ClassTag Awards $10,000 Community Engagement Grant

August 2, 2022 – NEW YORK: As schools and families prepare for back-to-school, ClassTag is announcing the winning district of its Community Engagement Grant, who received $10,000 in funding.

Since launching The Community Engagement Grant in June 2022, ClassTag has received 65 passionate, compelling submissions on how school districts across the country have emerged out of the pandemic to build trust and strong relationships with their community. As part of the application, leaders were asked to share the creative ways they have engaged their community and the impact this additional funding can have. Initiatives shared as part of the applications offer diverse and creative perspectives on how to tackle the most pressing issues facing school communities across the country, however the opportunities remain consistent and span across
the following five areas:

  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
  • Family Education Programs
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses
  • A Unified Communication System

After much deliberation, the ClassTag team has selected the winner – Lexington City Schools, a suburban district in North Carolina serving over three thousand students.…Read More

PowerSchool to Launch Connected Intelligence, First Fully Managed Data-as-a-Service Platform for K-12 Schools

FOLSOM, Calif — PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC), the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, today announced it has launched Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool®. Partnering with  Snowflake via the  Powered by Snowflake program, Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool is the first fully managed K-12 Education focused Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform. It provides school districts and education agencies with a unified, global, fully managed, and secure platform. With Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool, school districts retain sole ownership of the data and have the ability to collaborate with internal stakeholders and external partners efficiently and securely.

By unifying all data under one comprehensive platform, segregated by school district, with built-in, stringent data security and governance controls, educators and school district or state-wide leaders will be able to take advantage of many benefits, including the following:

  • Increase equitable opportunities for all students. Connecting data from early childhood to adulthood can help improve a wide variety of initiatives aimed at supporting student outcomes and can even be leveraged within post-secondary support and workforce development.
  • Spend fewer resources managing data access and storage. Instead, educators can spend their time actually using data thanks to machine learning and analytics that create alerts if a student is exhibiting warning signs (e.g., an increased chance of not graduating on time).
  • Store education data securely and in one place. Access to all data in one place empowers educators and stakeholders with key insights to improve student outcomes.
  • Expand access to all data, including historic, current, future and any third-party data sources. This includes labor and workforce development data and secure inter-agency data sharing and collaboration, such as with juvenile justice, foster care, and other social services agencies, which aims to position all students for life-long success and their communities for positive social and economic futures.

“Connected Intelligence by PowerSchool gives state departments of education and school systems the ability to transform the economic and social outlook of their communities by bringing all their data together and giving them unprecedented ease of access, unparalleled performance, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their data is safely secured,” said Shivani Stumpf, Group Vice President, New Solutions of PowerSchool. “This innovative, all-inclusive data ecosystem that we’ve developed, and built on Snowflake’s Data Cloud, aims to help education leaders make the most effective and efficient use of data with greater agility, and to inform their investments so that they can focus on what matters most — improving student outcomes and preparing all learners for success.”…Read More

PBLWorks Announces its 2022 PBL Champions

Novato, CA (July 27, 2022) – PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has announced its 2022 PBL Champions – a program that honors schools, districts and individuals for their commitment to high quality Project Based Learning. The 2022 PBL Champions are:

  • District PBL Champion
    • Broward County Public Schools (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • School PBL Champion
    • Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School (Queens, New York)
  • Individual PBL Champion
    • Kendall Van Valkenburg, High School English Teacher at Red Canyon Alternative High School (Gypsum, Colorado)

“We were thrilled to see so many great nominations and learn about the great work happening in classrooms, schools, and districts across the country,” said PBLWorks CEO Bob Lenz in announcing the PBL Champions at the 2022 PBL World conference. “I want to extend my deepest appreciation and admiration for all of you who are weathering the storms this year staying committed to our students, families, and communities. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of our team at PBLWorks.”

During the 2022 PBL World Conference, PBLWorks also announced the first ever recipient of the “John Larmer Lifetime Learner Award” named after author and PBLWorks’ longtime editor-in-chief John Larmer. This year’s recipient was Rose Moe, a 6th-grade math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Rose was provided complimentary registration for PBL World 2022.…Read More

South Carolina Department of Education Partners with Vector Solutions to Help Districts Address Student Safety and Mental Health Issues such as Bullying and Anxiety

Tampa, FL – July 14, 2022 – The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) has partnered with Vector Solutions to provide all school districts in the state with free access to Vector’s library of Student Safety & Wellness Courses. The partnership includes courses with short, engaging web-based video lessons covering essential safety and emotional wellness topics. It is funded through $50,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and an additional $30,000 included as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

“Anxiety, depression, trauma, bullying, and other behavioral health challenges can have a negative impact on school climate and student success. The SCDE is providing this on-demand virtual resource as a way to help students better understand and respond to such challenges,” said Dr. Sabrina Moore, director of the Office for Student Intervention Services for SCDE. “We believe this resource will be a valuable tool for schools as they continue working to address the mental and behavioral needs of students.”

Vector Solutions is the leading provider of training and software solutions to help schools make their operations and communities safer, smarter, and better. The courses help schools promote discussion and awareness around these critical challenges that many young people face. The courses, which are available in modules for students in grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, include:…Read More

How to move your schools from AUPs to RUPs

Within the past few years, thanks to COVID-19 and distance learning, the amount of technology in schools across the country has increased a hundredfold. Many districts are now supporting 1:1 device initiatives, giving students daily access to the internet and information through Chromebooks, iPads, and other smart devices. To the relief of the world, education has mostly returned to the classroom after the pandemic mandated distance and hybrid learning.

Now, along with paper notebooks and colored pencils, classroom supply lists include technology as essential learning materials. With access to smart devices comes different responsibilities for teachers and students, new ways of learning, and new distractions. What’s your school’s current technology acceptable use policy?

As teachers continue to enhance instruction using 21st-century devices, the written policies for technology are often not clear or outdated. In many schools, the rules for daily technology use are frequently delegated to the discretion of each individual classroom teacher.…Read More

Why we use a multilingual districtwide platform for personalized communications

With more than 15,000 students across 25 different schools in central Washington state, one of our biggest goals coming into this past school year was to develop a feature-rich communications system that was the same for teachers, schools, and the district. We looked at the options on the market, talked to other districts about what they are using, and then put in a new school-home communications platform in place for the 2021-22 school year.

One of our concerns when adopting a new platform was whether it could handle multilingual communications for the district, where our students speak eight different languages–mainly English and Spanish, so that was our previous sole focus.

If you take Spanish and English out of the mix, we’ve never communicated using the six other languages before, unless it was an Individual Education Plan or something else that had to be translated. We’ve never communicated our normal messaging out in ALL languages that impact our families.…Read More

5 insights about post-pandemic education

This school year marked the first “almost normal” school year since the 2018-19 school year. Most began the school year with mask mandates, and many quarantined entire classes or grades due to COVID-19 outbreaks, but schools remained open and students filled classrooms.

The fact remains that learning is forever changed. The pandemic highlighted vast inequities in communities across the nation, teacher burnout increased tenfold, and the issue of students’ learning preferences–in school, hybrid, or online–attracted more debate.

A series of factsheets from the Clayton Christensen Institute explores five insights about post-pandemic education, backed by data, which could have major implications for schools and districts as they prepare for the 2022-23 school year.…Read More

4 insights from city school leaders

Media stories about large metropolitan school districts usually focus on their challenges instead of the impactful work they are doing to help students succeed.

As a former Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) CIO who spent part of my career working at large school systems, I collaborated with countless talented, intelligent, and inspiring education leaders. Many of these relationships were cultivated through my active participation in CGCS, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations.” Founded in 1956, the organization now includes 77 of the nation’s largest urban public school systems.

Both CGCS’s recently retired Executive Director and now Strategic Advisor Dr. Michael Casserly, who has been with the organization for over 40 years, and its Director of Management Services Dr. Robert Carlson, who has worked in public education for 60 years, 30 of which he’s spent at CGCS, have witnessed the tremendous progress made by large school districts. They shared four key reflections they’ve gleaned during their tenure with the organization.  …Read More

North Carolina Education Corps and Littera Education Partner to Improve Reading Achievement for North Carolina K-3 Students

New York — The North Carolina Education Corps (NCEC) will partner with Littera Education to support and improve reading outcomes for thousands of North Carolina students who need to get back on track after more than two years of learning interruptions.

Launched as a joint project of the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Office of the Governor as a response to the pandemic, NCEC now works with state-level agencies and local school districts as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit to recruit, train and support part-time literacy tutors. This year, Corps members will deliver high-impact tutoring to K-3 students in over 30 districts and charter organizations throughout North Carolina.

The partnership with Littera will give NCEC unmatched ability to track and assess the instruction. Littera’s Academic Support Platform simplifies scheduling and matching tutors with students; it also enables easy data aggregation, including what skills students covered and the length of sessions. A new mobile app allows tutors to instantly log feedback and session data from their phones, giving program coordinators continuous feedback as they support over 500 Corps members serving students across the state.…Read More

Aperture Education Creates New Tool to Support School Districts that are using the Harmony SEL Curriculum

Charlotte N.C. (June 23, 2022) — A new tool from Aperture Education helps schools and districts use data from Aperture’s DESSA SEL assessment alongside the popular Harmony SEL curriculum in a more strategic way to support students. The Harmony SEL Crosswalk identifies the areas in which the DESSA aligns with Harmony’s curriculum. This helps schools and districts understand how to differentiate support in Harmony lessons to have the most impact on students.

“There are a lot of tools out there to support social and emotional learning (SEL) and sometimes it can be difficult to see where they fit together,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “More than 45,000 schools use the Harmony SEL curriculum and many of them also use the DESSA. We created a crosswalk to make it easier to understand how the DESSA data and the Harmony SEL lessons can be used together to support students, and to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum.”

Harmony SEL is an SEL program for Pre-K-6 grade students with units such as “Empathy & Critical Thinking,” “Problem Solving,” and “Communication.” Each unit has lessons to help students strengthen and practice their SEL skills.…Read More