3 ways superintendents can maximize resources this school year

Key points:

As the new school year kicks off, superintendents across the nation are evaluating resources needed for the year ahead to ensure that everyone–school leaders, teachers, students, and parents–has what they need to be successful.

During a time when many kindergarten through 12th grade education leaders are facing many challenges, including teacher shortages, declining math and reading scores, funding issues, student mental health, and more, it’s critical that superintendents maximize their resources. By doing so, they’ll be able to solve immediate challenges that may arise, giving them more time to focus on the long-term goals of their school or district.…Read More

Early Learners Across Minnesota’s Grand Rapids ISD 318 Set to Return to the Classroom this Fall with New Resources in Their Digital Backpacks

Charlotte, NC — Early learners in kindergarten and first grade across Minnesota’s Grand Rapids ISD 318 (District 318) will return to their classrooms this Fall with new resources from worldwide edtech leader Discovery Education in their digital backpacks. Thanks to a new multiyear partnership with Discovery Education, students and teachers in the district’s kindergarten and first grade classrooms will have access to the company’s award-winning Mystery Science service. With this new digital resource, educators are empowered to ignite student curiosity and more deeply engage young learners in science instruction as they explore the natural world. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports instruction wherever it takes place. 

Located in Minnesota’s picturesque Itasca County, District 318 serves approximately 4,000 students, along with additional programs that serve individuals from birth to adults. The district serves Grand Rapids, Cohasset, Bigfork, Marcell, Warba, and many smaller towns and townships over a 2,200 square mile area. The district mission is “Teaching and Learning for Life to Achieve Excellence,” and its strategic aims are “Highest Student Achievement, Safe Environment, Effective and Efficient Systems, and Partnerships.”

As part of the school system’s curriculum review cycle, District 318 staff sought new science resources with a proven record of success in other school districts, that included a significant hands-on component, and that were easy for educators to integrate into existing lessons and simple for students to use. Following a careful review of viable solutions, District 318 selected Discovery Education’s Mystery Science for kindergarten and first grade classroom use. …Read More

3 essential tools to make elementary science easier

Key points:

  • Interactivity and engaging resources can make science more approachable
  • Elementary school teachers need easy-to-use science tools that will grab students’ attention

During my time as a kindergarten teacher, I learned three major lessons about our youngest learners’ relationship to science. Specifically, I learned that elementary school students are predisposed to being excited to learn about their world, are naturally curious about how the world of nature works, and benefit highly from learning about the STEM/STEAM-related professions they might someday consider pursuing.  

My current role as a PreK-12 science curriculum specialist affords me the opportunity to work alongside a variety of elementary school teachers as they plan engaging lessons and activities for their students. Often, I hear that science is set aside for various reasons. While I recognize the critical importance of developing math and literacy mastery, we must ensure our elementary level learners are well-rounded and prepared with the scientific skills needed for future success. So, I see it as part of my role to provide the teachers I serve with easy-to-use resources and instructional supports they need to easily “sneak” scientific concepts into their lesson.…Read More

Frog Street Pre-K Curriculum Linked to Improved School Readiness

DALLAS (PRWEB) — Frog Street, an early childhood education company designed around the latest science in early brain development, has announced the results of a study conducted by the  Johns Hopkins School of Education evaluating the efficacy of the Frog Street Pre-K curriculum with students in Texas. The study found that using  Frog Street Pre-K curriculum was associated with positive gains in critical early learning domains and increased kindergarten readiness. Frog Street provides a bilingual pre-K curriculum organized into five subjects, five skill-content areas and supports for social-emotional development.

“Ensuring that children are prepared for kindergarten is crucial for their future academic success,” emphasized Jessica Bobo, Head of Product at Frog Street Press and a former Texas early childhood educator and leader. “The data speaks for itself: our students are developing a love for learning and building a strong academic foundation that will serve them well for years to come.”

The study analyzed approximately 78,000 Pre-K students from 316 school districts in Texas who were instructed using Frog Street Pre-K curriculum as their primary curriculum during the 2021-2022 academic year, compared to students who used a different Pre-K curriculum. The researchers assessed the performance of both sets of students in areas like reading, writing, language, health, and mathematics domains using the CIRCLE assessment from fall 2021 to spring 2022. Key findings include:…Read More

3 ways to ensure kindergarten readiness for all children

Ensuring that children are developmentally ready for school on day one of kindergarten is critical. The better prepared children are for kindergarten, the more successful they are likely to be in their school experience.

Kindergarten readiness involves more than just a child’s age and academic abilities. It also encompasses social-emotional competencies, including whether children can follow directions, regulate their own emotions, and get along well with others.

As a former principal for a large urban school district who has opened an early childhood center with more than 400 children, I have extensive experience in preparing children for kindergarten and working with parents to do the same. Here are three key steps that school systems can take to ensure that all children have the solid foundation they need to start kindergarten ready to learn with their peers.…Read More

3 ways teachers can navigate the evolving field of computer science

As recently as a decade or two ago, technology education consisted of typing, learning to draft emails, or doing a little work in a spreadsheet. Learning those skills may have been relegated to a business information class or weekly trips to a computer lab. Today, most students are expected to learn to code, and most states have coding requirements—some starting as early as kindergarten.

That’s a significant change in less than a generation. Computer science is a rapidly advancing field; educators have to make those changes if they are going to prepare their students for the modern world. Trying to teach a subject that’s ever-changing might feel a little intimidating to some teachers, especially if they don’t have a background in the field. Fortunately, the skills students learn in computer science are evergreen, and many of the changes within the field are manageable for the educators involved.

Here are three keys to preparing to teach this dynamic subject without feeling like the ground is constantly shifting under your feet.…Read More

North Dakota to require computer science for all K-12 students

North Dakota has become the first state to require computer science and cybersecurity education for all K-12 students.

Gov. Doug Burgum and North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler celebrated the governor’s signing of HB1398, which requires the teaching of computer science and cybersecurity and the integration of these content standards into school coursework from kindergarten through 12th grade. Baesler said North Dakota is the first state in the nation to approve legislation requiring cybersecurity education.

“Today is the culmination of years of work by stakeholders from all sectors to recognize and promote the importance of cybersecurity and computer science education in our elementary, middle and high schools,” Baesler said at the bill’s signing ceremony on March 24.…Read More

 Learning Without Tears Scores Big in 2023 EdTech Awards

Cabin John MD – Early learning leader, Learning Without Tears, is now among EdTech’s best and brightest, following the announcement of this year’s EdTech “Cool Tool” Awards. The company had a particularly strong showing in the 2023 EdTech Awards, where its Phonics, Reading, and MeÔ was a finalist in the Literacy/Reading Solution category and the company’s Get Set for SchoolÒ won its category and was named the “Best Early Childhood/Kindergarten-Readiness Solution.”Adding to an already-strong showing, Learning Without Tears was also recognized as a company “Setting a Trend,” where it was named a finalist in the EdTech Trendsetter Awards.    

“We are proud that our learning solutions were recognized as among the best in EdTech,” explained Learning Without Tears CEO Terry Nealon. “Since its inception, Learning Without Tears has been an innovator, and we are proud that we continue to set the trend of more effective learning solutions technology. The most important recognition, of course, comes from teachers and students, when they see effective learning and skills development with both Get Set for School, and Phonics, Reading, and Me. We are all proud of the innovative work our development teams did to create – and continuously improve – these breakthrough learning programs.” 

Celebrating its 13th year, the US-based EdTech Awards program is the world’s largest recognition program for education technology, recognizing the strongest EdTech solutions. Finalists for The EdTech Awards 2023 have been announced to a worldwide audience of educators, technologists, students, parents, and policymakers interested in building a better future for learners and leaders in the education and workforce sectors. The annual program shines a spotlight on cool tools, inspiring leaders and innovative trendsetters across the K-12, Higher Education, and Skills and Workforce sectors. …Read More

5 reasons to use a literacy professional learning solution

Our school is one of just 12 “Science of Reading Spotlight Schools” in Alabama this year, but getting here wasn’t easy. Rewind the clock back to the fall of 2021 and just 15 percent of our kindergarten students were proficient in reading. A “full support school” since 2018, we were dealing with some major challenges. I stepped in as principal in 2020, and began looking for ways to solve the issues and get things on the right track.

I learned about Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling Suite (LETRS) from my mentor principal at the state department, which works with schools like Central Elementary to establish the specific benchmarks that each Alabama school must reach. It turned out that the professional learning platform was one of the offerings that provides educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading which in turn will help teachers to address students’ learning gaps in literacy.

From my perspective, being a full support school described us, but did not define Central Elementary School, so I got all faculty and staff on board with our new literacy professional learning solution.…Read More

Schools can do better than retaining struggling readers

Grade retention is ineffective and expensive, but 17 states and Washington, D.C. mandate it (and at least 12 more states allow it) for students who are not reading proficiently by grade 3. The best way to stop grade retention, whether you live in a state with laws mandating it or not, is to provide students with explicit, phonics-based literacy instruction rooted in the science of reading, beginning in kindergarten.

Here’s how schools and districts can help students begin learning to read on track and stay there to avoid retention.

Who Gets Retained?…Read More