10 key CoSN back-to-school resources for edtech leaders

Editor’s note: This story on 10 back-to-school resources for edtech leaders originally appeared on CoSN’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

digital equity dashboard

1) Digital Equity Dashboard 

CoSN’s Digital Equity Dashboard is an innovative and practical tool designed to help school districts and communities leverage data to close digital equity gaps. This powerful instrument integrates various national data sets into one comprehensive dashboard. By anonymizing the data and breaking it down into county, school district and zip code units, the Digital Equity Dashboard provides school and community leaders with valuable data to inform decision-makers and address equity concerns.…Read More

It’s critical to promote mental health supports at the start of the school year

Key points:

As the new academic year approaches, it’s crucial to pay attention to an aspect of school life that often doesn’t feature prominently in back-to-school prep: mental health. For both educators and students, safeguarding mental health is important to promoting a positive, supportive, and successful educational environment.

Anxiety, stress, and uncertainty can permeate the school atmosphere at the beginning of the year. Teachers might face pressures from lesson planning, meeting new students, or adjusting to changes in curriculum. Students often grapple with academic pressures, extracurricular activities, social dynamics, and the transition from lazy days spent playing on devices to the more structured school day. These collective stressors necessitate an emphasis on mental health support.…Read More

Solving school transportation troubles with Title I funds

Key points:

  • Schools often overlook funding sources that can help with bus challenges
  • Solving school transportation issues is another way to ensure all students have equitable access to educational opportunities
  • See related article: 4 best practices to support and retain school leaders

More than half of students in the U.S. attend high-poverty public schools–and in some states, that percentage is much higher. In Mississippi, for example, approximately 92 percent of students attend high-poverty schools.

These students are often subjected to daunting challenges, but getting a ride to school shouldn’t be one of them. Federally funded resources are available that can be used to help schools and districts address student transportation needs. But here’s the thing: too few districts are taking advantage of those resources. And as a result, too many students are struggling to get to their classrooms safely, consistently, and on time.…Read More

Gale and SirsiDynix Announce Partnership That Will Expand CloudSource Index by More Than One Billion Records

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. & LEHI, UT – Gale, part of Cengage Group, a global provider of research and learning resources, and SirsiDynix, a global leader in library technology solutions, are excited to announce a strategic partnership that will deliver more than one billion records to CloudSource, SirsiDynix’s premier content and discovery services platform.

The collaboration is a natural fit for the two companies, whose missions both emphasize the importance of libraries as hubs of discovery and whose software and services are dedicated to helping libraries demonstrate their value and ability to empower their communities. Working together, they aim to offer a seamless search experience for Gale and CloudSource subscribers alike.

The integration displays Gale’s wide range of online databases—including full-text journal articles, newspapers, archives, and eBooks—into a single discovery index.…Read More

Driving equitable learning with thoughtful software implementation

Key points:

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the stark reality of inequities in our education system. As schools shifted to remote learning, a digital divide emerged, leaving countless students on the wrong side of the equation. The unequal access to technology and the internet has widened the gap, hindering the academic progress of many young minds. However, in the face of this challenge, lies an opportunity to foster equitable learning through thoughtful implementation of software solutions. 

Before the pandemic, the digital divide was already a concern, with disadvantaged students lacking access to essential learning resources. However, as classrooms transitioned online, the divide became larger and larger, exposing the vulnerability of marginalized communities. As a former educator, I have witnessed this divide and know firsthand how limited access to devices, high-speed internet, and adequate tech support create barriers to learning, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and hindering students’ potential. …Read More

First AI-powered School Year Begins, Ushering in a New Era in Education

NEW YORK –  Students are gearing up for the 2023 school year, and new research from  Brainly reveals that AI is an integral element in middle and high school students’ academic life – even as educators debate and worry whether the revolutionary technology belongs in the classroom.

In its Back-to-School survey,  Brainly, the leading learning platform for all school subjects and grades, highlights a growing trend – a remarkable 66.5% of students in grades 6-12 actively seek external support for their homework and study needs. With 57% expressing concerns about excessive homework, it is evident that students are keen on finding additional resources to aid their academic progress. Forty-five percent of these students spend more than two hours daily on homework. 

Where are students going for help? To their AI tools. Brainly’s research shows that 67% of middle and high school students are using AI to help with their schoolwork.…Read More

Discovery Education and its Corporate Partners Offering Free Resources for Families to Keep Learning Alive All Summer 

Charlotte, NC ) — To keep students engaged in learning while on summer break, Discovery Education and select partners have created free dynamic digital resources for students and caregivers to use at home. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. 

The following selection of family activities that connect families to engaging learning experiences anywhere learning is taking place:  

Build the Change: Take the power of play beyond the classroom with collaborative activities that inspire students and families to learn through play by solving creative challenges as a team while exploring their own local environments with these activities from Build the Change, a program by the LEGO Group’s sustainability team. …Read More

ParentSquare Releases Back-to-School Resources, Including Updated Checklist for Successful Home-School Communications

Santa Barbara, CA — The summer break gives district and school administrators time to evaluate the efficacy of the approaches they used in the previous academic year and create new strategies as needed. To help educators increase the support that both students and teachers receive from family engagement, ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home engagement platform for K12 education, has compiled resources for improving school-home communications in the upcoming school year.

The primary resource is the company’s updated “Back-to-School Checklist For Successful School-Home Communications,” a comprehensive list for organizing and implementing critical tasks. Based on ParentSquare’s experience of working with thousands of schools and districts for more than a decade, the checklist includes:

  • 4 steps to help readers take stock of what’s working and where to improve
  • 5 ways to benchmark your processes and plans against K12 best practices
  • 6 items to include in your annual communications plan
  • 6 set-up or administrative tasks
  • 7 key launch activities to start your year off right

The checklist also includes a “Other Back-to-School Tasks” section where users can add items that are specific to their school or district.…Read More

Virginia Chooses iteach as the Alternative Teacher Certification Provider for 24 Divisions of the Commonwealth

DENTON, Texas — In an effort to fill more than 3,500 teaching vacancies, the Virginia Department of Education has chosen iteach as the identified partner for alternative teachers certification in 24 divisions of the Commonwealth. Now, Virginians with bachelor’s degrees can use iteach’s innovative hybrid model to navigate the process of becoming certified K-12 educators.

“The program will help us build a larger applicant pool to include current teacher assistants and substitute teachers who possess a bachelor’s degree,” said Paige Tucker, director, talent acquisition and management-licensed staffing in the Department of Human Resources at Arlington Public Schools. “iteach can be utilized with our current provisional teachers as a more affordable and efficient alternative to obtaining their license. iteach will also help us recruit in our most high-need areas, which include special education and elementary.” 

For aspiring teachers who have completed a bachelor’s degree, the iteach program offers a 1-year path to teacher certification, making it both faster and less expensive than certification through a university. Teachers complete iteach coursework online on a flexible schedule, and earn full pay while they complete their in-classroom teaching requirements. While they’re enrolled, they have free access to the Teaching Channel professional development platform and test prep from Passage Preparation. Once they’re hired, the district will assign each new teacher a Classroom Supervisor to help them navigate the challenges of their first year in the classroom. …Read More