The critical link between scholastic esports and career pathways education

When I first approached my administration back in August 2021 about implementing a scholastic esports program at school, I had imagined facing significant opposition to the idea, and, in preparation, had rehearsed my talking points and done my research in order to be persuasive.  I was prepared to talk about the connections to STEM learning, the opportunity to engage otherwise disengaged students, the inclusive nature of gaming, the research behind gamification and game-based learning, and more. 

None of that was necessary, however, as my school principal was extremely supportive in my effort to implement scholastic esports at the school and, more importantly, to use the program to teach students transferable skills while simultaneously encouraging them to explore related career pathways.

I began my esports program with a focus on social-emotional well-being using resources from NASEF to structure initial lessons.  Before jumping into the competitive aspects of esports and gaming, we spent three weeks discussing the importance of positive mental health and the negative effects associated with some online gaming cultures.  This included discussions of toxicity and online “trash talk” of opponents, as well as the impact on one’s emotional well-being and overall confidence as a result of being repeatedly subjected to such toxicity. …Read More

6 findings to inform your state’s principal preparation

As state leaders continue to weigh the best use of federal funding to improve education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major new research report by the Learning Policy Institute and The Wallace Foundation underscores the importance of federal, state, and district policies that foster the availability and quality of principal preparation and professional development programs.

The research finds that the preparation and professional development a school principal receives not only shapes their efficacy as a leader, but are also associated with positive outcomes for teachers and students. 

Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters?, conducted by LPI, synthesizes peer-reviewed scholarship from 2000 to 2021 that addresses principal preparation and development programs. It also examines survey results and statewide policies to understand the extent to which principals have access to high-quality learning opportunities and the role of policies in increasing access. The study’s authors are Linda Darling-Hammond, Marjorie E. Wechsler, Stephanie Levin, Melanie Leung-Gagné and Steve Tozer. The report updates a prior 2007 study, Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World, led by Darling-Hammond.…Read More

3 strategies to address new school nutrition standards

The summer of 2022 brings changes to school meal requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, as school nutrition programs transition from pandemic-era flexibilities—such as loosened restrictions around food preparation and packaging—back to pre-pandemic requirements. Millions of pre-K–12 students across the nation depend on school meals every day, and the changes are significant.

Below, I’ve highlighted what these requirements mean for school districts and key strategies for school leaders to consider if hurdles arise.

Learn from the pandemic’s impact on school nutrition programs…Read More

Case Study: How Edison High School Is Using Rise Vision to Serve Its Students’ Diverse Needs

(March 24, 2022) –– Rise Vision has released a new case study of Edison High School, a small school in Elmira Heights, New York, with a student body of 110 students with learning differences. Thomas A. Edison High School has long been rated in the top 10% of educational technology environments in the USA and is committed to find new ways to improve emergency response effectiveness and preparation using digital signage.

Dr. Troy Spetter, Director of Educational Technology since June 2018, is responsible for orchestrating the school’s technology, training and security within the context of a greater vision for Edison and its students. Specifically, Dr. Spetter has helped Edison move away from relying on dated infrastructure and toward web-enabled services, cloud-connected collaboration systems, single sign-on implementation, and a totally new security and backup model. 

Currently, Edison uses three screens with Rise Vision. Two are fully engaged in student-oriented messaging. The third is located near the school president’s office, where visitors, including donors, may be waiting or passing by en route to a meeting with senior school staff. This screen is used to display schedules when no visitors are expected. Content can be tailored to visitors’ interests.…Read More

5 learning strategies that are here to stay

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s 4th most-read story focuses on some learning strategies that have staying power.

In 2020, students, teachers, and parents made an extraordinary pivot to distance learning with no preparation at all. From the district perspective, investments have been made in technology and infrastructure that may not have been made otherwise. We all gained phenomenal skills and insights as a result of having to make this abrupt turn, and then having to sustain that as the global pandemic persisted.

Now, we’re at a point where students, parents, and teachers all deserve to sustain those investments and the skills that they’ve built over time in order to reach one another and continue the learning. There will be some undeniable academic, social, and emotional gaps, of course, because kids have been away from their friends, teachers have been away from their classrooms, and school leaders have been away from their buildings.…Read More

5 learning strategies that are here to stay

In 2020, students, teachers, and parents made an extraordinary pivot to distance learning with no preparation at all. From the district perspective, investments have been made in technology and infrastructure that may not have been made otherwise. We all gained phenomenal skills and insights as a result of having to make this abrupt turn, and then having to sustain that as the global pandemic persisted.

Now, we’re at a point where students, parents, and teachers all deserve to sustain those investments and the skills that they’ve built over time in order to reach one another and continue the learning. There will be some undeniable academic, social, and emotional gaps, of course, because kids have been away from their friends, teachers have been away from their classrooms, and school leaders have been away from their buildings.

All that to say, the recovery period will be significant, but if teachers and students have shown us anything over the past 15 months, it’s that they will stop at nothing to get to each other and to the learning. Now, we’re working with a solid ground of new learning, new technology, and new ways of being together.…Read More

FLVC offering College 101 video series

Tallahassee, FL – April 28, 2021 – The Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) is offering a series of videos to help students get all the information they need to prepare, apply, and pay for college.
 
FLVC recently hosted “College 101: What to Do, When to Do it, and How,” a four-night virtual series that covered important steps of the college preparation process.
 
That series was followed up with another virtual College 101 event – Finishing the FAFSA.
 
Videos for each of these events can be viewed at https://www.floridashines.org/go-to-college/get-ready-for-college/college-101-event and https://www.floridashines.org/go-to-college/get-ready-for-college/college-101-finishing-the-fafsa.
 
In these videos, experts, and partners from around Florida help students explore their college options, including career and technical programs, understand and excel in the application process, learn about the three main ways to pay for college, and finish their senior year strong so they can start the fall semester on the right track. Students also learn step-by-step how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is the best way to make college affordable.
 
Nearly 2,780 people registered to attend the live College 101 event.
 
Partners for these events included: AVID; Broward County Public Schools; Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators; Florida College Access Network; Florida Department of Education; Florida PTA; Florida School Counselor Association; FLORIDA TRIO; FloridaShines; The School District of Osceola County; Office of Student Financial Assistance; Polk County Schools and Take Stock in Children.

About Florida Virtual Campus: The Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) is made up of several units that provide statewide innovative educational services for Florida’s K-adult students. Working collaboratively with Florida’s 12 public universities, 28 public colleges, K-12 school districts, and other partners, FLVC provides free services to help students go to college, succeed in school, prepare for career success, and in life after graduation.

Nebraska public school districts begin unified effort to prioritize principal leadership, launch Tri-City ASCEND Academy

A collective commitment to principal leadership is underway in Central Nebraska, with a trio of school districts — Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS), Hastings Public Schools (HPS) and Kearney Public Schools (KPS) — announcing the launch of the Tri-City ASCEND Academy. This organic principal initiative was grown out of the districts’ need to focus on systematic improvements to the preparation, hiring, support and management of school leaders.

“We’ve long known that strong principal leadership is a key lever to improved student achievement,” said Nebraska Education Commissioner Dr. Matthew L. Blomstedt.  “The efforts of the Tri-City Alliance demonstrate partnerships to build a lasting legacy of strong leadership and are the type of models we need to build and sustain educational improvement across the state.”

Also referred to as ASCEND, the Tri-City Alliance is a principal pipeline that offers a range of talent management activities for which the districts themselves are responsible. These include: …Read More

VHS Learning Partners with Continental Han Feng Network Technology to Develop Chinese Language Program

Nonprofit VHS Learning is partnering with Continental Han Feng Network Technology (CHF) to develop a full Chinese language high school program. Chinese 1 through AP® Chinese Language and Culture courses will be added to the more than 250 online courses currently offered by VHS Learning. CHF and VHS Learning are working collaboratively to develop Chinese 1 and Chinese 2 courses during the first year of this multi-year partnership and VHS Learning is training qualified teachers in preparation for releasing both courses in September 2021.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer a full Chinese language program to VHS Learning students,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “We know there is a huge demand for Chinese language instruction, but not all high schools have the staff or resources to offer these courses. I anticipate a significant demand for these courses and am thankful for the support and partnership of CHF as we bring these courses to life for high school students everywhere.”

To develop the program, VHS Learning is working with a stellar team of subject matter experts. The team will take state of the art content and create engaging learning experiences, fully aligned to ACTFL World Language standards, and delivered through VHS Learning’s unique, asynchronous model.…Read More

Interactive Field Trips Offered to Educators for Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day

In preparation for several upcoming significant historical, cultural and societal events, the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) has curated a list of live, interactive virtual field trips that educators can access to enrich discussions surrounding Black History Month, President’s Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day. The diverse list of interactive learning experiences ranges from an immersive underground railroad experience to an exploration of women war reporters who have made indelible marks in the world of journalism. Several of the offerings are free to the public, while others have a fee associated.

Virtual expeditions have gained in popularity in recent years and even more so since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. What sets CILC and its content collaborators’ programs apart from traditional web-based experiences (prerecorded) is the live interactive aspect. Museum curators, historians, authors, researchers, and other expert instructors engage directly with students during the virtual field trip to create a richer learning environment. The selections below offer an engaging resource to educators who want to expand their curriculum in a unique and authentic manner.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH, FEBRUARY 2021…Read More