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

5 principles for an equitable SEL initiative

According to a recent report, fewer than one in four teachers say social-emotional learning (SEL) is implemented in their school on a programmatic, schoolwide basis.

More than two decades of research proves that SEL yields positive results for students, adults, and school communities. The pandemic and its impact on education emphasizes the need for curated, vetted SEL resources that educators can use to support the whole child–regardless of the learning environment.

Initiatives like the Social-Emotional Learning Coalition–which is created in partnership between Discovery Education, The Allstate Foundation, The National Afterschool Association, and Responsibility.org–are working to address the needs of students and educators by improving access to resources that support the integration of SEL into core instruction. To achieve this, the Coalition follows five guiding principles, which schools and district leaders can also follow to create an SEL framework that’s both equitable and impactful. Those principles are:…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

How esports can boost teamwork skills

Teamwork and communication are the top skills employers are looking for, a new survey of hiring managers reveals. That bodes well for the students at a Los Angeles secondary school who are taking part in an innovative program that uses esports to teach critical 21st century skills: Teamwork and communication are also the skills these young gamers have seen the most improvement in so far.

Working with a company called wethink, Horace Mann UCLA Community School launched an afterschool program in January that has students in grades 6-12 practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communication, leadership, and character as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

Esports is a perfect vehicle for learning these essential workforce skills, wethink says. Many of the attributes that students will need in the workplace correlate with success in gaming. For instance, to achieve success, players have to learn how to work together to accomplish a common goal.…Read More

Here’s why out-of-school time learning programs need federal funding

With the allocation of over $15 billion from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARPA/ESSER III) to Texas public education, including almost $3 billion for out-of-school time learning, we find it imperative that afterschool and summer programs in the Central Texas region receive the funding they need to continue providing and expanding learning recovery opportunities.

It is particularly important that this funding reaches the local schools and educational agencies that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those communities in which the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequality. Due to the pandemic, many students–especially those of color and those living in low-income communities–are struggling with learning loss, social isolation, hunger, and mental health challenges. Students need to feel safe and supported to re-engage in learning, rebuild relationships, and emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, and hopeful; and we need whole community engagement to make this happen.

We need a comprehensive ecosystem of support to help youth and families recover, and out-of-school time learning is a vital component of that ecosystem. As well as adapting to additional health and safety measures to continue offering in-person care during the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-school time staff are already helping youth recover academic, social, and emotional learning, and community-based organizations continue to connect families to critical services and resources such as food, technology, and healthcare.…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

Think Together Brings in More Than $500,000 at Annual Raise A Hand Event to Support Expanded Learning, Afterschool and Student Learning Recovery Programs

The live virtual event held April 23 was attended by more than 300 guests from across the state of California.

Santa Ana, Calif. (April 28, 2021)Think Together, California’s largest nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning, and school improvement programs, held its annual Raise A Hand event raising $515,000 on Friday, April 23.

Think Together’s annual fundraiser was reimagined this year as a virtual experience with nearly 300 guests registered to attend. The event brought together passionate individuals and corporations to raise funds for student learning recovery programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic and honor students who have overcome challenges in pursuit of their education.…Read More

Discovery Education and Industry Leaders Launch Social-Emotional Learning Coalition to Address Critical Educator and Student Needs with No-Cost Resources

Silver Spring, Md. (Wednesday, April 28, 2021) — Discovery Education – the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms – today launched the new Social-Emotional Learning Coalition. The Social-Emotional Learning Coalition provides K-12 educators, students, families, and afterschool directors a no-cost library of digital social and emotional learning (SEL) resources supporting the integration of SEL into core instruction.

The Social-Emotional Learning Center is the first initiative of the Social-Emotional Learning Coalition, a partnership between Discovery Education and leaders across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to drive access and innovation in embedding SEL in the student experience. The Allstate Foundation and National AfterSchool Association are anchor partners.

More than two decades of research shows that SEL can help young people develop social responsibility, practice leadership, and gain personal and social skills. COVID-19 and its impact on education underscores educators’ need for curated and vetted content supporting the whole child in any learning setting. To better meet the need for resources supporting students’ SEL development, the new Social-Emotional Learning Coalition improves access to high-quality, instructional resources.…Read More

Think Together’s Helen Welderufael is Named a 2021 “Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders”

Think Together, a Santa Ana-based and California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), has named Think Together Regional Operations Analyst Helen Welderufael, as one of NAA’s 2021 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders.

Welderufael joined Think Together in 2018 as the Regional Operations Analyst for the San Bernardino Region. In her role, she oversees the compliance, evaluation, data collection and training for one of Think Together’s largest regions which includes 91 schools across seven school districts.

“We’re so proud of Helen and all she has already accomplished during her very promising tenure at Think Together,” said Randy Barth, Think Together founder and CEO. “Her strong organizational skills, reliability and drive have earned her the respect of her peers and leaders alike and we’re thrilled to have her represent our organization among our industry’s top leaders.”…Read More

Learning through gaming

When students are so deeply engaged in a task that they can’t wait to dive in — and at the same time, they’re learning fundamental skills that are critical for their success — it’s a magical combination.

That’s what a lucky group of 20 students at Horace Mann UCLA Community School are about to experience as they take part in an innovative afterschool program. The students will practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

A partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Mann is a public school serving students in grades 6-12. As director of the UCLA Community Schools Initiative, Dr. Christine Shen serves as a liaison between the school and the university. Her typical day consists of interacting with others and solving problems, and so she knows firsthand the value of these skills.…Read More