ShopWithScrip Rebrands as RaiseRight, Announces Lou Agnese as Chief Executive Officer

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (May 12, 2022)—ShopWithScrip, the largest gift card fundraising platform in the United States, has rebranded as  RaiseRight and announced that Lou Agnese, an executive with extensive experience in consumer-facing digital marketplaces, has been appointed as chief executive officer to drive a new era of growth.

“Our new brand and website more strongly reflect our mission to offer non-profits and community-based organizations the easiest, most effective way to meet their fundraising goals,” said Lou Agnese, Chief Executive Officer, RaiseRight.  “I am honored to have joined the passionate, purpose-driven team at RaiseRight during this exciting time and look forward to working with them to develop new, innovative tools to magnify our impact in local communities.” 

The RaiseRight name was created to underscore that the company’s solution is the right way to fundraise.  RaiseRight’s year-round fundraising platform is easy and more convenient than selling goods or recruiting volunteers. Nonprofits and other community-based organizations earn money simply by purchasing gift cards for their favorite brands at face value and getting a rebate back from those purchases.  The new website offers a seamless, more consistent user experience across the platform for shopping all brands, including a mobile wallet for ease of redemption and a dashboard to manage fundraising proceeds.…Read More

Transforming summer school with high-dosage tutoring

Summer school as we’ve traditionally known it hasn’t worked well for a long time, especially from an equity standpoint, but we all know that change tends to come slowly to educational institutions. I would submit that in 2022, after two years of extraordinary learning loss, a transformation shouldn’t wait any longer.

Today’s students have different summer learning needs, and we have better tools and methods to teach them. It’s time to start using them.

The old model of summer classes in school buildings every day from 9 a.m. to noon stopped being convenient decades ago, when stay-at-home parenting stopped being the norm. Even if families manage to find transportation for their kids to and from school at those hours, there remains the question of filling in the remaining hours with part-time child care — never a cost-effective option even when it is available.…Read More

2 years after COVID, remote learning lessons are clear

While many American parents and students say they are now ready to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic – 77 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, a number that has not changed much in recent months – the coronavirus seems likely to remain with us in some form for the time being. The number of infections is once again rising in the U.K. and Europe, which may presage another wave of cases here in the U.S. This potential disruption comes exactly two years since the vast majority of U.S. schools shut their doors and transitioned to remote learning in response to the start of the pandemic. 

Since that time, educators, parents, and experts have debated the pros and cons of virtual education compared to the traditional in-person learning environment. It’s important to take stock of what we’ve learned about virtual education over the past two years, so that we can continue providing the best possible learning experience for students.

It has become accepted wisdom in some quarters that remote education is simply worse across the board for students than traditional in-person models. Certain studies have blamed virtual education for learning loss, social isolation, mental health and behavioral issues, and more. However, using remote learning as a catch-all for a variety of school-related challenges (many of which existed before the pandemic) misses some nuances. …Read More

3 ways to teach multi-sensory math

Learning mathematics is much more than memorization. Rote drill and practice have not shown to lead to significant improvements in mathematics abilities, but rather, using strategies that engage and strengthen the connections to different areas of the brain assists students in learning mathematics.

According to findings published in Teaching Children Mathematics, most students actually use a strategy to recall a fact. They are considered fluent if they can recall a fact within three seconds, which is a long time to be able to employ a strategy. For example, looking at the problem 19 + 6, students might move one from the 6 to make an easier, equivalent statement of 20 + 5.

Using multi-sensory learning to make sense of mathematics, as well as introducing students to strategies and tools such as the ones below, helps them become flexible thinkers and allows them to be fluid with numbers.…Read More

How stressed teachers can find time to reset

A teacher’s work is never done. Seriously, it’s amazing how much responsibility educators manage to shoulder throughout the week. From planning and delivering lessons, to grading, to attending professional development and networking with concerned parents, it’s no surprise a lot of teachers are feeling stretched thin.

It also doesn’t help that our culture pressures people to sacrifice well-being in the name of success. The message we frequently hear is, “If you’re not seeing the results, you’re not working hard enough!

In reality, teachers who don’t take time to rest and reenergize are usually less productive than ones who do. Think of it like the woodcutter who always takes an hour to sharpen his axe. Without that time of rest and preparation, he’d be trying to split wood with a dulled, useless blade. The same holds true for teachers. …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

3 tools to support trauma-informed teaching

While the awareness of trauma-informed teaching has been a concept I have grappled with, teaching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has moved this concept to the forefront in terms of how to be effective as a trauma-informed educator in the virtual classroom. 

Trauma is prevalent in the lives of both educators and learners.  Though prevalent, it can also be silent in that it is not always a visible or known quantity.  Living through a pandemic, by its very nature, has been traumatic for everyone and it is important to debrief and reflect on the failures and successes of our educational practices during this time.

It may be surprising to learn that as of 2020, according to the CDC-Kaiser Ace Study, up to two-thirds of U.S. children have experienced at least one type of serious childhood trauma.  Some examples include abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence.  Trauma may be the largest public health issue facing our children today (CDC, 2019).  It is imperative that we are not only aware of these statistics but that we act on known strategies that help our students cope with trauma so that they can meet with success in both in-person and virtual classroom spaces.…Read More

A simple routine to support literacy development in all subjects

When you look at the five components of reading and how teachers’ emphasis on them changes as students learn to read, one constant is word learning. This shouldn’t be surprising for those familiar with Scarborough’s Reading Rope, which suggests that vocabulary and background knowledge are essential components of skilled reading. These two strands of the rope can account for a 50-60 percent variation in reading comprehension scores. Not only do students need to know how to decode words, but they must also know the meaning of words in order to apply their meaning toward comprehension.

Fortunately, students are building vocabulary and background knowledge all the time as they pick up new words from context through reading and listening, learn new words and ideas in their daily lives, and of course, in all the various content areas they study in school.

Explicit vocabulary instruction not only helps students build vocabulary in the moment, but also gives them the tools to learn new words as they encounter them. Here’s an effective routine to help students learn new words whether they’re in an English class or the science lab.…Read More