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

Online research program offers first ever covid-19 independent study

Pioneer Academics, the college-accredited online research program for high school students, has launched Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS), a free program that gives any interested high school student the opportunity to participate in independent studies about COVID-19. An international online program, POSS brings teenagers together from around the world to examine a shared challenge through a scientific lens. The rigorous enrichment program, developed by Pioneer’s Academic Panel, allows students to develop and apply critical thinking and STEM skills in one of four study areas:1) Age of Plague: Medicine, Society and Epidemics, 1348 & Beyond; 2) Pandemics and Globalization: Economics, Culture and Policy; 3) Pandemic Epidemiology: Societal Impacts and Strategic Response; and 4) The Forces Driving Socio-Cultural Evolution.

POSS students will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring COVID-19 and will benefit from conducting independent studies while building teamwork and leadership skills. The open program allows any student who forms a study group of five to ten people – along with a school advisor or teacher who will monitor progress – to register as a team. Students can access teaching recordings, study materials, independent study guidelines, and have “office hours” with Pioneer Academics’ alumni. Teams already registered are located around the world, including Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, and China. There are also cross-country teams with members working together from different countries.

Visit https://pioneeracademics.com/pioneeropenstudy to learn more about POSS.…Read More

5 truths for building a successful data culture

Whichever assessment practice model you use—be it Response to Intervention (RTI), multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), or any other—building a positive culture of assessment is the key to success for both students and teachers.

Tech tools alone cannot transform your data culture, but the right knowledge and strong leadership can. We’ve found that schools and districts are most successful if they possess these five common traits.

The school or district has a broad definition of assessment.
The word ‘assessment’ should not be a substitute for the word ‘test’ or ‘grade.’ When teachers, schools, and districts broaden their overall definition of what an assessment can be, teachers are able to get a more complete sense of what a student has learned and where there is still room for improvement. These don’t need to be limited to benchmarking, check-points, or end-of-level tests, and not all assessments factor into a student’s gradebook. Whether it be performance-based evaluations, rubrics, or even a one-on-one conversation about frustrations and successes, think of an assessment as any time you allow a student to demonstrate what they know and don’t know.…Read More

What makes a great principal?

Great principals lead effective schools. Under the leadership of a great principal, teachers thrive, students engage with core content and school administrative functions run smoothly.

Conventional wisdom recognizes the value of school principals, and research backs it up. A report by the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that, of the most important factors affecting students’ academic achievement, leadership comes second only to instruction.

This finding makes sense as principals serve as the head of their schools, and their decisions affect school culture, parent involvement and overall community satisfaction. The level of influence a principal possesses, along with the benefits that can accompany the position, make it a post that many motivated educators aspire to hold.…Read More

How we got the edtech resource we wanted

As classroom teachers, we are always on the lookout for new resources and services that will benefit every student in our school. One day we encountered an edtech resource that would deliver curated, safe, and vetted digital media to teachers that would empower them to create dynamic digital learning environments for their students.

While we knew the addition of this resource–Discovery Education Experience–would drastically shift the work and culture of our staff, thanks to incredibly supportive peers and administrators at both the school and district level, we felt inspired and empowered to create a path that would bring this service to our school while drastically shifting the work and culture of our staff. Together, we worked for change while delivering this valued instructional resource.

Related content: 6 ways to get teachers on board with edtech…Read More