How to block school security threats now–and in the future

The typical K-12 school system has the same basic security needs as any modern university campus: centralized management and control of security systems and procedures, and a strategy for staying ahead of threats while protecting earlier investments. In both cases, the latest open-architecture Physical Access Control System (PACS) solutions offer an infrastructure that is flexible, scalable, and can easily be upgraded to strengthen security and add capabilities without changing the hardware.

Building a Future-Safe Foundation

A future-safe PACS infrastructure operates with any access control software and add-on solutions ranging from parking gates to additional IT security. This requires a highly flexible and non-proprietary open-architecture framework with modern security protocols, technology interoperability, and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable hardware to be integrated into any access control system software or security application.…Read More

BetterLesson’s ‘Empowered Algebra Learning For All’ Named 1 of 11 Grand Challenge Grantees

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 — BetterLesson, a leading provider of high quality virtual and in-person K–12 professional learning, announces that the company’s “Empowered Algebra Learning For All” solution is one of only 11 grantees chosen for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenge. Algebra 1 is among the most important on-track indicators of students’ future success. In fact, students who do not complete Algebra 1 have just a one-in-five chance of graduating from high school.

The content of Algebra 1 tends to reflect the inequities experienced by Black and Latinx students, thereby failing to engage their strengths, and inhibiting learning. BetterLesson will collect input from students to develop and test new activities on the Desmos platform that provide multiple access points and engage through creativity, exploration, and collaboration, such as sketching and free-form writing.

In addition, BetterLesson’s Empowered Algebra Learning for All solution will provide 17 hours of professional learning support for Algebra 1 educators through a mix of virtual and in-person support from BetterLesson Coaches. BetterLesson Coaches will work with educators to deepen their work over the course of the year, as educators move from a focus on identity and self-reflection, to student agency and engagement and cultural connections and inclusivity.…Read More

North Carolina Educators Praise Alef Education for Closing Math Learning Gaps With Its Innovative Digital Platform

Teachers in three North Carolina counties report their students, who are trying to close math learning gaps caused by COVID-related school disruptions, are making progress thanks to an innovative digital learning platform. This summer, six schools in Ashe, Gates and Polk counties are using Alef Education’s mathematics technology tool that helps teachers as they try to help students with their individual learning losses. 

Alef Education, a leading global education technology provider that empowers 21st century learning, partnered with NexGen Education to offer all North Carolina districts access without any cost. The participating counties in the summer trial have reached 825 math students in 6th–8th grades.

Jamie Graber, a 6th and 7th grade math teacher at Polk County Middle School, says, “I think Alef Math paired with targeted lessons is helping by ensuring students are truly able to apply the content they learn. Alef Math allows students to review the content just taught and then practice without fear of failure. Alef also provides students with an opportunity for deeper application after the basic concept is understood.”…Read More

3 ways to promote grit via literacy instruction

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” –Japanese Proverb

J.K. Rowling. Bill Gates. Oprah Winfrey. These are no doubt names that most students recognize as successful. But what often goes overlooked is the perseverance needed to achieve success, and that successful people—including these household names—often overcome great obstacles. To that end, the conversation in schools has shifted to resilience and grit, recognizing that people who demonstrate determination often end up being movers and shakers in today’s world.

Thanks to pioneering work by Carol Dweck, Martin Seligman, and Angela Duckworth, we now know that the ability to cope and persevere through setbacks and adversity can be learned and taught. In a related movement, educators across the country are leading the charge to implement social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and teach the core SEL competencies they’ve always known to be immensely valuable. By teaching skills ranging from self-management to responsible decision-making, educators hope to instill students with the positive mindsets, resilience, and grit they need to succeed in school and life.…Read More

Everyone has a role to play in education today

As we enter a new year, education is a topic that continues to resonate well beyond the classroom into the core aspects of daily life, from home and family to the halls of politics and the corporate world. Since launching SXSW EDU several years ago with the aspiration to become the world’s largest and most inclusive learning festival in the world, it’s been exciting to see the event grow and evolve. As past speakers including philanthropist Bill Gates and Teacher’s College, Columbia University professor Christopher Emdin both observed from the keynote stage, the growth of the event is a direct reflection of the public’s deep passion and interest with teaching and learning—no surprise, when we acknowledge that education is the foundation on which everything is built!

More than the growth of SXSW EDU, though, what’s been most interesting to observe is the evolution of the topics that the community wants to address, as reflected through our crowd-sourced program. Each year, the community proposes thousands of suggestions for sessions and workshops and speakers. As such, the SXSW EDU community’s conversation about teaching and learning continues to become richer and more diverse, spanning the complete life cycle of learning, from early childhood, to and through college, career, and beyond.

While past programs for SXSW EDU focused largely on the standards and structures of schooling, today the program has grown to additionally address the intersection of culture and learning. Stated another way, beyond exploring the 4- or 8- or 12-year curriculums associated with the traditional classifications of elementary, secondary, and post- secondary education, it’s been fascinating to see the program enriched with discussions about lifelong learning in the real world, against the backdrop of rapidly changing expectations to prepare learners for a future that will look far different than today.…Read More

Gates, Zuckerberg chip in to fund broadband in schools

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are among several philanthropists who have pledged $9 million to a nonprofit organization that is trying to bring the internet to public school classrooms around the country, the Washington Post reports. Over the next two years, Zuckerberg has pledged to give $3 million and Gates has promised to give $2 million to Education Superhighway, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. A smattering of other, smaller foundations have agreed to give $4 million to the organization, said its chief executive, Evan Marwell…

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