3 ways to make inflation interesting for students

Inflation hit a four-decade high in the United States during September, with the consumer price index up 8.2 percent from a year earlier. While most adults are painfully aware of higher prices for everything from food to fuel, teens may be blissfully ignorant.

There are a few reasons inflation may not feel relevant to teens. If teens aren’t yet working and earning their own money, they’re buying things with their parent’s funds. The cure for inflation is simply to ask mom or dad for more money. Working teens will definitely be feeling the burn of increased prices, but their time horizon tends to be focused on today versus how inflation will impact them decades down the road.

Storytelling can be an effective way for teachers to make topics like inflation relevant to students. Storytelling makes abstract concepts come to life and can help students envision themselves in the story.…Read More

3 ways the E-rate program helps level up learning

The federal E-rate program continues to provide expanded access to technology, including edtech tools, digital learning resources, and high-speed internet access, to schools, according to an annual report that takes stock of the program’s progress.

The findings come from E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning‘s 12th annual E-rate Trends Report. The report is designed to understand how the program can best serve schools and libraries. Stakeholder input is compiled and delivered directly to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to inform program administration.

Key findings from the 2022 report include:…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

It’s time to permanently increase education funding–ESSER spending proves it

In the last two years, an unprecedented increase in funding has flooded into schools around the country courtesy of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) package. While ESSER’s primary intent was to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on schools and students, it may also be illuminating a much bigger truth.

What if the lesson we are supposed to learn from ESSER isn’t about the power of one-time relief or struggles to spend it, but instead about the necessity of an increased, recurring investment in our schools that educate those who have been historically underserved?

The first two rounds of federal ESSER funds are posing challenges for the 6,988 school leaders who must allocate the dollars, a recent report from the Association of School Business Officials finds. The reasons aren’t as simple as one might think. These challenges are directly connected to the chronic underfunding of our schools across the country — especially those in underserved communities — which is an issue with implications far beyond ESSER funding, according to a July 2022 report from the Economic Policy Institute. …Read More

5 ways to use ESSER funds to create cleaner environments

Funding is often schools’ biggest obstacle when it comes to enhancing the learning environment beyond the basics.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund is providing a significant influx of resources for schools across the nation. However, an interesting problem revealed itself as schools find themselves struggling to decide how to spend the largely unexpected funds. In fact, according analysis of the federal ESSER data by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 19.1 percent of the program’s funding has been used as of Feb. 28, 2022.

The relief package, which provided nearly $190.5 billion to the ESSER Fund through three separate stimulus bills, is incredibly helpful and impactful in addressing the impact that COVID-19 has on schools across the U.S. For many schools, which are historically underfunded and lacked resources, this money gives them the opportunity to make facility updates that have been needed for years.…Read More

Carnegie Learning Helps TX Districts Use TEA Funds with Hands-on Program

PITTSBURGH, PA – Carnegie Learning, a leader in artificial intelligence for K-12 education and formative assessment, announced a NEW, transformational program to support districts across Texas to optimize the most recent round of Texas Education Agency (TEA) funds to fast-track student success in their schools.

As an approved Strong Foundations Grant provider, Carnegie Learning will collaborate with the primary point of contact and math and/or literacy committee to meet every grant requirement.  

“We understand that teachers and districts are stretched for time and resources, and that’s where our team comes in to help bridge the gap,” said Carnegie Learning CEO Barry Malkin. “Unlike any other education company or curriculum provider, we partner with each district to create individualized plans that meet their unique needs – large or small. Because we know every student deserves that level of support.”…Read More

E-rate spending reveals schools’ tech evolution

Schooling has changed in many ways in the last two years, but while remote learning, mask policies and increased federal spending in education have gotten lots of attention, another trend has gone nearly unnoticed.

But thanks to the availability of detailed E-rate data, this sea change is now being recognized. E-rate is the federal government program that provides discounts of up to 90 percent for schools and libraries to bring high-speed internet into their building(s) and create internal networks for online access. For years, E-rate applicants have leveraged E-rate to bring fast internet service into their organizations, cobbling together funds and seeking out providers. But today, a new trend is emerging—more funds are being requested to improve internal networks, allowing the flood of devices now used in schools and libraries to effectively get online.

E-rate funding requested in Category One, which includes data transmission services and internet access, has declined for five straight years, largely a function of increasing marketplace competition and decreasing per-megabit prices.  But funding requests for Category Two services have soared in the same time period. Category Two funds can be spent on wireless access points, network switches, data cabling and other resources essential for on-campus connections.…Read More

How online tutoring helps us close learning gaps and support teachers

A report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that the pandemic greatly impacted students’ academic progress across all grade levels and instructional models.

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) has leveraged pandemic relief funds to invest in additional resources for our district community. In addition to enhancing our summer school program, we are helping teachers support their students—and close learning gaps—by providing access to online, high-impact tutoring services. 

While we originally implemented online tutoring for our virtual school only, we were so impressed by the results that we decided to scale the service across our district. Now, every student has unlimited access to high-quality tutors—regardless of their grade level or academic standing.…Read More

Elementary and Secondary Emergency School Relief (ESSER) Funds Allow for Improved Indoor Air Quality in U.S. Schools

DALLAS (August 18, 2022)ActivePure, the world’s leader in air and surface purification technologies, is now available for educational institutions through special funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). In 2020, the DOE introduced the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, a signature part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help schools improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and return their students back to the classroom. These funds offer students, teachers, staff and parents greater peace of mind with cleaner air and improved safety throughout educational facilities, buildings and classrooms.

In the wake of a global pandemic, indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become a priority in many sectors of the economy, including office buildings, healthcare facilities and especially educational institutions where millions of students and teachers spend hours every day learning in confined physical spaces. The risk of airborne pathogens and community spread has created an operational imperative for organizations to ensure better ventilation, cleaner air and a safer learning environment.

Through these timely ESSER funds, school systems can now bring their students back into classrooms after years of virtual learning, providing the financial ability to evaluate 21st century solutions for indoor air quality and invest in more robust air purification and ventilation systems. The $122 billion of ARP ESSER funds were made available earlier this year to all 52 state education agencies, giving state leaders the discretion to disperse the funds among local public and charter schools to bring buildings up to date.

“I am proud that, with the approval of these plans, states have 100% of their funds and robust plans to help schools remain open and help students thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a January 18 press release. “We are urging states and school districts to deploy funds now to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Omicron variant, on our school communities.”

The transition to online learning for students across the United States created challenges for students, teachers and parents alike. Recent reports have indicated lower test scores, as well as lower literacy and math skills compared to previous years, for students who participated in virtual learning options throughout the pandemic. The implementation of air purification technologies plays an important role in not only ensuring a healthier, in-person learning environment but also minimizing the possibility of widespread outbreaks in the future.

“At the end of the day, healthy indoor air quality is an essential right and one we all care about,” said Joe Urso, CEO and chairman of ActivePure. “The pandemic and remote learning have caused our kids to fall behind in school. It’s our duty to provide them with safe indoor air so they can get back into the classroom and realize their full potential. By doing what is necessary to protect students, teachers and staff, we protect our future.”

While most schools in the United States are opening for full-time in-person instruction, poor IAQ in buildings continues to affect the learning environment. A recent Harvard Public Health study found that poor air quality negatively affects cognitive function, leading participants in poorly-ventilated areas to score lower than their counterparts in environments with the latest air purification technologies.

Educational facilities across the United States have already begun taking proactive steps toward healthier learning environments by installing ActivePure Technology. Florida’s Sarasota School District, for example, has installed units powered by ActivePure Technology across its campuses to help facilitate the transition back to in-person learning. The addition of these units has allowed students and teachers to remain in the classroom without the need for constant shifts between in-person and virtual learning.

Indoor air quality is affected by numerous factors in addition to airborne viruses, including poor ventilation, pollutants, bacteria, cleaning products, building materials and mold. Older buildings tend to be at higher risk for fostering environments with worse air quality because of poor upkeep, pests and mildew. And, while increased ventilation will help, the increased energy needed to power HVAC units, has a significant environmental impact. ActivePure reconciles this conflict by neutralizing air and surface contamination through technology which is innately energy sparing.

ActivePure Technology is an advanced air and surface purification technology with a worldwide presence in educational institutions, hospitals, professional sports teams, the US military, office buildings and entertainment venues. The patented technology uses the unique process of Advanced Photocatalysis, creating oxidizing molecules that actively seek and eliminate air and surface pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and more. Studies have shown ActivePure to be over 99.9% effective in reducing the presence of SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, within a 60-second testing period.

Those interested in learning more about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) can read more here.

To learn more about ActivePure and its efforts to create healthier learning environments, please visit ActivePure.com.

ABOUT ACTIVEPURE:
Privately held ActivePure has been the global sustainable leader in active, 24/7 surface and air purification systems for healthcare and educational institutions, commercial and public facilities, hospitality and residential applications since 1924. Patented ActivePure Technology has been proven in independent university and laboratory testing to control and neutralize indoor contaminants effectively. It is the only product in its class recognized by the Space Foundation as Certified Space Technology and inducted into the Space Foundation Hall of Fame. In addition, the ActivePure Medical Guardian is registered and cleared as an FDA Class II Medical Device. The early stage of ActivePure was developed for use in space exploration and has since evolved for use in commercial and consumer products used to reduce exposure to pathogens, including RNA and DNA viruses, bacteria and molds, by up to 99.9% in the air and on surfaces. For more information, please visit ActivePure.com or call 888-217-4316.

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Maplewoodshop Partners with the Northeast Carpenters Apprenticeship Fund to Introduce Middle School Students to the Trades

(East Orange, N.J.) – Maplewoodshop, a leader in teaching woodworking to elementary and middle school students, announced its partnership with the Northeast Carpenters Apprenticeship Fund (NCAF), one of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters’ Training Funds, to help increase the number of high school students in CTE programs throughout the Northeast. With this partnership, schools that work with Maplewoodshop will now also have the opportunity to utilize the Carpenters International Training Fund (CITF) Career Connections curriculum from NCAF.

“We’ve worked together with dozens of schools to offer hand tool versions of CITF Career Connections projects,” said Mike Schloff, CEO of Maplewoodshop. “Growing this partnership is very exciting as it will allow us to introduce the trades to more students and expand potential apprenticeship opportunities.”

The Maplewoodshop program, now in more than 120 locations nationwide, trains non-CTE educators to teach woodworking with hand tools via digital and live teacher training, curriculum, and ongoing support. Maplewoodshop also provides hand-powered tools, proprietary workbenches, and a purpose-built tool chest to enable any classroom to become a woodshop.…Read More