FOLLETT INVESTS IN SHOW EVIDENCE, INC.
Partnership Focused on Advancing Solutions for Educational Assessment
RIVER GROVE, Ill., March 6, 2014 – Follett Corporation today announced an investment in ShowEvidence, Inc., a Santa Clara, California-based education software company that provides innovative solutions for assessing student and teacher performance. The investment is the first from the Follett Knowledge Fund, a $50 million venture fund focused on disruptive technologies in the education/technology space.
“ShowEvidence has created a cloud-based platform that gives schools the ability to embed digital learning materials within curriculum and assessment programs, and to score student work against state standards,” said Mary Lee Schneider, President and CEO of Follett Corporation. “ShowEvidence has the potential to expand the effectiveness and scope of testing in education in ways that will drive greater levels of student achievement. Follett is delighted to partner with this innovative company.”
The ShowEvidence solution is a comprehensive system for authoring, performing, and rating student and teacher work that automates the scoring based on evidence found within the work products. Unlike testing systems that focus on multiple choice tests for basic skills, and e-portfolio tools that merely assemble artifacts with rudimentary scores, ShowEvidence enables users to evaluate competency by identifying evidence in work products such as essays, projects, videos and presentations.
“By focusing on evidence to drive scoring, our system delivers improved rater efficiency and reduces bias—a major milestone for the field,” said Eric Docter, CEO and co-founder of ShowEvidence. ”We are excited to have the support of Follett, a company that is an innovator in its own right in delivering digital content and technology solutions at all levels of education.”
“ShowEvidence is an ideal first investment for the Follett Knowledge Fund,” said Russell B. Pyne, Managing Partner of Atrium Capital, the co-manager of the Follett Knowledge Fund. “They are an early leader in a rapidly growing market with a best-in-class solution. The ShowEvidence management team uniquely blends a deep understanding of educational assessment with educational software experience and is intensely focused on improving teacher practice and student learning.”
ShowEvidence streamlines the process of evaluating proficiency by allowing users to easily assign tasks and tag evidence in authentic work product to generate scores. Initially, the company is focused on the student assessment, teacher and principal certification, and professional development markets in K-12 and Higher Ed. The platform could also have applications in other markets where tagging evidence to justify scores is critical to evaluating performance. More information is available at www.showevidence.com.
About the Follett Knowledge Fund
The Follett Knowledge Fund is a venture capital fund for new technologies with the potential to improve and even disrupt the way educational content is delivered and consumed. The fund is co-managed by Atrium Capital, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has been co-managing and advising strategic corporate venture programs for more than two decades. More information is available atwww.atriumcapital.com.
About Follett Corporation
Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 80,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses. Headquartered in River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company. More information is available at www.follett.com.
Edmond, Okla. (March 6, 2014) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today issued a Public Notice revealing E-rate program reform actions under consideration by the agency. Changes are slated for Funding Year 2015. Planning begins this fall, with new changes impacting the flow of funds beginning no earlier than July 1, 2015. The Public Notice requests input from stakeholders, with comments due by April 7, and reply comments due by April 21.
The FCC emphasized the significance of the E-rate program and the need for improvements. The Public Notice seeks specific comment on:
- Restoring discounts for on-campus broadband connectivity, and doing so in an equitable manner for all eligible schools and libraries.
- A one-time targeted surge of support for schools and libraries that lag behind in broadband connectivity to their facilities.
- A reduction, or lower prioritization, of support for analog telephone services.
- Further ideas for well-defined, time-limited demonstration projects to achieve cost savings and innovation within the E-rate program.
The Public Notice did not directly address increases to the program’s annual budget, currently set at $2.38 billion; however, the FCC left open the possibility that other changes, not identified in the Public Notice, could be made by the Commission.
Funds For Learning, the nation’s largest E-rate consulting firm, remains an active voice in E-rate reform conversations with policymakers in Washington, D.C. and with administrators in school districts and libraries across the country.
“E-rate reform is a pressing issue for every school and community, and we’re encouraged by the FCC’s actions to ensure ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet,” said Funds For Learning CEO John D. Harrington. “Funds For Learning continues to work closely with the FCC and other E-rate stakeholders to implement meaningful change that best serves our nation’s students and library patrons.”
During a free webinar on March 13, Harrington will discuss the latest news and analysis related to the future of the E-rate program. Presented in partnership with edWeb, the event will provide detailed information about proposed regulatory changes to the program, as well as information about how E-rate participants can voice their opinions to the FCC.
For more information and to register for the free online event, visit the edWeb registration page.
About Funds For Learning
Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student Internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.FundsForLearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATORS TELL CONGRESS MORE SUPPORT IS NEEDED
More than 400 career and technical educators, counselors and students advocate on Capitol Hill
ALEXANDRIA, VA –The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) concluded its annual National Policy Seminar event Wednesday, bringing the premiere three-day policy and advocacy event for the career and technical education (CTE) community to an end.
“It was inspiring to see so many CTE professionals come together to communicate how our nation’s career and technical education system is positively impacting issues such as student achievement, the skills gap and the economy at large” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “The knowledge and passion that our members displayed in advocating gives me confidence that we can make a difference in Congress and across the country. Increasing understanding about CTE means that more legislators will value and support it, and that’s a win for students.”
In one of the event’s highlights, ACTE presented Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mark Begich (D-AK) with its Policymaker of the Year Award for 2013. “These Senators have earned recognition and appreciation from ACTE’s 25,000 members due to their leadership and steadfast commitment to prepare America’s 21st century workforce,” Wilson continued.
“In my home state of Wisconsin, we have a long tradition of making strong investments in our schools because we understand that a quality education is at the foundation of building a strong path to the middle class,” Baldwin said upon receiving the award. “That’s why I have always worked to help build a strong path through career and technical education. Because everyone should have the opportunity to gain the skills they want and need to pursue their dreams.”
Though Senator Begich was unable to attend the event in person, attendees were greeted by a video recording of his acceptance remarks.
“In my time in the Senate, I’ve worked hard to ensure Alaska’s student have access to high quality education in STEM and CTE,” Begich said. “Our global economy is changing, and we need to help our young people gain the resources and skills to be competitive in the 21st century workforce.
During the session, attendees also heard remarks from Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Congressman Glenn Thompson, both of whom expressed an appreciation for the value of CTE in connecting Americans with rewarding careers via secondary and postsecondary levels.
In addition, attendees enjoyed opening remarks from keynote speaker Catherine “Kiki” McLean, co-founder of the bipartisan citizens’ movement “No Labels,” on the need for greater cooperation between Democrats, Republicans and independents to restore a functional legislative environment in Washington. Later, members echoed this sentiment to their lawmakers as they garnered support for CTE policy priorities from both sides of the aisle.
The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18 percent, compared to the national average of 74.9 percent. ACTE advocates for policies and programs that connect students with relevant, real-world learning opportunities to prepare them for careers. For more information on CTE and its positive impacts for students, schools, communities and the country, visit www.acteonline.org.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE is 25,000 members strong, representing educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in all levels of career and technical education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.
New Pitsco Community page streamlines searches, enhances customer experience
(March 5, 2014) — In an effort to simplify how customers interactwith the content on its website, Pitsco Education has created a newCommunity page, giving visitors quick access to the company’s social networks, blogs, publications, teacher tips, and company feedback page. The Community page can be accessed either from a tab on thewww.pitsco.com site or by going to www.pitsco.com/community directly.
On the Community page, visitors might notice a few other changes as well. All of Pitsco’s social network sites, for example, can be accessed with one click, which takes them to a page showing the latest streams from each network. Viewers can then access each individual full network if they so choose.
And the networks themselves have been the subject of increased attention. “Pitsco Education started focusing resources on social networks in July of 2013,” said Pitsco’s Online Marketing Coordinator Melissa Karsten. “We had a presence before then but fine-tuned the look and feel and increased our effort on the number and consistency of posts to keep viewers aware and interested.”
This new focus included adding Pinterest and Google+ to Pitsco’s social network repertoire, providing promotions for social network users to participate in, and increasing the amount and variety of content on the existing platforms. Pitsco can now be found on six major social network sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest,YouTube, and LinkedIn.
The company’s blogs also have a designated link and a new streamlined look, making them much easier to navigate. With one click, customers can read the most recent posts from Pitsco’s blogs:Education Highlights, which incorporates three previous blogs – The Cause, In The News, and Product Spotlight – into one main blog encompassing many different aspects of Pitsco and education in general; In the Classroom, containing articles, tips, and product reviews from Pitsco’s TAG (Teacher Advisory Group) educators; andHomeschool News, which includes a variety of helpful information for homeschoolers.
Viewers can also access Teacher Tips and Pitsco’s Publications – The Pitsco Network, Leaders in Education, SySTEM Alert!, and Rising Stars on the Community page. And like the other links from the Community page, these also take you to clean, easy-to-read pages.
For those with questions or feedback, the new page has a Suggestions link as well, linking to a quick form that provides an easy way for visitors to make suggestions and/or ask questions.
Karsten envisions a much-improved customer experience with the new Community links: “We are using new tools to make accessing our content easy and centralized. We’re excited to go live with this new Community page.”
|Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.|
NAME CHANGE FOR NSSEA
The National School Supply and Equipment Association is now the Education Market Association (EDmarket). Members and leaders overwhelmingly voted to approve this new name for our organization to more accurately reflect the association’s scope in representing the educational products marketplace.
While officially approved with a bylaws change in January 2014, the new name is being rolled out this week as the industry gathers to celebrate the world’s largest tradeshow for the retail PreK through Higher Ed marketplace at ED Expo in Dallas. ED Expo attendees will see the new name and brand on display throughout the event that is being co-located with CAMEX, the Campus Market Expo. The combined event will include more than 1,000 companies exhibiting the most innovative products for educating students and enhancing learning.
The new website — www.edmarket.org — is up and running and features a fresh new look and user-friendly navigation. We invite you to check out all the latest information about our organization, events and education resources, and share your thoughts on how it works for your business.
Finally, be sure to update your EDmarket staff contacts to reflect our new domain @edmarket.org (e.g.,firstname.lastname@example.org). We look forward to sharing all the news on EDspaces, ED Expo and the new Education Market Association with you, our valued members and customers.
ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT IN RESPONSE TO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2015
FY 2015 budget provides inadequate support to CTE educators, administrators, and students;
under serves needs of American workforce to fill the skills gap
Alexandria, VA – The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) expressed concerns today regarding the Obama administration’s budget for fiscal year 2015, which provides inadequate funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs.
“The Obama Administration’s budget request does nothing to build the federal investment in CTE. Current Perkins funding levels are inadequate to prepare the nearly 12 million students enrolled in CTE programs for 21st century careers,” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “It is concerning that the President continues to express his commitment to equitably providing opportunity for future generations by building a strong American workforce, but has not yet fulfilled that commitment by allocating adequate resources to CTE programs with a proven record of success, including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”
The Perkins Act is the primary source of federal support for CTE, delivered at both the secondary and postsecondary levels, and is a critical investment in developing a highly qualified, globally competitive American workforce. CTE programs utilize Perkins funding to provide students with the knowledge and skills that are essential for success in high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers. Continued inadequacies in state Perkins funding, which is proposed at $5 million below pre-sequester levels and over $140 million below FY 2010 levels, negatively impact high schools, CTE centers, community and technical colleges, employers and millions of CTE students nationwide.
Though the Administration’s budget does create several new programs that could provide students with education opportunities, including high school redesign grants, Skills Challenge Grants and the First in the World Fund, the scarce resources provided to education would be better directed toward proven programs that have already demonstrated success, rather than untested and unproven alternatives.
CTE is working with business and industry partners to help fill positions that are available today while preparing a qualified workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. Without the necessary resources, many effective education and employment training opportunities will disappear. In order to meet the needs of students, educators and employers, Congress must make investing in CTE a top priority.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 25,000 members; career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels. ACTE provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information on career and technical education, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders.
New Book from Responsive Classroom, The Language of Learning,
Provides Practical Strategies for Teaching Students
Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills
Turners Falls, MA—Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. (NEFC), developer of the Responsive Classroom® approach to elementary teaching, has just published The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills by veteran educator Margaret Berry Wilson. The book focuses on proven, practical strategies for teaching children the communication skills critical to high-level learning and success at school. The skills addressed in the book are explicitly named as keys to college and career readiness in the Common Core State Standards at every grade level.
Achieving fluency in the language of learning does not automatically happen for most children. This book gives educators the practical tools and resources needed to move students toward fluency in five core competencies:
1. Listening Essentials (focusing attention, showing interest, sustaining attention, developing comprehension)
2. Speaking Essentials (taking turns, speaking confidently, staying on topic, speaking with clarity)
3. Asking and Answering Questions (distinguishing between a statement and a question, formulating purposeful questions, asking questions respectfully, giving high-quality answers)
4. Crafting an Argument (speaking in an organized way, distinguishing facts from opinions, presenting evidence, persuading others)
5. The Art of Agreeing and Disagreeing (agreeing thoughtfully, disagreeing respectfully, agreeing partially, responding to disagreements)
Lynn McKay, Teacher Effectiveness Coach for the Denver Public schools, says “Helping children learn to use purposeful talk in communication is the unifying theme of this valuable resource. It is an excellent resource for moving children into thoughtful, robust discussions.”
Carol Ann Tomlinson, Professor at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia says of The Language of Learning, “Here’s the guidebook for educators . . . to help students develop and hone those foundational skills that are precursors to accessing virtually all learning opportunities in school—and in life.”
Among the features that make The Language of Learning highly practical for teachers:
- Teaching techniques integrate seamlessly into any existing curriculum as part of daily teaching; no need for separate lessons on listening, speaking, etc.
- Abundant sample language shows teachers speaking to students and students speaking to one another as they’re learning the skills and when they reach mastery.
- Common Core correlation tables connect each chapter to specific speaking and listening standards.
NEFC executive director Lora Hodges says, “Children have always needed these competencies in order to be highly engaged, self-motivated thinkers, doers, creators, and learners. The content, strategies, and resources presented in this book are just what teachers need to help them teach, coach, and encourage students in developing and demonstrating these competencies.”
Margaret Berry Wilson, with Foreword by Lora M. Hodges, EdD
Grades covered: K–6
Paperback, 216 pages, $24
Copyright 2014, Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc.
About Margaret Berry Wilson
Margaret Berry Wilson began presenting Responsive Classroom workshops and coaching educators throughout the country in 2004. She is the author of Teasing, Tattling, Defiance and More and several other books published by Northeast Foundation for Children. Margaret currently serves as an assistant head of school in Riverside, California.
About Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc., and the Responsive Classroom® Approach
Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc., a not-for-profit educational organization, is the developer of Responsive Classroom, a research-based approach to elementary education that leads to greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. Responsive Classroom practices help educators develop competencies in three interrelated domains: engaging academics, positive community, and effective management. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has recognized the Responsive Classroom approach as one of a select group of ”well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs with potential for broad dissemination to schools across the United States.”
For more information, visit www.responsiveclassroom.org.
NEWS FROM PITSCO
Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue
SkillsUSA demonstration event helps students sharpen their robotics skills
(March 3, 2014) — The 2014 Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) Challenge: Explosive Ordnance Disposal tasks students with creating a mobile robot like those employed by emergency service personnel such as firefighters, police, and the military. Students competing in this SkillsUSA challenge design their robots so they are able to secure an area by locating, neutralizing, moving, and disposing of explosive materials.
The demand for designers, skilled technicians, and manufacturing workers who are fluent in mechanical and electrical systems and highly skilled in troubleshooting and maintenance of robotic systems is projected to continue to grow. The current generation of students is expected to take artificial intelligence and robotics into the evolving world of emergency services, finding new ways to help trained personnel react more quickly and effectively.
According to Alan Kirby, a Robotics: USAR official with Pitsco Education, the event has been building momentum nationally and this year has competitors from 15 states. The top team at each state’s championship competition qualifies for the SkillsUSA National Championships June 23-27, 2014, in Kansas City, MO.
“As with most competitions, the USAR teams that are the best prepared and the most professional will come out on top,” Kirby said. “What we saw last year at state events and the national finals was that students who invested a lot of time in their documentation and design as well as robot construction and modifications were the top performers.”
Each competition team is composed of two students who work together to design and build a remote-controlled robot using a TETRIX® Building System or other approved parts. The robots have an on-board camera and sensors so that students can guide them remotely, a safe distance from the simulated danger zone. Students must also complete a written test and prepare an engineering notebook, complete with designs, for the technical presentation portion of the challenge.
The majority of Robotics: USAR state championships are being contested in March and April, and the final one will be wrapped up in early May.
|Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.|
edWeb.net and Problem-Attic announce an online professional learning community on “Assessment for Learning”
PRINCETON, NJ, March 3, 2014 - Problem-Attic, the online question bank for K-12 educators, has launched a free professional learning community around Assessment for Learning on edWeb.net, a professional learning and social network for the education community.
The goal of this professional learning community is to provide ideas and resources for instruction and realtime formative assessment. Additionally, teachers can share ideas about using technology to improve, differentiate and personalize instruction through student assessment. Assessment for Learning is a forum for educators to come together online to engage, innovate, and discuss best practices for the classroom.
This collaborative community is free, and will host webinars and online discussions to help educators connect and collaborate on the topic of using assessments to improve student learning. The program will help educators understand how to formulate questions that develop high order thinking skills, and to provide practical knowledge in using technology to improve assessments. The program will open with three consecutive, monthly webinars:
- Better Math Questions for Better Answers: Teaching High Order Thinking Skills for the Common Core (Register)
- Using Technology to Break Away from Traditional Assessments (Register)
- Closing the Circle: Analyzing and Improving Assessments for Learning (Register)
Since 1990, EducAide Software, the team behind Problem-Attic, has been bridging the gap between instruction and assessment. Problem-Attic is a free app with one of the largest question banks in the world. The questions come from multiple sources – state released test, curriculum samplers, academic competitions – designed for every classroom use, including homework, daily warmups and group activities, and are high-level, varied and graphically rich. These questions, formulated for all major subject areas, help teachers generate effective assessments for the classroom and make it easy to tailor curriculum, challenge students and personalize learning. Teachers love that it works with existing classroom technologies, such as interactive whiteboards, laptops and handheld devices.
Dan Levin, CEO and founder of EducAide Software, says, “Problem-Attic is proud to support an edWeb community for teachers, administrators, and others that play a role in educating our students. Problem-Attic is dedicated to not only providing content that is useful for both instruction and assessment, but also enabling and supporting awareness, idea sharing, discussion, and community for K12 educators.”
Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb.net, added, “This new community builds on the efforts of educators on edWeb who are especially interested in using assessment to personalize and improve student learning. We’re delighted that Dan Levin and the team at Problem-Attic will be helping to enrich the conversation with a series of free webinars on this topic.”
Educators can join the free Assessment for Learning community on edWeb to stay informed about upcoming webinars, join in discussions with peers and industry experts, and gain access to valuable resources.
For more information, contact:
Founded in 1990, EducAide Software is one of the leading developers of question banks and related programs for alignment, formatting and delivery in the U.S. and Canada. The mission of EducAide is to bridge the gap between instruction and assessment by providing schools and districts with high-quality, standards-based materials and a publishing system that goes far beyond tests and worksheets.Problem-Attic, developed by the team at EducAide, is a free app of over 115,000 questions in all major subject areas that allows educators to create teaching materials that differentiate instruction, challenge students and create formative assessments. Follow @ProblemAttic1 on Twitter.
edWeb.net is a professional social and learning network for the education community that makes it easy to connect and collaborate with colleagues, share information and best practices, and create professional learning communities. edWeb hosts free professional learning communities on key topics in education and won the 2012 Edublog Award for Best Free and Open Professional Development for Educators. edWeb reaches 3.5 million educators in the U.S. through our membership and our partnership with MCH Strategic Data. Learn more at www.edweb.net. Follow @edwebnet on Twitter.
America’s Only All-Electric School Bus Transports Students, Saving California School District Over $10,000 a Year in Fuel and Maintenance
Powered by Motiv Power Systems and built by Trans Tech Bus, this new zero-emission school bus means students can breathe easy
Foster City, CA – March 3, 2014–Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), in California’s San Joaquin Valley, leads the nation as the only school district using an all-electric school bus to transport students. KCUSD ordered four buses from Trans Tech Bus, featuring electric powertrains from Motiv Power Systems. The new electric school bus passed all KCUSD and California Highway Patrol inspections and certifications, making it the first modern electric bus to be approved for student transportation by any state.
The new electric bus is expected to save KCUSD over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs. Called the SST-e, this electric version of Trans Tech’s popular SST model was unveiled in October 2013 and delivered last month. The SST-e utilizes a Ford E450 cutaway chassis equipped with a Motiv electric powertrain. Motiv will feature an electric E450 cutaway chassis at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, IN March 5-7, at booth # 633.
“KCUSD has taken major strides to reduce diesel particulate emissions by as much as 85 percent” said Jason Flores, Transportation Director for KCUSD. “Going electric with these new green school buses is just one more important step in KCUSD’s ongoing portfolio of measures to protect our children, serve our community, and be good stewards of our environment. We hope other school districts will follow our lead to protect children from diesel particulates and protect themselves from rising diesel costs.”
Motiv’s electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) is the only solution in the truck and bus market to make medium- to heavy-duty vehicles all-electric with a variety of commercially-available batteries and motors. The Motiv ePCS is installed on the E450 chassis and other chassis types, as a ship-through modification similar to a Compressed Natural Gas up-fit. This enables minimal changes between the fossil fuel and electric versions of the vehicles.
“In this way, we are answering the call of the transportation industry to build reliable EV’s that fit seamlessly into the existing truck and bus manufacturing and service infrastructure,” said Jim Castelaz, Founder and CEO of Motiv Power Systems. “We are absolutely thrilled to see this school bus transporting students without exposing them to diesel exhaust. I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to go to school clean, zero-emission school buses like this one will be the industry standard.”
The first SST-e buses are partially funded by the AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) administered by the California Air Resources Board. Funding support for the electric school buses was provided through AQIP’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Project and the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). Voucher incentive funding is available through HVIP to any California school district for offsetting the cost of these zero-emission buses. Similar programs are in place in New York City and Chicago. When the fuel cost savings are combined with vehicle financing, these school buses are available at or below the cost of conventional buses.
“I’m proud of the accomplishment that Motiv and TransTech has made in forwarding our electric drive effort into the School Bus industry,” said John Corr, a member of the investment group that owns Trans Tech Bus.
The Trans Tech/Motiv SST-e school bus is available with 80 or 100 miles of range and holds 25 students or 18 students with a wheelchair lift and configurable track seating for up to 3 wheelchairs.
ABOUT MOTIV POWER SYSTEMS
Founded in 2009 and based in Foster City, CA, Motiv Power Systems designs and builds a flexible electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) for the commercial truck, bus and refuse industries. Motiv’s ePCS works with a wide variety of batteries and motors. This flexibility allows traditional truck chassis OEMs to assemble electric trucks on their current diesel truck assembly lines. Motiv’s ePCS is available for medium and heavy duty commercial truck applications including box trucks, flat/stake beds, refrigerated trucks, utility/service bodies, shuttle buses, delivery vehicles and refuse trucks.
AMPLIFY ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING DIGITAL CURRICULUM
Brings Together World-Class Academics, Engaging Digital Media, Data and Analytics
(AUSTIN, Texas March 3, 2014) Today at SXSWedu, Amplify unveiled its groundbreaking digital curriculum for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade English Language Arts (ELA). The curriculum for each grade combines a year’s worth of Common Core-aligned lessons, written in collaboration with some of the world’s leading experts and intellectuals, with rich digital media from Academy Award-winning studios and stars of both stage and screen.
The curriculum will be available in classrooms at the start of the Fall 2014 school year at an introductory price of $45 per student per year. It includes an e-library stocked with more than 300 works of fiction and nonfiction. To help boost learning outside of class, the curriculum comes with more than 40 digital games from some of the world’s best independent game designers. The curriculum is built on top of an education-friendly analytics engine that is designed to help students read three times more and write three times more, as well as to help teachers provide students three times more meaningful feedback.
“This is not some old wine in a new bottle, like a digitized textbook with a few animations,” said Amplify CEO Joel Klein. “We’ve brought together world-class instructional materials, rich multimedia and a powerful analytics engine that will transform the way teachers teach and student learn.”
“Our goal was to design the most effective and engaging digital curriculum for the classroom that supports the kinds of rigorous learning goals that schools are ready for,” said Amplify Learning President Larry Berger. “I think we’ve done that.”
Today’s announcement is part of Amplify’s broader effort to produce K-12 curriculum for English, math and science. In addition to the digital ELA curriculum for sixth, seventh and eighth grades, the company will also offer a hybrid print and digital curriculum for K-5 ELA and supplemental digital curriculum in math and science in time for the start of the Fall 2014 school year.
About The Digital ELA Curriculum
The curriculum contains academic lessons authored by world-class intellectuals like Benjamin Franklin biographer Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel and MacArthur Genius Grant winner Danielle Allen. We’ve paired their knowledge with Common Core experts to develop a full-year’s worth of scoped and sequenced curriculum for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade ELA, with lessons around personal narrative, fiction, informational texts, poetry and foundational documents. In addition to the books anchored in the lessons, each student has access to an e-library with more than 300 works of fiction and nonfiction.
To help make difficult texts more interesting and accessible, Amplify has brought them to life with dramatic readings by stars of both stage and screen. Students can watch actors like Chadwick Boseman read from “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” or Elizabeth Olsen’s interpretation of “A Confederate Girl’s Diary.” School-based pilots have shown that when students watch a dramatic reading of the first chapter of a book, they’re more likely to go on and read the entire text.
Amplify has worked in collaboration with Academy Award-winning animators to produce visually rich, artistic renditions of some of the texts students encounter in the lessons. Captivating, high-quality depictions of “The Raven” and “The Cask of Amontillado” are tied to writing prompts and designed to help students grasp difficult literary concepts, perspectives and points of view, which are key to the Common Core.
Quests are experiential lessons that immerse students in a text through role-playing, close reading, evidence gathering, discussion and expressive writing. Students can solve Edgar Allan Poe’s murder, seek treasure as Tom Sawyer or debate signing the Declaration of Independence as a member of the Second Continental Congress, among other interactive experiences. These adventures engage students in active learning and help them develop essential Common Core skills such as critical thinking and the use of primary resources.
Our approach to learning vocabulary is centered around hundreds of essential “reveal words” per grade. Students encounter these words in core texts and supplementary materials. Amplify’s Reveal Tool is designed to encourage students to learn a definition in context and then return to the text as seamlessly as possible. Amplify also provides ELL vocabulary activities, targeting key concrete nouns and verbs that are necessary for understanding the day’s lesson.
Teachers can use results from these diagnostic exercises to determine each student’s level of comprehension, and assign activities to meet a student where he or she is. Students can track their own progress using the analytical vocabulary tool, which tells them how many words they’ve mastered and how often they’ve used the words in their writing, empowering them to self-direct their learning goals.
Upon conclusion of Amplify’s complete ELA curriculum for middle school, students will have been exposed to 4,500 reveal words and completed more than 1,500 vocabulary practice activities.
Increased out-of-school learning is an important objective to have for all students, but particularly for those from low-income families. Decades of research has shown that learning loss during the summertime and other vacation periods significantly impacts the growing gap in test scores between children from families of high and low socioeconomic status.
In addition to extending learning time, educational games hold the potential to build “growth mindsets”—a set of beliefs and attitudes that are a key predictor of positive academic performance. Amplify Games seek to help students better understand the relationship between effort and success, to persist in the face of difficulty and to embrace (rather than fear) failure as a part of the learning process across ELA, math and science.
Lexica is an immersive world packed with characters from literature and nonfiction. The center of that virtual world is a beautiful library stocked with more than 300 classic and contemporary books catering to a broad cross section of reading interests and tastes.
The core educational goals of Lexica are to increase the amount of challenging reading that students do outside the classroom; bolster specific skills related to reading and writing; increase vocabulary; and to help students develop strong academic behaviors and habits.
Amplify’s premier English Language Arts game world brings together more than 14 embedded games, each with multiple levels and episodes.
Games embedded within Lexica include:
Mukashi Mukashi: A syntax and storytelling game based on Japanese folklore. The game mechanics “make failure fun” while driving students to engage in sustained exploration of the impact of word choices within longer narratives.
Story Cards: A collectible card game featuring authors and characters from classic and modern literature. Have C. Auguste Dupin match wits against Scheherazade!
W.E.L.D.E.R.: The educational version of a top-selling iOS word game. As one reviewer described it: “If Boggle, Scrabble and Hangman had a baby, the end result might come close to being as good as W.E.L.D.E.R., a word game lover’s delight…”
Tomes: A choose-your-own-adventure series with a focus on vocabulary, featuring characters from classic literature. Its evocative social dynamics are similar to those found in hit games such as Surviving High School.
Unearthed: A game teaching students the many complexities and irregularities of subject-verb agreement. Unearthed offers students an engaging way to master this usually tedious topic in an addictive arcade game format.
Sentence and Sensibility: An arcade-style word puzzle game that encourages students to use more varied and complex sentence structures in their own writing. It takes full advantage of the tactile game mechanics available on tablets and other mobile devices.
Venture!: A bundle of quick-play games focusing on spelling, conjugation of irregular verbs and overcoming homonym confusion.
Spelling Stone: A puzzle game that links spelling to morphology.
For the 2014-15 school year, Amplify will also have at least 15 science, math and engineering games (list available by request).
The curriculum comes with a dashboard allowing teachers to track each student’s progress and the class as a whole. Student performance on vocabulary activities, core lessons and games used after school all filter back to teachers, allowing them to determine how students are mastering the material, who is ready for more advanced work and who needs individual help.
Amplify’s Digital Curriculum for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade ELA will be available on on multiple platforms, including iPads, Chromebooks, PCs, Macs as well as the Amplify Tablet.
Amplify is reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn through data-driven instruction, one-to-one learning and next-generation digital curriculum. Our products and services are designed for tomorrow’s promise and today’s realities.
At Amplify, we’re creating exciting new approaches to teaching and learning that are: as immersive as the best films; as compelling as the best video games; as social as the best networking applications; as personal as the best tutors; and as analytically sophisticated as the best search engines.
We’ve helped more than 200,000 educators and 3 million students in all 50 states begin their digital transition through mobile assessment solutions, adaptive curricula and tools that harness the power of data for classroom teachers. And we’re just getting started.
Headquartered in New York City and with more than 1,000 employees across the country, Amplify is led by a team of digital education experts and has provided industry-leading instructional tools, data analytics and assessment solutions to the K-12 market for more than a decade as Wireless Generation.
PublicSchoolWORKS Wins Bronze for Customer Support and Retention
in the 2014 Stevie® Awards
Customer Service Department of the Year Recognition marks the 4th Stevie honor for PublicSchoolWORKS
Cincinnati, OH – February 28, 2014 – PublicSchoolWORKS, the signature safety compliance solution for K-12 schools, was selected as the Bronze Stevie® Award for Sales & Customer ServiceSM honoree for Customer Service Department of the Year – Public Services & Education. WORKS has been selected as a final Stevie honoree each of the four times WORKS submitted for a Stevie Award.
The 12-year customer renewal rate for PublicSchoolWORKS is an impressive 99.99 percent, attributable to its results-oriented customer support and the ongoing focus to help districts implement a comprehensive safety compliance program. When a customer calls the WORKS client services team — available 24/7 — 97 percent of issues are resolved on the initial call, with the remainder typically within 48 hours.
“This Stevie honor further validates our commitment to customers to making schools safer with less of their staff time involved,” said Strasburger. “Most companies that sell safe-school products offer software that just meets compliance with limited or no customer training included, or ongoing compliance and technical support. We are about delivering comprehensive programs that meet the intent of the law — not just the letter of the law — and that manage safety and compliance requirements to completion with automation — the way school districts need it to work — so their staff can focus on the business of teaching.”
WORKS has dedicated in-house teams focusing on Research, Development and Programming to ensure that all content is compliant with ever-changing federal, state and local regulations, so that administrators truly experience peace of mind.
“WORKS ‘we’ve got you covered’ mentality means all team members are dedicated to working to increase customer experience and safety compliance effectiveness,” said Tom Strasburger, vice president of PublicSchoolWORKS. “In concert with our in-house R & D teams who constantly monitor legislation and develop compliance tools, Client Services proactively works with customers to ensure their schools are compliant with changing and new mandates without any extra time or effort. Our district customers have the luxury of not worrying about it knowing we got ‘em covered!”
More than 1,500 nominations were evaluated this year, from public, private and non-profit organizations of all sizes and representing virtually every industry. There were 36 percent more submissions competing this year over 2013. Judges were selected to a 129-member panel representing small, growing companies to Fortune 100 conglomerates and governmental organizations across the globe. This panel formed seven specialized judging committees to evaluate and select the final 2014 Stevie Award honorees.
“Entries to the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service awards have almost doubled over the past few years,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “Not only have we seen a dramatic increase in the number of entries; but the judges have also seen a remarkable rise in the quality of the nominations submitted overall.”
Entries were considered in 43 categories for customer service and contact center achievements, 43 categories for sales and business development achievements, and additional categories to recognize new products, services and solution providers. Details about all Stevie winners are available at www.StevieAwards.com/sales.
About The Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in five programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes, and the people behind them, the Stevie Awards recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards atwww.StevieAwards.com.
PublicSchoolWORKS (www.publicschoolworks.com) is committed to providing top-quality, practical and cost-effective solutions to the constantly changing environmental, health and safety requirements affecting the nation’s educational systems. The company has earned an exemplary reputation for the innovation and technical superiority of its comprehensive and integrated systems, which combine administrative software tools and automated management resources to dramatically reduce the time and cost required to develop, implement and sustain district-wide safety compliance programs. For more information on how PublicSchoolWORKS can improve districts’ safety programs, contact 1-877-779-6757 or email@example.com.
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LAUSD Middle School Saves More Than $50,000 In Tech Budget
Innovative CA middle school looks to high-quality refurbished tech to get more for less
(LOS ANGELES) Feb. 26, 2014 – While the ambitious but costly tech rollout in L.A. Unified schools has made national headlines, one middle school in the district found a budget-friendly way to give students access to high-quality education technology.
Thomas Starr King Middle School purchased 35 MacBooks and 40 iMacs from Mac to School, K-12’s leading provider of refurbished Apple devices.
“Thomas Starr King is one of the highest performing middle schools in the greater Los Angeles area. To maintain the bar we have set so high, it is imperative our students have access to the highest quality technology available,” comments Mark Naulls, principal at Thomas Starr King.
Naulls has engaged Mac to School on a number of occasions, citing in addition to quality of tech, the emphasis the company puts on long term relationships with schools, customer support they provide as well as the warranties offered.
“We are always looking for creative ways to get the most instructional value for every dollar we spend,” said Naulls. “Buying refurbished computers from Mac to School allowed us to make the most of our technology budget without sacrificing the quality of the devices.”
While the middle school could have paid more than $85,000 to buy new technology directly from Apple, Mac to School’s refurbished technology only cost them $33,000.
“At Mac to School, we believe every student deserves access to the best technology on the market,” said Robert Baker, Mac to School’s co-founder and president. “We want to give schools the option to get more technology at a lower cost – without sacrificing quality or capability. Stories like King Middle School’s only reaffirm that mission.”
In addition to providing school districts with an option for purchasing refurbished computers, Mac to School also offers to purchase Apple products from districts that are looking to upgrade or make room in their budget for new computers.
To learn more about Mac to School and the Apple products currently in stock, visit them online at www.mactoschool.com. Representatives from the company will also be attending the national conferences of CCSA (March 3-6 in San Jose) and CUE (March 20-22 in Palm Springs).
About Mac to School:
Mac to School buys, sells and refurbishes all types of Apple computers and equipment. We serve the public and private education market, working with small schools up to large districts throughout all 50 states. Our mission is to deliver the best value to our customers while providing the highest level of customer service. Our team of Apple Certified Technicians employs customized tools to generate detailed audits and provide quality refurbishment.
Goalbook Significantly Improves Goals Written for IEPs, Research Shows
Professors discover that using Goalbook helps teachers provide access to rigorous curriculum
Palo Alto, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2014) – When special education teachers write learning goals for their students, measurable details are important, but often hard to identify. According to a recent study by San Francisco State University (SFSU), Goalbook helps ensure a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is aligned to standards and differentiated according to the student’s unique needs.
Dr. Susan J. Courey, professor of special education at SFSU, along with faculty member Dr. Phyllis M. Tappe, conducted the study to help their student teachers develop more personalized learning goals for their students.
“Adopting Common Core standards is uniquely challenging for special education teachers. Our job is to identify learning objectives that meet each student’s needs while maintaining academic rigor,” said Courey. “A clearly defined IEP is so important to students with special needs, and actionable goals are a vital part of that plan.”
The professors developed a research-based rubric and evaluated the goals written by their students, assigning each a score on a 20-point scale.
The goals developed using Goalbook as a resource scored an average of 17.5, compared to an average score of 5.0 for goals developed without Goalbook. In other words, goals written with the support of Goalbook contained two and a half times more information for planning and measuring an individual student’s success.
“We thought Goalbook would have a positive effect, but the results were phenomenal. Providing teachers with supports that suggest ideas for dealing with ability gaps helped our student teachers to significantly improve their ability to write effective IEP goals,” said Tappe. “The quality of resources, ease-of-use, and relation to the Common Core State Standards are the keys to Goalbook’s success.”
Goalbook’s online platform helps teachers design learning objectives aligned to research-based frameworks, including Universal Design for Learning, and provides a repertoire of instructional strategies aimed at providing all students access to the general curriculum.
“Research has proven over the decades that teachers are the most important school-based factor that impacts student learning,” said Daniel Jhin Yoo, co-founder and CEO of Goalbook. “However, the attrition rate for special education teachers in our schools outpaces that of any other teaching professional. Goalbook is designed to empower special educators by supporting their critical work in designing personalized learning goals and scaffolding instruction so that all students can reach their full potential.”
“Goalbook is a unique resource,” affirms Courey. “It provides a rich collection of resources for teachers, assuring that all students have access to the general education curriculum, which will better equip them with the skills they need to succeed in college and their careers.”
For more information about Goalbook, visit them online at www.goalbookapp.com
Goalbook’s mission is to improve student outcomes by empowering teachers to transform personalized instruction in the classroom. Goalbook offers a holistic solution for teacher development and support, integrating innovative technology, professional development, and leading pedagogical research into its online platform. The team works closely with district partners on tailored implementation and professional development plans. Founded by former teachers and administrators, Daniel Jhin Yoo and Justin Su, Goalbook partners with over 200 district customers in 40 states. Goalbook was part of ImagineK12’s inaugural class and the first company funded through New Schools Venture Fund’s Seed Fund. Learn more at www.goalbookapp.com.
About San Francisco State University
Founded in 1899, San Francisco State University today is a globally focused community of more than 30,000 students, faculty and staff. In a region known for innovation, creativity and progressive thinking, San Francisco State University is the intellectual heart and soul of the surrounding city. Acknowledged as a leader in community service learning, the liberal arts and international education, SF State is also a major civic force, partnering with government, business and educational leaders to advance both the University and the region.