Aperture Education Expands its Research and Development Team

Charlotte N.C. (Jan. 28, 2022) — Aperture Education, the leading provider of research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments for K-12 schools, is expanding its Research and Development (R&D) department to support product development as the company grows. The expanded department will direct and participate in research that can be translated into meaningful, applicable results for schools and districts. To lead the expanded team, Aperture has hired Dr. Evelyn Johnson, a former professor of special education at Boise State University, as the department’s new vice president.

“Aperture’s primary differentiation is the rigor of the research that goes into developing our products and monitoring their effectiveness. We have been working to expand our R&D capacity to handle the growing demands for SEL in schools and out-of-school time organizations,” said Aperture CEO Jessica Adamson. “Dr. Johnson has a wealth of experience and her vision aligns with our mission as a company. She is a great fit to help advance Aperture’s commitment to data-driven SEL.”

Dr. Johnson is an important part of an impressive R&D team at Aperture which has extensive experience in SEL. As part of the department’s expansion, Aperture also hired Dr. Joseph Mahoney as Senior Research Scientist. Mahoney previously served as assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and senior research scientist at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Matt Buczek also joined the team as Research Associate. He has a master’s of education degree in Statistics, Measurement, Assessment, and Research Technology (SMART) and has been working in the research field for the past five years. Others on the team include Jennifer Robitaille, who has more than a decade of experience in research and evaluation to support SEL programs, Research Assistant Emily Parker, and SEL Strategy Developer Samantha Hagans. The team is supported by well-known SEL experts Paul LeBuffe, Valerie Shapiro, and Jack Naglieri, among others, who serve as long-standing consultants for Aperture.…Read More

PowerSchool to Acquire Kinvolved, Expanding K-12 Platform to Provide Critical Messaging and Communication Solution

FOLSOM, Calif. PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC), the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kinvolved, a leading provider of K-12 communications, attendance, and engagement solutions supporting over 250,000 students and used within three of the top four school districts in the U.S. Adding Kinvolved’s leading communication engine to PowerSchool’s  Unified Home solution will enable schools and districts to strengthen and simplify overall communications and notifications between school and home to increase engagement and help reduce absenteeism.

“Collaboration between teachers, parents, and students is one of the most important aspects of an effective education, and we know it’s a top priority for our customers to have efficient, centralized notifications and communications integrated with PowerSchool” Tweet this

“Collaboration between teachers, parents, and students is one of the most important aspects of an effective education, and we know it’s a top priority for our customers to have efficient, centralized notifications and communications integrated with PowerSchool,” said Hardeep Gulati, CEO of PowerSchool. “We look forward to welcoming Kinvolved to our PowerSchool team, and together making a bigger impact on improving student engagement and outcomes.”…Read More

VHS Learning Celebrates Twenty-Year Partnerships with Schools and Educational Consortiums

Boston – Jan. 27, 2022 – VHS Learning is pleased to celebrate its partnership with four educational organizations that have been with the program for twenty or more years. These schools, districts, and consortiums helped to pioneer the use of VHS Learning’s online program to build equity and expand educational opportunities for their students.  

“In 1996 we were awarded a U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant. Online learning was in its infancy, and we worked closely with a small group of innovative schools who helped us establish a strong foundation for the work we do today,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “Without them, our program could not have grown to its current size, serving students in all 50 US states and 63 countries around the world. This year marks our 26th year of operation, and we want to recognize these forward-thinking partners who are true pioneers in online education.”

The four partners are:…Read More

What edtech should schools keep in today’s new normal?

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown education for a loop. Even as classes resumed this past fall, many districts implemented widespread student and teacher quarantines and shifted to virtual learning as new outbreaks and variants emerged.

What new tools, techniques, and innovations should stick around in primary schools even after COVID recedes (whenever that may be)?

Check out this eSchool News webinar and learn from veteran educators who recall their work-around strategies during the massive shift to remote learning. They’ll provide valuable insight and will suggest which tools and strategies should be kept to create new hybrid learning models for younger students.…Read More

For COVID catch-up, don’t remediate–accelerate

One of the biggest changes educators will see in 2022 is the shift to accelerated learning. Educators have been experimenting with accelerated learning for some time, but in the last year or so, as districts looked for new strategies to address pandemic-related learning losses, organizations like The New Teacher Project have released reports on the effectiveness of the approach.

The phrase got picked up by the United States Department of Education and used in much of the department’s materials related to ESSER funds and stimulus money flowing to schools to address learning disruptions. As a result, if you look at almost any state’s recovery plan, you’ll find the phrase “accelerated learning.”

And for good reason, too. It’s an elegantly simple change, it appears to be quite effective, and it’s a perfect fit for the particular challenge we find ourselves in as we try to bring students back up to speed after a couple of difficult years.

What is accelerated learning?…Read More

5 ways a more equitable school-home communication system helped our district

The pandemic has forced districts to rethink how they communicate with parents, and things aren’t going to go back to the “way they were” anytime soon (if at all). Forced to operate remotely, and without much warning, our district knew it had to move away from snail mail as a primary mode of school-home communication and over to a more modern, fast, and efficient solution.

Fortunately, we already had a safe and secure platform for school-home communication in place before the pandemic; it was just a matter of ramping up our usage of the technology, getting parents and teachers trained on how to consistently use it, and then putting it into action.

With Aeries as our student information system (SIS) and ParentSquare tightly integrated into it, that’s exactly what we did.…Read More

Happy habits: SEL matters more than ever

“My hope is these extra couple of days will allow everyone to take a little extra time for themselves and their families. Family is, after all, much of what Thanksgiving is all about.”

–Dr. Kelvin R. Adams, Superintendent of Schools, St. Louis Public Schools

Like St. Louis, school districts across the country opted to add an additional partial or entire week off during the holiday season/winter break to allow the students and adults to find time for and take care of themselves.…Read More

K-12 Districts Nationwide Expand Usage of ParentSquare to Strengthen Family Engagement

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. Jan. 20, 2022—As educators gear up for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, school-to-home engagement continues to be a top priority. To unify all school communication and build stronger communities, school systems nationwide — including public, private, and charter school systems — have signed on to expand their use of ParentSquare, the premier unified school-home engagement platform for K-12.

Recent school districts to renew and expand their ParentSquare features include the Pleasanton Unified School District, Napa Valley Unified School District, and the Yakima School District. ParentSquare is the only fully unified product that engages every family with school communications and communications-based services—all the way from the district office to the classroom teacher, and all in one place.

Extending community reach. Pleasanton USD, in northern California, has over 14,000 students enrolled in its 30 schools. The district’s overarching goal for signing on with ParentSquare was to make information more accessible and digestible for families, especially during the pandemic. The district recently adopted ParentSquare’s new Community Groups feature to contact alumni of its oldest high school about that school’s centennial. “Some alumni have email, some just have a phone number, but with Community Groups, we now can reach everyone, with relevant information,” said Patrick Gannon, the district’s communications and community engagement coordinator.…Read More

Using evidence-based math programs to address learning recovery

Selecting instructional strategies and supplemental resources for supporting student learning recovery shouldn’t be a guessing game. District and school leaders seeking to address learning loss and accelerate growth must consider the importance of evidence-based practices: instructional skills, techniques, and strategies that a study or experiment has shown to be effective.

The latest reports confirm that the pandemic slowed progress in math and reading for millions of U.S. students. As districts seek effective strategies and resources for addressing learning recovery, particularly in math, they should consider investing in evidence-based solutions.

Evidence-based or philosophy-based?…Read More

Kajeet Announces Launch of 2022 Homework Gap Grant Program for K-12 Schools and Districts, Colleges and Universities, and Public Libraries

MCLEAN, VA. (PRWEB) JANUARY 13, 2022Kajeet®, a leading provider of IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable and controlled internet connectivity to nearly 3,000 customers, today announced the launch of its 2022 Homework Gap Grant Program. This funding opportunity will allow K-12 schools and districts, colleges and universities, and public libraries to connect students to safe, reliable internet outside of the classroom.

“At Kajeet, we believe internet access is a basic human right and are fully committed to efforts aimed at closing the digital divide,” said Daniel J. W. Neal, chairman, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “Providing a more equitable future for students everywhere is a top priority at Kajeet and we are thrilled to once again offer a grant opportunity that will help schools and libraries provide critical resources.”

An estimated 12 million students in the U.S. and Canada lack home broadband access, putting a staggering number of school-aged children at a serious learning disadvantage. The 2022 Homework Gap Grant Program is part of Kajeet’s mission to provide students opportunities to access online educational resources anytime, anywhere.…Read More