4 ways digital tools streamline summer program administration

Summer school is more important than ever this year as school administrators establish new learning programs to give K–12 students an opportunity to catch up on schoolwork and enrichment programs they missed during the pandemic. The federal government is also paying extra attention to summer programs, earmarking $1.2 billion in its massive relief package.

By the end of the 2020–2021 academic year, most U.S. schools were open, but administrators are still taking precautions to mitigate potential virus outbreaks among staff and students. This will be the norm for the foreseeable future since vaccines are widely available for staff and older children but haven’t yet been approved for younger kids.

Last year, teachers and school administrators adopted digital tools in greater numbers than ever before. Companies offering tools like online forms saw a spike in demand, and they are now seeing it rise again as schools organize summer learning programs.…Read More

North Carolina State Board of Education Names i-Ready® as the Recommended Competency-Based Assessment for Summer Learning Programs

Award-winning Diagnostic, which is already widely used across the state, provides educators with actionable criterion-referenced and normative data to deliver impactful student instruction

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., May 24, 2021 — The North Carolina State Board of Education recently recommended Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready to be used as the competency-based assessment for schools’ extension learning recovery programs. These programs will provide in-person instruction on specific subjects, as well as offer additional enrichment activities, to students in Grades K–12 to address learning losses and negative impacts students have experienced due to COVID-19 during the 2020–2021 school year. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than nine million students and 25 percent of all K–8 students in the United States, including 70 percent of North Carolina’s local education agencies (LEAs) and charter schools.

“This summer will be critical as educators work with many students to get them up to grade level and prepare them for the rigor of next school year,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “A large majority of schools throughout the state are already using i-Ready, and we are committed to supporting them—as well as schools new to i-Ready—with their assessment needs during this time.”…Read More

Mesa Public Schools and S.A.V.E. Consortium Name CoderZ as Approved Vendor

DERRY, N.H. – May 11, 2021 – CoderZ, creators of innovative educational solutions using virtual robotics to bring core subject areas like math and science to life through real-world applications, today announced that it has been selected as an approved STEM curriculum resource for enrichment by Mesa Public Schools and the Strategic Alliance for Volume Expenditures (S.A.V.E.) consortium.

“We are extremely honored to be selected as a preferred provider,” said CoderZ CEO, Ido Yerushalmi. “With this vetting initiative complete, Mesa Public Schools along with S.A.V.E. members, can implement our well-structured and inclusive curriculum with the knowledge that the program meets and exceeds the requirements to become an integral component of a school’s STEM implementation.”

The requests for proposals covered the following areas:…Read More

PBS Offers At-Home Learning Broadcast and Digital Resources

As the nation prepares for the beginning of a new school year unlike any other, PBS and member stations are helping support educators, parents and caregivers with a variety of free high-quality, accessible educational media resources. Available to more than 97% of the country through over-the-air television access, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel(for young learners ages 2-8) and the WORLD channel At-Home Learning Service (for learners grades 6-12) will feature broadcast programming linked to at-home learning resources that can be used by educators to supplement distance learning plans, or by parents to provide added enrichment and support for children’s educational needs.

Research shows that more than 24 million Americans still lack access to fast and reliable broadband internet.* PBS has the ability to reach a majority of these households with free, over-the-air station broadcast and a deep trove of digital resources (PBS LearningMedia, pbskids.orgPBS KIDS for Parents, and more) designed to support both in-school and at-home learning for students, which was critical at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. When COVID-19 shut down schools across much of the country, PBS LearningMedia, an online destination that offers free access to thousands of classroom resources, saw its users quadruple to nearly 4 million per month. Additionally, young children’s engagement with PBS KIDS content increased notably, with reach growing by 15% among kids 2-8 on-air, streaming by nearly 30% and game play by 40%.**

Leading these charges locally, PBS stations across the country forged partnerships with their school districts to address specific, state standards-aligned educational needs in each community, including filming and broadcasting local teachers’ classroom lessons.…Read More

Online research program offers first ever covid-19 independent study

Pioneer Academics, the college-accredited online research program for high school students, has launched Pioneer Open Summer Study (POSS), a free program that gives any interested high school student the opportunity to participate in independent studies about COVID-19. An international online program, POSS brings teenagers together from around the world to examine a shared challenge through a scientific lens. The rigorous enrichment program, developed by Pioneer’s Academic Panel, allows students to develop and apply critical thinking and STEM skills in one of four study areas:1) Age of Plague: Medicine, Society and Epidemics, 1348 & Beyond; 2) Pandemics and Globalization: Economics, Culture and Policy; 3) Pandemic Epidemiology: Societal Impacts and Strategic Response; and 4) The Forces Driving Socio-Cultural Evolution.

POSS students will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring COVID-19 and will benefit from conducting independent studies while building teamwork and leadership skills. The open program allows any student who forms a study group of five to ten people – along with a school advisor or teacher who will monitor progress – to register as a team. Students can access teaching recordings, study materials, independent study guidelines, and have “office hours” with Pioneer Academics’ alumni. Teams already registered are located around the world, including Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, and China. There are also cross-country teams with members working together from different countries.

Visit https://pioneeracademics.com/pioneeropenstudy to learn more about POSS.…Read More

Free classes and practice problems in over 200 subjects

Many K-12 schools have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More closings are sure to come. In response, Varsity Tutors, founded by Washington University in St. Louis alum Chuck Cohn, has launched a new service called Virtual School Day.

Virtual School Day: Nearly 200 free, live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”.

Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps are a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography, and more. These live, interactive camps will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors’ platform.…Read More

Online STEM Summer Camps for High School and College Students

Numerade—an online education platform founded with a mission to provide equitable access to high-quality STEM instruction—today announced the launch of free, virtual STEM summer camps open to students at the middle, high school, and college levels. Course offerings include SAT Test Prep, Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics, all taught by top-ranked STEM PhDs, college professors, and high school teachers. Students can enroll now for this free program and begin taking their courses as soon as June 1 with ongoing enrollment available thereafter.

Students can participate in Numerade’s free summer STEM camps to get a head start on the courses they’ll be taking in the fall or as an enrichment opportunity in which they can take courses not offered at their school. Students may also use these courses to catch up on any material missed due to school closures caused by Covid-19. Each course follows the common core curriculum and covers an entire semester’s worth of material.

“We’re excited to launch Numerade’s STEM summer camps at a time when it’s more important than ever for students to have access to world-class content to maintain and enhance their learning despite ongoing school closures,” said Nhon Ma, CEO and Co-Founder of Numerade. “By taking our engaging STEM courses this summer, students will not only acquire foundational knowledge but also be positioned to excel next school year. The summer camps are completely free and available asynchronously on any device, making them a great option for any student interested in getting ahead in their learning.”…Read More

Free Digital Enrichment Kits for Librarians and Educators

Wizards of the Coast today announced that the company will distribute 2,000 digital kits to schools and libraries in the U.S. and Canada to provide educators and librarians with resources to engage their communities with Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering virtual play while many are practicing social distancing.

Each kit will include a Legendary Bundle for D&D Beyond that unlocks access to all current rules and adventure content for D&D as well as a 15% discount on future D&D Beyond purchases and 30 Magic: The Gathering Arena digital codes, which can be redeemed for three Ikoria booster packs. The kits will also feature tips to help teachers and librarians engage their audiences in a virtual play environment.

Kits will be available upon request through the Wizards of the Coast customer service request portal to organizers over the age of 18 who are employed by or official volunteers at enrichment organizations, such as a schools, libraries, community centers, and scout troops, and represent the organization’s gaming programming.…Read More

Six things I learned bringing online learning to international schools

For the last 15 years, I’ve been introducing schools all around the world to the value of online learning. It started at the Colegio Internacional de Caracas in Venezuela, when I first discovered the courses from global nonprofit VHS Learning.

We began offering online courses to our students for enrichment. As a relatively small international school, we liked the opportunities that the platform offered us and the fact that our kids could take part in courses that we couldn’t offer.

Related content: 4 ways online learning leads to physical equity…Read More

How we turned around our reading program

Demographics:

Rockford Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in Illinois. More than 28,800 students attend the 44 schools in the district.

Biggest challenge:

There were many gaps in foundational reading across classrooms before we piloted our new reading program. It didn’t seem that we had a common methodology to teach foundational literacy. We were looking for a resource to fill this gap. We also were lacking in the area of personalized learning that supported foundational literacy skills. We were having trouble supporting students who needed extra help while providing enrichment for students who were already thriving.

Solution:

Every single student needs whole-group instruction that’s explicit, modeled, and demonstrated by teachers. Our literacy program supports best practice by encouraging teachers to implement the “I do, we do, you do,” approach to learning. After whole-group instruction, our teachers designate time for small-group learning. The expectation district-wide is for K–5 small-group lessons to happen every day. Teachers meet students where they are in their learning, using data to drive instruction. In Rockford, small group instruction includes skill-based groups, guided reading, or literature circles.…Read More