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

Book Uses Neuroscience to Reduce Conflict

With COVID-19 changing the way we work and live, combining those spaces in unprecedented ways, and happening concurrently with massive political divisions and economic distress, the potential for destructive conflict is increasing. Jeanine Hull—former corporate lawyer, now author, certified Conflict Transformation mediator, conflict engagement coach and public speaker—shows how to use this challenging time constructively to deepen relationships by changing the way you think about and respond to conflict. Her new book, Making Peace with Conflict: Using Neuroscience to Ease Difficult Relationships, is a scientifically comprehensive guide and is the first book that explicitly ties recent revolutionary trauma research to the way we deal with conflict.

“We all know how miserable conflict is, but very few of us have experienced the benefits conflict can bring, such as deepening trust and strengthening relationships,” said Hull. “Like navigating a labyrinth, the process of harnessing the connective power of conflict lies in trusting the process, putting one foot in front of the other and maintaining progress toward the center—a place of integration, peace and ease. Using clear and easy-to-understand language, my book uses neuroscience to educate you how to engage with and move through the unpleasantness of conflict to better your professional and personal lives.”

Notably, Hull helps organizations and families create an environment that values diversity of opinions (which can often lead to conflict—or worse, silence) with Rules of Conflict Engagement to normalize and respect diverging opinions. These Rules of Engagement make it safe for everyone to give their best to their jobs, families, communities and volunteer organizations.…Read More

National Network Launches to Connect Students in Crisis

InsideTrack — the national student success nonprofit that established the use of coaching for higher education enrollment, completion and career readiness — today announced the launch of an ambitious new initiative designed to deliver emergency coaching services for students experiencing crisis situations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With $250,000 from ECMC Foundation and a matching grant from Strada Education Network, the Emergency Coaching Network will provide up to 5,000 students at participating institutions with support from InsideTrack coaches specially trained to assess and support across a range of challenging situations.

“From food, income and housing insecurity to feelings of isolation, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety, the pandemic has magnified many of the challenges that students were already facing in growing numbers,” said Dr. G. Brent Wallace, Chancellor of North Central Texas College, a Network member institution. “During this unprecedented time for our students and communities, it’s never been more important for us to help students navigate these challenges and build the skills to thrive. We’re grateful that organizations like ECMC Foundation and InsideTrack are collaborating to support us and other institutions in these efforts.”

In the wake of COVID-19, colleges are seeing surging demand for emergency student support services, including coaching, to help students struggling with mental health challenges, financial distress, the loss of unemployment, and concerns around personal health and safety. According to recent data from InsideTrack’s Crisis Support Services team, students seeking support to help meet basic needs such as housing, food and medicine have increased by 203 percent from 2019. The number of students requesting assistance to navigate mental health crises has also more than doubled during the same period.…Read More

Assessing at Home i-Ready Diagnostic Kit Helps Educators Administer Diagnostics

After the extended period of distance learning this past spring, it is more important than ever that educators know students’ strengths and areas for growth as they enter the new school year. Beginning the year with an assessment like the i-Ready Diagnostic is critical to this effort. While assessing at home is challenging regardless of the test or provider, many schools successfully tested remotely this past spring. To support school reopening plans that may require educators to administer the i-Ready Diagnostic remotely, Curriculum Associates has created the Assessing at Home i-Ready Diagnostic Kit. The online kit includes a collection of turnkey tools for district leaders, school leaders, teachers, and families.

“As schools resume either in person or virtually, it’s critical that teachers know what each child knows and what they need to learn after months of lost learning,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “To support students beginning the year at home, teachers need tools and guidance to help families proctor the i-Ready Diagnostic so they can get the most accurate data to support their students.”

Drawing from lessons learned and tips from schools that successfully administered the i-Ready Diagnostic at home in the spring, the kit gives teachers resources to get their classes ready to assess at home. Teachers can access a checklist and calendar tool for planning key assessing at home activities. Additional resources include tips on proctoring assessments remotely, tools for communicating with families, and resources to motivate and celebrate students. District and school leaders have access to similar resources, specific to their own roles.…Read More

Teton Science Schools Launches Online Courses

Teton Science Schools opened enrollment for 2020-21 Place Network Online courses for middle school students this week. Three courses will be offered this year. Each course is designed as an academically challenging place-based experience that integrates language arts, math, science, and the visual arts. Designed to be part of a student’s learning experience, these interdisciplinary courses engage students in rich content, applicable skills, and center around a Community Impact Project. Participants connect learning to their local community and region throughout the experience, building relationships and supporting positive impact in the process. Courses are delivered virtually and taught by experienced Teton Science Schools’ faculty. These courses are open to middle school students around the world looking for innovative and place-based learning. Schools that are part of the TSS Place Network can enroll their students without a fee.

Head of Innovation, Nate McClennen, states, “We designed these courses to fill a need for affordable, online, high quality, place-based courses that help students understand and make a difference in their community – while meeting academic goals. Linked to content and skills connected to the course, middle school students will experience a relevant and engaging learning experience.”

Courses this year include My Place, Our Vision (fall), Owner’s Manual for My Human Brain (winter), and Health, Not Hunger (spring). Register now at https://www.tetonscience.org/what-we-do/school-network/online-courses/. Enrollment deadline is always ten days prior to the course start date (September 4 for the fall course).…Read More

15 skills students need for success — and how to teach them

21st century skills. Social and emotional learning skills. “Soft” skills. Whatever you choose to call them, there is a set of skills that are essential for success in school, work, and life — and yet teaching and assessing these skills in a formal, structured way can be challenging.

According to a report from McKinsey & Co., the global workforce will undergo a dramatic shift as a result of automation. The need for basic cognitive skills will decline by 15 percent over the course of this decade, while skills that can’t easily be replaced by computers —social and emotional skills such as leadership and empathy, and higher cognitive skills such as creativity and critical thinking — will be in high demand.

Related content: How gamification can improve schoolwide behavior…Read More