FEMA notices students’ search-and-rescue bot

Duncanville, Texas, group uses TETRIX® system as basis for robot

PITTSBURG, KS (July 30, 2013) – High school students competing in SkillsUSA and inspired by Pitsco Education’s Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue Challenge have crafted a fully functional remote-controlled search-and-rescue robot that has been put into service and has caught the attention of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials.

“We just can’t believe people are taking what we’ve built and designed and are going to use it to help save people’s lives if needed,” said Duncanville (Texas) High School Robotics Teacher Bart Burnett. “It really doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

The robot, affectionately named Robbie and built from Pitsco’s TETRIX® Building System, has been put into service by the Best Southwest Regional Community Emergency Response Team in DeSoto, Texas.

The team’s director, Don Dewberry, conducted two field tests of Robbie early in 2013 that removed any doubts about the robot’s abilities. The student builders controlled the bot remotely – more than 100 feet away – surveying the obstacles via a television monitor displaying a video feed from the onboard infrared camera. The robot flawlessly overcame 2 x 4s, wooden pallets, a 30-degree climb, and a 90-degree turn in a black tube, among other obstacles, and it quickly located victims in a darkened room.

“Following discussion with some of my peers, we were extremely pleased with the search-and-rescue robot the students came up with,” Dewberry said. “It met or exceeded the majority of the items on our list of need-to-haves.”

Dewberry said the robot’s primary value in emergency situations would be the delivery of aid to victims and the protection of emergency personnel. “This gives our CERT volunteers and first responders the ability to see what the conditions may be in heavily damaged areas without putting rescuers in harm’s way.”

The students also assembled a technical manual covering theory of operation, troubleshooting, diagrams, and parts listings that accompanied the robot when it was turned over to CERT for service.

Representatives from FEMA grew interested and even visited to learn more about the student-built bot, which was featured in a FEMA publication this summer. “I hope we get inundated with requests, because how much greater a lesson can you have in a robotics class than to be designing and modifying robots for real-world use with real-world customers?” asked Burnett.

Note to media: Visit www.pitsco.com and http://www.pitsco.com/about/news/ or contact Communications Manager Tom Farmer at publicrelations@pitsco.com. High-resolution images of the TETRIX Building System are available upon request.

Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.
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Graduate School USA Selects Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions to Support Unique Needs of Students and Automate Administrative Processes

Oracle and Ciber Team Up to Deploy Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions and Campus Self Service Software to Standardize Academic and Training Processes

Graduate School USA builds on its 90 years as a responsive, cutting-edge institution by implementing an equally cutting-edge and enhanced student service information system with Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions suite. The integrated software will provide students with easy access to information, support self-service transactions and automate previous manual processes, supporting future growth and the school’s reputation as a leader in meeting public sector education, development and training needs.

Redwood Shores, Calif. – July 30, 2013

News Facts
• Graduate School USA, the government’s continuing education provider of choice, has selected Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions to manage the student lifecycle for both training courses and academic degrees at its seven campuses across the nation.
• Graduate School USA’s previous student administrative system could not support its training program or integrate information from different departments. Additionally, as the school has expanded, it needed software that would support the unique needs of students – who are often continuing-education participants as opposed to long-term degree-seeking students. With Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions and Campus Self Service, the university will be able to provide enhanced services that support student registration and administration activities.
• Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions modules, including Campus Community, Recruiting and Admissions, Student Records, Student Financials and Financial Aid, will allow the university to move away from a manual paper system to a fully integrated and automated system. With complete integration, student information will seamlessly flow to students, the records and admissions departments and other administrative offices.
• After Graduate School USA acquired Southeastern University in Washington, D.C., in 2009, the school began the process of applying for accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. PeopleSoft Campus Solutions enabled the school to fulfill the accreditation requirement for a viable student information system. Graduate School USA is now a candidate for accreditation.
• Graduate School USA will work with Oracle and Oracle Platinum Partner Ciber to implement Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions 9.0, adding to the university’s Oracle footprint, which includes Oracle Database and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Financial Management. The 18-month implementation began in February 2013.

Supporting Quotes
• “To continue our growth and achieve Middle States Accreditation, it was critical to integrate and automate our administrative and academic systems,” said James Huske, chief of staff, Graduate School USA. “With Oracle, Graduate School USA is able to deliver a fully integrated, dynamic and automated system for students and administrators that improves the student experience and improves productivity for our staff.”
• “With Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, Graduate School USA removes a significant barrier to efficient growth and superior student service: manual, paper-based processes,” said Cole Clark, global vice president, education and research industries, Oracle. “The fully integrated, automated capabilities enabled by PeopleSoft Campus Solutions will streamline administrative processes and make information immediately available to students, faculty and staff.”

Supporting Resources
• Oracle in Higher Education
• Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions
• PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Community
• PeopleSoft Enterprise Recruiting and Admissions
• PeopleSoft Enterprise Student Records
• PeopleSoft Enterprise Student Financials
• PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Aid
• Oracle Higher Education on Facebook
• Oracle Higher Education on Diigo

About Oracle
Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

About Oracle in Industries
Oracle industry solutions leverage the company’s best-in-class portfolio of products to address complex business processes relevant to the education and research industry, helping speed time to market, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge.

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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Katie Barron Gail Repsher Emery
Oracle O’Keeffe & Company
+1.202.904.1138 +1.301.789.5340
katie.barron@oracle.com gemery@okco.com


TeacherLists.com Honors Educators with a Nationwide Teachers Lounge Makeover Contest

For Immediate Release:
TeacherLists.com Honors Educators with a Nationwide Teachers Lounge Makeover Contest

One winner will be chosen to receive $5,000 in cash to makeover their school’s teachers lounge

Wrentham, MA (July 31, 2013) – To give teachers a chance to revamp their shared workspace, TeacherLists.com – the largest and fastest-growing free online service for posting and sharing school supply lists and teacher wish lists with parents – has launched a nationwide Teachers Lounge Makeover Contest. The contest will reward the winning school with $5,000 in cash to completely redecorate and reorganize the teachers lounge for utility and comfort. The contest ends August 31, 2013.

To enter the contest, schools (teachers, office staff or parent volunteers) just need to post 20 of their 2013 school supply lists or teacher wish lists to the site before the August 31st deadline. And every qualifying school will also be eligible for a free “School Supply Stash” containing $125 worth of school supplies, while supplies last, from TeacherLists.com sponsors.

“We love to thank teachers and schools for all the hard work they do,” said Tim Sullivan, founder of TeacherLists.com. “Our site is all about making back-to-school easier for parents and teachers and school staff, so supporting the school with a brand new, relaxing staff lounge is a natural fit for us.”

The TeacherLists.com concept is simple – making the traditional school supply list and teacher wish list processes easier for all involved. Teachers, school staff members and parent volunteers use the service to post their school supply and teacher wish lists. And then parents can easily find those lists to support their children and their children’s teachers all year long. Lists can be printed easily, emailed and even shared on school and teacher Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Parents even have the option of viewing lists on a smartphone or tablet right in stores, adding a convenient and “green” element to back-to-school shopping for the first time. Parents using the site can also take advantage of coupons and discount offers on popular supplies and from key retailers available on the Teacherlists.com website.

Launched in 2012, TeacherLists.com already boasts – by far – the largest database available of current school supply and teacher wish lists, with lists from more than 250,000 classrooms and more than 20,000 schools (from all 50 states) live on the site. Teachers and schools that get active with the site – by posting their lists and sharing those lists with parents using the site’s sharing tools – earn free bonus supplies from TeacherLists.com’s growing sponsor list . Elmer’s glue, Wet Ones® Antibacterial Hand Wipes, Dixie®, Westcott® Scissors, Kleenex® Brand tissues, Mead® and Five Star® are all sponsors of the growing back-to-school solution.

The site is taking an annual chore for every parent – finding those lists and getting the supplies their children need – and making it easier for all.

For a complete look at TeacherLists.com or to easily post or find lists, visit www.teacherlists.com.

For more information and official rules for the Teachers Lounge Makeover Contest, visit: http://www.teacherlists.com/makeover.

About TeacherLists.com
Launched in 2012 by the parent involvement experts at School Family Media, Inc., TeacherLists.com is the largest and fastest-growing free online service for posting and sharing school supply/wish lists with parents. Completely free for all, TeacherLists.com is making back-to-school easier for parents, teachers, schools and all those who have to find and use these lists every school year. TeacherLists.com is committed to encouraging and helping teachers and parents to work together to make classrooms great for students. TeacherLists.com


John Pandiscio, Director of Marketing & Business Development, TeacherLists.com
(800)-644-3561 x240

Rachael Ballard, Public Relations for TeacherLists.com
(410) 975-9638


Mackin Educational Resources Sponsors Launch of New Kate DiCamillo Book

BURNSVILLE, MINN (July 31, 2013) –Mackin Educational Resources proudly supports activities which engage students in reading and writing as part of its commitment to encouraging literacy among young people. One of those upcoming events is the national launch of Kate DiCamillo’s new book Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (2013, Candlewick Press). Students, parents, educators, librarians, school administrators, and book lovers are invited to attend the celebration.

Kate DiCamillo: The Illuminated Adventures is scheduled for Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota. Doors will open at 6:00 pm with the event starting promptly at 7:00 pm. The program will consist of a special interview with DiCamillo conducted by Cathy Wurzer of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and Twin Cities Public Television (tpt), a reading from the new book, a time for questions from children in the audience, and a book signing. Copies of Flora and Ulysses will be available at the event as well as copies of DiCamillo’s other titles. (To have a personal copy of a book from home signed, attendees must also purchase a book at the event.)

Young people have the opportunity to be part of this special event by creating 30-60 second video commercials promoting Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Selected submissions will be shown at the event, with the creators receiving autographed first editions of the new book. Video submissions must be sent to squirrel@mackin.com by September 16, 2013. Only MPEG, WMV, or QuickTime formats will be accepted. Full details may be found at Mackin.com.

Tickets for general seating are available from the Fitzgerald Theater Box Office and from Ticketmaster. Tickets for children under 12 years old are only $8.00, and tickets for those 13 years and older are only $15.00. Kate DiCamillo: The Illuminated Adventures is expected to sell out quickly.
This book launch is sponsored by Mackin Educational Resources, Star Tribune, Candlewick Press, Fitzgerald Theater, Folkmanis Puppets, and Pearson’s Candy Company. Watch the Star Tribune for an upcoming contest to win front-row seats and the opportunity to be first in the autographing line.

About Mackin Educational Resources
Mackin Educational Resources has provided library and classroom materials to PK-12 schools for 30 years. Known for its high commitment to customer care and customization, Mackin provides print books, eBooks, online databases, audiobooks, video resources and more to schools across the country and around the globe. Learn more about Mackin Educational Resources by visiting www.mackin.com or contacting them at 800-245-9540 – where every phone call is always answered in person and true customer service still exists.


Edgenuity Plays Key Role in National Transition to Online Learning

– Georgia and Utah Are the Latest States to Approve Edgenuity as Online Course Provider –
– Schools Plan to Use Edgenuity as Digital Instructional Materials this Fall –

Scottsdale, AZ – July 31, 2013 – As the national movement toward implementing digital learning programs and instructional materials in grade 6-12 classrooms gains momentum, Edgenuity – a leading provider of online and blended learning solutions – is helping to lead the way as schools and districts make the transition to online learning.

With Edgenuity’s recently receiving approval to provide instructional material in districts across Georgia and Utah, schools in these states can now use Edgenuity to transform the way students interact with curriculum. Edgenuity is also approved as an instructional materials provider for mathematics in New Mexico, and is currently undergoing the rigorous approval processes to provide instructional materials to numerous states and districts across the country.

Henry County, Georgia, adopted Edgenuity as its mathematics content provider last year, and the district is planning to roll out Edgenuity’s platform to over 26,000 middle and high school students this coming fall.

“As wireless access and mobile devices become ubiquitous, digital materials let us give students access to engaging, high-quality resources, and allows teachers to truly personalize the learning experience,” said Aaryn Schmuhl, assistant superintendent for learning and leadership at Henry County Schools. “Students can move ahead at their own pace and teachers are able to tailor lessons to the needs of each child. Unlike a static print textbook, Edgenuity’s standards-aligned, tablet-ready curriculum is full of interactive tools that enhance the learning experience and help drive student achievement.”

Edgenuity has also been adopted as a mathematics content provider in Jasper County, Georgia. Mike Newton, Superintendent of Jasper County Schools, said, “We have been extremely satisfied with the experience our middle and high school students have had using the Edgenuity platform to date. With Edgenuity as our content provider in math, we’re now able to offer easy online access to rigorous and engaging instructional material in a convenient, cost-effective format for all of our students.”

Increasingly, states across the country are adopting online instructional materials as part of their curriculum. Currently, 22 states including Texas, Florida, California and Virginia have endorsed the use of digital materials. Technology based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education and studies by the National Training and Simulation Association.

“As digital natives, today’s students are eager to access instruction through a medium that is familiar and engaging,” added Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity. “Our dynamic, up-to-date content is designed to cater to modern students. And unlike a textbook, our comprehensive online system provides integrated assessments that give continuous feedback to students, as well as real-time data that teachers can use to closely monitor and assess how their students are doing.”

About Edgenuity
Edgenuity (formerly E2020, Inc) provides engaging online education solutions that propel success for every student, empower every teacher to deliver more effective instruction, and enable schools and districts to meet their academic goals. Edgenuity delivers a range of Core Curriculum, AP®, Elective, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Credit Recovery courses aligned to the rigor and high expectations of state, Common Core and iNACOL standards and designed to inspire life-long learning. Fully flexible for use in any blended or online learning model, Edgenuity supports an environment where personalized learning is possible. With 185 semester-long courses and growing, Edgenuity has already driven outcomes for more than one million students in schools and districts across the country. For more information, and to see Edgenuity in action, visit Edgenuity.com.

Emma Post
Sloane & Company

Amy Protexter


One-Quarter of Largest School Districts Utilizing TIPWeb-IM Inventory Management System

Austin, Texas – July 31, 2013 – Hayes Software Systems has announced that its instructional inventory management solution, TIPWeb-IM has been newly implemented by another of the 100 largest school districts in the country. Fort Bend Independent School District, 50th largest district in the nation with almost 70,000 students, brings the number of the largest 100 districts in the country partnered with Hayes Software Systems for instructional material management services and software to 25.

“Despite the fact that budgets continue to tighten, we’re seeing a steady increase in the number of districts that are relying on TIPWeb-IM and our expertise in inventory control,” said Matt Winebright, Director of Sales, Hayes Software Systems. “We’re not just working with 25 of the largest 100 districts in the country, each of those operational initiatives are district-wide. These districts believe that strong textbook management processes not only help control costs and reduce expenditures, but have the potential to ultimately save money for new initiatives.”

Fort Bend ISD is the most recent large school district to choose TIPWeb-IM for their district-wide instructional material inventory control needs. Fort Bend ISD is the 7th largest district in the state of Texas which increases Hayes Software’s market share of the 25 largest districts in Texas to 22. Fort Bend ISD selected the enterprise class software product in order to provide the level of data transparency needed for a high dollar value asset to the district.

TIPWeb-IM includes all the features a district needs to account for and track every textbook, resource kit, workbook, and novel – by building, teacher and student; with or without the use of asset identification barcodes.

This software will provide Fort Bend ISD with a centralized, web-based inventory tracking system for all 71 schools and the central warehouse. Hayes Software’s offered solution will include its TIPWeb-IM software for inventory management; system integration for the district’s student information system – Skyward; and professional services that will aid Fort Bend ISD in the transition to a centralized inventory management system.

The TIPWeb-IM software system also provides Fort Bend ISD’s district and school administrators the ability to quickly report key performance indicators relating to both the purchase and loss of instructional material assets.

About Hayes Software Systems
Hayes Software Systems is a privately held company specializing in inventory control solutions to automate K-12 instructional technology and instructional material accountability. By incorporating respected methodologies with the unique needs of education professionals for over 20 years, Hayes has helped over 700 clients across 38 states and 4 countries implement inventory control solutions. While primarily servicing K-12 school systems, Hayes also has customers in higher education, state agencies, and government entities. For more information, visit www.hayessoft.com.

Company Contact:
Matt Winebright
Hayes Software Systems


‘We’ve got to open doors for everyone’

It has become crucial for the students of the United States to pursue education in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field, NIU Today reports. Women make up almost half of the workforce today yet continue to be outnumbered and out-earned. Supporting women in STEM fields has become more important than ever as 49 percent of women pursuing STEM degrees choose STEM to make a difference. Stereotypically, women choose to focus on areas of engineering that directly impact more diverse and under-represented segments of the population. Innovation in these areas of industry can directly impact the world…

Read the full story


As more schools embrace tablets, do textbooks have a fighting chance?

Big news in the tech-ed world: The Los Angeles Unified School District—the second largest school district in the country—recently spent $30 million to deploy 35,000 iPads to students, NEA Today reports. It’s part of a multi-year commitment with Apple that will eventually equip all 640,000 students with iPads. Textbooks will be digitally delivered to iPads via an application from Pearson, a major publisher. America’s classrooms are undeniably going through a technological revolution and at risk of plunging deeper into an obsolescence quagmire are textbooks…

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To improve learning, some schools lengthen the school day or year

It’s a July morning at 6:45 a.m. and the temperature is starting to climb across the city, according to The Hechinger Report. Most schoolchildren would expect to have at least a few more weeks of summer. But Quincy Lindsey, a fifth-grader at New Orleans’ ReNEW Cultural Arts Academy, is trying to wake up for his first day of school. His mother, Calanthia Lindsey, tries to keep Quincy on pace to make it to school by 7:15 a.m., reminding him not to use his pencils as drumsticks and to tuck in his shirt. ReNEW is one of hundreds of schools nationwide that are adding time to the school year—lengthening school days, requiring Saturday classes or shortening summer. Calanthia Lindsey hopes more time in the classroom will help Quincy stay motivated…

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Why aren’t teachers using more technology in the classroom?

With all the buzz in the news about education technology, one would think that teachers were integrating cutting-edge teaching tools into their lesson plans faster than edtech startups could pump them into the market, edcetera reports. But according to a nationwide survey by the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), that isn’t exactly the case. The report on their findings, presented at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference and expo in June 2013, suggests that technology integration in schools remains virtually unchanged from last year and still falls far short of the organization’s determined ideal…

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