Has your district unified school-to-home communications?

Maintaining efficient and effective communication with students’ families is challenging in the best of times, but it’s become even more onerous—and critical—during the global pandemic.

The shift to 100 percent remote online learning tested communication capacity in districts nationwide, with many school districts turning to comprehensive communications platforms for help.

Here are three challenges that can be solved by using a unified communications platform:…Read More

Nominations Now Open for the 2021 Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame

Swing Education to recognize three exemplary educators for their notable contributions to education and the community during this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week

Swing Education, a staffing application for substitute teachers, is now accepting nominations for its Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame which annually recognizes substitute teachers across the country for their outstanding work as educators and their notable contributions to the students, teachers, and schools they serve. This year’s class of inductees will be announced during Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

“From remote to hybrid to in-person teaching, substitute teachers have played such a vital and supportive role during every phase of this challenging school year,” said Mike Teng, CEO of Swing Education. “The Substitute Teacher Hall of Fame will highlight three of these truly exemplary educators who continue to make a real difference and go above and beyond for their students, yet so often don’t get the recognition they deserve.”…Read More

How an art teacher tackles STEM and PBL

This past year has been, without a doubt, the most challenging one of my entire teaching career. As an art teacher, I always say that my teaching style relies on that one-on-one connection with each student in order to help them build their confidence to prepare them for an engaging, hands-on learning experience.

This approach is even more crucial given my students are newcomers and English language learners, as I was just a decade ago. I work with high school students in the Engaging Newcomers in Language and Content Education (ENLACE) Academy at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

During this time when we are fully remote, it is especially frustrating knowing that students with high needs are struggling and as much as you try, it feels like you can never do enough to help them given the unprecedented circumstances we’re all living through.…Read More

South Windsor High School Impresses with “Mighty” Audio System Powered by Renkus-Heinz

South Windsor High School, the home of the Bobcats in South Windsor, Connecticut, recently updated its 660-seat theater on campus with a pro audio system that ensures every performance roars with crystal clear audio. And at the heart of the system are solutions from Renkus-Heinz.

“The previous audio system in the facility had very little directionality in the vertical plane which caused intelligibility issues,” said Bobby Kuhl, President and Senior Audio Engineer at KJR Engineering, the audio consultant on the project. “If you hit a snare drum on stage it came back to you just as loud. It wasn’t pretty. Further, there was a challenging mounting environment around the stage. We really only had a few specific areas where we could install the loudspeakers.”

Kuhl said those challenges led him to Renkus-Heinz, a brand that he says “sounds great in any environment.”…Read More

Kaiser Permanente, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and Discovery Education Offer New, No-Cost, Digital Resources Supporting Emotional Resiliency

In what has been an unprecedented and challenging year for schools across the U.S., educators now have access to new, no-cost digital content that supports their own and their students’ emotional resiliency from Ready, Set, RISE!, a unique virtual resource from  Kaiser PermanenteAlliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation), and  Discovery Education. Kaiser Permanente is the nation’s largest nonprofit and an integrated health system. Healthier Generation is a non-profit dedicated to creating environments supporting children’s physical, social, and emotional health. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources and professional learning for K-12 classrooms.

Ready, Set, RISE! offers educators a series of no-cost, on-demand e-learning modules built to highlight the importance of human connection and empathy in schools. The series provides educators with a foundational understanding of trauma-informed educational practices and policies they can use to create more student-centered learning environments for all learners.

The first module focuses on educator self-care in any teaching environment, while the second module offers educators new strategies for helping students neutralize the effects of adversity, societal oppression, and implicit bias. Additional modules, coming in early 2021, will address how to recognize and respond to sign of trauma in schools and explore the science of implementation. Overall, the Ready, Set, RISE! series covers core social and emotional learning concepts, as well as logistical and administrative concerns regarding planning, implementing, and sustaining trauma-informed practices in schools.…Read More

mindSpark Learning Impacts Record Number of Eductors Amid COVID-19 with 207% Rise in Professional Learning Participants

Education has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Educators have been tasked with pivoting from in-person to remote learning more than once in many districts across the country. mindSpark Learning, a Denver-based national nonprofit dedicated to empowering educators with industry-oriented professional learning experiences, reported today it has seen a dramatic increase in educators seeking professional development (PD) and resources to upskill them in challenging times. Since March 2020, MindSpark has impacted more than 10,000 educators across 1,800 schools and districts around the world. This is a 207% increase in the total number of educators to participate in MindSpark PD offerings.

In response to COVID-19, the MindSpark team jumped into action to develop additional resources that address contingency planning, the sudden shift to remote learning, and provide additional networking and support opportunities through its Online Toolkit and reSOLVE series. While the session volume increased due to these new pandemic-related offerings, so did the average number of participants per session, which rose 133%.

mindSpark Learning prides itself on being accessible without creating a cost burden on educators. Thanks to generous support from community and industry partners, educators saved upwards of $396,150 on PD costs by choosing mindSpark Learning. Between March and November, 45% of participants experienced professional learning from MindSpark for the first time, while 55% trusted the organization enough to return for support and PD needs. Additionally, 43% of educators relying on MindSpark thus far come from rural or remote environments.…Read More

Class Solver Reduces COVID-19 Outbreaks through Class List Management

Class Solver the most flexible program for creating and managing class lists, has developed an algorithm that’s been proven to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks in schools by 36 percent. The feature builds upon Class Solver’s ability to customize and create class lists based on factors including behavior, academic performance, special needs and parent requests.

“Managing class placement is challenging at the best of times, but with the COVID-19 pandemic we often need to adjust quickly,” said Denielle Toth, Principal at Fricano Primary School in New York. “Class Solver has been invaluable – we’ve been able to create new class lists in minutes while also meeting COVID-19 requirements for our district.”

Class Solver integrates seamlessly with many student management systems. The new “COVID-friendly” algorithm saves time and evaluates factors such as social groups, extracurricular activities, bus routes and household dynamics to determine the impact of interactions at school. The feature follows the recommendations of Ben Schmidt, Director of Digital Humanities and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University, who published data on the correlation between children’s social networks and COVID-19 outbreaks.…Read More

PresenceLearning Partners with the Council of Administrators of Special Education

PresenceLearning, the leading provider of live online special education related services for K-12 schools, today announced a new partnership with the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE). Through this partnership, PresenceLearning will support the professional development of CASE members by providing access to its clinical experts and influential partners, as well as offering exclusive webinars, presentations, and other programming throughout the year and at the upcoming 2020 CASE Virtual Fall Conference on November 5-7, 2020.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our partnership with PresenceLearning. As the leaders in delivering special education related services to students via teletherapy and tele-assessment, they are uniquely positioned to help our members navigate this especially challenging school year. We look forward to bringing more of their clinical expertise and content to our members,” said Phyllis Wolfram, CASE Executive Director.

CASE is an international professional education organization of members dedicated to shaping policies and practices which impact the quality of education. It is one of 18 divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and supports members by providing opportunities to expand professional networks, exchange knowledge, and advance careers. Through this new partnership, CASE members will have opportunities to learn from PresenceLearning’s clinical experts, as well as influential partners such as Dr. Isaiah Pickens, CEO of iOpening Enterprises, who recently developed a trauma-informed, small group therapy program, for PresenceLearning to exclusively deliver remotely, designed to help students struggling with behavioral and mental health challenges.…Read More