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

How to build relationships with instructional coaches

Teaching at any level can often be a solitary occupation. Even with a classroom full of students, teachers often work in isolation from peers. Teachers rarely receive instruction on how to work with co-teachers or teacher assistants in their pre-service teacher education programs. Therefore, it is often difficult or awkward for teachers to ask for help or effectively collaborate with others. Instructors often don’t know how to accept help from the instructional coaches, even when they would like to.

Educational practice is shifting from isolating practice to collaborative efforts, and creating healthy and productive team dynamics is often a challenge. Instructional coaches can positively impact these relationships, but the trust must be in place for it to occur. Even in systems where working with a coach is expected, building those initial relationships can be challenging.

Instructional coaches, instructional designers, and even assigned co-teachers often struggle to establish working relationships with individual classroom teachers. Librarians regularly complain that they spend more time clearing jams from printers instead of assisting students with reference questions. However, clearing that paper jam can help the student see the librarian as a resource. In the same way, the instructional designer might start to build a relationship by helping an instructor properly format hanging indents for a research paper. One instructional coach started building a positive relationship by making copies for classroom teacher. Just like the proverbial salesman who had to get a foot in the door, sometimes the first step is a small one.…Read More

High-Achieving Black Students from Colorado Receive More than $2 Million in Sachs Foundation Scholarships Over the Past Year

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 19, 2022 — The Sachs Foundation, an organization that has provided college scholarships to Black Coloradans since 1931, announced today that it has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to talented Black students in the Centennial State over the past year. Sachs Foundation scholars are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees from universities and colleges in Colorado as well as top institutions from coast to coast, including Yale, Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Cornell and prestigious historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Howard University.

The foundation awarded 52 scholarships over the past year to exceptional Black students from all around Colorado, including Aurora, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, Commerce City, Denver, Fountain, Gypsum, Lafayette, Lakewood, Lamar and Woodland Park. The students who received Sachs Foundation support this year are not only accomplished in academics but have already made a positive impact in their communities through their achievements in the arts, athletics and volunteer activities. More than half of the students are the first generation in their family to attend college.

To celebrate the students’ excellence this year, the foundation sponsored a brunch for the 2022 Sachs Foundation Scholarship Program students and guests at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs. The guest speaker was Clint Smith, a journalist, educator, New York Times best-selling author, popular YouTube host, award-winning poet and staff writer at The Atlantic.   …Read More

Student well-being is critical–here’s how to support it

Student well-being has a direct impact on student motivation, engagement, and learning. In short, their social and emotional well-being has a long-term impact. It is absolutely critical that educators learn to support student well-being.

Skills such as self-awareness and self-management are also critical for effective collaboration and learning. And when school leaders support overall student and educator well-being, creates a foundation for equitable education environments.

During an eSchool News webinar featuring edtech educators and district mental health experts, attendees will learn how to:…Read More

7 facts about the state of edtech in schools

School networks are getting faster and more modern, but school IT leaders and IT departments struggle to keep up with the demand for remote access and support, according to an annual CoSN survey.

The State of EdTech District Leadership 2022 survey provides a high-level sense of what school district leaders think of the state of technology in education. The 2022 K-12 IT Leadership Survey is CoSN’s ninth annual survey and was made possible by the Ed-Fi Alliance and CDW-G, conducted in partnership with MCH DataK12 Insight and AASA.

“There are no lack of challenges facing our nation’s schools today, but the annual CoSN IT survey also shines a light on several areas where we can be encouraged; increased connectivity, more devices, increased awareness of security and the outsized impact that IT leaders are having on their school districts’ planning processes,” said Troy Wheeler, president of the Ed-Fi Alliance. …Read More

5 tips to retain your educators during school staff shortages

The past two years of pandemic-related stresses and uncertainty have left educators exhausted, even as school districts are returning to a sense of normalcy. A recent National Education Association (NEA) survey found that teachers are burned out, with 67 percent of members reporting it as a very serious issue and 90 percent a very serious or somewhat serious issue.

A majority of schools are completely open for in-person learning, but pandemic-related educator and school staff absences, coupled with continued teacher turnover, are resulting in school staff shortages. In fact, 74 percent of the NEA study respondents reported that they have had to fill in for colleagues or take on other duties at their school or in their district due to school staff shortages.

This is the first time in my career that I have faced the daily struggle to fill school staff shortages caused by teacher turnover or by employees who are sick or quarantining. As school leaders, it is crucial that we work together to lessen the educator turnover issue to help mitigate staff shortages.…Read More

Is the education system working?

PISA, the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics, and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. Its league table of results suggests which of the 90 participating countries have been able to improve their education system and student performance.

But when we look back at people throughout history who have made a significant impact on society, it’s not their school reading, math, or science test results that measure their success.

One well known winner of the Nobel Prize for physics was told by his teacher at school that he would ‘never amount to anything.’ For Albert Einstein, it was his fascination with the invisible forces that deflected a compass needle and a book on science that ignited his lifelong fascination with the world around him. But how do we strike a balance between the core curriculum and the invaluable importance of developing a child’s hard and soft skills, their curiosity, and their creativity?…Read More

Case Study: How Weston School District Built a Digital Strategy with Digital Signage, 15 Minutes at a Time

(May 12, 2022) –– Rise Vision has released a new case study of Weston School District, a small school district which serves three rural communities of Cazenovia, Hillpoint, and Lime Ridge, Weston and has a student population of 300 students. While Weston School District doesn’t face the problems a very large school does, it does face its own challenges.

Amanda Keller, who has been social media and public relations director at Weston for the past 4 years discussed the district’s challenges of its students across 12 years of compulsory education. Back in 2018, Weston struggled with keeping families updated with printed, physical newsletters.

‘It was frustrating to put so much time into communication we knew would be outdated before it reached our families and community,’ Keller continues. ‘It was also time-consuming to create bulletin boards that were very limited in how we could use them. These bulletin boards also had to be recreated often to keep the images current.’…Read More

Can web filtering really harm the kids?

Web filtering is undoubtedly an essential when it comes to school cybersecurity. However, when the service is not set up correctly or a number of blocked categories is way too high, it starts to annoy both staff, and kids. Let’s see how to use web filtering to stay safe out there on the internet and make full use out of it.

Starting with the basics, it makes sense to remind ourselves what CIPA is. The Children’s Internet Protection Act, signed into law in 2000, is a document that regulates the exposure of inappropriate content to children. To be precise, the content that shall be filtered or blocked is divided into 3 groups: obscenity, child pornography & content harmful to minors. To receive funding, an educational institution must follow the guidelines of the act. The easiest way to comply with it is to purchase a web filtering solution. Needless to say, K-12 schools must be CIPA compliant to use E-Rate discounts, but those schools and libraries that do not receive the fundings do not have this obligation.

Web filtering solutions work on a DNS level, blocking all unwanted websites: both malicious ones with viruses lurking around, and all kinds of explicit content. In a nutshell, the DNS system matches IP addresses and the names of the websites working as a phonebook of the Internet. DNS filtering, however, also categorizes the website to see if it belongs to any restricted groups. This part is usually customizable: you choose which type of sites you want gone (or vice versa – you create an Allow list, which contains only the resources you want your students, staff & guests to see, and everything else is blocked), and leave it be.…Read More

Here’s how IT leaders can keep district networks safe

IT teams understand how important cybersecurity measures are, but many struggle to pinpoint where to begin when their resources are limited.

And when COVID closed in-person classrooms, it also gave a boost to cybercriminals looking to infiltrate school district networks. Data security breaches–including ransomware attacks, phishing, and unauthorized disclosures–show no sign of slowing, and K-12 IT leaders need to be ready.

Threats to K-12 education networks will never be eliminated, but there are strategies to successfully defend sensitive school district information. Want to learn more? Join a conversation with fellow edtech leaders and experts as they share best practices on both the technical aspects–software and services–and the human aspects–professional development and community education–of keeping your networks safe and sound.…Read More