When it comes to learning loss, don’t reinvent the wheel

As we head towards the last half of our second school year in a pandemic, there is no doubt that the impact of learning loss has exceeded all predictions. As reported by McKinsey,  students are behind an average of four months in reading and five months in math. Unfortunately, the pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning; students in low-income schools with seven.  

Helping students catch up and keep up is a challenge many schools are just starting to tackle now that they’ve navigated the logistics of teaching and learning in a (hopefully) waning pandemic.  

Unfortunately, we are already seeing the best intentions and worst habits of problem-solving work their way into resolving student learning loss. Everyone wants to do something big and sweeping to ‘fix’ the issue.  …Read More

Curriculum Associates Selects 35 Standout Teachers for Its 2022 Class of Extraordinary Educators

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., January 10, 2022— Curriculum Associates recently named 35 teachers to the 2022 class of Extraordinary Educators, an annual program that celebrates and connects exemplar teachers from around the country. Chosen from hundreds of nominations and representing 19 states, this year’s class of Grades K–8 educators exhibit best-in-class use of i-Ready, i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, and/or Ready, illustrate growth and achievement via formal assessments, demonstrate innovation and engagement practices for students, are evangelists for high standards and student achievement, and have been teaching for at least two years.

“With almost 500 years of teaching experience combined, this year’s Extraordinary Educators are all innovative and dedicated classroom leaders whose impact does not go unnoticed,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “We commend these educators for their best practices in the classroom day-in and day-out and look forward to supporting them with unique professional learning opportunities to help further support the amazing work they do.”

This year’s class of Extraordinary Educators—composed of seasoned educators and rising stars, including a districtwide Teacher of the Year—will have access to a network of peers from around the country to collaborate, connect, and learn from throughout the year, as well as access to professional development opportunities from Curriculum Associates. They will also be invited to participate and present at the Extraordinary Educators Leadership Summit as well as other professional learning events.…Read More

VHS Learning Elects Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its Board of Directors

Boston – Dec. 6, 2021 – VHS Learning, an accredited non-profit organization empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, has appointed Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its board of directors.

Dr. Johnson currently serves as the Executive Officer for Student Services at Springfield Public Schools, where she oversees school counseling and social work services, dropout prevention and graduation improvement strategies, and college access and success initiatives. In her position, Dr. Johnson implements a variety of programs that enhance excellence, scholarship, achievement, and equity for all students.

A passionate educator, Dr. Johnson supports educational leadership development, scholarship, service, and helping students envision and attain their postsecondary goals. She is a champion for educational equity and works to create greater college and career opportunities for under-represented students.…Read More

Here’s why SEL should be a top priority in schools

Covid brought with it countless challenges–but one thing it emphasized? The need for social-emotional learning (SEL) in each and every classroom.

Students can’t learn unless they feel safe and secure. It is this state of well-being that greatly contributes to their academic achievement, personal growth, and health. SEL quickly skyrocketed from a “nice to have” classroom feature to something that districts prioritized and quickly moved to incorporate as classroom must-haves.

So, what are the most important aspects of an SEL program? How can your school and district support the whole child in person and online? What resources will support learning recovery, equity, and student engagement?…Read More

How scholastic esports helps students’ academic achievement

According to Newzoo, the live-streaming audience for games will hit 728.8 million viewers in 2021 globally. For reference, the NFL is projected to hit 141 million viewers.  Clearly, esports’ popularity is growing exponentially. However, many people are still unfamiliar with esports, especially the emergence of scholastic esports in education.

The utility of game-based learning in education has been known for a long time, but what is beginning to emerge is an understanding of how esports are having an impact in education. Due to the affordances of video games, esports promotes important qualities, forcing students to develop new skills and problem solve in novel situations bounded only by their imaginations.

Teachers who are pioneering esports programs can attest to this. Tyler Hahn, Director of the Cherokee Public Library in northwestern Iowa, has seen that “esports empowers learners to use the convergence [of] games and their own interests as a platform to acquire communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in all aspects of life”. His program is focused on developing college and career awareness services for middle school youth through esports and community engagement.…Read More

Mental health is harder for everyone—practical solutions are critical

Schools are facing an enormous task in delivering mental health services to a growing number of students with urgent needs. Even before the pandemic, the gap in achievement levels due to mental health struggles was widening. The pandemic did not create this challenge; it only expanded the need.

Long-established approaches to addressing student mental health continue to be relevant today, but schools are at a moment of freshly examining how, where, and who is best positioned to tackle these challenges.

Recognizing both the new and the familiar in the challenges schools are facing…Read More

Scholastic And The Council Of The Great City Schools Announce The Inaugural Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award

New York, NY – November 3, 2021 – Today, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, in collaboration with the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), a coalition of 75 of the nation’s largest urban public school systems, has announced the School District of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA as the inaugural winner of the Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award. Named in honor of the late Scholastic Chairman and CEO, Richard (Dick) Robinson, this annual award recognizes a CGCS member school district for demonstrated progress in advancing reading achievement.  

“During his near five decades leading Scholastic, Dick Robinson was a true champion of children’s literacy and education,” said Rose Else-Mitchell, President, Scholastic Education Solutions. “He believed that the core to the work we do is reaching the hearts of children to help them discover the stories, people, and worlds that can spark confidence and curiosity, while giving them the skills and tools necessary to navigate the 21st century. We’re honored to introduce this new award in partnership with the Council of the Great City Schools to recognize Dick’s lasting legacy, and to expand opportunities for students through access to high-quality, engaging print and digital resources.” 

According to findings from the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report, educators overwhelmingly agree (99%) that reading books for fun supports students’ academic success. As the Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award-winner, the School District of Philadelphia has selected its own General George G. Meade School to receive the grand prize, which is designed to help increase book access and create a lasting culture of literacy. The school will receive: …Read More

How to apply the 4 pillars of opportunity in literacy instruction

Consider this: 95 percent of students have the capacity to learn to read, according to the National Institutes of Health, yet only about 34 percent of fourth and eighth grade students read proficiently, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Is this disparity an achievement gap or an opportunity gap?

How we answer this question frames our thinking about solutions. If we look at the disparity as an opportunity gap, we are saying that all students have the same ability to achieve, but not all students have had the same opportunity to achieve.

Myriad opportunity gaps exist in the modern educational system—along with a pandemic that’s only widened these gaps—and are particularly prevalent among students of different races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes.…Read More