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

3 reasons literacy is essential in child development

Literacy is a fundamental element of a child’s development. Literacy means much more than just knowing how to read a book. It can also impact the ability for a child to learn other subjects, to understand road signs when driving or crossing the street, and can be a major contributor to a child living a fulfilling life into adulthood.

Despite its importance, two out of every 10 children enter kindergarten with skills two to three years lower than their grade level, and another two start school with a one-year disadvantage, according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. Students who are behind typically make only one year’s worth of progress at each grade level, keeping them behind their classmates throughout school and making them more likely to repeat grades, according to ProLiteracy.org.

Today, literacy is evolving into much more than the ability to read the newspaper or the latest bestseller. It is linked to things like graduation rates, socio-economic status, and even the development of social-emotional skills like empathy. …Read More

How to implement a districtwide K-12 computer science program

With recent research showcasing the growing number of STEM-related jobs that will be available to our graduates in Indiana in the coming years, teaching computer science skills has become as important as teaching students how to read or do math. The state has recognized this importance by mandating that all schools incorporate computer science for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

As the career and STEM academy director for Barr-Reeve Community Schools, I helped our district integrate computer science into our K-12 students’ school days. Our program helps students develop essential skills for academic and professional success. I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way and hope districts across the nation can benefit from my experience.

Starting small…Read More

4 tips to start meaningful conversations with students

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask students as young as kindergarten. I personally had the pleasure of watching my own kids answer this question at their kindergarten graduation (“dog breeder” and “ninja” – so proud!).

Of course, this shouldn’t just be a question we ask in kindergarten and again in senior year. All students—regardless of their backgrounds and future aspirations—benefit when they have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their future plans throughout their entire K-12 journey.

So how do we make this happen?…Read More

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Assessment Named to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., April 3, 2022—The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently named Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Assessment to its approved list of dyslexia screeners. With this approval, districts throughout the state can now use the program’s online Diagnostic and offline literacy assessment tasks to screen kindergarten and first grade students for risk factors associated with dyslexia. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than 10 million students and 25 percent of all students in Grades K–8 in the United States.

“The recent MDE approval will help streamline the overall assessment process for Mississippi educators as they can now use i-Ready for both universal screening and targeted dyslexia screening,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “By eliminating the need for multiple and redundant assessments, educators will have more time to deliver personalized instruction, and specialized supports as needed, to help all students succeed.”

According to the MDE, each local school district is required to screen students for dyslexia using an instrument approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in the spring of kindergarten and the fall of first grade. A panel of reading, dyslexia therapy, and speech-language pathology experts conduct a comprehensive review of all proposed instruments to determine which ones are included on the MDE Approved List of Dyslexia Screeners.…Read More

Why we should let online elementary students lead

The role of elementary teachers has never been more important, especially as kindergarten through fifth grade students today are facing more change than ever before–from the effects of the pandemic to social media and stressful current events being right at their fingertips.

According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the annual average learning gain for Kindergarten through second grade students is higher than at any time during a child’s years in school. This is why we both decided to become elementary school teachers–to make a positive impact in children’s lives during such a critical time of development and growth.

While it is essential for students to understand and master their learning in elementary school, it is also important that students develop confidence, feel ownership over their work, and become passionate about learning. If you can excite elementary students about learning, it can set them up for success not only throughout their entire education, but also their life.…Read More

SplashLearn Rolls Out Dates For Its Much Loved ‘SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022’

San Francisco, CA, 23nd February 2022: The popular game-based learning program SplashLearn, today announced the 8th edition of its massively popular SpringBoard Math Challenge. The math competition is a calendar marked event and is highly anticipated by teachers across the US and Canada. SpringBoard Math Challenge 2022, open to all classes from Kindergarten to grade 5, will run from March 1 – May 8, 2022.

Participation is free for the SpringBoard Math Challenge, whichis designed to give teachers and schools the opportunity to engage their elementary school students through fun math challenges aligned to the curriculum. The 10-week challenge will allow students to master their math skills and enter the new class with confidence, whilst having fun. 

Joy Deep Nath, co-founder, SplashLearn, said“SpringBoard is a math competition, but it has achieved more than that. It has grown to be a platform for social and emotional bonding for both students and teachers alike. Of course, it also helps reduce the attainment gap and ensures students are prepared for the next grade. There is a growing appreciation for SpringBoard as an effective way to challenge students in a familiar, secure and friendly setting to practice with their peers which is paramount in the present times”.  …Read More

With family engagement, universal pre-K will be a success in 2022

The next few years could be a turning point for those of us involved in early education, and even for education in general. As part of the American Families Plan, President Biden is aiming to set aside $200 billion to make universal pre-K a reality for the first time in this country’s history. It’s a large investment with a laudable goal, and it will no doubt help millions of children and their families if it passes.

For all the good it will undoubtedly do, however, it will ultimately fail in its goal to prepare all children for kindergarten if we don’t also focus on engaging families in their children’s academic lives.

Family engagement will be crucial to successful early education…Read More

The Steam Foundation Teams Up with MakerBot to Expand Access to 3D Printing for Students

January 14, 2022 — The Steam Foundation and MakerBot have teamed up to bring 3D printing to more students across the U.S. Founded by Aadhav Prabu and Akshar Raikanti, The Steam Foundation is a California-based nonprofit with a mission to make STEAM education equally accessible to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The organization, which is also run by a team of students, offers free workshops that teach 3D printing, robotics, graphic design, and coding to students as well as programs to help bring 3D printing into schools.

Prabu and Raikanti are currently juniors at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, Calif., and have been teaching 3D printing for years. They were inspired to start the organization after seeing how engaged students were in their 3D printing club in middle school.

“When Akshar and I ran the 3D printing club, we saw how excited students were for the chance to use the Replicator+. For some of them, it was the first time they had ever seen a 3D printer. We started The Steam Foundation to give more students the chance to learn about 3D printing,” said Prabu. “We’re fortunate to work with MakerBot, a company which has the same commitment toward 3D printing in education as we do.” MakerBot donated 3D printing equipment and materials to support the Foundation’s mission and programs.…Read More

Viewpoint: Can AI tutors help students learn?

If nothing else, the past two years have shown us that teaching, learning, and education can take different forms–and the pandemic may have altered how students, from kindergarten through college, learn in the future.   

With students returning to the classroom, educators and administrators alike continue to examine new ways that technology can be used to not replace, but augment, the teaching and learning experiences in our schools.  

What about the use of artificial intelligence in education?  Conversing with AI humans has been a long-time feature of science fiction, but it’s rapidly becoming a reality, particularly in customer service and experience settings as well in education. A realized future with AI is fast approaching. …Read More