“NYC iSchool is all about transforming the way we educate students in the 21st century and I am very excited they selected ClassLink to be a partner in this mission” said Berj Akian, ClassLink CEO. “We have developed a strong working relationship that will ultimately benefit each student at NYC iSchool.” 
ClassLink has a proven record of delivering high quality technology solutions designed to meet the unique needs of the K-12 instructional setting. Engineered for students and teachers, ClassLink’s products are simple to use yet help raise student achievement by providing anytime anywhere learning access. In addition to a suite of software products, the company has a specialty in instructional technology professional development and 11 years of expertise in implementing virtualization solutions for schools.

About ClassLink
Founded in 1998, ClassLink’s mission is to empower educators to improve learning through innovative systems and services. ClassLink solutions provide administrators tracking and usage information to allow for informed decision making which lowers the overall cost of technology.

ClassLink LaunchPad™delivers 24/7 access to a school’s full array of instructional software resources from any computer in the school, community and from home. ClassLink Inquiryprovides administrators with comprehensive and customizable real-time software and hardware utilization reports. With an extreme commitment toward customer satisfaction, ClassLink continually partners with its customers. ClassLink ClassMateis the only student administration and curriculum management software designed for Career and Technical Education.
About NYC iSchool
Located in SoHo in lower Manhattan, NYC iSchool is a small, selective public school dedicated to equipping students with the skills necessary for success and leadership in the 21st century. It does so through the innovative use of technology to advance learning, combined with programs that bridge the divide between the high school experience and the real world. The student body is every bit as diverse as New York City itself, and the students share one thing in common- their readiness and desire to learn. To learn more about NYC iSchool visit
ClassLink—The future of instructional technology.

For more information,, call 888-963-7550 or


Anchorage School District and Milwaukee Public Schools Expand Use of MY Access! Online Writing Program


Press contact:                                                 Company contact:
Katie Nicolai                                                    John Zoccola
Gregory FCA                                                   Public Relations Manager
27 West Athens Avenue                                    Vantage Learning
Ardmore, Pa. 19003                                        267-756-1108
Main: 610-228-2128                              
Mobile: 610-731-1045                                                       
Ewing, NJ—October 29, 200911,000 and 4,000 additional students respectively in the Milwaukee Public Schools and Anchorage School District will soon be using a highly effective online learning program to advance their writing skills. The two districts have increased the number of students who will be using Vantage Learning’s MY Access! for their 2009/2010 school year. Teachers in both districts decided this expansion was warranted after seeing the positive feedback from students currently using the program, as well as the remarkable improvement in their writing proficiency.
            Currently in Milwaukee, 30,000 students in grades 4-8 are using MY Access! and with this expansion the total number will reach 41,000. The students seeing the additional rollout of MY Access! are in 11th and 12th grade and will have the opportunity to firmly improve their writing before graduating and post-graduation education. 
“Students thrive with feedback. Teachers in a classroom of 25 or 30 kids simply are not able to get to everyone, certainly at the same rate of the program. MY Access! takes over as a copilot and allows students to get that instantaneous feedback and as a result you see kids constantly engaged. There’s never an off switch while they’re waiting for the teacher to get to them,” says Patrice Ball, Milwaukee Public School’s English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist who has seen the expansion as inevitable due to the positive progress in the classroom.
            In Anchorage Public Schools, district administration implemented the pilot program into their elementary, middle, and high schools at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year with 7,000 students using MY Access!; this year 4,000 additional students will use the program.  District administrators decided to expand the number of student users after positive feedback from teachers and students throughout the district.  
MY Access! instantly analyzes over 350 semantic, syntactic, and discourse characteristics, and scores students on focus and meaning, organization, content and development, language use and style, mechanics and conventions, and overall writing proficiency. The instantaneous feedback has resulted in Anchorage students drastically improving their writing.
Teachers in Milwaukee and Anchorage who have used MY Access! have found the program helps pinpoint problem areas and gives students the inspiration and motivation needed to develop their writing from simple sentences to full essays. MY Access! has become a sought after instructional tool that students want to use.  Teachers in both districts are looking forward to expanding the use of MY Access! even more this year and seeing measurable results of overall academic achievement of students and further integration of 21st century learning technology.
A pioneer in providing a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to deliver solutions to educators, Vantage Learning is recognized as the leader in cost-effective, high volume, secure, scalable online assessment and instructional programs for K-12 school districts. Leveraging technology such as artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, and Web-based learning objects, Vantage provides educators with high-quality tools and resources that motivate students to learn and that create meaningful interaction between students, parents and teachers.

Acknowledged by industry leaders as the gold standard for scoring quality, consistency, reliability, and scalability of automated essay scoring using the patented IntelliMetric® engine, Vantage Learning has received accolades ranging from the prestigious CODIE Award for best instructional technology to recognition by Eduventures as one of the eight most innovative educational technology companies.

Vantage Learning Web site:

Pearson Expands Commitment to 21st Century Learning Through Partnership with SchoolKiT


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 2, 2009 –Today at the State Education Technology Directors Association’s (SEDTA) Leadership Summit and Education Forum 2009, Pearson announced that it has added techSteps from SchoolKiT to its comprehensive offering of 21st century learning tools. Built on the National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S), techSteps is used by schools to plan, teach and assess K-8 student technology literacy in an integrated, 21st century context.


In conjunction with the forum, SETDA is conducting a Showcase for U.S. Senators at which West Virginia representatives will present their impressive success with techSteps. The showcase will feature the ways that states are using their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants for NCLB Title IID, Enhancing Education Through Technology.


techSteps furthers the agenda of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), the leading organization advocating for the infusion of 21st century skills into education. Long a member of P21, Pearson recently celebrated its commitment to this national education organization when Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Kathy Hurley was elected chair.


"P21 is committed to ensuring that every child is prepared for the 21st century with skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation and global competence," said Hurley. "The curriculum and assessments that techSteps provides puts P21’s agenda into action in states and schools around the country."


In June 2008, West Virginia school districts began using techSteps to develop and assess K-8 student technology literacy.  The nearly 50,000 students from 50 districts who participated in this project completed and were assessed on one or more math, science, language arts or socials studies project during the school year, putting them on the path for building critical 21st century skills. For example, of the approximately 4,392 eighth grade students who participated in the program, 97 percent successfully demonstrated grade-level technology proficiency.


"In West Virginia, we want all of our students to develop technology literacy in the context of 21st century instruction. We believe that the best way for students to acquire these skills is in the context of their day-to-day learning, practicing using technology across all subject areas," said Brenda Williams, Executive Director, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Instructional Technology. "techSteps has provided our schools and teachers with the tools necessary to promote technology literacy and 21st century learning. Our results demonstrate the ways it is preparing students to face the challenges of our increasingly complex world."


The techSteps curriculum includes a set of six electronic activity books for each grade level. Each book presents a meaningful math, science, language arts or social studies challenge, and then shows students how to use digital tools to explore and complete the task at hand. This enables students to develop technology literacy in a way that is both integrated and systematic. Assessment and reporting options are available to meet teacher and district needs. For example, each learning activity includes a classroom assessment rubric tied to the technology literacy standards.


"For more than a decade, SchoolKiT has developed solutions that help schools make technology an integral part of teaching and learning," said Adam Smith, CEO. "We are particularly proud of how techSteps is allowing schools to use technology to benefit student learning in every classroom. Through this new partnership with Pearson, we can now work with even more states and school districts to increase technology literacy for their students."


About SchoolKiT

SchoolKiT knows that technology skills are important, but also understands that 21st century learning is about much more than that. It is about students learning to use technology systematically and creatively to think critically and solve problems.

School districts that partner with SchoolKiT ensure that all of their teachers integrate technology in meaningful ways to improve student learning and academic results.

Together with school districts, SchoolKiT takes a twofold approach. By implementing the company’s technology literacy and integration activities, districts see immediate success — in the classroom — where it counts. And using SchoolKiT’s online professional development solution, teachers become critical users of technology, able to design lesson that really do improve student learning. For more information, visit


About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson’s other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information about the Assessment and Information group of Pearson, visit


For more information, press only:

Adam Gaber, Pearson, (800) 745-8489,

Wendy Lienhart, L. Wolfe Communications, 630-920-0182,

Lisa Wolfe, L. Wolfe Communications, 773-227-1049,