School libraries are disappearing when students need them most

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In 2014, I got my first teaching job at a brand new high school in Detroit. The building had once been an elementary school with a fully functioning library. There was even a built-in card catalog. Now, though, it was empty, and the position of librarian didn’t exist. When we held a community book drive to fill the shelves, we ended up with a ramshackle collection of old, random, age-inappropriate books, some print encyclopedias, and an eclectic mix of cookbooks.

Two years later, that room had become a dumping ground for unused supplies, and the school football team frequently used it as a meeting space. The bookshelves were disorganized, their alphabetization long ago destroyed. In fact, not a single area school I have worked at in the past nine years has had a functioning library. …Read More

K-12 Staffing Issues Require Creative Community Solutions

Austin, TX – Staffing issues have been common for many public schools across the country for years. Now, more than ever, communities are positioned to help schools solve this problem with a variety of technology, funding, and community solutions. 

Post-COVID, it’s tempting to believe that the pandemic caused the staffing shortages K-12 schools are currently facing. However, the shortages began after the Great Recession in 2008 when reducing public school funding by $1,000 per student was common in almost every state in the country. Despite state revenues being back to pre-recession levels by 2014, many states still have not increased school funding to pre-recession levels. Add in normal inflation and the unprecedented toll that the pandemic placed on everyone, and public schools are now facing some of the biggest staffing issues.

At WorkMonger, we believe that communities are better positioned than ever before to help solve the staffing issues public schools face. By using technology advancements, community support, staff tenacity, and state funding, communities can help public schools heal and thrive. …Read More

Zaner-Bloser Partners with Listenwise to Sell Its Listening Skills Platform

Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of early literacy resources, has entered into an agreement with ed-tech company Listenwise, an award-winning platform that brings podcasts to the classroom, to promote and sell its listening skills platform of the same name to the K-5 market.

Launched in 2014 for secondary grade students and in 2020 for elementary school students, Listenwise harnesses the power of listening to advance literacy and learning in all students by using podcasts as classroom texts, amplifying content and providing students practice in required listening skills. It uses a curated collection of compelling, nonfiction podcasts and stories from National Public Radio and other trusted sources, paired with learning tools and comprehension assessments, to engage students while advancing their literacy skills. Aligned with all states’ English Language Arts standards, it’s a unique listening skills platform for the K-12 school market.

“We’re excited to promote and offer this program in alignment with our mission of providing joyful learning opportunities for all students,” said Amanda Stedke, Vice President of Product for Zaner-Bloser. “Listening to podcasts is an engaging way for all students to build their literacy skills.”…Read More

7 Mindsets and K12, Inc. Virtual Schools Expand Partnership

7 Mindsets, the pioneer in delivering social emotional learning (SEL) solutions that include mindsets, equity and multicultural pedagogy, is taking on an expanded role in the SEL delivered by K12, Inc., one of the nation’s leading virtual/online education providers. 7 Mindsets will now provide SEL courses and curriculums, leadership training and teacher professional development throughout the entire K12, Inc., system for the next three years.

7 Mindsets and K12, Inc., alliance began in 2014. At that time, 7 Mindsets provided services for four schools designed to help struggling students that were on the verge of dropping out. Three years later, K12, Inc., added 11 more schools to the 7 Mindsets roster. With the expanded partnership, 7 Mindsets is now serving all of K12 Inc.’s schools and over 120,000 students, up from just 27,000 students in 2019.

“K12, Inc., is the largest virtual school organization in the United States, and we are very pleased to be an integral part of their expanding SEL program,” said 7 Mindsets President, Lupita Knittel. “We know that our age-appropriate, culturally-relevant curriculum is not only engaging but as an adaptable, digital curriculum it’s the perfect resource for a virtual school environment.”…Read More

iTutor’s Virtual School Allows School Districts to Transform the K-12 Online Experience

With most K-12 students, parents, teachers and administrators engaged in another semester or full academic year of pandemic-induced remote learning, it is clear that the future of education is going to include a significant online component.

That online future will be much brighter for school communities using iTutor’s Virtual School – a secure interactive learning platform that allows administrators and teachers to build, organize, schedule and offer live, synchronous classes and instruction using the district’s own teachers coupled with school-produced and branded content, all in one place. Schools report that this approach is far simpler than juggling and toggling back and forth between multiple technologies and platforms.

Even better news:  iTutor’s Virtual School has proven effective since 2014, as it has been widely adopted and used by more than 20,000 K-12 students and 1,500 teachers at more than 1,000 schools nationwide, as part of iTutor’s  partnership with school districts in 20 states, from Alaska, to New York, to South Carolina. School districts can be up and running in three to five business days, along with a dedicated iTutor team that provides tech support on an ongoing basis.…Read More

Talking tech: Enabling digital transformation through collaboration

There’s no question that digital transformation is dramatically shifting the education landscape. In the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) 2019 survey, 55 percent of respondents say they have implemented 1:1 programs in their schools. This is a significant increase from the 2014 survey which showed that only 23 percent of schools had implemented a 1:1 program. Yet we know that digital transformation is about more than just the technology that powers it. While devices and software are becoming a ubiquitous part of the modern classroom, digital transformation is a robust ecosystem that combines this new technology with an effective implementation strategy.

Typically, the digital agenda is led from the top down – school or district administrations are, in large part, responsible for championing a digital transformation strategy. I’ve spoken to many educators over the years who have shared their experiences with the tech adoption process. Time after time, I’ve found that administrators who combine a culture of strong leadership and a clear strategy are best poised to drive digital advancement in their respective schools.

Related content: Tips to help IT teams manage digital transformation…Read More

5 strategies to tackle the homework gap

Despite a brighter spotlight on digital equity, gaps still remain, including the troubling and persistent homework gap–but a newly-relaunched digital equity toolkit aims to highlight the important work districts across the nation are taking to address equity differences.

The 2014 Erate modernization helped a majority of schools meet the FCC’s short-term connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, according to CoSN’s relaunched Digital Equity Initiative toolkit. But because classroom use of technology and digital resources is growing, a gap has continued to grow between students who have internet access at home and those who do not.

Related content: Tips for closing the homework gap…Read More

What Is Good Leadership in Schools?

A recent study found that not one school (of 180 surveyed) was able to improve student achievement records without effective school leadership. This research  shows a clear connection between skilled school leadership and positive student learning outcomes. It’s proof that good leadership in schools makes a direct impact on students’ experience and performance.

Good leadership in schools is the practice of encouraging and enabling school-wide teaching expertise in order to achieve a strong rate of progress for all learners. This leadership can be driven by principals and executive staff in traditional leadership roles, as well as by school leaders and teachers without defined leadership roles.

For teaching staff and future leaders in the education sector, it’s important to understand what the benchmark is for good leadership in schools, and how it can be used to drive lasting change.…Read More

6 tips to help your students collaborate on awesome podcasts

OK, I’m listening

A 2019 Edison Research survey reported that 51% of Americans above the age of 12 have listened to a podcast. Interest in podcasts has increased 122% since 2014, with the majority of that increase coming from ages 12-24. Monthly listeners are growing up to 24% a year. That’s four times the number that go to the movies every week.

I’m the technology integration specialist at Lewis Central Community School District, a 3,000-student district in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Teachers come to me with content and standards, and I come back to them with the right creative tool. Separately, I’m an avid podcaster and have co-hosted the Dads In Ed podcast since 2013.…Read More

Is it time to say goodbye to textbooks?

People have been predicting the end of the traditional, paper-based textbook for years. A McKinsey & Company study from 2014 suggested that textbook rentals would cannibalize new-textbook sales by 2017, resulting in a reduction in new-book sales of 5 to 10 percent by 2020. eSchool News recently spoke with Matthew Glotzbach, chief executive officer of Quizlet—the extremely popular site that offers tools for students to make study sets that can be used for flashcards, learning activities, and games—about the future of textbooks.

Q: What’s your take on Bill and Melinda Gates’ 2019 annual letter regarding the point “textbooks are becoming obsolete?”

A: The traditional textbook has been in a state of transformation for some time now, and 2019 marks an important year of acceptance from the education industry and outside influencers who recognize where its path is leading. Those of us in the industry have all heard about the impending “death of the textbook.” We live in an increasingly digital world and students spend a lot of time using technology to connect to people, to be entertained, and to learn. It’s this third piece that we are finally embracing.…Read More