How to find language learning opportunities for students

There has been a steady decline in language learning in schools. According to the Pew Research Center, only one in five K-12 students in the United States now learns another language, and just 10 states and the District of Columbia make world language learning a requirement for graduating from high school.

New Jersey has the most students studying a world language (51 percent), followed by the District of Columbia (47 percent) and Wisconsin (36 percent). However, the vast majority of states have fewer than 25 percent of students learning another language — and just 9 percent of students in Arizona, Arkansas, and New Mexico. Compare that to Europe, where 92 percent of students learn a foreign language, Pew observes.

The decline in language learning carries over into college: According to the Modern Language Association, university and college enrollment in language courses dropped by nearly 10 percent from 2013 to 2016. During that same period, higher education institutions cut 651 foreign language programs nationwide.…Read More

Carolina Biological Announced South Carolina Adopted New Grades K to 12 Science Teaching Materials

COLUMBIA, SC, Dec. 16, 2021 – Carolina Biological announced that two of its elementary school science programs are among the rigorous list of new science materials just adopted by the South Carolina State Board of Education for the state’s K-12 science curriculum. Carolina Biological’s award-winning Smithsonian Science for the Classroom™ and Building Blocks of Science 3D were chosen for adoption to help teachers address new state science standards. The company was among more than 30 publishers that made the adoption list. Adopted materials are available for purchase now to public schools and districts in South Carolina. The resources can makeover science classes and benefit teachers and students in 83 school districts that serve 780,000 students statewide. Recently approved in June, the South Carolina College and Career-Ready 2021 (SCCCR) standards for K-12, are the state’s new three-dimensional performance expectations in science and engineering. New school materials were reviewed in depth and selected for adoption to engage students and help educators to teach these latest standards.

South Carolina science classes now have a nice selection of rich new resources to support their own student-driven, hands-on, and phenomena-based vision of three-dimensional learning in the classroom. Science materials from 65 publishers were reviewed for adoption by the Instructional Materials Advisory Committee, comprised of parents, teachers, district administrators and community members. The Committee reviews all instructional materials in light of the state content standards. Materials are recommended for adoption by the Committee on a rotating basis every six years. Schools may select materials from the state-adopted list of resources using state funds. Materials adopted as supplemental must be purchased with S.C. schools’ local funds, but not with state funds.

The next step in the adoption process is for the S.C. Department of Education to help districts with local science materials selection through an Instructional Materials Caravan, where school and district staff can learn about the new materials through presentations by publishers, including Carolina Biological. This will happen before April 1, when districts report their selections to the Office of Instructional Materials. In May, schools place their orders online and receive their new instructional materials for the start of the school year.…Read More

iTutor’s Virtual Quarantine Classroom Offers Educational Lifeline for COVID-Affected South Carolina and New York Students

As many as 2,000 students on any given day this school year in Richland Two (South Carolina) and other school districts, and, in partnership with PNW BOCES, across the state of New York — required to quarantine at home because of COVID-related concerns — have been able to continue their studies uninterrupted, thanks to iTutor and its new Virtual Quarantine Classroom service featuring live, online, instruction provided by state-certified teachers.

In the Richland Two School District, Columbia, SC, iTutor is serving all 24 elementary schools, providing group classes in ELA and Math for eight hours each week throughout the school year. Students begin receiving academic support within 24 hours of starting their quarantine at home.

“iTutor’s Virtual Quarantine Classroom has been an important partner in ensuring that students continue to receive premier learning experiences even when they must be away from school due to the pandemic,” said Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron R. Davis.…Read More

Q Academy Kids Boosts Coding Skills of Children, Teens Worldwide, Launches Kids’ Projects Via Incubation Platform

The global e-learning market is poised for growth, especially post COVID-19. The size of North America’s e-learning market in particular is projected to reach US$135 billion by 2026, boosted by advancements in digital infrastructure in the United States and Canada, according to recent research.

Virtual classrooms, online learning, and vocational learning will all contribute to this growth. Companies are zeroing in on kids’ learning and development online, such that British Columbia-based Q Academy, a pioneer in tech-focused education in the region, has ventured into a kids’ coding and online learning platform through Q Academy Kids.

QA Kids caters to ages 6 to 18 years old, offering students one-on-one or group online classes on coding, Minecraft, graphic design, comic creation, 3D animation, digital marketing, and photography, among others. Designed with learning flexibility in mind, QA Kids enables parents to choose the courses and the schedule of classes best suited for their kids. It also makes available trial classes for free and prioritizes youth safety by making use of secure servers in its classes and a stringent vetting process in place for instructors as part of the site’s enhanced security features.…Read More

Engaging resources were critical to successful pandemic learning

New research released from the Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University finds that digitally accessible, high-quality instructional materials designed to bring students, families, and educators together increased student learning and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research reveals possibilities for sustained partnership between schools and families moving forward.

Despite challenges associated with remote learning, students, families, and educators from nine school districts and charter school organizations across seven states told researchers that students with access to high-quality instructional materials and support from a caregiver learned about the same – and sometimes more – than they would have in a “typical” year. Their experience was in contrast to students who struggled academically, and at a time that many fear learning loss among students because of pandemic-related learning disruptions.

“We learned through virtual schooling that educators’ use of high-quality, culturally responsive instructional materials that are enabled by technology and educative for families can be a game changer,” said Elizabeth Chu, Executive Director of CPRL. “Instead of families being ‘passive recipients’ of instruction, it’s time for a new model in education that brings families fully into the instructional process by using high-quality instructional materials to help foster close coordination and collaboration between students, families and educators.” …Read More

Q Academy Ventures into Online Learning for Kids

British Columbia-based Q Academy, a pioneer in tech-focused education, taps into online learning with the soft-launching of Q Academy Kids (QA Kids), a coding and design platform for young people.

With the increased internet adoption and the rising demand for real-time accessible training globally, Q Academy makes this timely shift from purely on-campus delivery to the addition of virtual delivery methods through QA Kids.

“Q Academy is known for delivering short-term training for individuals and corporate learners with a focus on upgrading their skills. It has been offering in-person summer tech camps, after-school and professional development courses for kids in Vancouver and Victoria, BC, and now with Q Academy Kids, we are able to extend our reach across the nation,” says Q Academy Campus Manager Rachael McPherson. …Read More

CASEL Board Member Dr. Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl Starts as NoVo Endowed Chair of SEL at UIC

CASEL Board of Directors Member Dr. Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl has begun her tenure as the next NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair of Social and Emotional Learning in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The position was created in 2011 to support ongoing social and emotional learning (SEL) research at the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with support from the Novo Foundation. As the new NoVo Chair of SEL, Dr. Schonert-Reichl will take over for CASEL Co-founder and Chief Knowledge Officer Dr. Roger Weissberg, who held the post since its creation.

Known as a world-renowned expert in SEL, Dr. Schonert-Reichl was a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education in the Faculty of Education at University of British Columbia (UBC) from 1991 to 2020. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious 2021 Janusz Korczak Medal for Children’s Rights Advocacy, and has been invited to participate in several dialogues with the Dalai Lama on the themes of cultivating compassion and educating the heart.

“It is truly such an honor for me to take on this new role as the NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in SEL, and to join such an amazing group of faculty and students at UIC — a world-class university,” Dr. Schonert-Reichl said. “And, it is particularly meaningful to me to be returning to Chicago, where my interest and passion for SEL all began as a teacher. Indeed, it was during my years as a new teacher that my students taught me that the best learning happens when explicit attention is given to creating educational contexts that support and promote their social and emotional competence and well-being.”…Read More

5.3 Million Star Assessments Show the True Impact of the COVID Slide

Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, has released How Kids Are Performing: Tracking the Impact of COVID-19 on Reading and Mathematics Achievement, a report detailing the learning effects associated with COVID-19 school disruptions. Designed to end the speculation and provide guidance for educators as they address learning gaps, the report is based on the results of more than five million student assessments.

Student assessments from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were included in the sample, which consisted of students in grades 1–8 who took Star Early Literacy, Star Reading, or Star Math assessments during both Fall 2019 and Fall 2020.

Key findings of the report include the following:…Read More

Everyone has a role to play in education today

As we enter a new year, education is a topic that continues to resonate well beyond the classroom into the core aspects of daily life, from home and family to the halls of politics and the corporate world. Since launching SXSW EDU several years ago with the aspiration to become the world’s largest and most inclusive learning festival in the world, it’s been exciting to see the event grow and evolve. As past speakers including philanthropist Bill Gates and Teacher’s College, Columbia University professor Christopher Emdin both observed from the keynote stage, the growth of the event is a direct reflection of the public’s deep passion and interest with teaching and learning—no surprise, when we acknowledge that education is the foundation on which everything is built!

More than the growth of SXSW EDU, though, what’s been most interesting to observe is the evolution of the topics that the community wants to address, as reflected through our crowd-sourced program. Each year, the community proposes thousands of suggestions for sessions and workshops and speakers. As such, the SXSW EDU community’s conversation about teaching and learning continues to become richer and more diverse, spanning the complete life cycle of learning, from early childhood, to and through college, career, and beyond.

While past programs for SXSW EDU focused largely on the standards and structures of schooling, today the program has grown to additionally address the intersection of culture and learning. Stated another way, beyond exploring the 4- or 8- or 12-year curriculums associated with the traditional classifications of elementary, secondary, and post- secondary education, it’s been fascinating to see the program enriched with discussions about lifelong learning in the real world, against the backdrop of rapidly changing expectations to prepare learners for a future that will look far different than today.…Read More

Report: States improve teacher policies

NCTQ’s annual report finds state policies to support teacher effectiveness are no longer the exception in the U.S.

teacher-policyTeacher policies across the U.S. averaged a C- grade, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which on Dec. 8 released its ninth annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook.

The annual policy yearbook analyzes every state law, rule and regulation that shapes the teaching profession, from teacher preparation, licensing and evaluation to compensation, professional development and dismissal policy.

Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, states average a C- for their teacher policies in 2015, up from an overall grade of D in 2009. The average state grade has held steady since NCTQ’s last comprehensive report card in 2013, despite the bar being raised on several key topics, including aligning teacher licensing policies with the expectations of college- and career-readiness standards adopted by many states.…Read More