4 steps to a successful SEL implementation

After several years of using a homegrown social emotional learning (SEL) approach, our district decided it was time for a more official curriculum that would support our middle and high school students’ mental health, academic achievement, and overall well-being.

With about 840 students in grades 8-12, we’d already developed a homeroom/advisory period meant to create community among students. Our goal was to develop a “belongingness” within our students and staff.

As we built that out, we started creating our own lessons using some of the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) curriculum. We assembled an advisory team of teachers who helped aggregate resources about mindfulness, kindness, and other core topics.…Read More

Will gamification replace paper tests?

Nearly everyone remembers the stress of taking a test in school. In-class exams have the power to make even the most dedicated of students quake with fear, not to mention the damage they can do to the egos of struggling learners. For some students, the stress causes their minds to go blank, while others experience physical symptoms like headaches and nausea.

In fact, around 40 percent of students regularly report experiencing moderate to severe anxiety over tests. Unfortunately, that stress isn’t limited to students in higher grades. Even elementary school students can struggle with fear and performance anxiety on standardized tests. No surprise, then, that teachers and schools are increasingly rethinking their assessment methods, seeking ways to evaluate student performance without causing undue stress.

Fortunately, there are other methods of assessing students–methods that greatly reduce anxiety levels while simultaneously improving performance. One method getting a lot of attention is gamification, which involves incorporating elements of game playing, such as establishing ground rules, scorekeeping, and engaging in friendly competition with other students. Recent studies have shown that gamification in education can increase assessment scores by nearly 15 percent.…Read More

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment Named to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., April 3, 2022—The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment to its approved list of dyslexia screeners. With this approval, districts throughout the state can now use the program’s online Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen kindergarten and first grade students for risk factors associated with dyslexia. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than 10 million students and 25 percent of all students in Grades K–8 in the United States.

“The recent MDE approval will help streamline the overall assessment process for Mississippi educators as they can now use i-Ready for both universal screening and targeted dyslexia screening,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “By eliminating the need for multiple and redundant assessments, educators will have more time to deliver personalized instruction, and specialized supports as needed, to help all students succeed.”

According to the MDE, each local school district is required to screen students for dyslexia using an instrument approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in the spring of kindergarten and the fall of first grade. A panel of reading, dyslexia therapy, and speech-language pathology experts conduct a comprehensive review of all proposed instruments to determine which ones are included on the MDE Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners.…Read More

Saga Education and Littera Education Partner to Boost Student Achievement in Mathematics

March 24, 2022 – A newly announced partnership between Saga Education and Littera Education means that schools will be able to offer students one of the most effective personalized tutoring programs in the country via a platform designed to make delivery easy.

Saga, a national nonprofit, provides a research-backed math curriculum with a track record of success for middle and secondary grades. The Littera platform provides technology enabling districts to design, deliver and evaluate customized tutoring programs offering real-time, face-to-face instruction, in person or virtually.

“Success in middle-years math, in particular Algebra 1, is fundamental to passing higher level math courses and graduating high school and Saga is the gold standard for high-dosage math tutoring,” said Justin Serrano, CEO and co-founder of Littera. “Saga’s proven tutoring intervention, coupled with Littera’s platform, will be easier for districts to implement effectively and to deliver critical support to students who need it most.”…Read More

Latest Research from Curriculum Associates Highlights Importance of Grade-Level Readiness for Student Growth

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.,March 17, 2022—Whether students are prepared for grade-level learning matters more to their progress over the course of the pandemic than whether they were remote or in school, according to a new report released by Curriculum Associates. The report, Student Growth during COVID-19: Grade-Level Readiness Matters, analyzes data gathered from the edtech company’s i-Ready Assessment tool for reading and mathematics from more than two million Grades 1–8 students who used i-Ready Diagnostics during the last three school years, using student testing location (i.e., in school or remote) as a proxy for learning location.

The report provides new insights on student learning trends, and serves as a call to other education researchers to look at similar factors. Curriculum Associates’ data follows the same students, examining how they progressed over time from the 2019–2020 school year before the pandemic hit through the 2020–2021 school year. This report offers a unique understanding of how the pandemic impacted students as, unlike most research published on unfinished learning, it followed the same students across two years, incorporating their reported testing location during the pandemic.

“After several reports exploring the extent of unfinished learning, we find that remote versus in school alone did not matter much in impacting student scores,” said Dr. Kristen Huff, vice president of assessment and research at Curriculum Associates. “Though there were slight differences in student growth based on location, what mattered most was where students started in the first place—that is, whether they were already behind or prepared for grade-level work at the beginning of the school year.”…Read More

Discovery Education and Venture Valley Partner to Launch New Educational Initiative Teaching Financial Literacy Through Games and Resources

Silver Spring, MD. (Monday, March 7, 2022) – Venture Valley video game team and Discovery Education announced today a new educational initiative – Discover Venture Valley – helping students build financial literacy and business skills. Discover Venture Valley empowers students in grades 6-12 to build financial and business basics through a suite of standards-aligned resources and by taking on the role of a budding entrepreneur in the new Venture Valley video game. Discover Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. The Venture Valley game is a project of the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship. 

Discover Venture Valley helps students discover and develop their entrepreneurial spirit by exploring the financial and business basics explored in the Venture Valley game. Accompanying digital resources – including classroom activities, a video topic series, and educator guides – align to learning standards across multiple disciplines including English language arts, math, business, and financial literacy. 

“We believe that financial competence empowers individuals to do great things for themselves, their communities and the world. We are excited to launch this partnership with Discovery Education, as they share our commitment to enriching and empowering students with an interactive and exciting digital game,” said Roger Hector, Executive Producer for the Venture Valley game. “Discover Venture Valley builds and sustains student interest in financial literacy through entrepreneurship and play, and is the perfect complement to Venture Valley, which lets those interested in becoming entrepreneurs learn basic business concepts and skills by applying them in a game.” …Read More

Bamboo Learning’s “Comprehension Through Conversation” EdTech Solution for K–5 Students Gaining Momentum

SEATTLE—March 7, 2022—Bamboo Learning, Inc. today announced that Bamboo learning EDU, the first “Comprehension Through Conversation” learning application for students in grades K through 5 introduced in January 2022, has been selected for an innovative student literacy pilot at the John Rex Charter School (JRCS) in Oklahoma City. JRCS, which was recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon
School, seeks to determine the Bamboo Learning EDU solution’s impact on reading achievement, speaking fluency, vocabulary acquisition, and content knowledge-building among its economically and racially diverse student body. All JRCS students in grades K–1 have iPads for use at school, making the Bamboo Learning EDU iPad app an excellent fit.

Bamboo Learning also announced today that LearnPlatform, a nationally recognized edtech research company, has certified that the Bamboo Learning EDU solution meets the evidence requirements of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) aligning with Level IV “Demonstrates a Rationale” status. LearnPlatform’s team of researchers analyzed Bamboo Learning EDU’s foundational pedagogy, concluded that Bamboo Learning EDU’’s Logic Model is informed by high-quality research, and outlined the expected short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes.

“Bamboo Learning’s innovative ‘Comprehension Through Conversation’ approach to literacy has a solid grounding in existing research,” said Dr. Mary Styers, Director of Research at LearnPlatform. “By offering fiction and nonfiction books leveled by grade, and inviting students to use their voice to engage in reading & listening comprehension and vocabulary building activities, the product has a clear pathway
to improving student literacy.”…Read More

Savvas Learning Company Acquires Rubicon Publishing, Canada’s Leading Digital Learning Provider for Math

PARAMUS, NEW JERSEY — March 3, 2022 — Savvas Learning Company, a leading provider of next-generation learning solutions across all K-12 grade levels and disciplines, announced today its acquisition of Rubicon Publishing, Inc., the developer of Canada’s most widely used all-digital math program.

Headquartered near Toronto, Rubicon is the provider of MathUP, an inquiry-based math program for students in grades K-8 that has become the best-selling online math product in Canada.

“With its hugely popular online math program, MathUP, Rubicon has evolved into a cutting-edge digital learning company that has transformed math education in Canada,” said Bethlam Forsa, CEO of Savvas Learning Company. “I look forward to building upon Rubicon’s successes and becoming the solutions provider of choice for educators on both sides of the border.”…Read More

Louisiana Department of Education Rates Lexia Reading Core5 as Highest Tier of Efficacy

BOSTON (Feb. 10, 2022) – The personalized literacy solution Lexia® Core5® Reading (Core5) from Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, has received the highest rating of Tier 1 from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). The Tier 1 rating means that the LDOE has designated Core5 as “exemplifying quality.” The LDOE website now lists the evidence-based, educational technology program among the most intensive intervention tools for grades three through five.

“Core5 met all the LDOE’s non-negotiable criteria and received the best possible score on all indicators of superior quality,” said Lexia Learning President, Nick Gaehde. “LDOE is committed to helping educators find interventions that are data-driven, individualized for students, and systematic. It’s wonderful to see Core5 added to such a prestigious list.”

To support local school districts’ decisions on purchasing instructional materials, the LDOE evaluates products on program design, instructional design, usability and support, and other criteria for high quality. A committee of Louisiana educators reviews the materials.…Read More

How technology can support diversity in the classroom

Diversity, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization.

As an educator, with over 17 years of experience, I’ve heard the word diversity used in various contexts throughout my career. However, over the last 16 months or so, the importance of diversity–and especially inclusion–has been highlighted to Americans across the country, in very visible, and sometimes unsettling ways.

Throughout my career, I have taught a variety of grades from 1st grade to 6th grade ELA in a host of states and school districts. Currently, I am the Gifted and Talented Specialist for River Trail Elementary in Upstate South Carolina.  In this role, I’ve taken a fresh look at how I am helping to highlight the power of diversity in the classroom and build a more inclusive learning environment–particularly in the STEM fields–in which all learners can see themselves as they prepare for life beyond graduation.…Read More