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New software programs for finding substitute teachers, sending emergency notifications, creating digital forms, improving classroom behavior, and involving students in the creation of their IEPs were a few of the many school administrative services showcased during Feb. 2011 ed-tech conferences.

BuyBoard introduced attendees to its online purchasing cooperative, which is designed to streamline the purchasing process and help its members make confident buying decisions. By combining purchasing power, BuyBoard members can leverage better pricing from vendors they might already use.

CRS Advanced Technology presented SubFinder, a fully automated Employee Absence Management and Substitute Placement System that offers both internet and telephone access. SubFinder also integrates with human resources and payroll systems and promotes a paperless work environment, the company says. SubFinder is fully configurable, with the user controlling settings, options, and functions.

ECN, the Emergency Communications Network, demonstrated its web-based suit of emergency notification services, including CodeRED, a high-speed community notification system; CodeRED Weather Warning, an automated severe weather alert system; CheckUp Call, for checking on at-risk individuals; and CodeED, communications tools for K-12 educators.

EF Educational Tours offers more than 290 international tours designed for high school teachers and students. The company commissioned research firm AdvancED to survey thousands of young adults who are now 20 or 21 years old and who took an EF tour in high school. The company says it discovered that taking an educational tour is “life-changing, setting students up for long-term success in their personal and professional lives.”

Excent, a developer of software for special-needs students, announced the release of MyGraduationPlan, an online program that helps students create their own Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to boost graduation rates. “Entirely too many students in special education are dropping out of school or not graduating with a diploma,” said Carmen W. Cavolo, the software’s creator. “MyGraduationPlan [seeks] to turn this trend around.” Students use the software to assess their strengths and needs, and they learn to be self-advocates for their personalized IEP. District administrators can use the software to monitor students’ progress toward meeting the goals in their IEPs right from their desktop. “By aligning all of the stakeholders around the student’s own goals and involving the student in [his or her] own IEP, students are given a sense of purpose and ability, which greatly increases their probability of staying in school to graduate,” Cavolo said.

Global Connect discussed how its parent notification system allows users to reach parents, staff, and faculty quickly, effectively, inexpensively, and securely. According to the company, clients can conduct emergency broadcast notifications; contact parents with tardy, absence, or discipline notifications; make weather-relates announcements; conduct polls and surveys; announce holidays or other schedule changes; contact staff members; give school board meeting reminders; boost fundraiser results; broadcast testing or report card distribution dates; and conduct voice broadcasts from any location. For more information, contact

ING, a Dutch insurance conglomerate, discusses its commitment to education through its Unsung Heroes Awards Program, which the company says has helped more than a thousand K-12 educators and their schools fund innovative classroom projects through awards totaling more than $3 million. The company is asking for 2011 applications for this award, which focuses on rewarding a creative, unique educational program that is helping students “reach new heights.” Educators also can apply for funding if there is a program that “you’d like to implement, if only you had the proper funding.” For more information, contact

Lexmark discussed its Testing and Grading solution, which helps educators test their students more often and for less cost, without adding to their workload, the company says. Adding this workflow software to Lexmark multifunction printers allows educators to print their own test materials (including scan-ready bubble sheets) on affordable plain paper and scan the completed tests right at the printer to score them automatically. That enables teachers to see their students’ results in minutes, while teachers and administrators can access a variety of reports to analyze student performance. In addition, the solution can be configured to export results directly to a student information system or electronic grade book, Lexmark says.

eSchool News Staff

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