Addressing students’ pandemic ‘learning loss’

A new phrase as a result of the pandemic, “learning loss,” captures the concern that students’ learning has been compromised over the past year and a half. However, before the strategies for addressing the concern can be identified, it’s important to define and articulate what is meant by learning loss.   

The observation is true that many students aren’t at the same place in their subject mastery as similar pre-pandemic students. For example, in North Carolina, where I serve as a Superintendent, a recent report revealed that just 45 percent of public school students could pass state standardized tests, down from 59 percent two years earlier. (Testing was waived for the 2019-2020 school year).  

The question then for many is how do we help these students catch up? That question, however, assumes that the standard by which students were assessed two years earlier is the appropriate assessment tool for students today.  …Read More

Lexia Nationwide Report Finds 80% of Students Using Lexia Core5 Reading Did Not Experience Literacy Learning Loss During Remote and Hybrid Learning in the 2020-21 Academic Year

BOSTON (Sept. 23, 2021) – Lexia® Learning, a Cambium Learning® Group company, today released new research titled “Using Lexia Core5 Reading to Address Learning Loss and Accelerate Learning: Insights from a 2020-21 Nationwide Study.” The study examines the literacy impact of elementary students using Lexia® Core5® Reading (Core5) in fully remote and hybrid instructional environments during the 2020-21 school year.

Lexia researchers tracked the progress of approximately 13,000 students in grades 1-5 across 35 schools in California, Michigan, and North Carolina. To gauge students’ progress, the schools administered the Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP) Growth Reading assessment, which measures grade-level reading achievement and growth, during the 2020-21 academic year.

Key findings from the report showed that most students who used Core5 demonstrated steady learning progress, with the majority meeting their projected growth targets in Reading:…Read More

New Schools in Six States and Internationally Give Students Courses from VHS Learning

Boston – Aug. 30, 2021 – VHS Learning, a nonprofit empowering schools with the industry’s best teacher-led online learning programs, today announced that schools in New Jersey, North Carolina, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, along with Sierra Leone, are now offering their students access to more than 250 core and elective courses online.

The new partner schools include:

  • American International School of Freetown – Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Barnstable Academy – Oakland, New Jersey
  • Block Island School – Block Island, Rhode Island
  • JEDI Virtual School – Whitewater, Wisconsin
  • St. Patrick Academy – Providence, Rhode Island
  • Southside Christian School – Simpsonville, South Carolina
  • Stonington High School – Pawcatuck, Connecticut
  • Sugar Creek Charter School – Charlotte, North Carolina

VHS Learning has a distinguished 25-year history of supplementing face-to-face education with quality online learning that provides high school students expanded curriculum offerings. Currently, the nonprofit serves students in 66 countries and 46 states, offering hundreds of unique online courses, including 24 AP® offerings, innovative STEM programs, and a wide variety of unique electives.…Read More

North Carolina State Board of Education Names i-Ready® as the Recommended Competency-Based Assessment for Summer Learning Programs

Award-winning Diagnostic, which is already widely used across the state, provides educators with actionable criterion-referenced and normative data to deliver impactful student instruction

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass., May 24, 2021 — The North Carolina State Board of Education recently recommended Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready to be used as the competency-based assessment for schools’ extension learning recovery programs. These programs will provide in-person instruction on specific subjects, as well as offer additional enrichment activities, to students in Grades K–12 to address learning losses and negative impacts students have experienced due to COVID-19 during the 2020–2021 school year. Today, the award-winning i-Ready program serves more than nine million students and 25 percent of all K–8 students in the United States, including 70 percent of North Carolina’s local education agencies (LEAs) and charter schools.

“This summer will be critical as educators work with many students to get them up to grade level and prepare them for the rigor of next school year,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “A large majority of schools throughout the state are already using i-Ready, and we are committed to supporting them—as well as schools new to i-Ready—with their assessment needs during this time.”…Read More

Tanjo AI Advances to Final Round in Pandemic Response Challenge

Tanjo AI, an award-winning machine learning (ML) company based in North Carolina, has moved to the final round in the  $500K Pandemic Response Challenge run by XPRIZE and sponsored by Cognizant.

Tanjo AI is advancing to the final round. Finalist teams were selected from semifinalists from 28 countries following an independent judging panel’s assessment of teams’ predictions of COVID-19 transmission rates and patterns.

XPRIZE is the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges. The Pandemic Response Challenge is in partnership with Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), one of the world’s leading technology and professional services companies…Read More

Discovery Education Appoints Scott Kinney as Chief Executive Officer and Kelli Campbell as President

Discovery Education—the Charlotte, North Carolina based global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms—today announced the appointment of Scott Kinney as its new Chief Executive Officer and Kelli Campbell as the company’s new President. Kinney succeeds Paul Ilse, who will become Executive Chairman of Discovery Education’s Board of Directors.

Kinney’s distinguished 25-year career in education began in Pennsylvania’s public school system at the  Sharpsville Area School District, where he served as the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator.  Following stints as Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of Educational Technologies at Pennsylvania’s  Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21, Kinney joined Discovery Education in 2005.

During his tenure at Discovery Education, Kinney has played a key role in a number of the organization’s innovative initiatives, including the creation of Discovery Education’s professional learning business, the establishment of Discovery Education’s master’s degree in instructional media, and the growth of the company’s award-winning professional learning community, the Discovery Educator Network.…Read More

How we turned around our new teacher retention

Demographics:

Gaston County Schools, located in North Carolina, is the 10th-largest district in the state. We have a very diverse, economically challenged population in our school system, with roughly 65 percent of our student population eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Biggest challenge:

Three years ago, when I started as executive director for high school instruction, our state of student achievement was average. That was not good enough for us. Like districts all over North Carolina, we were also facing teacher shortages. We typically see 40 new teachers in our high schools each year. These include teachers new to the practice as well as those new to our district.

We had pockets of excellence happening inside of classrooms, but only a handful of students benefiting from them. We aimed to have 100 percent of our classrooms doing great things for children. The challenge was how to get 700 teachers to buy into that.…Read More

The New Librarian: How I created a makerspace

As an elementary educator for most of my career, I’ve had the privilege of working with a variety of learners—from inner-city students in North Carolina to university-level students in Chicago—but I found my true calling as the librarian at Hubbard Woods Elementary in Winnetka, Illinois. I’ve been called the “Willy Wonka of school librarians” because I transformed our traditional library into what I call an IDEA (Innovation, Design, Engineering, and Art) Lab complete with flexible furniture, robotics, engineering tools, iPads, laptops, and sewing machines.

To get started, I used my experience as a classroom educator to create a cross-curricular library curriculum that supports classroom teachers’ lessons, marrying the idea of books and bytes. Daily activities include robot bowling, using robots to paint pictures, and filming and producing music videos staring (you guessed it) robots!

For other districts that want to turn their libraries into IDEA labs, here are some insights into how we made it all happen.…Read More

The benefits of adding video to teacher evaluations

A Harvard researcher shares her national perspective on improving professional development

One of the biggest challenges in K-12 education is finding an effective and productive way to evaluate teacher performance. In a world where technology is rapidly reshaping the classroom, it’s natural to look to its potential, especially considering that many schools now have the technology to do classroom observation via video. However, these same schools aren’t yet convinced whether the investment will change status quo evaluations. To find out, in 2012, the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard, where I work, piloted the Best Foot Forward Project (BFF), a study that grew out of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project.

BFF began with pilot programs in large districts in Georgia and North Carolina as well as Relay Graduate School of Education. In an effort to gather data from large and small districts in both urban and rural areas, we then expanded the study to include Los Angeles Unified School District, the state of Delaware, and a number of districts in Colorado.

We randomly selected half the teachers to be in a treatment group that would take videos of themselves in the classroom. These videos were then passed along to their principals for evaluation purposes. We also had remote peers provide our treatment group teachers with formative feedback on their subject matter. The control group did “business as usual” when it came to their evaluations.…Read More

Inside the school that immerses students in Spanish — and technology

A Spanish immersion program makes full use of technology in the classroom

The thought of preparing our students for their 21st century futures conjures up a number of different ideas. There’s imparting the necessary technology skills students will need to thrive in their careers, as well as interpersonal skills such as collaboration and communication and making sure students can function in an increasingly globalized world. On that last point, my school, Shiloh Elementary School in Monroe, N.C., wondered if we were doing enough. Wouldn’t teaching fluency a foreign language be the ultimate means to prepare students for a diverse and multicultural world?

Since 2012, Shiloh has been very proud to have hosted what we call the SPLASH Spanish immersion program. Currently, we have one immersion class—taught full-time in Spanish, with the goal of “immersing” or teaching Spanish to speakers of other languages, like English—in each of our Kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Our school has embraced this wonderful program, and our dedicated teachers have come to us from various Spanish-speaking countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, and Spain through VIF International Education, a company located nearby in Chapel Hill, N.C. that has provided us the means for our immersion program. These classes are effectively preparing our students to become successful, responsible, and confident bilingual students, and the use of technology in each of these immersion classrooms has truly enhanced the curriculum.

Each immersion classroom has some student computers and either a Dell short-throw projector or a Promethean Board. Our students are able to embrace and interact with the technology on a daily basis. Our immersion teachers state that these interactive tools empower them to have successful teaching environments where the bilingual capabilities of their students are fully realized. For example, SPLASH teachers use educational programs and lessons that allow their students to embrace new topics and exciting facts in a 21st Century manner. Teachers view their students as “digital citizens” who are being given the tools each day to interact in the modern world.…Read More