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

New Partnership Provides Texas Educators Easy Access to Critical Data

Portland, Ore., June 7, 2022 NWEA — the not-for-profit, research and educational services provider serving K-12 students — in collaboration with the Region 7 Education Service Center (ESC 7) announced today a new partnership to better serve districts.  As a part of this initiative, MAP Growth data will transfer seamlessly into DMAC, enhancing this valuable tool used by Texas educators by providing quicker access to student data that supports instruction and student achievement.

The partnership was formed out of discussions around the need for a screener, used to determine which students may be struggling in a particular topic, across their 100 plus districts and, charter organizations.  MAP Growth (an interim assessment. which can measure academic growth and predicts performance on the annual STAAR state assessments) was selected, in part, due to its reliability and validity.  The rich data provided by MAP Growth allows districts to streamline their assessment programs, saving valuable time for instruction. Currently, this new integration is available to all ESC 7 districts who use NWEA MAP Growth assessments.

“We’re excited to have MAP Growth available for ESC 7 districts.  Our partnership will provide timely access to reliable data,” said Raquel Hamons, Senior Account Executive at NWEA serving Region 7. “We know there will be better outcomes for students when educators ground their decisions in high quality data and implement them with fidelity.”…Read More

Grand Valley State University and Littera Education Partner to Provide High-Impact Tutoring to Every K-12 Student in Michigan

New York – June 2, 2022 – A new partnership between the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) NextEd Co-Lab and Littera Education means that every K-12 school district in Michigan now can provide its students with research-based, proven-effective tutoring for students who need it the most. 

The partnership joins the K-12 Connect tutoring initiative of GVSU, a premiere educator of teachers, with the Littera Academic Support Platform—technology that makes it easy for districts to design, implement and track the performance of high-impact tutoring programs. The result is tutoring on a large scale that is customizable to every student.

“This partnership will reshape academic support for Michigan students,” said Littera Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Justin Serrano. “GVSU is already a leader in providing academic support to K-12 schools. Adopting the Littera Academic Support Platform will enable K-12 Connect to reach even more students and make it easier for Michigan schools to deliver high-impact tutoring.”…Read More

Inspiring STEM Creativity and the DIY Spirit with a New Virtual Field Trip from The Home Depot and Discovery Education

Silver Spring, MD (Friday, May 20, 2022) — To empower students to embrace STEAM and tackle DIY projects, Science Fair Central presents the Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip, which premiered on May 17th at 1 PM EST and is now available on-demand. Science Fair Central is an educational initiative from The Home Depot and Discovery Education that is helping STEAM-powered classrooms and homes across the country prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. With 10 million students from grades K-12 participating in science fairs and STEAM events every year, Science Fair Central provides students the tools they need to take their projects to the next level. 

The Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip introduces students to innovative DIYers who demonstrate how to set-up workshops anywhere and tackle real-life challenges that they are passionate about. The Home Depot is celebrating 25 years of the Kids Workshops, and the new Operation Build It Virtual Field Trip further supports these efforts. Suited for students in grades 6-12, this Virtual Field Trip provides educators with ready-to-use classroom activities and a valuable educator guide that makes this plug and play virtual experience suitable for almost any lesson plan. Watch the VFT here or on Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform. 

“At The Home Depot, we’re here to help people make, create, and explore every day. Science Fair Central, in partnership with Discovery Education, empowers students to connect with and grow their curiosity and creativity. This new virtual field trip is another way for students to explore the world around them,” said Lisa DeStefano, Vice President of Brand Marketing & Creative at The Home Depot.  …Read More

PBLWorks Partners with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) on a Four-Year Initiative to Scale Gold Standard PBL Across State

Novato, CA (March 30, 2022)– PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education on a four-year initiative to increase high-quality Project Based Learning in K-12 schools throughout the state.

The Scaling Gold Standard PBL Kentucky initiative will provide Gold Standard PBL training and support to Kentucky educators and leaders across Kentucky through a blend of face-to-face workshops, personal online coachings, school site visits and deep collaboration via a peer network of fellow Kentucky PBL leaders. The Kentucky PBL Leader Network, the first leader cohort in the state, launched in November 2021. The next Kentucky leader cohort launched in March 2022 and concludes in January 2023, with more leader cohort start dates to be announced. Training for teachers will begin in the summer months.

“Strong leadership, targeted professional development, and ongoing support are all critical for high-quality Project Based Learning to occur. We encourage Kentucky educators and school leaders looking to gain the skills and knowledge for successful and sustainable implementation of PBL to join this initiative,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks.…Read More

Leading Education Organizations Applaud Spending Increase for Social and Emotional Learning in FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act

March 17, 2022 — The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and Committee for Children strongly applaud the passage of the FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act which provides increased funding for a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative to support SEL and “whole child” approaches to education.

This critical funding for SEL is part of a $2 billion increase over the fiscal year 2021 enacted level for students’ learning and development in K-12 education, including students with disabilities. Related to SEL, the bill provides:

  • $82 million for evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student social, emotional, and cognitive needs (increase of $15 million) within the Education Innovation and Research program;
  • $85 million for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program with a priority for teacher professional development and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in implementing SEL and “whole child” strategies (increase of $5 million);
  • $111 million within School Safety National Activities for Mental Health Services Professional Demonstration Grants and School-Based Mental Health Services Grants, to help LEAs directly increase the number of mental health and child development experts in schools (increase of $95 million); and
  • $75 million for Full-Service Community schools to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities (increase of $45 million).

“Policymakers join in the growing support from educators, parents, students, and employers in advancing students’ overall well-being and success – academically, socially, and emotionally,” said Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel, President and CEO of CASEL. “We believe these resources will support and expand safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for our nation’s learners.”…Read More