A 4-step approach to leveraging technology in instruction

The adoption and assortment of technology in K-12 classrooms has soared over the past decade, posing challenges for schools tasked with deciding which technologies to introduce into their classrooms. Too often, these conversations around leveraging technology in instruction revolve around the what and how of physical tools — what to acquire and how to use it. However, we need to first start with the why of technology to truly address learning outcomes for all students.

Technology needs to be evaluated and chosen for its ability to engage students in meaningful and productive ways within a culture of accelerated learning. Students who are proficient with digital literacy skills and practices will have the advantage of being flexible and adaptive critical thinkers who can engage with new technology in meaningful and productive ways in every content area.

4 Steps to Integrating Technology with Purpose…Read More

Discovery Education and TrueSport Partner to Present a Unique, Virtual Town Hall Exploring the Life Skills Students Need for Success Beyond Sports

Silver Spring, MD (Thursday, January 27, 2022) — TrueSport – the outreach education arm of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dedicated to transforming the culture of youth sport – and Discovery Education today announce a partnership providing powerful educational tools to equip students with resources that help build life skills and core values for success on and off the field of play. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. 

The partnership has produced The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall, which premieres February 1 at 1 PM ET in time for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. In an engaging 24-minute video, students meet with Olympic, Paralympic, and Team USA athletes to explore how the values of sportsmanship, character building & life skills, and clean & healthy performance drive their success in both athletics and life. Included in the Town Hall are Team USA weightlifter Abby Raymond, wheelchair basketball Paralympian and three-time medalist Trey Jenifer, and Olympic boxing silver medalist Richard Torrez, Jr. Learn more about The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall here.  

“The lessons and values learned through sport prepare young people to be more successful now, and in the future. The Mindset of a TrueSport Champion Town Hall is designed to inspire students, educators, coaches, and families to reflect on their choices and core values so that youth sport is about more than just winning,” said Dr. Jennifer Royer, the Senior Director of TrueSport and Awareness at USADA. “With Discovery Education as a partner, we are thrilled to take our mission of transforming the culture of youth sport through education even further.”  …Read More

PresenceLearning Expands Leadership Team

NEW YORK, August 17, 2021 – PresenceLearning, the leading provider of live online special education related services and behavioral and mental health services for K-12 schools nationwide, has made two key additions to the leadership team. The company has hired Louisa Balach as President, Therapy Essentials Platform, and has promoted Shanelle Reese to become the company’s first Chief People Officer.

The creation of the Chief People Officer role signifies the importance of people at the center of the company’s culture and strategy. With the rapid growth of the business in FY21 came significant growth in employee teams to support and ensure great service to schools and students. In this role Reese will lead all employee-focused aspects of the organization, including employee experience, talent acquisition, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, learning and development, and internal communications. In her previous role as Vice President of People, Reese led PresenceLearning’s organization-wide commitment to diverse hiring practices, driving significant strides in representation across all teams, with 74% of PL employees female and 36% non-white. Additionally the company has added employee programming including company-wide unconscious bias training, COVID-related programming and broader resources to support employees.

The creation of the role of President, Therapy Essentials Platform marks an exciting step in the development of the company’s software as a service therapy platform offering. The offering has experienced rapid growth as school districts turn to Therapy Essentials to expand the capacity of their special education teams to serve their students remotely, and to provide clinicians with flexible ways to innovate and grow their practices. With the recent launch of Therapy Essentials for Individual and Group Practices, even more clinicians will be able to access the PresenceLearning platform. Under Balach’s leadership, the company will continue to innovate its therapy platform with a mission to provide the ultimate suite of online tools to support the work of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, mental health professionals and other clinicians.…Read More

5 ways IT leaders can inspire digital transformation post-pandemic

The past year propelled IT teams and leadership into the spotlight with never-before-seen digital transformation and multi-year technology plans executed practically overnight. After a year of awe-inspiring progress, Hillsborough County Public Schools CTO Jeremy Bunkley believes K-12 IT leaders need to keep the momentum going to ensure the year’s gains translate to long lasting technology and culture transformation.

A veteran IT leader and change agent, Bunkley embraced the pandemic’s challenges as a catalyst for district transformation. After building a collaborative ecosystem of partners, he executed some of the largest technology projects in the district’s history in a span of only 11 months, including migrating to a new, more effective email client, increasing technology staff through additional federal funding opportunities, creating the blueprint for a dark fiber WAN, and overhauling the district’s Wi-Fi network to a cloud solution.

Additionally, Bunkley worked directly with an OEM–a move rarely leveraged in K-12–to design custom Windows laptops tailored to the needs of district students and the technology environment, enabling HCPS to roll out 190,000 devices with a focus on 1:1 in grades second through twelfth while saving the district $5.6M. Future projects on the horizon include building a private LTE network and integrating application usage data analytics.…Read More

3 ways to prioritize teacher PD as schools reopen

As schools make plans to reopen, it would be easy for school and district leaders to put teacher PD on the backburner. There are, after all, a lot of competing priorities – from managing first-days-of-school schedules to navigating new cleaning protocols to building culture and community.

High-quality PD is still critical to teachers’ success, and now is not the time to scale back, especially given the ongoing challenges teachers are facing this school year. Creating time and space for professional learning will help teachers recharge their batteries.

Below are three ways to help efficiently and effectively prioritize teacher PD for the remainder of this year and beyond.…Read More

VHS Learning Partners with Continental Han Feng Network Technology to Develop Chinese Language Program

Nonprofit VHS Learning is partnering with Continental Han Feng Network Technology (CHF) to develop a full Chinese language high school program. Chinese 1 through AP® Chinese Language and Culture courses will be added to the more than 250 online courses currently offered by VHS Learning. CHF and VHS Learning are working collaboratively to develop Chinese 1 and Chinese 2 courses during the first year of this multi-year partnership and VHS Learning is training qualified teachers in preparation for releasing both courses in September 2021.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer a full Chinese language program to VHS Learning students,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “We know there is a huge demand for Chinese language instruction, but not all high schools have the staff or resources to offer these courses. I anticipate a significant demand for these courses and am thankful for the support and partnership of CHF as we bring these courses to life for high school students everywhere.”

To develop the program, VHS Learning is working with a stellar team of subject matter experts. The team will take state of the art content and create engaging learning experiences, fully aligned to ACTFL World Language standards, and delivered through VHS Learning’s unique, asynchronous model.…Read More

The Making of the Modern Librarian: The Value of School Libraries

A virtual reality field trip. A lesson on how to create a podcast. A tutorial on how to create a paper circuit board that uses LED lights. For a new generation of educators, these pursuits have something in common: They’re all appropriate learning exercises that can take place in the school library. Makerspaces, or library media centers that encourage collaboration and support student invention, are on the rise across the United States.

This has always been the case, but in a prevailing learning culture that promotes outside-the-box problem solving, these activities are growing more common in the 21st-century school library. At the intersection of analog and digital learning opportunities, the value of school libraries has increased at all levels of education. And at the helm of these spaces, school librarians must negotiate how best to support students with library resources, adapt to new technological advancements in education and pass on the fundamental tenets of digital and information literacy to students.

As the U.S. public education system has evolved throughout its history, school libraries have also developed with a consistent central goal: to give students the best opportunity to succeed academically.…Read More

Discovery Ed and Leading Corporate and Community Partners Offering Access to Digital Resources Supporting STEM

Discovery Education and leading corporate and community partners are partnering to offer engaging, no-cost digital learning resources to students, teachers, and families to support National STEM Day observances. Held annually on November 8th, National STEM Day unites communities around the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math to students in grades K-12. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources and professional learning for K-12 classrooms.

The STEM Careers Coalition™ is a leading contributor to the vast array of new STEM-focused resources now available. A coalition of industry partners joining forces with Discovery Education to create a culture of STEM education in K-12 schools nationwide, the STEM Careers Coalition™ empowers educators to teach STEM effectively in the classroom, fosters equity and access to quality education, and is building the next generation of solution-seekers.

Among the new resources now available to educators, parents, and families are a series of new Career Exploration resources. Sourced from industry leaders like API, Boeing, Chevron, and Microsoft, as well as content contributors Sanofi and GAF, these resources help educators and families connect what is being learned in the classroom to possible STEM careers in a variety of fields.…Read More

Savvas Learning Company Launches Culturally Responsive Learning Initiative

Savvas Learning Company, a next-generation learning solutions provider for K-12 education, is proud to announce the launch of its Culturally Responsive Learning (CRL) Initiative that will focus on supporting teachers in making real changes in their classroom practices to foster student voice and improve achievement as well as using curriculum that opens minds and allows students to see themselves reflected in what they learn.

Building on the national movement for social justice, the Savvas CRL Initiative seeks to cultivate a more inclusive culture at Savvas that elevates different perspectives and increases diversity within its workforce, vendors, and editorial content. As part of its effort, Savvas is developing professional learning to support teachers in setting high expectations for all learners and creating classroom environments that welcome individual voices, provide safe spaces for challenging conversations, and promote student agency by empowering students with choices in how they learn.

“Culturally responsive learning is critical for increasing student engagement by encouraging student voice. We want our curriculum to be a tool to inspire that student voice in an authentic way, and to create opportunities for students to share their rich, cultural backgrounds,” said Bethlam Forsa, CEO of Savvas Learning Company. “As an extension of our core values of expanding equity and empathy, culturally responsive learning must be woven into everything we do at Savvas: from the curriculum we build and the professional learning we offer teachers, to the training we provide our employees, who are the heart and soul of our organization.”…Read More

3 ways educational data helped this district improve outcomes

In the Wilson County School District, using educational data to inform our decisions has reinvented the way students learn, and it has given educators a newfound confidence in their teaching practices.

Last year, we were recognized by the state as an exemplary district, and we’ve achieved level five status, meaning our students are growing at a rate that’s two years beyond what’s expected.

We’ve achieved these results through the hard work of our faculty—and by using educational data to support how we instruct and evaluate our students. Other district leaders hoping to achieve similar results can follow three essential steps to creating a data-centric culture.…Read More