VHS Learning Elects Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its Board of Directors

Boston – Dec. 6, 2021 – VHS Learning, an accredited non-profit organization empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, has appointed Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its board of directors.

Dr. Johnson currently serves as the Executive Officer for Student Services at Springfield Public Schools, where she oversees school counseling and social work services, dropout prevention and graduation improvement strategies, and college access and success initiatives. In her position, Dr. Johnson implements a variety of programs that enhance excellence, scholarship, achievement, and equity for all students.

A passionate educator, Dr. Johnson supports educational leadership development, scholarship, service, and helping students envision and attain their postsecondary goals. She is a champion for educational equity and works to create greater college and career opportunities for under-represented students.…Read More

National Dropout Prevention Center Offers Resources

School closures are traumatizing students, families, and educators, presenting a new dropout risk factor and requiring schools to develop immediate virtual solutions. The National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC) has produced topical videos and virtual professional development to support schools and educators during current uncertain times.

As an overview of the current school situation and its long-term effects, NDPC offers three videos suitable for viewing and subsequent online discussions for faculty. The Trauma of Pandemic School Disruption, hosted by John Gailer, developer of the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, explores the far-reaching implications of trauma related to school disruption for students, staff, families, and the community at large. View video on YouTube. A second video, School Disruption as a Dropout Risk Factor, hosted by Dr. Sandy Addis, Director of National Dropout Prevention Center, discusses the short- and long-term effects of school disruption on the nation’s dropout rates. View video on YouTube. A third video, Virtual Learning in a Time of School Disruption, hosted by Ray McNulty, President of Successful Practices Network and National Dropout Prevention Center, explores the advantages of capitalizing on virtual learning. View video on YouTube. As a supplement, each host is available for online discussions regarding his topic and for follow up interviews.

Additional offerings from NDPC include on-line courses that can deliver high-impact virtual professional development to educators who must work remotely during extended school shut down periods. Courses include five online courses in the Trauma-Skilled Schools Model, one course for each step of the model. Each of the three-hour interactive virtual courses addresses a component of chronic stress and trauma. Together, the five courses prepare an educator to implement trauma-skilled measures and to support other educators in their work with trauma-impacted students.…Read More

4 things innovative districts do to improve graduation rates

Forward-thinking practices focus on college and career readiness

graduation-ratesAs the skills expected of today’s graduates change rapidly, school districts have to overhaul their thinking on what it means to be “college and career ready.” Conventional wisdom around when and where students learn, what knowledge they need to be successful, and who they are as learners is all rapidly changing, especially as technology becomes more prevalent in classrooms.

This is all top of mind for members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, a coalition of around 57  forward-thinking districts and leaders across the country, who are committed to improving the opportunity to learn for all of their students through technology and research. We rounded up some best practices League members use to ensure students stay in school, get their degrees, and are prepared for success in their post-secondary endeavors.

Learning can happen anytime, anywhere…Read More

D2L launches newest Brightspace Insights

Educators can access a variety of data to help predict at-risk learners and help them in real-time

brightspace-d2lD2L (formerly “Desire2Learn”) recently unveiled the newest version of its Brightspace Insights analytics suite. With this release, D2L can now aggregate and capture streamed student data from across the entire learning ecosystem (including learning apps, content publishers, online tools, and different learning management systems) and empower instructors to act on one complete view of the student at the moment of learning.

With Brightspace Insights, instructors can now see where learners are succeeding or struggling and intervene in real-time to improve outcomes and degree attainment rates.

The new Brightspace Insights track, measure, and monitor student progress and aim to help improve engagement at every step. With the transmission of IMS Caliper learning events from tools like the Kaltura Video Platform, Microsoft Office Mix and Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook Creator into Brightspace, faculty and teachers now see a richer view of learning activities across all tools.…Read More

Florida districts monitor early warning indicators

Performance Matters solution aims to help administrators identify struggling students

early-warningIn Florida, all schools that include grades 6, 7 or 8 are now required to implement an early warning system to identify students who need additional support to improve academic performance and stay engaged in school.

The early warning system must include the following indicators: attendance below 90 percent, suspensions, and course failure or a Level 1 score on state tests in English language arts or mathematics. When a student exhibits two or more of these early warning indicators, a school-based team must convene to determine appropriate intervention strategies.

To quickly and efficiently identify students who exhibit early warning indicators, Florida school districts are implementing the Early Warning System from Performance Matters. Among recent districts to launch the Early Warning System are Indian River County, Brevard County, and Marion County.…Read More

This innovative district lets students choose how to learn

A district offers students 6 instructional models—an approach that has led to zero dropouts

choose-learningTo hear Taylor County Schools Assistant Superintendent Charles Higdon tell it, students shouldn’t be allowed to drop out of school—at least not without a fight.

“We have implemented a ‘zero dropout’ policy that does not allow students to drop out of our district,” he said. But rather than imprisoning students in front-facing classrooms, the rural Kentucky district is instead trying to entice at-risk, and even low-risk, students to enjoy their education through a series of innovative and distinct learning pathways–informally called “spokes.”

Students in Taylor County can actually choose how they want to learn from among six instructional models, including traditional, online, peer-led, and project-based learning. This highly student-centered approach has resulted in a 100-percent graduation rate within the district over the last few years, say administrators.…Read More

6 ways to improve dropout prevention efforts

Bob Darby, a former educator and district superintendent, shares six critical dropout prevention strategies

school-dropout-prevention

Educators have reason to celebrate when it comes to dropout prevention. In 2014, the latest National Center for Education Statistics data showed that the U.S. high school graduation rate hit an all-time high of 80 percent and is on target to reach 90 percent by 2020.

Yet, we are still faced with over 3 million young people who exit America’s public high schools each year without graduating.…Read More