4 ways online tutoring helps our at-risk, low-income district achieve goals

Our urban Title I district serves a population of 78 percent at-risk students and 84 percent low-income families. We were already managing low proficiency rates on math and ELA state assessments prior to the pandemic, and the move to remote learning made it even more difficult for teachers to engage with students who couldn’t be on campus.

The shifting rigor of Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards pushed our students even further behind the curve. We knew we needed a program to accelerate learning outcomes and boost proficiency rates on MCAP/PARCC assessments while also providing academic support to students in need.

Finding the right solution…Read More

iTutor’s Virtual Quarantine Classroom Offers Educational Lifeline for COVID-Affected South Carolina and New York Students

As many as 2,000 students on any given day this school year in Richland Two (South Carolina) and other school districts, and, in partnership with PNW BOCES, across the state of New York — required to quarantine at home because of COVID-related concerns — have been able to continue their studies uninterrupted, thanks to iTutor and its new Virtual Quarantine Classroom service featuring live, online, instruction provided by state-certified teachers.

In the Richland Two School District, Columbia, SC, iTutor is serving all 24 elementary schools, providing group classes in ELA and Math for eight hours each week throughout the school year. Students begin receiving academic support within 24 hours of starting their quarantine at home.

“iTutor’s Virtual Quarantine Classroom has been an important partner in ensuring that students continue to receive premier learning experiences even when they must be away from school due to the pandemic,” said Richland Two Superintendent Dr. Baron R. Davis.…Read More

Wasted Technology: Why Many Teachers Don’t Use the Programs Their Districts Provide

Imagine you’re about to give a big presentation to a large audience. Just before you go on stage, your boss hands you a new gadget and tells you to use it. You’ve never seen the gadget before, you have no idea what it does, and you’ve never received any training on how to use it. Your boss assures you that it will make your presentation better, and just before you can respond, the curtain goes up.

If the thought of using the gadget for the first time in front of a large audience gives you any level of anxiety, you now know why many teachers never use the technology their districts provide.

According to EdNews Daily, the projection for educational technology spending in the United States will reach an astounding $38.2 billion this year. And while it may seem as though students will reap all the benefits of having innovative technology so close at hand, there is a giant hurdle that stands directly in their way of accessing it — their teachers.…Read More

Virtual Education in a Post-Pandemic World

During an ordinary life, it often feels like we’re living the same day over and over due to the structured routines we’ve all implemented over time. But when we least expect it, a paradigm shift can take place, and life as we know it can suddenly change forever.

paradigm shift is anytime an event occurs that changes the way we think and act as we move forward throughout our lives.

Past examples of paradigm shifts include major events like the assassination of JFK or the terrorist attacks on September 11th which drastically altered people’s thoughts on safety, politics, and peace.…Read More

Virtual Education Vs In-Person Classes

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March of 2020, teachers around the world had to reinvent themselves in a joint effort to avoid a complete halt in educational activities. The challenges they faced over the course of the last year and a half, have generated some key insights about virtual teaching that we need to learn from, and be prepared for, as we return to our brick and mortar schools.

Most academic articles that have been published on this topic during the pandemic argue that in-person classroom interactions are favored over virtual classes. The arguments they offer, however, have more to do with the shortcomings of the software or hardware used than with the many benefits such as the potential for innovation that a solid virtual learning platform offers. Schools should not overlook the added value of offering virtual classes as an option to the traditional classroom.

The power of personalization…Read More

Returning to School When the Pandemic Isn’t Really Over

In just a few weeks’ time, kids all over the United States will be returning to in-person school. And while that may seem like a huge relief to parents after dealing with school closures and virtual learning from home since early 2020, it raises a lot of concerns regarding whether or not students should be returning to school en masse while the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging in the US and around the world.

While the numbers continue to change daily, at the time of this writing 1,000+ counties in the US are experiencing the highest level of community transmission with an additional 500+ counties falling into the substantial transmission category according to the Centers For Disease Control.

What this means is that there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days in the high transmission areas and 50-99 new cases per 100,000 people in the substantial transmission areas. And unfortunately, the numbers keep increasing.…Read More

The Emotional Impact Covid Has Had on Our Teachers

The third school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is just a few short weeks away, but the toll it’s taken on teachers since March of 2020 still resides clearly at the forefront of their minds.

From the first few days of initial chaos to the end of the 2020-2021 school year, teachers saw their entire careers change in ways they once thought unimaginable. And the impact this has had on their physical and mental health is still being assessed.

If one had to select a single word to describe everything teachers experienced as a result of the pandemic, it could easily be the word ‘overwhelming.’ The repercussions of COVID-19 literally affected every thought teachers had and every action they took so much so that they began to feel paralyzed by it.…Read More

How Bullying in Schools Affects Our Children

There’s nothing worse than going to school every day only to become a victim of intense bullying that often takes place within our communities. While bullying in schools certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, and many anti-bullying policies have been put into place to combat it, it still continues to hurt many of children every year.

According to the latest study done by the Institute of Education Sciences, in 2018 alone there were 836,100 instances of victimization by peers at school and 410,200 instances of victimization by peers outside of school for kids between the ages of 12-18. These instances of bullying and cyberbullying included anything from theft to nonfatal violent acts including social/emotional abuse along with physical and sexual violence.

And during the 2019-2020 school year alone, there were 75 school shootings with casualties in both public and private elementary and secondary school districts in the United States with an additional 37 school shootings that did not result in any casualties. …Read More

How to Combat the “Hey Look! A Squirrel!” Syndrome

If creating fascinating lesson plans and delivering them to a highly engaged group of kids was what teaching was really like, teaching would be a whole lot easier than it actually is.

We all see students in television shows and movies sitting in neat little rows, listening attentively to the teacher, and answering questions. But somehow, the directors always fail to capture the huge distractions teachers deal with on a daily basis.

Many people actually think these fictional classrooms resemble something close to the reality. Any teacher with more than a day of experience can assure you this is hardly the case.…Read More

DreamBox Learning® Enters ELA Market with Acquisitions of Reading Plus® and Squiggle Park

BELLEVUE, Wash. —July 19, 2021 — DreamBox Learning, the leading education technology provider that in 2006 pioneered intelligent adaptive learning, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Reading Plus, an evidence-based online reading program for grades 3-12 designed to help students boost their literacy skills and reading confidence. This move complements DreamBox’s recent acquisition of Squiggle Park, a K-2 reading solution designed to help students gain proficiency in early literacy. The combined programs offer school districts the only dual-discipline solution rated “Strong” by Johns Hopkins’ EvidenceforESSA.org in both mathematics and reading.

“These strategic additions to the DreamBox family represent a significant milestone toward achieving our mission to radically change the way the world learns and unlock learning potential for all students – regardless of race, gender or zip code,” said Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President and CEO of DreamBox Learning. “We believe the winning formula to shape the future of learning has three components:  dual-discipline offerings that cultivate a strong foundation in mathematics and reading; strong data and analytics solutions that leverage formative data to personalize the learning experience; and professional development to help educators develop their blended learning knowledge and skills.” 

Currently, DreamBox supports over 5 million students and over 200,000 educators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated DreamBox’s growth as most district administrators rapidly adopted and scaled blended learning solutions to support remote learning. During this time, teachers’ attitudes towards blended learning changed and they began to see it as a powerful and effective strategy to deliver engaging, personalized, and effective learning experiences that enabled them to keep learning “on” even when schools were closed.…Read More