How edtech is transforming bilingual education in the U.S.

Key points:

Millions of students within the United States public school system are non-native English speakers. As this figure continues to grow year over year, true bilingual education is becoming more vital to equitably support student success.

How do we ensure students achieve proficiency with the English language while receiving a rich and comprehensive education? One that affirms and celebrates their identities and helps them learn about and understand others?…Read More

Why experts say now is the time to assess your district’s edtech use

Key points:

For much of the past 12 years, Casey Rimmer sometimes felt like a “dream killer” when it came to the edtech tools used in her district. As the executive director of curriculum and instruction for Union County Public Schools, a district of over 41,000 students outside Charlotte, N.C., she was often tasked with letting teachers know why a potential new tool wasn’t approved for use.

Lately, though, the district has flipped the script. Now they ask teachers to check the tool’s data privacy policy and age requirements when making a request, so they have a better understanding of why a tool is—or isn’t—a good fit. When teachers feel part of the discussion, it often leads to productive conversations, she explains. …Read More

Districts call for guidance in developing classroom AI policies

Key points:

To date, only six states have formulated a comprehensive AI policy absent federal guidance for districts to look to, according to findings from The 2024 Administrator AI Report: Perceptions, Practices, and Potential in Education, a new report from digital curriculum solution provider Imagine Learning. The report aims to identify administrators’ perceptions on the benefits and advantages of generative AI and benchmark its current rate of adoption.

Although several organizations, such as the CoSN, ISTE, and the Council of the Great City Schools have released generative AI guidelines and best-use practices for K-12 educators and districts, according to the report, 47 percent of administrators are planning to implement comprehensive policies on their own and 54 percent have indicated they would also like help from education solutions providers to reduce risks and concerns associated with generative AI.…Read More

States need to strengthen reading instruction policies

Key points:

New data and analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) show that while many states seek to improve literacy outcomes for students, they focus too little on a key component to strong implementation and sustainability: effective teachers.

The new NCTQ report, State of the States: Five Policy Actions to Strengthen Implementation of the Science of Reading, highlights five key policy actions states should take to strengthen teachers’ reading instruction and examines the extent to which states focus on them. The five policy actions are:…Read More

Big Deals: Making AI Safe; New STEM Platforms; How To Fix Learning Loss

El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD), in partnership with EdSAFE AI Alliance, is proud to announce the establishment of a new AI Policy Lab. The lab will be focused on fostering safe and ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) in educational settings, and part of a nationwide network of similar policy initiatives, including the New York City Public Schools AI Policy Lab.

“Our AI policy initiative underscores our dedication to integrating AI in a manner that prioritizes our values,” stated Melissa Moore, Superintendent at ESUSD. “Our primary objectives include ensuring equity, safety, ethical practices, effectiveness, and transparency. We aim to incorporate a wide array of perspectives in this process, including those of policymakers, industry experts, educators, students, and families, to collaboratively develop AI strategies and policies that resonate with our community’s unique needs and principles.”

ESUSD’s AI Policy Lab is designed as a collaborative, interdisciplinary partnership that encourages responsible AI development, deployment, and usage. The lab will provide ESUSD with policy recommendations and educational resources for teachers, students, and parents, and facilitate ongoing refinement to ensure policies are in sync with practical applications with a particular focus on community, parent and student engagement.…Read More

What a 4-day school week might mean for your district

Key points:

West of the Mississippi, a new approach to seat time is catching on. Roughly 1,000 different schools have transitioned to a four-day school week (researchers abbreviate this as a 4dsw), which amounts to a sixfold increase since 2000. Twenty-five percent of schools in Missouri have implemented a 4dsw in their districts.

Schools in the American West and Southwest have led the way in trying this trend. There are a handful of reasons for this, but many deal with the geography of the school district. Rural schools often see different challenges than their urban counterparts. Transportation, extracurriculars, and family obligations can keep students out of school for half a day for something as quick as an orthodontist appointment once travel time is factored in.

Consolidating required seat time into four days does lengthen the four days spent in school, but the fifth day—which often is a Friday or a Monday, resulting in a three-day weekend—is completely free of school obligations. Some schools still elect to provide a meal for multiple reasons, including funding preservation and food insecurity. Teachers who travel to the district save on commute costs and consider the fifth day a perk of employment. One district switched and saw four times2 as many teacher applications.

Not every school site in a district has to adhere to the 4dsw—one prime example includes pre-kindergarten classes, which meet on different schedules than their older peers. But evidence is mounting that a 4dsw could help attract and retain teachers, manage scheduling for rural districts, and impact students’ sleep. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of a 4dsw.

The cons of 4dsw…Read More

CASEL Announces 2023 Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year (SELLY) Awards

CHICAGO – CASEL announced the recipients of the 2023 SELLY Awards, honoring outstanding achievements of seven “Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year” in the categories of research, practice, and public policy. The annual awards recognize individuals whose body of work and commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL) have advanced the field and paved the way for others.

“The social and emotional learning movement is built by people who have spent their time, energy, and passion working together to create optimal outcomes for students. These awards pay tribute to pioneering SEL leaders and honor today’s education innovators dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth across the nation,” said CASEL President and CEO, Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel. 

This year, CASEL recognizes seven individuals: …Read More

U.S. Education Secretary Appoints Baldwin Schools Superintendent to Board Overseeing the Nation’s Report Card  

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona today appointed Baldwin Union Free School District Superintendent Shari Camhi to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the country’s only ongoing, nationally representative assessment of student achievement.  

The Governing Board is a nonpartisan body established by Congress in 1988 to oversee and set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card. NAEP provides objective information on student performance in various subjects and reports on student achievement across the nation, in states, and in select large urban districts. 

The 26-member Governing Board is responsible for deciding which subjects NAEP assesses, determining assessment content, setting achievement levels that describe student performance, and pursuing new ways to make NAEP results useful and meaningful to the public.   …Read More

SETDA Launches Cybersecurity Resource Focused on Small, Rural, and Under-resourced Districts

Washington, D.C. — Today, SETDA is pleased to announce the release of a cybersecurity resource focused on small, rural, and under-resourced districts. Developed by SETDA’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Collaborative—an active professional learning community consisting of state edtech leaders, affiliates, and corporate members—this resource is designed to identify essential resources, assess state-level K-12 cybersecurity advocacy initiatives, and craft policy recommendations to enhance cybersecurity readiness within these districts. 

In collaboration with Microsoft and the K12 Security Information eXchange (K12 SIX), this initiative underscores SETDA’s commitment to providing essential tools and guidance to support state educational agencies.

The publication, titled Small Districts, Big Hurdles: Cybersecurity Support for Small, Rural, and Under-resourced Districts, offers details on how state agencies and other support organizations are empowering their smallest districts to secure their data and networks. From detailing various funding sources to providing insights into statewide and regional partnerships and offering practical examples of cybersecurity training, the document is a must-read for everyone involved in helping districts improve their cybersecurity posture. It is the newest addition to SETDA’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Collection, available for access in their OER Commons site.…Read More

A new battle in the war for cybersecurity in schools: Part 1

Last month, the Biden administration announced new actions and private commitments to bolster the nation’s cyber defense at schools. Administration leaders, school administrators, educators, and education technology providers convened at the White House to discuss how to strengthen the nation’s schools’ cybersecurity amidst growing ransomware attacks.

Frank Pilero, Supervisor of Technology and Data for the Linwood Board of Education in Southern New Jersey, was one of the participants. He shared his experiences of the day and insights on cybersecurity in education during this conversation with eSchool News, which is the first of a three-part series devoted to this issue. Frank emphasized that while cyber threats are prevalent, schools can take proactive steps to protect themselves. Click below to listen and scroll down for the key takeaways along with the government’s approach to tackling this never-ending battle.

Key takeaways include:…Read More

Could empathy become extinct?

Key points:

If empathy were an animal, it would undoubtedly be on the endangered species list–potentially on the cusp of meeting a fate comparable to the woolly mammoth or the saber-toothed cat.  Since 1973, the purpose of the Endangered Species Act has been to protect endangered animals and foster habitat, which not only promotes safety and recovery from the events or circumstances that led to rapid decline, but also advocates and educates for future changes in policy, procedures, and society to ensure the animals are nourished and safeguarded.  In short, the endangered species list attempts to save animals before it is too late.  Although not a living organism, empathy is on the verge of becoming an endangered social skill.

Unlike extinct animals, empathy will leave no skeletons below the surface, and without immediate attention, empathy may vanish from the face of the earth, without any evidence that it was ever here.…Read More

How Phys Ed and Ed Tech Can Fit

Concerns over kids and screen time versus play time are legitimate. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 17.0% of youth ages 10 to 17 had obesity in 2020-2021. That rate has increased slightly from 15.5% in 2018-19, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet it’s pretty plain that the screens aren’t going away. Educators and parents need to figure out ways to work around the devices and get kids moving.

Fit and Fun Founder and CEO, Pamela Gunther, has some suggestions. In this conversation, she breaks down the various scenarios schools face when trying to get students up, out, about and goes into some other ideas about how technology can encourage activity, not taking them from it. Have a listen and scroll through for some edited highlights: 

In the work that we do, which is to design and develop physical activities for kids, there are a couple of different ways we get inspired. And how we approach and develop our products. First of all, it’s got to be fun. It’s got to be colorful. It’s got to work and when I mean work, a lot of our products are backed by science-based movements, movements that hit particular parts of the brain.…Read More