Rural districts are quicker to return to in-person learning

About 42 percent of rural school districts in the U.S. offered fully in-person instruction as of February, compared with only 17 percent for urban districts, according to a new RAND Corporation survey of school district leaders. The opposite pattern held for fully remote learning: 29 percent of urban districts offered fully remote instruction compared with 10 percent of rural districts and 18 percent of suburban districts.

The choice of in-person versus remote learning has important implications. More than one-third of all U.S. school districts offering some form of remote instruction in early 2021 had shortened the school day, and a quarter had reduced instructional minutes.

“This survey shows how the choice of remote instruction has ramifications that extend beyond longstanding concerns about the lower quality of remote instruction,” said Heather Schwartz, lead author of the report and director of the Pre-K to 12 educational systems program at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Rural districts–which were primarily fully in-person or hybrid–did not decrease instructional minutes as often as urban districts, which means that urban students of color have likely lost more instructional time this school year than their white counterparts in rural districts.”…Read More

Pivot to Remote Learning Allows TCS’ Ignite My Future in School Program to Reach 1 Million U.S. K-12 Students

NEW YORK, February 25, 2021:  Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS) a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that its Ignite My Future in School (IMFIS) STEM/computer science education program — which was created in partnership with Discovery Education, the global leader in K-12 digital resources and professional learning — surpassed its five year goal of reaching one million U.S. K-12 students, a full year ahead of schedule. The pioneering program empowers educators to teach computational thinking, which are the critical skills that help students solve real-life problems and challenges by expressing them in a way that computers can solve.

In the wake of COVID-19, TCS moved the IMFIS program to a 100 percent virtual format, helping improve equity and access to high-quality digital content for educators and students, specifically those from under resourced communities. TCS will continue growing its investment to bring IMFIS to every student and educator in the U.S. and abroad, while focusing on supporting disconnected and marginalized student populations and empowering girls in STEM. Beyond the U.S., the virtual program is now enabled to be rapidly adopted by educators in more than 70 countries in response to the growing global interest in computational thinking resources to engage students.

Launched in September 2017, the program has now empowered nearly 20,000 teachers and 1.1 million students across 353 school districts, across all 50 U.S. states. The top 10 states for classroom adoption are California, Texas, New York, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Educators across core subjects use lessons such as Build a movement, where students learn how data and algorithms impact something that ‘goes viral’; Outbreak, where students analyze how a virus spreads and can be contained; and Emoji Essay, where students use abstraction to explore language and communication.…Read More

Civil Rights Activist Sylvia Mendez to be Special Guest at ALAS Linking Latina Leaders Event Feb. 19

Civil rights activist Sylvia Mendez will join the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) for their February networking event, Linking Latina Leaders [L3]. The free event to ALAS L3 members and their guests, takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 19, 2021 and addresses the theme: “Breaking Barriers to have an Inclusive Equitable Education.” To register, visit http://bit.ly/ALASL3Feb.

The event is facilitated by ALAS L3 members Patricia Trejo, Dr. Patricia Ordoìnez-Feliciano.

“Our Linking Latina Leaders events focus on our female members and leadership development – to connect, and for those who may be interested in joining ALAS to network with members nationwide and gain a better understanding of the ALAS vision, mission and goals in leading our most marginalized and students of color ,” said Dr. Maria Armstrong, executive director of ALAS. “We are incredibly excited and looking forward to hearing from Sylvia Mendez, an inspiring leader and trailblazer in education, at our February event.”…Read More

NASA and Discovery Education Invite Educators and Students Worldwide to Join the Exploration of Mars Through a Special Livestream of the Perseverance Rover’s Landing

On February 18, 2021,  NASA’s Perseverance rover is set to touch down on Mars and begin exploration of the Red Planet. To commemorate this historic occasion,  Discovery Education—the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms—is partnering with  NASA to bring students worldwide a special no–cost livestream of this momentous event.

This special livestream of the Perseverance rover’s landing on Mars is scheduled to begin on Thursday, February 18 at 2:15 p.m. ET.   Featuring insights from NASA experts and a behind-the-scenes look at the activities of the Perseverance mission control team, the livestream will culminate with the rover’s real-time touchdown on Mars. To register to attend this event, visit Discovery Education’s  Mars Landing Livestream homepage.

In addition to the livestream, Discovery Education and NASA are making available exclusive resources supporting the integration of NASA’s latest mission to Mars into classroom instruction.  Among these helpful resources is a 3-2-1 Pyramid graphic organizer to help educators build students’ summarization and critical thinking skills while watching the Countdown to Mars livestream.  Another resource available to support educators sharing this event with students is a ready-to-use Studio Slideshow.  Using this Slideshow, educators can fuel student interest in space, build knowledge, and check for understanding about relevant topics.  These resources and others being made available to educators and students are designed to be used in any learning environment and can be found on Discovery Education’s  Mars Landing Livestream homepage.…Read More

Math Expert Dr. Francis (Skip) Fennell Endorses Hand2Mind’S Hands-On Standards

Today hand2mind, an award-winning educational resource company, has announced a new partnership with the former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Francis “Skip” Fennell, an esteemed educator who has dedicated his professional life to mathematics and has greatly influenced what and how math is taught in today’s classroom. Fennell, a current professor of education at McDaniel College, has provided his endorsement of hand2mind’s Hands-On Standards product line, which helps K-8 educators and parents teach math with manipulatives to build problem-solving skills. To help kick off the partnership, hand2mind and Fennell invite educators and administrators to a free, informative webinar on Tuesday, February 16, focused on the benefits of implementing authentic tasks, representations, and a daily problem-solving routine with the goal of helping strengthen students’ understanding of math concepts.

“hand2mind’s Hands-On Standards is an amazing collection of resources that will not just supplement, but more so fully enrich mathematics teaching and learning in any classroom, with seemingly endless paths for students to be truly engaged in the mathematics they are learning,” said Skip Fennell. “The use of manipulatives and related representations to both develop and extend conceptual understandings through scaffolded lessons will increase learning opportunities and deepen student understanding, which is the ultimate end goal for us as educators.”

Hands-On Standards…Read More

National Leaders in Clean Energy Education Convene Virtually to Kick Off Efforts to Foster an Equitable Clean Energy Economy

Leaders in clean energy education– the KidWind Project, REpowering Schools, and CE – Clean Energy. Bright Futures – are hosting the first virtual national Renewable Energy Education Summit today, February 4, 2021, from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm ET. During the summit, educators, researchers, and practitioners from around the world will come together to discuss the current and future state of clean energy education in a collaborative day-long virtual dialogue.

“This summit provides a reflective opportunity for the clean energy education community to come together, set some clear priorities, and to consider whether the tools, voices, and resources in our community are enough to achieve our goals.” said Michael Arquin, founder of KidWind.

The summit will connect more than 90 teachers, researchers, and industry professionals and survey existing clean energy educational research and programs. Participants will explore the impacts of renewable energy education, identify significant gaps and research questions, and establish long-term working groups to address key issues identified during the summit. Participants will be responding to a call to action to help broaden public awareness and include linkages to energy justice, equity and inclusion in clean energy education, and increased access to clean energy career pathways.…Read More

Renaissance Offers Unlimited, Free Access to More Than 6,500 Digital Books and News Articles

To highlight the importance of daily reading during the COVID-19 pandemic, Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, is offering unlimited free access to myON digital books and news articles from February 1–7, 2021. The importance of reading materials at home cannot be overstated. In fact, research shows that kids with access to at least 500 books at home are more likely to graduate high school, while kids with minimal access to books often don’t make it past grade 9.*

Students, educators, and parents will access myON through a simple log-in, and low-bandwidth and offline reading options will maximize the reach of the Life Is Better When We Read Together initiative. As part of the week-long celebration of reading, Renaissance will also publish live metrics throughout to see if participants can top last year’s engagement and crack the goal of half a million hours spent reading.

Teachers are encouraged to share what their students are reading on Instagram using the hashtag #BetterWhenWeReadTogether and tag the @renlearnus account. On February 22, one lucky teacher will be randomly selected and their school will receive a six month subscription to myON. If they are already a myON customer, they will be able to gift the subscription to an eligible school of their choice and choose a publisher package add-on for their own school.…Read More

NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day keeps kids active in advance of Super Bowl LV

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on ensuring longer, healthier lives for all, and the National Football League (NFL), in collaboration with its 32 NFL clubs, challenge kids to move more with NFL PLAY 60™ Kids Day leading up to Super Bowl LV. Included in the weeklong, free festivities are activities and challenges culminating with NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day, a day of action to inspire kids to get moving with their classmates, teachers, and families inclusive of virtual, hybrid, and socially distant classroom settings.

On Wednesday, February 3 at 1 p.m. ET/ 12 p.m. CT/ 10 a.m. PT, NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day will host an action packed, synchronous broadcast from the Super Bowl LV host city, Tampa Bay. During this broadcast, the NFL team with the winning NFL PLAY 60 exercise of the 2020-2021 season will be announced. Throughout January, kids were asked to cast their vote for their favorite team created NFL PLAY 60 exercise. Educators and families can find the resource at heart.org/KidsDay and register for the live event here. In addition, access an array of standards-aligned resources designed for wherever learning takes place on Discovery Education’s flexible K-12 learning platform. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms worldwide.

NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day offers interactive lessons and videos to jumpstart activity at home and in the classroom. Each school can completely customize their activation. Students and teachers can access on-demand exercises from NFL teams in the digital NFL PLAY 60 library to help them reach their recommended 60-minutes of daily physical activity. Schools can implement the majority of the NFL PLAY 60 activities at their own pace to allow scheduling flexibility during this untraditional school year. Advanced registration is required to access the NFL PLAY 60 Kids Day guide and attend the broadcast.…Read More

Kids Discover Partners with Rhino Records to Release Free Units Celebrating Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield for Black History Month

Kids Discover, a leading provider of high-interest nonfiction for social studies and science, has partnered with Rhino Records, the catalog division of Warner Music Group, to celebrate Black History Month by releasing three free units honoring classic Atlantic Records artists Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin as well as Curtom Records’ Curtis Mayfield. Each of these units, featuring music, original album art, and more, will be freely available on the Kids Discover website for the entire month of February.

Designed to shine a light on the lives and impact of these music industry legends, the free units engage students in grades 3–8 through music and raise awareness of Black contributions to the arts and society. Educators can choose from three different Lexile levels for use in grades 3–4, 5–6, or 7–8. To make the materials available to as many students as possible, the free units do not require a registered account or login.

“In the past, we’ve always made a number of units in our library free to celebrate Black History Month,” said Ted Levine, the President and CEO of Kids Discover. “Given what has transpired in our country over the past few years, we took time to reflect on what else we could do to share the stories and impact of Black history and culture. In July, we released a five-part pledge, two tenets of which were to increase the number of stories we tell about Black figures in American history and to collaborate with organizations that share this vision. We’re excited to partner with Rhino to offer engaging, multimedia content that will educate and inspire students while highlighting the impact these three figures have had on our history and culture.”…Read More

Renaissance Offers Unlimited, Free Access to More Than 6,500 Digital Books and News Articles

To highlight the importance of daily reading during the COVID-19 pandemic, Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, is offering unlimited free access to myON digital books and news articles from February 1–7, 2021. The importance of reading materials at home cannot be overstated. In fact, research shows that kids with access to at least 500 books at home are more likely to graduate high school, while kids with minimal access to books often don’t make it past grade 9.*

Students, educators, and parents will access myON through a simple log-in, and low-bandwidth and offline reading options will maximize the reach of the Life Is Better When We Read Together initiative. As part of the week-long celebration of reading, Renaissance will also publish live metrics throughout to see if participants can top last year’s engagement and crack the goal of half a million hours spent reading.

Teachers are encouraged to share what their students are reading on Instagram using the hashtag #BetterWhenWeReadTogether and tag the @renlearnus account. On February 22, one lucky teacher will be randomly selected and their school will receive a six month subscription to myON. If they are already a myON customer, they will be able to gift the subscription to an eligible school of their choice and choose a publisher package add-on for their own school.…Read More