Chicago expands instructional services for educators

Schools across the district can use Teachscape to provide educators with valuable training aligned to the REACH Framework for Teaching

instructional-teachingTeachscape has been selected by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as an approved provider of instructional services aligned to the district’s REACH Framework for Teaching. By using Teachscape Focus for Teachers to provide educators with robust online training and support around the framework, schools across the district can ensure the effective implementation of the REACH Framework for Teaching.

Teachscape Focus for Teachers will help educators in CPS fully understand the REACH Framework for Teaching, which was adapted from Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (FFT) and closely aligns to the domains and components of the FFT. Designed in partnership with ETS and based on the FFT, Teachscape Focus for Teachers contains video-rich online training and reflective exercises that help build confidence in evaluations by preparing teachers and their observers for fair, reliable observations and professional conversations about teaching practice.

“When teachers have a clear and deep understanding of their district’s instructional framework, they are better able to reflect on their practice, have a clearer vision of how to develop their teaching, and gain more confidence in the district’s evaluation process, ” said Andrew Morrison, CEO of Teachscape. “CPS’ approval of Teachscape’s Focus for Teachers gives educators the comprehensive, research-based training needed to ensure an effective implementation of the CPS framework, which is of utmost importance to the district.”

Used by more than 250,000 educators nationwide, Teachscape Focus for Teachers complements Teachscape Focus for Observers, which is currently being used by administrators across the entire district. Now, with the CPS approval, teachers will receive the same level of instructional support and be able to – along with administrators – create a common language around teaching effectiveness based on the REACH Framework for Teaching.

Schools in the district will have the option to implement Teachscape Focus for Teachers by itself or as part of a blended support model, which includes the Teachscape Focus for Teachers training and face-to-face training from the Danielson Group, to help educators master the REACH Framework for Teaching.

Material from a press release was used in this report.


7 reasons digital equity is a social justice issue

The need for 24/7 device and internet access has deep social implications

access-equityDigital access and digital equity continue to present a challenge to educators. Meeting that challenge is more important than ever, because, as many stakeholders say, digital equity is about more than access to devices and strong internet connections–it’s about social justice and fair opportunity.

Mobile learning equity has been a big focus for educators for many years, but discussions usually center on access to devices and internet.

While access to those things remains challenging, new conversations are emerging as districts become more capable of providing take-home devices and robust internet access during school, said Marie Bjerede, the Consortium for School Networking’s Project Director for the Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative. Bjerede moderated a special event edWeb webinar on digital access and equity.

(Next page: Seven reasons why digital access is a social justice issue)


Nov. 13 virtual field trip highlights copper mining

virtual-fieldDiscovery Education, a provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, and Freeport-McMoRan, an international natural resource company, will host an interactive live virtual field trip on November 13, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. EST for students nationwide. The Dig Into Mining: Story of Copper live virtual field trip will give middle school students a front row seat to nature’s geological wonders and exclusive access to Freeport-McMoRan’s leading geologists and engineers who aim to inspire students to explore earth’s natural resources and the importance of copper in our everyday lives.

Hosted live from Freeport-McMoRan’s Arizona facility, this virtual field trip is part of Discovery Education and Freeport-McMoRan’s overall “Dig Into Mining: The Story of Copper” program, which equips educators, students and families with free resources designed to explain how metals are relevant in everyday life, and to highlight various science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers available in the rapidly growing copper industry. During this virtual field trip, students will go behind-the-scenes of a working copper mine to learn about the uses of transition metals like copper, gold and molybdenum, and meet with a Freeport-McMoRan geologist and mine planning engineer as they showcase real-world examples of how STEM is used in the workplace. Students and educators may submit questions in advance on the program website for a chance to have them answered live during the event. To register and submit questions for this event, please visit:

In addition to the virtual field trip, Discovery Education and Freeport-McMoRan’s program provides middle school students, educators and families with a comprehensive online site that includes hands-on resources to inspire students to explore the world of copper and learn how the earth’s natural resources shape their lives geologically, societally and economically. The program also offers 6th-8th grade educators standards-based classroom tools and lesson plans designed to encourage students’ development of key STEM, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Dig Into Mining: The Story of Copper’s family extensions allow students to share their classroom learnings with family members at home through insightful conversation about geology and the earth, and match their skills and interests to exciting opportunities within the copper industry.


Digital textbooks a worthwhile frustration, Miami-Dade teachers say

Despite challenges, digital textbooks offer far-reaching benefits, according to educators

digital-textbooks No one is putting pen to paper in Nadia Zananiri’s ninth-grade world history class.

Instead, every student is hunched over the glowing screen of a digital tablet or staring into a laptop display. One is even plugging away on his phone.

A handful of textbooks sit in baskets underneath students’ seats, ignored and unopened.

It may not look like it, but the students are all busy at work. Online, they’re typing up assignments about the crops, animals and diseases European explorers brought with them to the New World.

This is what school work looks like now that Miami-Dade County schools has launched an ambitious program to get portable, digital devices into the hands of all 350,000 students in the district–part of a state mandate to bring more technology into classrooms.

(Next page: Pros and cons of digital textbooks)


4 strategies to build strong teacher leadership

Districts seeking to cultivate strong teacher leaders should carefully consider a number of steps and questions as they pursue their goals

teacher-leadershipSchool leaders take on many forms, including students, support staff, and teachers. Building strong teacher leaders helps support a positive and high-achieving school culture, and one of the first stops on the path to teacher leadership involves defining the purpose of teacher leadership.

A new report from the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program and Leading Educators outlines a roadmap for teacher leadership, and notes that “effective teacher leadership marries form with function in order to create transformative change in schools.”

This means that teacher leadership initiatives are clearly-defined and support teaching and learning goals within the district.

(Next page: Steps toward strong teacher leadership)


Six tips for classroom technology success

An industry advisory panel of educators shares strategies to help teachers – regardless of their tenure – implement education technology in the classroom

lego-technologyThe LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) advises LEGO Education, the education division within the LEGO group, on how to meet the needs of educators and students. The panel consists of 50 educators, across all levels of education, who are experienced with the trials and triumphs of using unconventional teaching tools in the classroom.

Drawing from our experience using a wide gamut of education technology, we compiled the following list of tips and tricks to help teachers —regardless of their tenure —implement education technology in their own classroom.

1.  Be sure to teach the concept that failure is an important and expected part of the process. What we learn from each failure or mistake is the important part and will lead to the next version, or improved iteration in the problem solving process.
– Beth Brubaker, grades 1-8 Project Specialist, North Idaho STEM Charter Academy

2.  Remember that when lesson planning at home, you should also test any new website, app or tool on the school computers or tablets you’ll be using with students. It’s always a bummer to find out mid-lesson that the school’s filter has blocked the resource or that there are compatibility issues that must be fixed in order for it to work correctly.

– Breigh Rhodes, 2nd grade, Rollins Place Elementary School

3.  Make sure to read the terms of service and privacy statement for apps and websites regarding the age of the user. Let parents know how the tool with be used in class and obtain their permission.

– Leanna Prater, District Technology Resource Teacher, Fayette County Public Schools

4.  Provide daily opportunities for students to be creative with technology as a tool to support curriculum objectives in a variety of ways. Students will quickly learn to use the technology made available to them as they collaborate and work to research, explore, and produce a final product or project. Student engagement involving technology is most successful when students are given the opportunity to employ technology daily in a variety of ways and create projects that show their level of content mastery.

-Mary Meadows, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator, Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School

5.  Don’t solve problems for your students. Provide support, give hints, teach the basics, but try not to solve the problem for them. When I find myself operating the technology myself, I know I’m doing too much. I also tell the kids the same thing when I see them doing the work for other students, however good the intention.

-John Heffernan, Technology Coordinator, Williamsburg Elementary School

6.  Cultivate a good (great) relationship with your technology staff. But remember, they exist to make technology work for you, not to tell you what technology is acceptable for you to use. This is a fine line to walk sometimes.

-Ian Chow-Miller, Teacher, Frontier Middle School, Graham, WA

The LEGO Education Advisory Panel (LEAP) represents grades K-12, and will collaborate with LEGO Education to develop classroom solutions and curriculum that elevate STEM concepts, and 21st century learning skills.


Institute for Student Achievement Holds Inaugural Superintendents’ Conference

Institute for Student Achievement Holds Inaugural Superintendents’ Conference

Education experts and district leaders meet to share research, practices and solutions for achieving sustainable high school turnaround

PRINCETON, New Jersey, November 10, 2014 – The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) is convening education thought leaders and top-flight researchers to collaborate with district superintendents from across the nation during its inaugural Superintendents’ Conference. The two-day event titled, “The Challenge of Underperforming High Schools: News Ways of Thinking and Doing,” will examine the various contexts – international, national, race and culture, and innovation – associated with turning around underperforming high schools and sustaining success once achieved.

“Managing high school turnaround is an extremely challenging and complex process, however a necessary one to ensure students are prepared for success in college and their future careers,” said Gerry House, Ed.D., president of ISA. “By bringing together leading experts, researchers and superintendents, we are able to continue to identify and share viable solutions for navigating this process and improving our nation’s underperforming high schools.”

During the conference, experts will provide research and discuss cutting-edge practices to help attendees achieve sustainable turnaround in their own districts. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage in small, collaborative group dialogue during breakout sessions to discuss the issues faced in their own districts, including ways to look at innovation and change in the current environment and find new approaches.

In addition to an opening session by Walt McDonald, president and CEO of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and Dr. House, and facilitated sessions led by T.J. Elliott, vice president and chief learning officer of ETS, the conference will feature presentations by:

• Andreas Schleicher and Tue Halgreen, OECD researchers best known for work on Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Using comparative data from countries that participate in PISA, they will discuss high performing schools from the international context and what accounts for that success. OECD’s most recent study, “Time for the US to Reskill?” focuses on the assessment of Americans’ basic skills in literacy, numeracy and problem-solving in a technology-driven economy and the impact on social and economic outcomes.

• Jim Shelton, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education. Shelton will offer perspective from the national context, providing insight on initiatives being considered and implemented to prepare all students to be college and career ready. Mr. Shelton will highlight recent changes to the School Improvement Grants program that now permit whole school reform models as one of three new turnaround options.

• Dr. Imani Perry, scholar of law, culture and race and professor at Princeton Center for African American studies. Dr. Perry will address student performance from the context of race and culture. With both a Ph.D. and J.D. from Harvard University, this brilliant young scholar takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Dr. Perry will share insights from her book, “More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States,” as well as her own rich, personal history.

• ETS researchers Steve Robbins and Joanna Gorin and ISA’s Senior Math Specialist Jonathan Katz will share their cutting-edge work from the context of innovation. Mr. Robbins most recently co-authored a book with Wesley R. Habley and Jennifer Bloom titled, “Increasing Persistence: Research-based Strategies for College Student Success” (Wiley, 2012). Dr. Gorin oversees a research and development agenda around next-generation educational assessments, specifically exploring the use of games and simulations for formative and summative assessment. And Dr. Katz recently published “Developing Mathematical Thinking: A Guide to Rethinking the Mathematics Classroom” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).

ISA is pleased to host a prestigious group of superintendents from across the United States. Attendees include district leaders from New York, Trenton, Houston, Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, and more.

Attendees and staff will be live Tweeting during the conference being held on Thursday, November 13, 2014 and Friday, November 14, 2014 using the hashtag #ISASups14.

To learn more about ISA and its approach to school turnaround, visit

About ISA
The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) partners with schools and districts to transform public high schools so that students who are traditionally underserved and underperforming graduate prepared for success in college. Through this close partnership, ISA provides the organizational and professional development supports that schools, principals, and teachers need to succeed, giving students the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve to their fullest potential. To learn more about ISA, visit

# # #



WIN Learning’s Web-Based Career Readiness System is the foundation of district’s career program

Kingston, Tenn. – Nov. 10, 2014 – Pomona Unified School District’s Adult and Career Education Program has secured accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Under the leadership of program director, Dr. Enrique Medina, the Pomona program exceeded the expectation of the COE and received a six-year term, the maximum awarded, in part because of its comprehensive implementation of the WIN Career Readiness System developed by WIN Learning.
The rigorous accreditation process, designed to assure the quality and integrity of established career and technical education programs included a detailed examination of every aspect of the Pamona program. COE commission evaluators conducted a site-visit and evaluated the effectiveness of each standard, procedure, and policy tied to the district’s financial services, human resources, student services, and program completion and placement rates of its career and technical education offerings.
“We work to continually strengthen and improve our career readiness offerings so our students are fully prepared for job demands and/or college entrance requirements upon graduation,” said Dr. Enrique Medina, director, Career Readiness, Pomona Unified School District. “We believe that in securing this prestigious accreditation, we are demonstrating that our district and its incorporation of the WIN Career Readiness System, is a highly effective model for college and career preparation that will deliver positive academic and career outcomes for the students of Pomona for many years to come.”

In 2001, Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) made a concerted program shift when it combined its career and college readiness ‘standards’ with a best practices approach, and infused it throughout its high school programs. At that time, the District’s Adult & Career Education Program was awarded a $50,000 grant from the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators to explore, develop and implement a program rich with soft skills-based training, personalized project-based learning, and career exploration. District administrators selected the web-based WIN Career Readiness System for its comprehensive components of career exploration and planning system, college readiness assessments, and career readiness foundational academic and employability skills support.

“The framework of Pomona’s career and technical education program has always been about addressing the achievement gap among student groups and increasing college and career readiness skill sets for all students,” stated John Costilla, vice president of marketing and business development of WIN Learning. “Whether students choose to enter the workforce directly after graduation, join the military or attend a vocational institution or college, Pomona is providing them with all the preparation they need to be successful. They should be extremely proud of their program – we certainly are pleased to be their partner.”

About WIN Learning
Since 1996, WIN has become the leading provider of career readiness solutions to help districts prepare pathways for students’ futures, whether they are college, trade school, military or workplace bound. To date, more than 10 million students worldwide have participated in the specialized career–driven courseware and education intervention initiatives as well as career-readiness certification programs. For more information, go to or call 888-717-9461.

ABOUT Pomona Unified School District
Pomona Unified School District is located in the eastern section of Los Angeles County and operates 20 elementary schools, five K-8 schools, five middle schools, eight high schools and five other schools, serving approximately 26,300 students from the cities of Pomona and Diamond Bar. It is the District’s mission to provide a well rounded and challenging educational program of the highest quality, empowering students to lead productive, fulfilling lives as lifelong learners.

About COE
For more than 40 years, the Council on Occupational Education has been dedicated to its mission of assuring quality and integrity in career and technical education. Its goal is to offer public assurance that accredited educational institutions provide quality instruction in career and technical education that facilitates learning by students and meeting the needs of the labor market.

Media Contact: Company Contact:
Charlotte Andrist John Costilla, VP Marketing/Business Development
Eicher Communications WIN Learning
770-310-5244 940-312-3867


MimioMobile App with MimioStudio Classroom Software Selected as Best Upgraded Product in Tech & Learning Magazine’s Awards of Excellence Program

Cambridge, MA – Nov. 10, 2014 – – Mimio, a global leader in interactive teaching technologies, announced today that its MimioMobile™ application with MimioStudio™ 11.3 classroom software has been chosen as ‘best upgraded product’ in Tech & Learning magazine’s 32nd annual Awards of Excellence program. This marks the third year in a row that a Mimio product has been honored by this prestigious award program. Last year, the MimioProjector™ interactive projector was recognized as an innovative new product, while the previous year, MimioStudio™ software was recognized for the significant enhancements Mimio had made to the proven educational software.

This year’s Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence program honored new and upgraded software, hardware, network, and Web products. A panel of more than 30 educators tested more than 150 entries and chose the winners.

“It’s so gratifying to have this panel of distinguished judges recognize the vision, hard work, and passion that our organization has put into building products that are making engaging and collaborative learning part of students’ everyday learning experiences,” said Dan Winkler, chief technology officer for Mimio. “The award is especially important for us because we know that schools and districts are constantly searching for ways to provide teachers and students with a better way to learn, and that is what we strive to do every day.”

The complete MimioClassroom™ suite of interactive technologies is used in over 600,000 classrooms worldwide. The suite includes the MimioTeach™ interactive whiteboard; the new MimioBoard™ touch board, which features six-point Touch 360° interactivity – the highest number of standard touch points available – for best-in-class performance; the MimioDisplay™ LED touch display; the MimioBoard interactive whiteboard; the MimioProjector interactive projector; the MimioVote™ assessment; the MimioMobile app; the MimioView™ document camera; the MimioPad™ wireless pen tablet; and the MimioCapture™ ink recorder. Of course, the power behind all Mimio products is the renowned MimioStudio classroom software, which not only runs Mimio hardware, but also most any interactive device from other manufacturers.

About Mimio
Mimio is a global leader in interactive teaching technologies that offer a better way to learn and an empowering way to teach. A portfolio company of Skyview Capital, Mimio creates award-winning, innovative, and affordable hardware and software that increase teacher effectiveness and student engagement in K-12 classrooms. For more information, visit Follow Mimio on Twitter @MimioTechnology and “Like” us on our Facebook page at

About Tech & Learning
For over 30 years, Tech & Learning has been – and continues to be – the leading resource for K-12 leaders. Its publications, websites, and events provide factual and evaluative information on trends, products, and strategies to educators who purchase technology products for their districts and schools. Tech & Learning magazine, published by NewBay Media LLC, delivers the highest quality content and essential resources to manage, train, and teach technology. For more information, visit.

# # #