Why evidence-based solutions are critical for edtech buying

As districts budget for the 2022-2023 school year, they’ll have some additional funds to spend thanks to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To ensure that these funds are well spent and will benefit students, Congress has mandated that 20% of district funds and 5% of state funds must be spent on evidence-based programs to recover from learning loss; plus additional funds for evidence-based enrichment, summer and afterschool programs.

When it comes to early childhood STEM resources, evidence of efficacy is more than just a stamp of approval. Evidence gives confidence that those products will lead to the buzzing environments we want for our youngest students, full of playful learning, collaboration, and the kinds of concrete engagement that come with hands-on manipulatives.…Read More

10 SEL activities for K-8 students

Did you know that social and emotional learning (SEL) skills can easily be taught to students in grades K-8 right alongside core academic instruction in classrooms or afterschool programs?

From reading, writing, and arithmetic, SEL can be woven into nearly any subject. In fact, SEL often makes teaching core instruction easier because when students have strong social and emotional competence, they are more engaged, motivated, and ready to learn.

It’s easy to teach SEL in your core instruction! Here are 10 activities and lesson ideas–organized by subject area and grade level–to get you started.…Read More

Carousel Digital Signage Unites Teachers and Students at Grandview High School

A rural Washington state high school optimizes communications and engagement in challenging hybrid education model

GRANDVIEW, WASHINGTON, June 1, 2021 – Carousel Digital Signage has helped optimize Grandview High School’s student and faculty communications while they operate within a hybrid learning model. Grandview High has deployed a Carousel Cloud digital signage network in combination with Carousel Express Players to distribute targeted messaging to those on campus, while also engaging those who continue to attend classes from home.

Located in the agricultural town of Grandview, Washington, Grandview High School boasts a robust extra-curricular activity calendar. Students have access to afterschool programs focused on agriculture, athletics, business and entrepreneurship, yearbook planning and creation, and family and consumer sciences. The school also publishes its own newspaper.…Read More

The secret war on afterschool programs

The Obama administration has for some time been supporting the expansion of learning time in school—which sounds useful but often isn’t—by diverting money intended for afterschool programs, many of which are high quality and offer different venues for kids to learn, the Washington Post reports. Here to explain this is Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs…

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New guide reveals how to improve after-school programs

The Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit action group, has released a new guide to help cities and communities strengthen and sustain quality in after-school programs.

Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, the guide is based on decades of social science research on child development, teaching and learning, and organizational management, as well as the forum’s experience working with more than 70 after-school efforts around the country. It draws heavily on efforts in six communities to build systems to improve the quality of after-school programming: Atlanta, Ga.; Austin, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; New York, N.Y.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; and Hampden County, Mass. Each city’s effort is profiled in a case study.

The new guide, called “Building Citywide Systems for Quality: A Guide and Case Studies for Afterschool Leaders,” explains an emerging practice known as a quality improvement system (QIS), an intentional effort to raise the quality of after-school programming in an ongoing, organized fashion. The approach is based on what management gurus call “continuous improvement”: the idea that organizations should regularly take stock of themselves against a standard; develop plans to improve based on what they learned; carry out those plans; and begin the cycle over again so that the quality of their work is always improving.…Read More

Why strong afterschool programs matter

The National School Boards Association recently released a report comparing the time U.S. students spend in school to the time spent in school in other countries—questioning the trendy notion that our schools would improve if we merely added time to the school day, says Jodi Grant, executive director of the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance, for the Washington Post. As executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, I’ve spent the past two years fighting efforts to divert federal support for already underfunded afterschool programs to instead provide a small number of failing schools with money to add an hour or two to their school day. This would not only add to the 15 million children currently unsupervised each afternoon, but could deny more than a million children the engaged learning and building blocks of healthy development provided by afterschool programs.  Like many experts, I’m fearful that simply adding more time to our least successful schools is not the right answer…

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