Why universal screening is a more equitable identifier of gifted and talented students

School districts have historically relied on a referral-based process to identify students for gifted and talented programming. This means that teachers or parents nominate their students to take selected achievement and/or cognitive aptitude tests, frequently used as a screener for gifted and talented placement.

Unfortunately, relying on referrals alone results in overly homogenous gifted and talented programs that are predominantly white, middle class, and male. Research shows that referral-based identification excludes too many students from enrichment and advanced academic opportunities.

But districts are slowly starting to change their identification processes. Instead of using referrals to determine which students take the specified tests, districts have begun universally screening every child to make the identification process more equitable, especially when districts use cognitive aptitude tests for all students, not just a select subset.…Read More

District leaders outline top 3 COVID relief funding priorities

School districts continue to prioritize expanding summer learning and enrichment offerings, adding specialist staff such as mental health personnel and reading specialists, and investing in high-quality instructional materials and curriculum, according to a survey administered by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

The School District Spending of American Rescue Plan report is part of a multi-series survey focused on how district leaders across the country are utilizing American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, address student learning recovery.

This survey also sought information about what issues districts are experiencing in spending ARP funding and how they would change their spending decisions if they had more time to drawdown federal COVID-relief funds.…Read More

Heading Back to School with Dungeons & Dragons in Classrooms, Afterschool Clubs

Renton, Wash. — As kids and teens return to the classroom, some for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, parents and educators are concerned about how the children will interact with each other and their teachers. A new initiative from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), hopes to provide a platform using the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons for social activities and educational learning. In celebration of the release of a new starter set, Wizards will provide Dungeons & Dragons-themed classroom materials for teachers across the country to add to their curriculum.

On top of that, schools, libraries, community centers and enrichment organizations can receive the D&D Afterschool Kit, which includes everything needed to start or enhance D&D clubs and meetups. Dungeons & Dragons has surged in popularity recently, and educators have taken note of its many benefits in a social learning environment.

“D&D saved my life, I’ve seen it save and change the lives of others, and I watch as it shapes the lives of the children who learn to play in my class,” said Kade Wells, Harrisburg North Middle School ELA Instructor in South Dakota and founder of Building Heroez. “Dungeons & Dragons is the best metacognitive tool for education that I’ve seen. The reading growth observed and measured in my class clearly indicates the great things D&D can do in schools. My students’ test score growth doubled each time they tested.”…Read More

6 time-saving tech tricks for school librarians

Is there an educator on the planet who would turn down a bit more time in their day?

With time-saving technology strategies, school librarians can find ways to connect with their school’s teachers and students on a deeper level, forming relationships and helping with research and skill development.

During an ISTELive session, Kristina A. Holzweiss, a high school educational technology enrichment specialist librarian, shared her tips to help school librarians engage with students, support teachers, and make their school libraries dynamic and welcoming learning spaces.…Read More

Schools amplify inequity with failed solutions to teacher shortage

We’re racing against a ticking clock to resolve the teacher shortage for our students’ futures as the number of unfilled positions at schools and districts hits record levels.

Every unfilled staff vacancy at a school means that students are not receiving a high-quality education, which has a resounding effect on outcomes. One study shows that 10 additional teacher absences per year lead to 1.2 percent and .6 percent of a standard deviation decrease in math and English test scores, respectively. This principle applies to core subjects, which give students a solid foundation for academic and career success, and enrichment classes, which expand their skill sets and understanding of the world.

The teacher shortage is even more detrimental to students in underserved districts, where teacher absences tend to run higher than the national average of 11 days per year.  …Read More

Why evidence-based solutions are critical for edtech buying

As districts budget for the 2022-2023 school year, they’ll have some additional funds to spend thanks to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To ensure that these funds are well spent and will benefit students, Congress has mandated that 20% of district funds and 5% of state funds must be spent on evidence-based programs to recover from learning loss; plus additional funds for evidence-based enrichment, summer and afterschool programs.

When it comes to early childhood STEM resources, evidence of efficacy is more than just a stamp of approval. Evidence gives confidence that those products will lead to the buzzing environments we want for our youngest students, full of playful learning, collaboration, and the kinds of concrete engagement that come with hands-on manipulatives.…Read More

Riverside Insights Joins Forces with Renzulli Learning to Foster Instructional Equity through Engagement

ITASCA, Ill. – March 16, 2022 – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today announced a new partnership with Renzulli Learning, an interactive online system for whole school enrichment that provides students with personalized learning resources based on their unique interests and learning preferences. With this new partnership, educators can now readily combine the ability insights from Riverside Insight’s Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT®) with Renzulli Learning’s dynamic library of resources to better differentiate instruction and engage all learners in the classroom.

Riverside’s CogAT enables educators to understand students’ potential for learning while Renzulli Learning allows them to leverage students’ interests and preferences to unlock that potential. Educators can attest that aligning instruction with student interests encourages strong levels of engagement from all learners. Paired together, CogAT and Renzulli Learning provide a powerful combination to make learning accessible and fun for every student.

“Riverside Insights’ partnership with Renzulli Learning is a first step in our commitment to support the whole child and their ‘Limitless Learning’ to reach their full potential,” said Riverside Insights’ CEO, Rajib Roy. “We know students learn best when they are invested in the content. CogAT’s unique Ability Profile™ for each student combined with Renzulli’s interactive resources will empower educators to meet every student’s needs through interest-based instruction.”…Read More

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