Elementary and Secondary Emergency School Relief (ESSER) Funds Allow for Improved Indoor Air Quality in U.S. Schools

DALLAS (August 18, 2022)ActivePure, the world’s leader in air and surface purification technologies, is now available for educational institutions through special funding from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). In 2020, the DOE introduced the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, a signature part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to help schools improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and return their students back to the classroom. These funds offer students, teachers, staff and parents greater peace of mind with cleaner air and improved safety throughout educational facilities, buildings and classrooms.

In the wake of a global pandemic, indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become a priority in many sectors of the economy, including office buildings, healthcare facilities and especially educational institutions where millions of students and teachers spend hours every day learning in confined physical spaces. The risk of airborne pathogens and community spread has created an operational imperative for organizations to ensure better ventilation, cleaner air and a safer learning environment.

Through these timely ESSER funds, school systems can now bring their students back into classrooms after years of virtual learning, providing the financial ability to evaluate 21st century solutions for indoor air quality and invest in more robust air purification and ventilation systems. The $122 billion of ARP ESSER funds were made available earlier this year to all 52 state education agencies, giving state leaders the discretion to disperse the funds among local public and charter schools to bring buildings up to date.

“I am proud that, with the approval of these plans, states have 100% of their funds and robust plans to help schools remain open and help students thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a January 18 press release. “We are urging states and school districts to deploy funds now to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Omicron variant, on our school communities.”

The transition to online learning for students across the United States created challenges for students, teachers and parents alike. Recent reports have indicated lower test scores, as well as lower literacy and math skills compared to previous years, for students who participated in virtual learning options throughout the pandemic. The implementation of air purification technologies plays an important role in not only ensuring a healthier, in-person learning environment but also minimizing the possibility of widespread outbreaks in the future.

“At the end of the day, healthy indoor air quality is an essential right and one we all care about,” said Joe Urso, CEO and chairman of ActivePure. “The pandemic and remote learning have caused our kids to fall behind in school. It’s our duty to provide them with safe indoor air so they can get back into the classroom and realize their full potential. By doing what is necessary to protect students, teachers and staff, we protect our future.”

While most schools in the United States are opening for full-time in-person instruction, poor IAQ in buildings continues to affect the learning environment. A recent Harvard Public Health study found that poor air quality negatively affects cognitive function, leading participants in poorly-ventilated areas to score lower than their counterparts in environments with the latest air purification technologies.

Educational facilities across the United States have already begun taking proactive steps toward healthier learning environments by installing ActivePure Technology. Florida’s Sarasota School District, for example, has installed units powered by ActivePure Technology across its campuses to help facilitate the transition back to in-person learning. The addition of these units has allowed students and teachers to remain in the classroom without the need for constant shifts between in-person and virtual learning.

Indoor air quality is affected by numerous factors in addition to airborne viruses, including poor ventilation, pollutants, bacteria, cleaning products, building materials and mold. Older buildings tend to be at higher risk for fostering environments with worse air quality because of poor upkeep, pests and mildew. And, while increased ventilation will help, the increased energy needed to power HVAC units, has a significant environmental impact. ActivePure reconciles this conflict by neutralizing air and surface contamination through technology which is innately energy sparing.

ActivePure Technology is an advanced air and surface purification technology with a worldwide presence in educational institutions, hospitals, professional sports teams, the US military, office buildings and entertainment venues. The patented technology uses the unique process of Advanced Photocatalysis, creating oxidizing molecules that actively seek and eliminate air and surface pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and more. Studies have shown ActivePure to be over 99.9% effective in reducing the presence of SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, within a 60-second testing period.

Those interested in learning more about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) can read more here.

To learn more about ActivePure and its efforts to create healthier learning environments, please visit ActivePure.com.

ABOUT ACTIVEPURE:
Privately held ActivePure has been the global sustainable leader in active, 24/7 surface and air purification systems for healthcare and educational institutions, commercial and public facilities, hospitality and residential applications since 1924. Patented ActivePure Technology has been proven in independent university and laboratory testing to control and neutralize indoor contaminants effectively. It is the only product in its class recognized by the Space Foundation as Certified Space Technology and inducted into the Space Foundation Hall of Fame. In addition, the ActivePure Medical Guardian is registered and cleared as an FDA Class II Medical Device. The early stage of ActivePure was developed for use in space exploration and has since evolved for use in commercial and consumer products used to reduce exposure to pathogens, including RNA and DNA viruses, bacteria and molds, by up to 99.9% in the air and on surfaces. For more information, please visit ActivePure.com or call 888-217-4316.

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FEV Tutor Students Achieve Higher Growth Scores in ELA and Math on NWEA MAP Growth, STAR, and i-Ready Assessments

BOSTON, Mass. – Aug. 18, 2022 Fifty-six percent of U.S. public schools are using high-dosage tutoring to support learning recovery, thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan. But is it working? New research from FEV Tutor shows that live 1:1 tutoring with a subject matter expert can help students progress and close achievement gaps.

During the 2021-22 school year, students who participated in recommended dosages of tutoring with FEV Tutor, a comprehensive, research-based, virtual tutoring solution for K-12 schools, achieved higher growth relative to non-participants in English language arts (ELA) and math on the NWEA MAP Growth, Renaissance STAR 360, and i-Ready assessments.

The growth and impact analysis, which was conducted by independent researchers from JoinIn Ventures, examined fall 2021 and spring 2022 assessment results for nearly 40,000 students from more than 20 states. The data showed that students who participated in 21 or more online tutoring sessions with FEV Tutor showed greater improvements in ELA and math relative to their peers. The results also showed that the students who were the furthest behind benefitted the most.…Read More

10 back-to-school cybersecurity essentials

Summer is over and schools are back in session across the country. If you missed the chance to prepare and test your cybersecurity protocols while students were living their best lives on summer break, there are actions you must take at the start of the school year to get your programs in shape.

Teachers and administrators are ready to kick off a great year of learning, but must match that same preparedness to ensure their cybersecurity safety house is in order.

While not an exhaustive list, here is a checklist of 10 areas that deserve the most attention and that you can get started on (or even complete) immediately. Keep in mind, cybersecurity often touches physical security, too, so some of the recommendations make important cross-functional impacts, including helping you secure and maintain your insurance coverage.…Read More

The Education Service Centers of Indiana Select ParentSquare as a Purchasing Program Partner for School-Home Communications Technology

Santa Barbara, CA — Aug. 17, 2022— ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home communications platform for K-12 education, has been named a vendor partner by the Educational Service Centers of Indiana (ESC of I).

ESC of I is a collaborative of nine Indiana Education Service Centers (ESCs). Each ESC serves the schools in its designated geographical region through a variety of programs and services. Together as ESC of I, they implement statewide initiatives, such as a cooperative purchasing program, to benefit Indiana’s nearly 50,000 educators and 720,000 students.

“ESC of I develops partnerships with a wide variety of organizations to support the needs of our member districts,” Central Indiana Education Service Center Director of Partnerships Dr. Christy Hilton stated. “Those organizations are vetted by our partnerships team members for quality, service, and return on investment. Our team found ParentSquare’s reputation for powerful functionality and exceptional service to be well deserved.”…Read More

School System, County, and Police Partner on New Modernized Bus Initiative to Enhance Student Safety in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to halt dangerous driving around its school buses beginning this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.

As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.

“There is no bigger cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell said. “This partnership is another step in accomplishing that, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources, and energy in it. I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk.”…Read More

Phenix City Schools Awarded Cognia STEM Certification

Phenix City, Ala. (August 4, 2022) — Phenix City Schools (PCS) are now STEM certified, becoming the largest and fourth district in the nation. Every school in the PCS system earned Cognia’s STEM Certification in June.

According to Cognia, its STEM Certification Program, “guides leaders with a specific framework and improvement process, culminating in recognition for programs that demonstrate a strong and effective STEM focus… These standards, which Cognia identified through robust research and extensive observations, focus on characteristics like problem-based experiential learning and the integration of
STEM thinking into a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”

PCS met and exceeded each of the standards and expectations set forth by Cognia. Cognia recognizes and certifies PCS’ STEM program:…Read More

ClassTag Awards $10,000 Community Engagement Grant

August 2, 2022 – NEW YORK: As schools and families prepare for back-to-school, ClassTag is announcing the winning district of its Community Engagement Grant, who received $10,000 in funding.

Since launching The Community Engagement Grant in June 2022, ClassTag has received 65 passionate, compelling submissions on how school districts across the country have emerged out of the pandemic to build trust and strong relationships with their community. As part of the application, leaders were asked to share the creative ways they have engaged their community and the impact this additional funding can have. Initiatives shared as part of the applications offer diverse and creative perspectives on how to tackle the most pressing issues facing school communities across the country, however the opportunities remain consistent and span across
the following five areas:

  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
  • Family Education Programs
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses
  • A Unified Communication System

After much deliberation, the ClassTag team has selected the winner – Lexington City Schools, a suburban district in North Carolina serving over three thousand students.…Read More

Next-generation tech for schools–right now

In this episode of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan and sponsored by Galaxy Next Generation:

  • 7 things K-12 IT teams can do now to manage OT risks
  • AI is the key to scaling personalized, one-on-one instruction
  • A look at cybersecurity with past Hero Awards Winner Brevard Public Schools

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COVID crushed engagement–is student-centered learning the solution?

In a new survey of thousands of U.S. educators, teachers validate concerns over student engagement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but believe that technology and student-centered approaches to teaching can help to reinvigorate students in the fall.

Seven in 10 teachers believe that their students are more engaged when lessons involve play, and 68 percent of teachers said that their students are more likely to remember what they learn during learning activities they choose themselves. The survey of 8,000 was conducted by Kahoot!. 

“Even with most schools back to fully in-person learning, educators are reporting that their students continue to struggle. So much was out of students’ control for so long, and it’s no surprise that we’re seeing teachers pick up on the importance of student choice in their own learning,” said Louisa Rosenheck, Director of Pedagogy for the Kahoot! Group. …Read More