ClassTag Awards $10,000 Community Engagement Grant

August 2, 2022 – NEW YORK: As schools and families prepare for back-to-school, ClassTag is announcing the winning district of its Community Engagement Grant, who received $10,000 in funding.

Since launching The Community Engagement Grant in June 2022, ClassTag has received 65 passionate, compelling submissions on how school districts across the country have emerged out of the pandemic to build trust and strong relationships with their community. As part of the application, leaders were asked to share the creative ways they have engaged their community and the impact this additional funding can have. Initiatives shared as part of the applications offer diverse and creative perspectives on how to tackle the most pressing issues facing school communities across the country, however the opportunities remain consistent and span across
the following five areas:

  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
  • Family Education Programs
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses
  • A Unified Communication System

After much deliberation, the ClassTag team has selected the winner – Lexington City Schools, a suburban district in North Carolina serving over three thousand students.…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More

South Carolina Department of Education Partners with Vector Solutions to Help Districts Address Student Safety and Mental Health Issues such as Bullying and Anxiety

Tampa, FL – July 14, 2022 – The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) has partnered with Vector Solutions to provide all school districts in the state with free access to Vector’s library of Student Safety & Wellness Courses. The partnership includes courses with short, engaging web-based video lessons covering essential safety and emotional wellness topics. It is funded through $50,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and an additional $30,000 included as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

“Anxiety, depression, trauma, bullying, and other behavioral health challenges can have a negative impact on school climate and student success. The SCDE is providing this on-demand virtual resource as a way to help students better understand and respond to such challenges,” said Dr. Sabrina Moore, director of the Office for Student Intervention Services for SCDE. “We believe this resource will be a valuable tool for schools as they continue working to address the mental and behavioral needs of students.”

Vector Solutions is the leading provider of training and software solutions to help schools make their operations and communities safer, smarter, and better. The courses help schools promote discussion and awareness around these critical challenges that many young people face. The courses, which are available in modules for students in grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, include:…Read More

Fill personnel gaps with federal grants

Hiring additional reading and math coaches, counselors, school psychologists, and other support staff is a key strategy for meeting students’ academic and social-emotional learning needs.

When school systems use federal funding for personnel expenses, they must have a plan in place for tracking and reporting the time and effort that employees spend on grant-funded activities to protect current and future student support funding.

Join eSchool News and a panel of experts, including Kecia Ray, Ed.D, and Janet Hagood of Jefferson County Schools, to learn best practices and key strategies for completing this process successfully in your own district.…Read More

How federal grants can help staff your schools

Using federal funding for personnel expenses can seem daunting, but it can in fact be manageable with the right knowledge and tools in place.

Hiring additional reading and math coaches, counselors, school psychologists, and other support staff is a key strategy for meeting students’ academic and social-emotional learning needs.

When school systems use federal funding for personnel expenses, they must have a plan in place for tracking and reporting the time and effort that employees spend on grant-funded activities to protect current and future student support funding.…Read More

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Makes Nearly $5 Million Investment in Literacy Solutions Following New Research Report

Goodlettsville, Tennessee – March 31, 2022 – The Dollar General Literacy Foundation (DGLF) announced a commitment of approximately $5 million in grants to five national organizations working to address the critical literacy needs identified in its new State of American Literacy Report released today. The grant recipients, including Save the Children, The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, DonorsChoose, Discovery Education and the Children’s Defense Fund, are focused on advancing literacy instruction and access, developing learning tools and technology and providing professional development for instructors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has set back many in their education and literacy learning efforts and threatens to deepen the literacy crisis,” said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility at Dollar General. “We know the devastating impacts of low literacy on an individual’s quality of life – limiting opportunities for advancement in the workforce, access to higher education, engagement in civic activity, and even effects on health. Through our research we are better able to understand the needs of the field and empower teachers, students and communities to harness the power of literacy and education at this critical juncture.”

State of American Literacy Report Findings…Read More

Financial Literacy Challenge from Jackson Charitable Foundation and Discovery Education Empowering Communities to Win $10,000 for Their Schools Now Open

Silver Spring, Md. (Monday, March 14, 2022) – Jackson Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to advance financial knowledge on a national scale, and Discovery Education today opened the 6th annual Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Contest. The contest enables communities to vote for their school to win $10,000 that can be used for critical educator resources that teach kids how to earn, save, spend, and donate.   

This national contest encourages elementary school teachers, families, and community members to show their commitment to financial education by voting online daily for their school to receive a prize package featuring: 

  • A grant of $10,000 to build a brighter financial future at the winning school.  
  • $1,000 to be donated to the charity of the school’s choice. 
  • An interactive, hands-on, educational financial literacy event hosted by Discovery Education that brings to life Cha-Ching’s four pillars of financial education – earn, save, spend, and donate. 

Participants may enter up to once a day on behalf of their school from now through June 17, 2022. Learn more and vote for your school.  …Read More

A fresh perspective on VR in special education

In early 2021, Spaulding Academy & Family Services applied for and received a technology grant from the Flutie Foundation for the purchase of virtual reality (VR) headsets. 

We are a small, nonprofit special education school serving students with a wide range of abilities, including many who are on the Autism Spectrum and/or have limited mobility, and it was very important to us from the onset that we use this technology to meet the needs of all our students.

Selecting a VR solution…Read More

Using the book club model in the classroom

I vividly remember my English teacher, Mrs. Grant, bringing a stack of 20 well-read copies of A Wrinkle in Time out from the closet for everyone in the class. She would read a chapter or two out loud during class and later we would read independently until it was time to take a test or write a report on what we learned. I don’t remember ever debating my classmates about the themes in the book or frankly ever even talking to fellow students about what we read.

Yet, for most of my childhood, I spent my free time with my nose in a book. I was an avid reader who read well above grade-level, but even I didn’t like to read the books that were forced on me.

Which is why middle school English teachers like Carrie Friday at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Florida are using the book club model instead. Friday is her school’s librarian, and she also teaches several English classes. With 80% of her students reading between two and three grades below level, Friday says offering students’ choice in literature is a game changer. “Even if you just give them a couple of titles to choose from, they are going to be invested because they had a say in the process.”…Read More