95 Percent Group Unveils 95 Phonics Core Program for Grades 4 and 5

Lincolnshire, Ill. – 95 Percent Group LLC, the trusted source for comprehensive, proven literacy solutions, launched 95 Phonics Core Program® Word Study, Grades 4 and 5. The new program extends the evidence-based classroom success of 95 Percent Group’s K-3 program, a Tier 1 solution for whole class and small group instruction, supporting explicit, structured literacy instruction. It engages students with informational text and literary passages to help them develop fast and meaningful word recognition and build fluency, comprehension, and confidence. It also includes professional learning and ongoing coaching at the district and building level to support teachers in mastering phonics-based instruction.

Chief Academic Officer for 95 Percent Group Laura Stewart noted that 95 Phonics Core Program® Word Study, Grades 4 and 5 is a natural evolution for the company’s phonics ecosystem, a cohesive suite of products and professional learning services aligned with the Science of Reading.

“Expanding our phonics ecosystem to support fourth and fifth grade is the direct result of educators asking us for a solution to fill the continued, growing need for explicit Tier 1 phonics and word study skill development beyond the third grade,” said Stewart. “This is a unique offering for schools and it is exciting to be able to bring this resource to the classroom to help both struggling and on grade-level students improve their reading and spelling abilities.”…Read More

Clark County School District Gives Educators in 241 Elementary Schools Access to Lexia’s LETRS Professional Learning

BOSTON – Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada, has made Lexia LETRS ® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning programs available to most elementary schools in the district with a plan to continue expanding the program to additional elementary and early childhood teachers and administrators. Offered by Lexia, a Cambium Learning Group company, LETRS professional learning programs provide educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading.

Developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and leaders in the field of literacy, the LETRS suite provides practical support with tools that are available 24/7—online and in print. It also offers professional learning sessions led by national LETRS experts. These sessions provide classroom application examples of the learnings and refine and extend participants’ understanding of the content. The LETRS suite consists of three professional learning programs:

· Lexia LETRS for Elementary Educators…Read More

5 ways our district streamlines edtech ecosystems

Student data privacy has been at the forefront of district leaders’ minds well before the pandemic. However, since COVID-19 shifted schools and classrooms online, it’s not surprising that tech usage has reached an all-time high. Districts are accessing 1,400 edtech tools per month on average, and cybersecurity attacks in our nation’s schools are also increasing.

As an Education Technology Specialist at one of Colorado’s fastest-growing districts, District 49, I was tasked 5 years ago with the responsibility to ensure our district complied with federal and student data privacy laws. Both state and federal laws require vendors and school districts to facilitate safe online learning experiences. However, when the pandemic hit, our district was forced to rethink our approach beyond compliance to further vet our edtech tools and make protecting student data privacy a regular practice of our edtech ecosystem.

For the process to work, I knew we would have to work collaboratively, across departments and buildings, to confirm that our teachers and students were using digital tools that delivered value without exposing student data to risk.…Read More

How to use Minecraft Education in your classroom

It’s easier than you think to begin using Minecraft Education in your classroom. During an FETC 2023 session, technology specialist Kristen Brooks from the Cherokee County School District offered an overview of how she engages her students with Minecraft Education.

“When kids use Minecraft in the classroom, they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing that they forget they’re actually learning,” Brooks said. “Students excel in their learning when they’re encouraged to create projects in a style or format they prefer.”

Here are some of her tips to get started and sustain enthusiasm for Minecraft Education:…Read More

Mississippi Principal Named Curriculum Associates’ 2023 Inspire Award Winner

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—Dr. Kiana Pendleton, principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts in the Laurel School District in Laurel, MS, was recently named the winner of Curriculum Associates’ 2023 Inspire Award. This recognition, which is part of the company’s annual Extraordinary Educators™ program celebrating exemplar teachers around the country, is given to one administrator nationwide for their ability to create strong bonds with school-based teams to take the use of Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready program to new levels to support students’ academic success.

“Dr. Pendleton is a standout leader who understands the support and resources teachers and students alike need in order to succeed,” said Emily McCann, vice president of educator community at Curriculum Associates. “Dr. Pendleton’s dedication to her school community and her hard work day-in and day-out is admirable.”

Pendleton began her career in education as an America Reads tutor in Jackson, MS. Prior to coming to the Laurel School District in April 2018, she served as a teacher, interventionist, and district reading specialist. For her outstanding leadership and dedicated service as principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts, Pendleton was named Laurel School District’s Administrator of the Year in 2019. She was also later selected by the Mississippi Department of Education as a finalist for the title of Mississippi Administrator of the Year.…Read More

How K-12 IT leaders can protect schools from ransomware

Cyberattacks on public schools are becoming more common and more severe every year. Between 2020 and 2021, more than 56 percent of K-12 education organizations suffered ransomware attacks with an average cost of $268,000.

Most recently, an attack on the LA Unified School District in September 2022 conducted by the Russian hacking group Vice Society shut down access to emails, computer systems, and applications for more than half a million users. Before that, a ransomware attack on the school system in Buffalo, NY cost the state more than $10 million in damages.

How can these K-12 school districts defend themselves from these ransomware attacks? And why are they being targeted so frequently?…Read More

How a cloud-based ERP helps schools innovate and be nimble

As school districts emerge from the worst of COVID-19, they’re bringing with them new priorities. Many of the changes that districts have made during the pandemic, such as giving employees the flexibility to work remotely, will be carried forward. Other processes are being reevaluated to serve the needs of students and other stakeholders more effectively.

In looking to update everything from teaching and learning processes to school district operations, one of the most basic steps that K-12 leaders can take to position their schools for success is updating their education resource planning (ERP) solution by moving to a cloud-based system.

We can’t really talk about modernizing and streamlining district operations without discussing ERPs. An ERP is the backbone of a district’s operations, helping administrators manage essential financial functions related to payroll, HR, accounting, and more.…Read More

5 ways video improves school-home communication

Increasingly, district leaders are incorporating video into school-home communication. Many districts that tried video options out of necessity during the pandemic are seeing the benefits that video can provide for parent engagement and are expanding video options even as schools are back to in-person instruction.

Districts are finding that using video can improve school-home communication by making the process of engagement easier for parents. Video options can help with:

  • Removing barriers to school-home communication.
  • Providing educators with real-time connections with students’ families without the hassles of gathering everyone in the same location.
  • Reaching parents who might be hard to engage otherwise. If a parent is working two jobs, doesn’t have access to transportation, or would have other barriers to coming to an in-person meeting, a video call can make the process easier for a parent.
  • An overall shift in individuals’ behaviors and technological skills to rely on video tools.

Here are five tips for school leaders who want to incorporate video into their school-home communication strategies.…Read More

Charting a path forward in K-12

After several years of disrupted learning, schools are taking stock of the range of challenges that need to be addressed—challenges resulting from the most significant disruption to K-12 education in history.

Across the nation, the pandemic has taken a toll on our children’s mental and physical health, behavioral development, social and emotional well-being, academic achievement, and plans for their future. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Rather, educators anticipate a multi-year process of helping struggling students recover from pandemic-related school disruptions.

Addressing the complexity and scale of these challenges requires school and district leaders to make critical choices. But they don’t need to do it alone. All those serving the education community must come together as trusted partners to find solutions, support evidence-based research, and ensure successful implementation of instructional practices to address education’s most critical challenges. …Read More