OverDrive Education Provides Free Resources to Schools Receiving COVID-19 Relief Funds

Toolkit facilitates district decision making to eliminate barriers to reading and increase equity

CLEVELAND – May 14, 2021 – The federal government has approved billions of dollars of relief funds for schools, but some educators are unclear where the funds originate and how they should be used. Today, OverDrive Education announced a new effort to guide school districts through the process of understanding and using Education Stabilization Funds (ESF). Interested schools can access the full collection of resources in the K-12 Funding Champion Toolkit.

Since March 2020, the U.S. Department of Education has allocated nearly $193 billion in K-12 COVID-19 relief funding to states. The government funds, also known by legislative acronyms CARES, CRRSA, ARP and ESSER, can be used in a variety of ways ranging from improving ventilation, expanding after-school programs and purchasing digital resources like ebooks and audiobooks.…Read More

3 things parents of neurodiverse kids should know

As we wrap up April’s Autism Acceptance Month, it’s been so heartening this year to see businesses and our government show solidarity and launch numerous initiatives that support neurodiverse kids.

Movie theaters now have “sensory friendly showings.” The Utah Jazz took efforts to make their arena certified by KultureCity, making the stadium more accommodating for fans with sensory needs. President Biden signed a proclamation calling April 2, 2021 as World Autism Acceptance Day.

These are all worthy efforts and initiatives. But I’m also aware that for many parents, this April could be the first time they are recognizing Autism Acceptance Month, or the first time it’s been on their radar. Maybe they just received a diagnosis and are feeling overwhelmed. As great as these initiatives are, the parents of neurodiverse kids may need something simpler: connection, guidance, and empathy from other parents who know their situation.…Read More

The College Board Partners with PBLWorks to Train Teachers for New AP Courses Rooted in Project Based Learning

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the College Board to offer a new PBL-based professional development program for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Environmental Science and U.S Government and Politics. The new courses use a Project Based Learning method of teaching and are based on powerful new breakthrough research just released by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, that found PBL coupled with high-quality professional development significantly improves student performance when compared to students in non-PBL classrooms.

Specifically, the research demonstrated that high school students in AP classes who engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based projects with real-world applications performed higher than their peers on AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Environmental Science exams. In year one of a randomized controlled trial in five U.S. cities they scored 8 percentage points higher, and in year two of the study they scored 10 percentage points higher – and they were more likely to earn a qualifying score of 3 or above which could increase their chance of receiving college credit and saving on tuition.

“We’ve seen the impact of PBL firsthand in our work with schools and now this research provides proof of its impact on students who are taking AP classes,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks, “That’s why we’ve partnered with the College Board to support new project-based AP courses that are relevant, authentic, and engaging.”…Read More

6 teaching resources for the Presidential Inauguration

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris will be sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2021. The Presidential Inauguration will be a departure from years past due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still a number of engaging learning opportunities for in-person and virtual students.

The inauguration also comes on the heels of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and students are bound to have questions about the state of our nation’s government, priorities, civil rights, and where things go from here.

Traditionally, the public has been able to attend inaugurations, but people are discouraged from doing so due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ceremony will be broadcast on television news stations and most are expected to also offer a livestream.…Read More

New “Testing America’s Freedom” Podcast from NWEA Examines Equity in Education

NWEA, the not-for-profit educational assessment provider, announced today the launch of its new podcast, Testing America’s Freedom. Hosted by Dr. Aaliyah Samuel, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs & Partnerships at NWEA, the episodic series explores the role of race and assessment in American public education through thought-provoking interviews with current and future leaders in education.

Testing America’s Freedom delves deep into the lesser-known history of laws and policies that have perpetuated and exacerbated racial inequities within the education system. Samuel and her guests explore topics such as school funding, the importance of diversity in the education workforce, assessment purposes and design, and their link to modern-day systemic racism, discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by these urgent issues.

“The inequities within our public education system do not exist by accident, they are the result of carefully orchestrated policies that used tools like school funding, divestment and testing to perpetuate achievement and outcome gaps for students of color,” says Samuel. “Although the past may be grim, as educational leaders, we have the opportunity to use these same tools to reimagine systems of learning and teaching so we can construct a more equitable future. My hope is that this podcast can be a catalyst for our education and policy communities to think about how we can collectively move toward change at a time when education policy is evolving so rapidly.”…Read More

FSR Extends Symphony Collection with Release of New Pedestal

FSR, a leading manufacturer of a wide variety of infrastructure solution products for the audio/video, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), education, corporate, hospitality, and government markets, has released its new Symphony Pedestal, extending the company’s popular Symphony Collection of power and charging solutions. The new Symphony Pedestal power and charging tower makes waiting areas and workspaces an inviting place to plug in, offering 4 AC outlets for users to remain charged and ready!

The new Symphony Pedestal offers a form factor that allows for customization options to connect a CAT6, 6a or 7 along with AV cables to bulkhead AV connections. This floor standing unit provides AC power and USB charging, along with snap-ins and a cable passthrough. A 9’ AC cord supplies power from a standard 125VAC 15A outlet. Sized to fit under a desk or table, the pedestal can give people peace of mind in waiting areas, at home or at work.

The Symphony Pedestal is available in two height sizes,  24” or 30”.  An attractive aluminum housing adds to its sleek and refined design giving it great appeal for any environment, plus a black or white color option offers the freedom to match any interior. It is both lightweight and easy to relocate wherever access to power is needed.…Read More

Trinity Elementary School Updates Broadcast Studio Lighting with Adorama Business Solutions

Trinity Elementary School recently enlisted Adorama Business Solutions, the premier technology resource for corporate, educational, and government institutions, to upgrade its in-house broadcast studio used to produce school announcements and offer production courses to students. Eager to move away from pre-recorded programming toward more sophisticated live production capabilities, Trinity Elementary first revitalized its studio set-up with new, improved lighting equipment.

The new lighting upgrades have enabled live interviews during morning announcements, live panel discussions, and green screen capabilities. It has also helped facilitate projects such as a Blackmagic workflow for live broadcasts of school auditorium productions and live streaming of programming on outlets such as YouTube. In addition, the updates have allowed a new curriculum to be implemented about the different elements of live television production, including classes such as editing, recording, and audio.

After an on-site consultation, Adorama Business Solutions worked with Trinity Elementary School to identify the best lighting gear suited to their needs. Selected equipment included: 12 Astra Bi-Color LED Light Panels, an Astra Bluetooth Communications Module, and a Snapbag Softbox. They additionally provided technical drawings detailing where the new lighting should be placed, as well as recommended power outlet placements to facilitate future upgrade plans for the studio.…Read More

Public and Private Organizations Nationwide Choose Rave’s Coronavirus Recovery Solution to Safely Reopen and Keep Communities Informed

Corporations, educational institutions and government agencies across the United States are relying on Rave’s Coronavirus Recovery Solution to equip them with the recovery tools they need to design and deploy a successful and safe reopening strategy during the pandemic, including streamlined communication workflows, automated daily health checks, support for individual wellness and engagement with key constituents.

Rave Mobile Safety (Rave), the critical communication and collaboration platform customers count on when it matters most, announced that new corporations, educational institutions and government agencies across the United States are relying on Rave’s Coronavirus Recovery Solution to equip them with the recovery tools they need to design and deploy a successful and safe reopening strategy during the pandemic, including streamlined communication workflows, automated daily health checks, support for individual wellness and engagement with key constituents.

As the response to and recovery from COVID-19 evolves, organizations across the country must plan for how they will adhere to national and local guidelines while creating a safe environment for their staff and community. Key to achieving that is a scalable, flexible and reliable communications and technology strategy that ensures everyone has the latest accurate information to make informed health and safety decisions as different guidance and policies are recommended. Rave’s solutions are flexible, allowing organizational leaders to choose the functionality that works best for their population—from protecting at-risk individuals through real-time monitoring; timely, targeted and personal notifications; and coordinated responses across 9-1-1, first responders and emergency management to workforce health monitoring, self-reporting and health check channels.…Read More

Encrypt Email and Attachments

Today, and in the coming days, data privacy will become even more important as the need to collaborate and share data securely increases. For many, data protection is not a choice, it is a legal and operational requirement.

To better support organizations hit especially hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtru is offering the following through June 30, 2020:

  • K-12 Education institutions and organizations supporting the defense and intelligence mission may receive unlimited complimentary licenses.
  • Any Healthcare, State and Local Government, or Nonprofit organization may take advantage of up to five complimentary licenses.

For more information visit https://www.virtru.com/covid-19/…Read More

3 ways to navigate American politics in the classroom

In our current social climate, it can be tricky for anyone, especially a teenager, to talk about politics and the role of government. But as educators, it’s our job to explain the varying viewpoints that make up our political discourse. It’s also our job to foster an open, secure environment in which students feel safe to share their own opinions.

As an online instructor at a statewide public school, I’ve taught U.S. government and politics during two contentious election cycles. And although I live in California, a left-leaning state, I teach students from across the state whose core beliefs fall all along the political spectrum. From day one, I explain to students that respecting different viewpoints—even when you don’t agree—is part of building maturity. Here are three ways I build a culture of respect in my classroom.

1. Set guidelines
At the start of each session, I provide several rules for students about how we will discuss upcoming topics. Students must respect their classmates’ opinions and offer constructive criticism. I also remind them that I may revoke chat privileges if they do not adhere to these class rules.…Read More