Case Study: How Weston School District Built a Digital Strategy with Digital Signage, 15 Minutes at a Time

(May 12, 2022) –– Rise Vision has released a new case study of Weston School District, a small school district which serves three rural communities of Cazenovia, Hillpoint, and Lime Ridge, Weston and has a student population of 300 students. While Weston School District doesn’t face the problems a very large school does, it does face its own challenges.

Amanda Keller, who has been social media and public relations director at Weston for the past 4 years discussed the district’s challenges of its students across 12 years of compulsory education. Back in 2018, Weston struggled with keeping families updated with printed, physical newsletters.

‘It was frustrating to put so much time into communication we knew would be outdated before it reached our families and community,’ Keller continues. ‘It was also time-consuming to create bulletin boards that were very limited in how we could use them. These bulletin boards also had to be recreated often to keep the images current.’…Read More

Poptential™ Free Curriculum Brings History Alive for Independence Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (May 6, 2022) — Poptential™, a family of free social studies course packages that pair pop culture media with engaging digital storytelling, provides teachers and students media-rich lessons on the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, celebrated July 4. Click to tweet.

“While the Declaration of Independence was adopted 246 years ago, the heroes guiding the birth of our nation are brought to life in popular culture, which appeals to today’s digitally-savvy learner, and can make teaching more effective and relevant,” said Fred Fransen, CEO of Certell, Inc., the maker of Poptential.

Poptential courses, used by more than 30,000 teachers in 50 states, include everything instructors need to teach a subject, digitally accessible in one place, including lessons, ebooks, bell ringers, quizzes, and tests, as well as pop culture media to make lessons interesting and relatable to students. Curriculum packages are standards-based and developed by social studies teachers.…Read More

Weaving SEL into curriculum doesn’t have to be hard

As an educator and curriculum content creator, I’m always seeking to develop lessons that offer students opportunities to express complex emotions and share personal experiences. Inspiring self-expression and building a safe communal space begin with authentically exploring social-emotional learning (SEL) content.

Students are always navigating developmentally appropriate mental health and emotional-regulation growth, but today’s students are also coping with the effects of the pandemic. We cannot deprioritize SEL in our school spaces, and the great news is that we’re seeing significant investment and support for SEL. District spending on SEL on SEL programming grew about 45% between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, from $530 million to $765 million. When administrators and teachers were asked in a survey to rank their top priorities before and during the pandemic, improving students’ mental health and promoting students’ social-emotional competence rose to the number 1 and 2 priorities.

Currently, the grander concern for most educators in the classroom is the overwhelming “how.” Despite having a greater budget and public support for SEL, many teachers are unprepared to incorporate SEL into their instruction. Barriers include insufficient planning time, lack of parental consent, or lack of comprehensive SEL training for educators. …Read More

Don’t forget social, emotional health for district IT staff

During all the tumult of the last two years of schooling, from remote to hybrid to masked in-person, educators prioritized the social and emotional needs of students. A full 70 percent of schools now offer mental health programming, according to a recent survey from the American School District Panel and 20 percent of these schools say they added these services as a response to the pandemic disruptions. Shifting toward helping our students’ emotional well-being is vital and, in many cases, has shown extraordinary results. But we need to make sure we don’t forget the social and emotional health of district IT staff. 

Think about how much stress we all felt especially at the beginning of the pandemic. Not only was there personal stress but schools went remote instantly. District and school IT staff had to not only set up 1:1 programs on the fly, but also find new remote learning software and create helpdesks for thousands of students.

It’s clear now that part of a well-thought digital strategy for the future includes wellbeing support for IT technicians and school support staff, too. For example, such support can come from tools that ease cumulative stressors by saving time, lightening workloads, improving communication, and simplifying or automating procedures. Embracing a digital strategy that runs right across all areas of the school ensures that every staff member can benefit from the advantages offered by technology. …Read More

3 ways schools can support youth mental health

The collective damage caused by the pandemic has yet to be fully understood, but the toll it has taken on youth mental health and emotional well-being is becoming exceedingly apparent. Widespread social isolation and loneliness, uncertainty, parental loss of a job, the widening digital divide, feelings of anxiety over becoming ill, and loss of a loved one have all contributed to the current mental health crisis.

In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, and the U.S. Surgeon General released a public health advisory stating that young people’s rates of experiencing symptoms of depression more than doubled during the pandemic.

While student mental health is the top safety concern of K-12 employees for the 2022-2023 school year, a recent survey on teen mental health and well-being reported that teens are particularly concerned that their schools aren’t doing enough to support them and their emotional needs–only a few surveyed have the highest confidence in their schools’ efforts to create an atmosphere of physical (17.2 percent) and emotional (12.5 percent) safety.…Read More

SEL shines on Sesame Street

A new partnership between Sesame Workshop and Discovery Education leverages social and emotional development and learning for a whole-child approach that will target early learners in grades PreK-2.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Discovery Education‘s K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. The new Sesame Workshop-branded early learner channel will include high-quality video content; lesson plans and educator resources; interactive games and activities for kids; and family partnership supports–all focused on a whole-child approach.

Incorporating social and emotional competencies into early learning is critical, and it’s especially important for children who are entering preschool for the first time–they are “pandemic babies” who likely missed group early learning opportunities due to social distancing and pandemic policies.…Read More

3 ways SEL helps students build life readiness

Social and emotional learning (SEL) may still be new to some educators, but the skills it teaches are the same we have been trying to help young people develop for decades. Adaptability, agency, collaboration, empathy, self-awareness, and purpose are skills and qualities employers seek in their employees, and—more than that—skills that support young people to thrive on whatever path they choose to follow. 

Of course, we can’t talk about skill-building without addressing the environment in which students are expected to learn. After nearly two years of isolation, fear, and instability, many students and educators alike are showing up to school feeling far from their best—and the fallout is palpable, with student mental health deteriorating, academic performance faltering, and teachers resigning in record numbers. 

Fortunately, we know that SEL supports students’ academic performance and overall well-being, and it doesn’t need to come at the expense of content instruction. SEL can be integrated into content classes, through intentional community building and purpose learning that makes schools more fun and supportive places for students to learn and teachers to teach. …Read More

How I build relationships with students using instructional audio

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the importance of instructional audio solutions. With mask mandates and social distancing, instructional audio solutions play a critical role—projecting educators’ voices and ensuring every student can hear and understand what’s being asked of them.

Access to intelligible, clear audio has never been more important.

However, while instructional audio solutions gained traction in the pandemic, there’s so much more to instructional audio than just projecting an educator’s voice. Instructional audio benefits all students—students with learning loss, students in the back of classrooms, non-native English speakers, and others.…Read More

Why we should let online elementary students lead

The role of elementary teachers has never been more important, especially as kindergarten through fifth grade students today are facing more change than ever before–from the effects of the pandemic to social media and stressful current events being right at their fingertips.

According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the annual average learning gain for Kindergarten through second grade students is higher than at any time during a child’s years in school. This is why we both decided to become elementary school teachers–to make a positive impact in children’s lives during such a critical time of development and growth.

While it is essential for students to understand and master their learning in elementary school, it is also important that students develop confidence, feel ownership over their work, and become passionate about learning. If you can excite elementary students about learning, it can set them up for success not only throughout their entire education, but also their life.…Read More

Riverside Insights and 7 Mindsets Partner to Improve Student Well-being with Lessons for SEL

ITASCA, Ill. – March 24, 2022 – Riverside Insights®, a leading developer of research-based assessments and analytics, today announced a new partnership with 7 Mindsets to offer Lessons for SEL, a cloud-based solution featuring a streaming platform of video lessons and social and emotional learning (SEL) content with specific focuses on self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills and decision-making skills. 

Unlike other well-being tools, Lessons for SEL offers a complete curriculum of powerful, engaging resources and video content aligned to the CASEL framework to help educators, mental health professionals, and school leaders enhance  the social emotional wellness of their students and staff.  Educators can use the platform to identify relevant topics that address unique classroom needs and tailor instruction to support individual student development. 

“Riverside Insights’ partnership with 7 Mindsets demonstrates our continued commitment to support the whole child and their ‘limitless learning’ by empowering them to unlock their full potential,” said Matt Tebbe, General Manager at Riverside Insights. “Lessons for SEL offers a wide variety of educator resources to promote differentiation within the SEL curriculum and is easy to incorporate into the daily routine, since the platform requires no additional infrastructure and many lessons are only six minutes long.”…Read More