Give teachers ownership to make computer science a success

Well-intended computer science initiatives are often met with reluctance and resistance before they even get off the ground. Teachers may see the new initiative as “just another thing” on their plate or may feel ill-prepared to tackle an entirely new discipline.

To ensure a smooth transition to teaching computer science, campus and district leaders will need to empower teachers with ownership of the change, versus simply asking them to comply with it.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your teachers are provided with space, support, and resources that will help them confidently assume ownership over the implementation of computer science initiatives.…Read More

Discovery Education and Dollar General Literacy Foundation Partner on New Initiative Promoting Literacy

(Tuesday, October 25, 2022) – Discovery Education announced today the launch of a new education initiative – Discover Literacy – created in partnership with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation promoting literacy nationwide. Designed to support the development of critical literacy skills in K-2 students, Discover Literacy offers teachers, students, and caregivers access to a powerful suite of in-school and after-school digital resources at no cost.  

Discover Literacy’s standards-aligned resources are designed for wherever learning takes place. Addressing the five key literacy topics of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, Discover Literacy provides educators, students, and afterschool professionals with six-to-eight-minute microlearnings that provide hands-on learning for an explicit, systematic approach to instruction, as well as opportunities to practice new skills. The partnership also helps up-skill teachers and after-school professionals with research-based support for professional learning that focuses on promoting equity in education. Learn more about Discover Literacy here

“We are excited to help equip and empower teachers with research-based microlessons and fun activities for students,” said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. “A great education is built on strong literacy skills. We are thrilled to partner with Discovery Education and National Afterschool Alliance to bring high-quality literacy resources to classrooms across the country.” …Read More

Heading Back to School with Dungeons & Dragons in Classrooms, Afterschool Clubs

Renton, Wash. — As kids and teens return to the classroom, some for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020, parents and educators are concerned about how the children will interact with each other and their teachers. A new initiative from Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), hopes to provide a platform using the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons for social activities and educational learning. In celebration of the release of a new starter set, Wizards will provide Dungeons & Dragons-themed classroom materials for teachers across the country to add to their curriculum.

On top of that, schools, libraries, community centers and enrichment organizations can receive the D&D Afterschool Kit, which includes everything needed to start or enhance D&D clubs and meetups. Dungeons & Dragons has surged in popularity recently, and educators have taken note of its many benefits in a social learning environment.

“D&D saved my life, I’ve seen it save and change the lives of others, and I watch as it shapes the lives of the children who learn to play in my class,” said Kade Wells, Harrisburg North Middle School ELA Instructor in South Dakota and founder of Building Heroez. “Dungeons & Dragons is the best metacognitive tool for education that I’ve seen. The reading growth observed and measured in my class clearly indicates the great things D&D can do in schools. My students’ test score growth doubled each time they tested.”…Read More

Waterbury Public Schools Partners with BloomBoard to Address Teacher Retention Crisis

WATERBURY CONN. & PITTSBURGH (PRWEB) — Waterbury Public Schools and  BloomBoard today announce a partnership to create  Waterbury U. This innovative initiative addresses the current teacher retention crisis while supporting the unique needs of all students. Waterbury U offers educators on-the-job professional learning opportunities to prepare, promote and advance them in their professional journey. The program allows educators to earn graduate credit, which can lead to a full master’s degree and salary advancement. In addition, Waterbury Public Schools will cover all costs associated with participation for up to 800 staff members.

“This partnership gives our hard-working educators a voice and a choice in their learning,” stated Dr. Verna Ruffin, Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools. “I see BloomBoard as a partner in helping us grow our own talent, including the number of paraprofessionals who aspire to become teachers or aspire to be better paraprofessionals. An effective and happy teacher is paramount to ensuring student success. Therefore, supporting teachers with Waterbury U is the key to supporting the unique needs of all students.”

A recent  CT Insider article reported anywhere from 1,200 to 1,600 current open teaching positions throughout Connecticut. Therefore, this program aims to provide a special incentive that encourages current education staff to stay within the district while encouraging new teachers and staff to join the school community.…Read More

Allentown-Area School Buses Modernized with Safety Technology to Protect Kids and Stop Dangerous Drivers

Allentown, PA (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Children returning to school on the yellow school bus can expect a safer, smarter commute this fall, thanks to the launch of a new safety initiative across Eastern Pennsylvania. Allentown, Bethlehem, Kutztown Area, and Northwestern Lehigh school districts have each partnered with local law enforcement and BusPatrol to tackle the illegal passing of stopped school buses.

More than 300 buses across Berks and Lehigh counties will be outfitted with automated enforcement technology to detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses, putting children at risk. The video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.

The programs will go live on Monday, August 29, to coincide with the start of the new school year. In addition to enforcement, the initiative includes an education and awareness campaign to remind motorists of school bus safety laws and teach students safety tips for getting on and off school buses.…Read More

School System, County, and Police Partner on New Modernized Bus Initiative to Enhance Student Safety in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to halt dangerous driving around its school buses beginning this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.

As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.

“There is no bigger cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell said. “This partnership is another step in accomplishing that, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources, and energy in it. I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk.”…Read More

Tennessee’s Maury County Schools Deepens Collaboration with Discovery Education to Support Summer Learning Initiatives

SILVER SPRING, MD (July, 2022)—Tennessee’s Maury County Public Schools (MCPS) announced it has deepened its multiyear collaboration with Discovery Education, the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. In latest phase of this long-term partnership, eight K-8 schools hosting the district’s summer learning initiative are integrating a suite of award-winning, flexible, digital resources into instruction to create enriching, real-world learning experiences that connect students to the world around them while preparing them for future success. 

MCPS is a pre-K-12 school district in Southern Middle Tennessee operating 21 schools, one virtual academy, one non-traditional high school, and one alternative school. MCPS employs more than 900 teachers and 500 staff members who serve nearly 13,000 students. Each summer, the district hosts a special summer learning session offering participating K-8 students unique support and opportunities. MCPS teachers and educational assistants work with small groups of students to provide targeted, focused instruction every day, providing an engaging opportunity to boost participants’ learning. 

This year’s summer learning program was designed to support reading and math enrichment. provide opportunities for organized play, and offer fun, hands-on science, technology, reading, art, and mathematics activities. To support these goals, MCPS sought a flexible multi-disciplinary platform that met the state’s STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Arts, Math) requirement for summer school programs across the state and whose utility would last beyond this initiative. Following a careful review of available resources, the district selected the following resources from Discovery Education: …Read More

ISTE, Dept. of ED target digital equity through improved tech proficiency

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the U.S. Department of Education have launched an initiative to help new teachers gain the digital skills needed to support learning in today’s classrooms.

More than a dozen educator preparation programs (EPPs) from across the country committed today to use technology for transformative learning throughout teacher candidate programs by signing the EPPs for Digital Equity and Transformation Pledge, and more EPPs are expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

“Knowing how to use technology to support student learning is an essential skill for teachers to thrive in a post-COVID world,” said Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE. “As a country, we have made an unprecedented investment in technology in education – but true transformation and innovation doesn’t come from putting devices in schools, it comes from preparing teachers to use technology in innovative and engaging ways. We are calling on leaders of EPPs to commit to this shared vision of transforming how our students learn.” …Read More

Saint Louis University School of Education and BloomBoard Partner to Help School Districts Elevate the Careers of Paraprofessionals and Address Teacher Workforce Shortage

ST. LOUIS, MO (June 23, 2022) — Saint Louis University School of Education and BloomBoard have partnered to announce a new initiative to help superintendents and school boards address the current crisis of teacher recruitment and retention.  The initiative will include the development of collaborative strategies with school districts and educational leaders to enhance the number of PK-12 teachers to meet the needs of today’s students. 

One of the first initiatives is the development of a program to support classroom aides and other paraprofessionals with earning a bachelor’s degree in education and qualifying for licensure as an elementary teacher in many states.  Saint Louis University has a long-standing tradition of high-quality online education for undergraduate degree completion for busy adults who are building careers in business, nursing, social work, and information technology. The Saint Louis University School of Education has been dedicated to developing teachers, principals, and superintendents through its comprehensive set of academic programs and faculty-led research.

“Classroom aides and paraprofessionals are among the most dedicated personnel in a school district, and they often have strong ties to the community.  We want to support those who are seeking ways to elevate their careers and become licensed teachers,” says Gary Ritter, PhD, Dean of the School of Education. …Read More

Benetech Inclusive AI Initiatives Break down Barriers to STEM

PALO ALTO, Calif. — June 17, 2022 —Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, today announced two significant AI initiatives to reduce barriers to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and employment for people with disabilities and learning and thinking differences. The programs, supported by General Motors (GM) and Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, are focused on leveraging AI to make complex visuals, graphs, and equations in science and math educational materials accessible to people with dyslexia, vision loss, and other reading barriers. This technology will be used to enhance the accessibility of STEM education materials for students with reading barriers and empower other education stakeholders, including teachers, publishers, researchers, and students themselves, to improve the accessibility of their own materials. 

“Betting early on people and organizations addressing big challenges is one of our core guiding principles,” said Kumar Garg, Vice President of Partnerships, at Schmidt Futures. “Math literacy is essential for a 21st century STEM education, the foundation to compete for jobs of the future. Benetech’s vision to make tools that can provide new pathways to make STEM education accessible will transform the livelihoods of millions of students.” 

Benetech brings two decades of expertise leveraging new technology to make reading and learning accessible for people with reading barriers, at scale, through its Bookshare initiative. However, transforming STEM education materials into accessible formats poses a significant challenge. Textbooks have complex formats, full of charts, graphs, and equations that must be manually transformed into accessible formats. The average Math textbook has over 5,000 equations, and it can take three to four months for a human to transform a print math book into accessible formats that can be properly read by a screen reader. This is a significant obstacle for students with reading barriers. …Read More