SEPT 21, 2016

Manor ISD Adopts myON to Close Literacy Gap

The Texas District of Innovation will use the personalized learning environment to help students learn to read in early childhood programs and in grades K through 8


(MINNEAPOLIS, MN) September 20, 2016 – myON, a business unit of Capstone and leading provider of personalized literacy solutions for the K-12 marketplace, today announced its partnership with Manor Independent School District. Access to myON will play a key role in the district’s mission to further engage the community in closing the literacy gap.


The myON implementation and renewed focus on literacy is part of the district’s new long-range plan as a certified Texas Education Agency (TEA) District of Innovation. With this designation, the district is exempt from certain sections of the Texas Education Code that inhibit the goals of the district as outlined in the locally adopted Innovation Plan. Superintendent Dr. Royce Avery plans to use the TEA certification to turn innovative ideas into a reality by forming community partnerships, closing the literacy gap, and leveraging technology.


Dr. Avery and Manor ISD partnered with myON to give students participating in the district-funded, full-day pre-K program access to high-quality digital texts both at home and at school. Three new pre-K centers are planned to open during the 2016–2017 school year. The partnership with myON will also provide students and teachers in eight elementary schools and two middle schools online and offline access to more than 6,000 fiction and nonfiction books customized to fit each student’s personal interests and reading level.


Manor, a booming suburb of Austin, TX, has a diverse population of urban and rural families, many of whom are English language learners.


“We see great value in myON’s wide variety of Spanish and dual-language titles,” said Dr. Avery. “Our goal as a community is to develop young readers long before students enter our school buildings. Investing in our younger generations will pay off as they mature through out their years in Manor ISD. With myON, and our focus on 21st-century teaching and learning, students and families can read together using technology and develop a love for reading in and out of the classroom.”


Enrollment in the district is expected to jump from 8,700 students this school year to 20,000 in five years. To guarantee a smooth transition during a major time of growth, Superintendent Avery is focused on collaborating with the city council, school board, and other community organizations to involve community members in the focus on overall student success.


“We are honored and excited to partner with Dr. Avery and his team at Manor ISD. We share his vision for instilling a love for reading in all students,” said Todd Brekhus, the president of myON. “With such a diverse and growing population, we will work with Superintendent Avery and the Manor community to put more books in the hands of students to further close the equity and literacy gap.”


About myON

myON, a business unit of Capstone, has created a personalized digital literacy environment that transforms learning. myON expands the classroom for teachers and students by providing unlimited access to the largest collection of more than 11,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time assessments, and a growing Literacy Toolkit that enhances the myON literacy ecosystem. myON empowers students and teachers with real-time, actionable data—number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more—based on embedded Lexile® assessments that measure student reading and writing growth. With myON, every student experiences the benefits of personalized literacy instruction to propel them to new and unlimited learning opportunities. To learn more, visit



New Self-Help Book Illustrates the Five Most Important Leadership Skills

Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby combines literary text with whimsical poetry and illustrations to inform and entertain leaders of all ages

(Los Angeles, CA) September 20, 2016 – Co-authors Ann McMullan and Michael Barrett today announced the publication of their book, Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby. The educational and entertaining self-help book teaches essential personal leadership skills through a clever combination of literary text targeted to adult leaders, combined with captivating, childlike stories.

The book was written for anyone who currently serves in (or aspires to serve in) a leadership capacity in their professional or personal life—as well as school-age children and young adults. “We readily recognize principals, CEOs, and presidents as leaders, but parents are leaders, too. So are kids. Being the oldest sibling in a family or a leader in school activities requires all sorts of leadership skills,” said McMullan. “Whatever leadership role you find yourself in, there are basic principles of leadership that will strengthen your abilities and support your success. This book will help you understand those skills and apply them to your own situation.”

Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby uses a literary style similar to Spenser Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? to illustrate real-world lessons through the stories of engaging fictional characters.

Each of the book’s five short chapters focusses on an essential leadership skill and begins with McMullan’s lessons, written in prose, describing the importance of that skill. As the book flows from one chapter to another, McMullan demonstrates how each leadership skill builds on the others and how all are critical to the success of any leader.

Following McMullan’s description of each specific leadership skill, Barrett uses playful, rhyming language and joyful illustrations to share a related story featuring two lovable wallabies. Sheila and her baby daughter Josephine present examples of positive leadership skills, which are contrasted by examples of ineffective leadership. Readers can see sample pages from the book

In her praise of the book, Kathy Hurley, the CEO of Girls Thinking Global and co-author of Real Women, Real Leaders, commented, “Ann McMullan and Michael Barrett have penned the perfect leadership book for people of all ages. Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby is engaging, entertaining, and inspiring. Whether you are 8 or 88, this fun, very readable book provides a blueprint for developing the essential leadership skills needed to grow your organization and motivate everyone around you.”

Life Lessons in Leadership: The Way of the Wallaby is available for $14.95 on CreateSpace and Amazon.

About the Authors

Ann McMullan is an education consultant based in Los Angeles, CA. She works throughout the United States and internationally as a public speaker, writer, and advisor focused on leadership and educator professional development. A frequent speaker at state and national education conferences Ann is also a contributor to educational publications, including eSchool News, Scholastic EduPulse, EdNET Insight, and CoSN. In recognition of her 16 years of work as the Executive Director for Educational Technology at Klein ISD (TX), Ann has won ISTE’s Making It Happen award and TCEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For more information or to contact Ann, please visit

Michael Barrett is a freelance writer who for many years has written for the San Antonio Express-News, including a monthly video column that ran for 20 years. His other publications include the San Antonio Light, San Antonio Current, Video Watchdog Magazine,Nostalgia Digest, and He received an Artists Grant from the Pace Foundation for his creative writing. He is currently collaborating on an animated film featuring the wallabies that is in development in Los Angeles. For more information or to contact Michael, please visit


Bush Institute Releases State of Our Cities: Profiles of Education Performance around the Nation

Comparable data on 100+ cities previewed during Mayors Roundtable at Bush Center


DALLAS, Texas (September 20, 2016) — The Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center today released State of Our Cities: Profiles of Education Performance around the Nation, a new online tool that provides comparable education data on more than 100 cities across the country.

The interactive resource, designed to help mayors better engage in their city’s education landscape, was previewed this morning at a Mayors Roundtable hosted by the Bush Institute, which welcomed mayors and superintendents from across Texas for a discussion on education and how their cities are performing.

“Educators, parents, policymakers, and importantly, our mayors, need access to objective, comparable data so that they can make decisions to support the success of all students in their communities,” said Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute. “Mayors and state and local policymakers have an even greater role to play than ever before in improving the schools in their cities, and this tool is an especially valuable resource for them.”

State of Our Cities is the updated and enhanced version of the Mayors’ Report Card on Education, which covered education metrics for 33 cities and was first released at the request of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in January 2015 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting.  While education data has been collected and aggregated at the state level, the Mayors’ Report Card was the first time that data was collected and aggregated at the city level.

The State of Our Cities tool includes data on 114 cities and allows users to make comparisons at the state, national, and even global level by including data from the Bush Institute’s Global Report Card, allowing city leaders, policymakers, parents, and educators to compare their community’s scores with global competitors.

“Our education systems are key to the success of our cities,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “And as mayors armed with this tool, we will be able to better understand how well we’re doing at educating all of our students, as well as see what’s working in other cities that we can take and adapt in our own.”

The data outlines performance on indicators including: a high-quality education for every student; supported pathways to college and career; early childhood education that prepares students for the classroom; and effective educators and principals. Armed with these observations and data as a starting point, mayors can work with their communities to address important needs or accelerate change.

At this morning’s roundtable, Mayor Rawlings was joined by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams for the discussion, along with education leaders from across the state of Texas including: Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos, Arlington I.S.D.; Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Dallas I.S.D.; Superintendent José Parra, Irving I.S.D.; Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner, Fort Worth I.S.D.; Deputy Superintendent Dr. Emilio Castro, San Antonio I.S.D.; Ana Acevedo, Education Policy Administrator, City of San Antonio; Council Member Victoria Farrar-Myers, City of Arlington; Pete Geren, President, Sid W. Richardson Foundation; Lanet Greenhaw, Vice President of Education, Dallas Regional Chamber; Dr. Frank Hernandez, Associate Dean of SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Dr. Cynthia Miller, Vice President Workforce Development and Education, Fort Worth Chamber; Juliet Stipeche, Director of Education, City of Houston; Todd Williams, Executive Director, Commit! Partnership, Dallas; Ken Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center, and Holly Kuzmich, Executive Director of the Bush Institute.

The roundtable highlighted that State of Our Cities is a starting point for compiling available data from multiple sources and helping inform mayors and city leaders about what is needed to help prepare all students for success in college and the workforce.

“I’d like to thank all of the mayors and superintendents who joined us this morning for an important conversation, and particularly Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for asking that we take on this project,” said Kuzmich. “Our cities and school districts must ensure all students are receiving an education that prepares them for college and the workforce, and we agree that data is a first step in getting there.”

State of Our Cities includes cities from all states except Hawaii, which has a statewide school district. Featured cities were chosen based on the availability of comparable student achievement data and information of interest to mayors. All data in the tool is from publically available sources; the majority of the data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) Civil Rights Data Collection, and Ed Facts.

The project, which will be routinely updated, is part of the Bush Institute’s Education Reform initiative to help ensure all students are on a path to success. To view the State of Our Cities and learn more about our work, visit:


RoboKind Debuts Robot with African-American Likeness to Engage Students in STEM
Guided by standards-aligned computer science and coding curriculum, humanoid robot Jett is designed to empower African-American students to embrace STEM

DALLAS (Sept. 20, 2016) – While the nation casts attention on a projected STEM employment deficit, activists and education leaders are addressing the diversity gap in education programs as a contributing factor. RoboKind, the world leader in social robotics, debuts a humanoid robot designed to expand access and engagement for African-American students in K-12 STEM education. The robot, with African-American likeness, will deliver the Robots4STEM curriculum designed in partnership with Quadrant 4 System Corporation (QFOR).

Guided by the Robots4STEM curriculum, the robot Jett helps students in third grade and beyond gain foundational skills in coding and computer science. The program is designed to support educators with or without experience in computer science in implementing Robots4STEM, all while meeting math and science curriculum standards.

To read the full release, click here

SEPT 20, 2016

University of California, Davis Improves Affordability Through Award-Winning Initiative for Digital Delivery of Course Materials from Pearson and Other Providers


Inclusive Access initiative wins prestigious accolades after saving students $3.4 million with digital course content delivered through Pearson’s Digital Direct Access model, as well as other content providers


NEW YORK – September 19, 2016 – Today, Pearson lauded the University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) for the institution’s award-winning Inclusive Access initiative that has saved students $3.4 million in course materials expenses over the last two years. The pioneering approach to digital distribution of course materials and reducing student expenses was designed in partnership with Pearson through the company’s Digital Direct Access (DDA) model, as well as other digital content providers.


The initiative earned UC Davis the 2016 University of California Larry L. Sautter Award for Innovation in Information Technology, which was established in 2000 to encourage and recognize innovative deployment of information technology in support of the university’s mission. The program also won the Innovation Achievement Award from the National Association of College Stores Foundation this spring.


Created to provide students with direct access to digital course materials through the campus bookstore, UC Davis launched the initiative with Pearson and other providers in 2014. Since then, the university has digitally delivered required course materials for more than 170 courses, and over 45,000 students have engaged with this program. UC Davis typically delivers required course content for 40 or more courses per quarter using this model, a number that continues to grow.


More than 80 institutions around the country have partnered with Pearson in 2016 to implement the DDA model, which enables schools to digitally deliver high-quality digital course materials to their students. In addition to cost savings, DDA provides learners with critical access to course materials on the first day of class and offers instructors valuable insights into students’ learning activity through data analysis.


“Our campus was thrilled to have our Inclusive Access program acknowledged as one of the most innovative IT projects in the UC system,” said Jason Lorgan, executive director of Campus Recreation, Memorial Union and UC Davis Stores. “Faculty appreciate that students have day-one access to materials and the course can proceed without delay.”


“Our students continue to embrace the program with high satisfaction levels in our end-of-term surveys,” Lorgan added. “The high-quality, vetted digital content in the Inclusive Access program furthers the success of our students, the ultimate goal our entire campus is focused on.”


“We congratulate the UC Davis Stores and its campus partners on receiving these prestigious accolades for the Inclusive Access program, which has delivered significant cost savings to thousands of students at the institution. We anticipate that increased access to high-quality digital content will continue to have a positive impact on student success, as well as provide educators with the critical course data they need to analyze students’ performance and make necessary instructional adjustments,” said Tom Malek, senior vice president of partnerships, Pearson.


With digital content from Pearson and other providers, the UC Davis Stores IT department developed the program’s web-based application for course and enrollment data, program communication to students, billing and analytics.


About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit


Generation Global Launches, Free Safe Online Environment for Students to Explore Cultural Differences Through Dialogue

The non-profit program provides free educational content, curated videoconferences, and a safe online community where students can connect with peers from around the world


(NEW YORK, NY) September 20, 2016 – Generation Global, an education non-profit created for students ages 12–17, today announced its relaunch into the U.S. as Generation Global, an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Generation Global provides practical, support for educators to guide the next generation of young people in becoming global citizens by peacefully navigating cultural and religious differences through meaningful dialogue.


All over the world, destructive ideologies based on cultural, religious, and ideological stereotypes are hampering development, dialogue, and understanding of the world around us. Generation Global believes that education is one of the most effective instruments in countering these ideologies.


With Generation Global’s complimentary platform and curriculum, American students learn alongside students from around the world. Learning from (and teaching) their peers from different cultures allows students to develop the skills they need to navigate diversity and have meaningful dialogue with people of different cultures.


Since 2008, Generation Global’s safe, secure, and monitored web-based platform has helped more than 200,000 students in 20 countries around the world engage in meaningful dialogue and connect with peers through online conversations and facilitated videoconferences. Connecting with students from different countries gives young people the skills of global citizenship, and encourages the next generation to be accepting and at ease with cultural differences.


“We are proud of this success so far. But we recognize that as the nature of the challenge evolves, so must we,” said Dr. Ian Jamison, head of education and training for Generation Global. “Unfortunately, extremism is growing around the world. It uses new ways to spread its message of hate, including using technology to enable this spread. Globalization and technological change present exciting new opportunities to educate students in schools and provide tools to teach a new generation of global citizens.”


Generation Global’s classroom resources can be integrated into any lesson but fit especially well into those focused on diverse cultures like history, geography, and social studies. Resource-filled toolkits not only educate students about the difficult issues facing our nation and the world today, but foster critical thinking, effective dialogue skills, and intercultural knowledge to help students better understand and respect one another.


Using the online learning community, teachers can group their students into structured conversations with other young people around the world, creating a safe and monitored environment that encourages open dialogue.


Teachers can take their class around the world in an afternoon through online videoconferences facilitated and arranged by the Generation Global team. Interacting directly with their peers, students are empowered to ask and answer questions about culture, identity, values, and beliefs.


Generation Global’s classroom resources prepare students before and after videoconferences by focusing on critical thinking skills and how to engage in meaningful discussion. This careful preparation guides students to learn the skills they need to express themselves in a respectful and open-minded way.


Generation Global offers additional support for teachers, including training with diversity experts, access to 24-hour help desks, and an intuitive toolset used to prepare and evaluate students on their performance.


Generation Global is accessible on any device, including mobile phones, iPads, and Chromebooks.


About Generation Global

Generation Global is a pioneering global education program for 12-17 year olds. By providing global learning and dialogue opportunities, it helps young people to be resolute in the face of narratives that may feed into the development of violent extremist ideologies. We want to ensure that our program is a catalyst for genuine behavioral and attitudinal change. Devised by an international group of educational experts, advisers, and religious leaders, the program provides opportunities for students to put critical thinking skills into practice through facilitated dialogue. Generation Global is an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which provides practical support to help prevent religious conflict and extremism.


For more information, please visit Generation.Global


Cantata Learning Inspires Creativity and Collaboration Through Global Harmony Project

‘Give a Shout Out to Your Community’ helps students and teachers connect to the global community by sharing writing, videos, artwork, and ideas

(Mankato, MN) September 20, 2016 – It’s a new school year, and educators are building a whole new community with their students.Cantata Learning, an educational publisher of pre-K–3 curriculum content and music, is proud to announce its 2016 Global Harmony Project, “Give a Shout Out to Your Community.”


Harmony Projects, inspired by Cantata Learning books and songs, let students showcase their creativity in a variety of ways, including writing stories and poems or creating videos, recipes, artwork, and more. Students learn to connect with the global community by exhibiting creativity and collaboration, while also gaining hands-on learning experience.


“The ‘Give a Shout Out to Your Community’ project celebrates communities of all kinds—from in the classroom, to your town, state, and beyond,” said Katherine Coughlan Hobson, the General Manager of Cantata Learning. “The project not only gets students and teachers involved with their outside community, but provides educators with a special opportunity to join with their peers to share lessons and ideas. Using the Cantata Learning Harmony Project toolkit, educators can easily incorporate free lessons, songs, and books into their units while adding a social-emotional learning aspect.”


There are many ways teachers and librarians can participate in “Give a Shout Out to Your Community”:


  1. Join the free, virtual People in Your Community Meet & Greets with diverse professionals ranging from a farmer and a chef to an author and an optometrist.
  2. Give a shout out to their community in a short video.
  3. Submit a lesson, unit, or project about community. Teachers and librarians from around the world can submit their lessons, and Cantata Learning will compile them into an ebook.
  4. Submit a community service or fundraising project that their school is involved in to the “How I Help My Community”contest.


Three classes or schools that win the contest will receive 25 Cantata Learning books and CDs. The winners will also have the chance to choose another organization to receive an additional 25 free books and CDs.


From collecting pennies to helping people affected by the floods in Baton Rouge to walking dogs at the local animal shelter, pretty much any community service project will qualify. Once the projects are complete, students enter by writing a story, creating a video, or making a drawing about what they did and what they accomplished. Entries are due November 11, 2016, by 11:59 PM ET. Judging of the entries will be done by Teacher-Librarian Shannon McClintock Miller.


For official entry rules, visit


About Capstone

Capstone is a leading publisher of children’s books, digital solutions and services, literacy programs, and K–12 professional development resources. Capstone creates content in a variety of print, digital and media formats for school libraries, classrooms, and at-home reading. Capstone’s business units include Capstone Library, Capstone Classroom, Capstone Young Readers, myON, and Capstone International. For more information, visit

About Cantata Learning

Cantata Learning is a creator of content paired with music audio for children that address curriculum needs for the pre-K–3 early reader. Cantata Learning creates picture books paired with traditional children’s music audio, and content-rich original lyrics and melodies for the school and library markets. For more information, visit


Follett’s Nader Qaimari a panelist at EdNET Conference session exploring educator-education provider relationship


McHENRY, Ill., Sept. 19, 2016– Nader Qaimari, who leads Follett’s PreK-12 business, Follett School Solutions, is one of five panelists selected to explore the relationship between educators and education providers at the 2016 EdNET Conference later this month in Dallas.The “Striving for Partnership: How Educators and Providers Can Address Issues of Trust and Risk” panel is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26 during the annual conference’s second day at The Fairmont Dallas.

Qaimari will be joined by other education providers, Guiseppe “Seppy” Basili, chief revenue officer, BrightBytes; Christine Willig, president, McGraw-Hill Education’s PreK-12 group; John Murray, executive chairman, AdvancePath Academics, Inc.; and moderator Dr. Gregory Firn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for RoboKind.

Participating in the dialogue from the educational administrator side will be superintendents Dr. Wanda Bamberg, Aldine (Texas) Independent School District; Dr. Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County (Florida) Public Schools; Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas (Texas) Independent School District; and Dr. Thomas Woods-Tucker, Princeton City (Ohio) Schools, and AASA 2016 National Superintendent of the Year.

According to Vicki Smith Bigham, EdNETconference manager, the panel is designed to serve as a “candid conversation about the state of the business relationship.” She explained how these educators will address compliance, transparency, proof, and measurement and also how those issues contribute to risk-aversion and what can become an earned lack of trust by districts. The education providers will discuss districts’ resistance to partnering and how to stand out in a crowded marketplace with an overwhelming number of companies, business models, and products.

Earlier this year, Qaimari was promoted to president of Follett School Solutions. He joined the company in July 2014 and quickly earned key promotions, including being named executive vice president of Follett Corporation in October 2015. Prior to joining Follett, he served as senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cengage Learning’s Gale business.

The EdNET Conference, a B2B event hosted by MDR, provides senior executives from PreK-12 organizations with the latest information on market trends, business partnering opportunities, funding sources, new technologies, and activities of key market players.

For more information about Follett, visit

About Follett’s PreK-12 Business|
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, eBooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.


About Follett Corporation

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus bookstores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.

About EdNET |

EdNET, now in its 28th year, is a business-to-business leadership forum focused on brands that provide solutions and services to the U.S. Education market. The meeting attracts top management and staff responsible for marketing, sales, business development, product development, and strategic initiatives as well as financial industry executives and education administrators and policymakers. EdNET is brought to you by MDR, the industry leader in educational marketing and research.


SEPT 19, 2016

Funds For Learning Trend Report Provides Snapshot of E-rate Program
Funding applicants weigh in on E-rate’s strengths and opportunities for improvement amid efforts to modernize the program

Edmond, Okla. (Sept. 15, 2016) – Twenty years after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 created E-rate funding, significant measures are underway to update the program that has become vital to schools and libraries across the United States. In an effort to aid policymakers, administrators and other E-rate stakeholders as they shape the future of the program, Funds For Learning releases its 2016 E-rate Trends Report.

To read the full news release with report highlights, click here. To access the report online, visit



Workbench Partners with League of Innovative Schools and Baltimore County Public Schools to host “Day of Innovation”

More than 175 educators will participate in hands-on ed-tech workshops during League of Innovative Schools’ Fall Meeting Nov. 2-4, 2016 in Baltimore


Baltimore, MD – Sept. 15, 2016 – Baltimore-based ed-tech leader Workbench will provide hands-on experiences using drones, programmable robots, 3D printers and other cutting-edge technology during the “Workbench Day of Innovation” November 3, 2016 as part of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools Fall Meeting.


The Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools 2016 Fall Meeting, which takes place Nov. 2-4, 2016 in Baltimore, is co-hosted by Baltimore County Public Schools and brings district superintendents and their leadership teams together to collaborate on innovative education initiatives. The conference takes place at The Grand in Baltimore, with the Day of Innovation events taking place from 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM on November 3rd at City Garage.


Workbench, project based learning at its best, creates online communities to connect educators, students and ed-tech companies. The Day of Innovation is part of its ongoing efforts to promote STEM education and project based learning.


“The Workbench Day of Innovation for the League’s district leaders gives us a chance to provide them with first-hand experience using drones, programmable robots, 3D printers and other cutting-edge technology as part of a rigorous course of instruction that allows students to learn in new and unique ways,” said Chris Sleat, Workbench CEO.  “By collaborating on events like the Workbench Day of Innovation, the League of Innovative Schools is fostering the ongoing transformation of school culture.”



Learn more about Workbench, League of Innovative Schools 2016 Fall Meeting, Baltimore County Public Schools andCity Garage.



About Workbench

Workbench’s mission is to partner with ed-tech hardware companies to create online learning communities called workbenches.  These workbenches foster an engaged community where users can interact with the company and with one another to share programs, lessons and experiences in order to drive interactive, hands-on learning in the classroom. In addition, the fully integrated and custom learning management system within Workbench allows teachers to assign lessons and monitor student progress.


Workbench has partnered with some of the preeminent names in the education technology field including Sphero and SparkFun Electronics.  For more information, visit


The New Reality for College Students: Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Takes 5 to 6 Years and Students Attend Multiple Institutions


“Families and policymakers need to plan accordingly for this new reality”


HERNDON, VA (Sept. 19, 2016) – Today’s college student earns his or her bachelor’s degree in five to six years, according to a new nationwide report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The Research Center analyzed the college pathways of more than two million students who completed an associate or bachelor’s degree in 2014-15, regardless of how long it took them to finish.


Bachelor’s degree earners take 5.1 academic years, on average. The average length of active enrollment for bachelor’s degree earners from four-year public institutions is 5.2 academic years of full-time equivalent enrollment over a span of 5.6 calendar years. Students graduating from four-year private nonprofit institutions took slightly less, 4.8 academic years over 5.4 calendar years. It takes 5.8 academic years for students attending four-year private for-profit institutions, whose enrollments stretch across 8.8 calendar years. Meanwhile, students earning an associate degree took 3.3 academic years of enrollment, on average, spanning 5.6 calendar years. See Figure 1 in the report for a visual comparison.


This report, “Time to Degree,” captures all associate and bachelor’s degree earners, regardless of how long it took them, and provides a comprehensive view of student success overall, in particular, non-traditional students. By looking backward to identify enrollment patterns well beyond the standard time limits of 150 percent of normal program length, the report captures a more complete picture of student experiences, including many who didn’t finish until long after the official graduation rates stopped being counted.


“Today’s student enrollment patterns are markedly different from what has long been perceived as normal, and these non-traditional behaviors have a dramatic effect on time to degree,” said Doug Shapiro, Executive Research Director, National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. “Each additional term or semester has the potential to increase the cost to the student, both through foregone earnings and additional tuition expenses. Yet, spells of part-time enrollment and non-enrollment often enable students to mitigate these effects by combining earning and learning. Families and policymakers need to plan accordingly for this new reality.”


Other findings include:


  • Half of all bachelor’s degree earners from four-year public institutions took more than five academic years’ worth of active enrollment to finish their degrees.


  • Students who participated in dual enrollment during high school shortened their time for an associate degree by half an academic year, or about a full semester of enrolled time.


  • A quarter of all bachelor’s earners from any institution, more than 370,000 graduates, did not finish within six calendar years.


  • Nearly two-thirds of bachelor’s degree earners and more than 80 percent of associate degree earners had at least some part-time enrollments. For associate degree earners, going part-time more than doubled the average number of years between starting and finishing. For bachelor’s degree earners, it added more than two years.


  • Women who were older than 20 when they started college took the longest to receive an associate degree, 7.2 calendar years from start to finish. They spent 8.8 calendar years, on average, for a bachelor’s degree.


  • Multiple-institution attendance patterns are prevalent among all degree earners, regardless of the length of active enrollment. For example, 64 percent of bachelor’s degree earners from four-year public institutions attended more than one institution before finishing.


The data for this report were drawn from the StudentTracker® and DegreeVerify℠ services administered by the National Student Clearinghouse®, which tracks more than 3,600 postsecondary institutions and 96 percent of college enrollments nationwide across all postsecondary institutions, including: two-year and four-year institutions, public and private institutions, and nonprofit and for-profit institutions.


About the National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™


The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center is the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse. The Research Center collaborates with higher education institutions, states, school districts, high schools, and educational organizations as part of a national effort to better inform education leaders and policymakers. Through accurate longitudinal data outcomes reporting, the Research Center enables better educational policy decisions leading to improved student outcomes. To learn more, visit





SEPT 14, 2016


Collaboration to Bring Award-Winning Science Techbook to 31,000 Students in 55 Elementary Schools

SILVER SPRING, Md. (September 14, 2016) Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) today announced a new, eight-year partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.  Though this collaboration, K-5 educators will be empowered with Discovery Education’s award-winning Science Techbooks to create rich and engaging learning experiences for approximately 31,000 students at the district’s 55 elementary schools.

VBCPS’s new partnership with Discovery Education supports the district’s five-year strategic framework,Compass to 2020: Charting The Course. Guiding the evolution of teaching and learning districtwide, this framework sets the district’s vision and efforts for ensuring all students are challenged and supported to reach their full potential. Discovery Education’s Science Techbooks will support district educators as they deliverstandards-aligned instruction that is differentiated to meet unique student needs, as well as help maximize student engagement and create new learning opportunities that include higher-level thinking and questioning.

“Virginia Beach City Public Schools is committed to making a difference for every student, every day,” said Dr. Lesley Hughes, Executive Director for Elementary Teaching and Learning at Virginia Beach City Public Schools. “We are excited to launch this new partnership with Discovery Education, as their unique combination of professional development and digital content will play a central role in transforming the way teachers and students experience science instruction in our school district.”

Discovery Education’s Science Techbook series empowers educators to transform science instruction. Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate (5E) model, each Science Techbook includes rich, standards-aligned content such as video, audio, text, interactives with hands-on activities, and virtual labs that help educators differentiate instruction and provide a rich and engaging learning experience for students. Additional student features include bilingual text-to-speech and leveled reading tools, and note-taking and highlighting capabilities.

Embedded formative assessment opportunities help educators monitor student progress, and like all Discovery Education digital textbooks, the Science Techbook works on any device and can be implemented in a variety of instructional settings.  To ensure each VBCPS teacher is fully supported in their transition to the Science Techbook, Discovery Education experts will provide Science faculty high-quality professional development supporting the integration of the digital textbook into classroom practice.

A study conducted by independent research firm Merola Research, LLC found that usage of Science Techbook is associated with higher science achievement scores in elementary school students. After one year of implementation in South Carolina’s Rock Hill Schools, fourth grade students whose teachers used Discovery Education Science Techbook scored higher on average on the 2013 Science Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) than students whose teachers did not use Science Techbook. Techbooks are also a substantially less expensive option per student at nearly half the cost of a traditional textbook, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.

The Discovery Education Community will also support Virginia Beach educators in their efforts to transform students’ learning experience with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

“We’re inspired by Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ efforts to create modern digital learning environments that maximize student engagement in science instruction,” said Kelly Burleson, Manager of Education Partnerships at Discovery Education.  “The team at Discovery Education is proud to support their efforts to create classroom experiences that prepare students for success in the classroom and beyond.”

For more information about the Discovery Education Science Techbook series or other services and resources from Discovery Education, visit

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education




National Council for the Social Studies Announces New Executive Director

National Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce the selection of Lawrence Paska, Ph.D., as its new Executive Director. Dr. Paska will fill the vacancy created after the September departure of long-time Executive Director Susan Griffin. The selection was made after a national search and was unanimously approved by the NCSS Board of Directors. Dr. Paska will begin his appointment in October 2016.

“It’s exciting to be moving NCSS forward with Dr. Larry Paska as our new Executive Director, a visionary and collaborative leader with a deep passion for empowering students to succeed. I look forward to working with him,” said NCSS President Peggy Jackson.

Dr. Paska’s professional experience has provided him with in-depth, multi-level, critical understandings of K-12 education and state education systems. He began his career as a middle school social studies teacher and later served in multiple roles at the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Among his contributions at NYSED were serving as a P-12 state social studies specialist and establishing the Office of Educational Design and Technology in P-12 Education. Most recently, Dr. Paska served as the Director of Professional Development for the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), where he and his team provided instructional programs and services for 32 public school districts in the greater New York City region, supported data-driven instruction, developed instructional leadership seminars, and were instrumental in implementing the NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework.

Within the NCSS community, Dr. Paska has served as the 2015-16 President of the New York State Council for the Social Studies, and as the NCSS House of Delegates Chair of the Resolutions Committee. Dr. Paska is an experienced manager, facilitator and presenter whose professional vision is anchored in collaborative leadership and constructivist teaching. He has taught social studies education methods at the university level and holds permanent 7-12 social studies education and school district administrator certifications in the state of New York. He earned a B.A. in History and an M.A.T. in Social Studies from Union College (NY) and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University at Albany (NY).

Stefanie Wager, NCSS Board Member and a member of the Executive Director Search Committee, stated that “Dr. Paska brings a wealth of experience to NCSS.  He has been a classroom social studies teacher, worked at a state department of education, has experience with educational technology initiatives, and has an extensive background in practices that support effective teaching and learning within the social studies.  Moreover, he has been actively involved in his own state social studies council and understands the important role state councils play within the NCSS.”

In his new role as NCSS Executive Director, Dr. Paska is looking forward to dedicating his energies and broad expertise to furthering NCSS’s mission of supporting teachers in empowering students to succeed in college, career, civic life and in our interconnected world.

“I am deeply honored to serve NCSS at this critical time for social studies education.  There is a wealth of talent and opportunity in our schools to realize the promise of high-quality social studies teaching and learning for every child.  I am excited to listen and learn from our NCSS community – and beyond – to build partnerships that strengthen our profession,” Dr. Paska said.

Dr. Paska is married to Miriam Schroeder Paska, the President and Digital Strategist of Village Green Consulting, which supports web design and online solutions for businesses and member associations.  They have twin girls, Claire and Elise, who are about to enter pre-school.

Dr. Paska will be introduced to the NCSS Membership at the NCSS Annual Conference, December 2-4, and will engage in multiple ways to meet and learn from NCSS members, groups and staff in the months ahead.


Pearson, Follett Partner to Offer Pearson’s Digital Direct Access Model to Follett’s Partners and 1,200+ Campus Bookstores


Partnership enables Follett’s partner institutions to provide students seamless access to Pearson digital content at significant savings, continuing unprecedented growth of Digital Direct Access in 2016


NEW YORK – Sept. 13, 2016 – Pearson and Follett Higher Education Group, higher education’s largest campus retailer, today announced an agreement to offer Pearson’s Digital Direct Access (DDA) model to Follett’s college partners and 1,200+ campus bookstores nationwide. This collaboration builds on Follett’s comprehensive suite of digital solutions, providing institutions with a scalable, sustainable model to deliver Pearson’s high-quality digital content such as e-textbooks, MyLab™ and Mastering™ to students on the first day of class. In addition, DDA promises significant cost savings for students compared to the price of a new print textbook. More than 80 institutions have partnered with Pearson in 2016 to implement the DDA model.


“Follett continues to lead higher education retail with innovative content delivery and pricing models that help lower the cost of education and ensure all students, regardless of academic program and budget, have access to the materials they need for success,” said Jennifer Hatton, Vice President of Course Material Operations at Follett Higher Education Group. “DDA is yet another solution we can offer our partners to help them meet their student affordability and preparedness goals.”


Seamless, first-day delivery is made possible by Follett and Pearson’s technology integrations with campus systems and Follett’s BryteWave™ digital textbook reader. The agreement between Follett and Pearson also now provides faculty and administrators with access to valuable learning data. Visibility into students’ interactions with Pearson content will help educators assess instructional needs and inform and improve future instruction.


“Institutions need effective and sustainable affordability models that help drive down the cost of education for students and ensure access to critical learning materials,” said Tom Malek, Senior Vice President of Partnerships, Pearson. “By partnering with Follett, we’re making these pricing and delivery models available to all of Follett’s partners, increasing student affordability and access, and improving faculty access to real-time data and analytics.”


To learn more about how the transition to digital delivery of course materials and solutions can improve access, affordability, and achievement in higher education, visit this website. To learn more about Follett, visit


About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit


About Follett Corporation

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus stores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.



Guilford County Schools Partner with x2VOL to Take Service-learning to the Next Level While Easing Management Burden of 1.4 Million Hours


x2VOL Records and Authenticates Service-learning Hours, Helps with District-wide Strategic Character Education Goals and Individual Student Service-learning Reflection


GREENSBORO, N.C. – September 13, 2016 – Service-Learning is ingrained in the culture of Guilford County Schools. The district—which is a National District of Character—has signed on with x2VOL to track the thousands of hours Guilford students give each year to serving in the community. Every student gets involved in service-learning from National Honor Society students and advanced learners, to those receiving special education services, and everyone in between. Click to Tweet.


Guilford needed a comprehensive and proven system that could manage the district’s thousands of service hours and the reporting and verification process, while also easing the approval process for students. x2VOL by intelliVOL, with over 10 million service hours in its system, is the leading service tracking and reporting platform in the U.S. and has the capability to handle such a large and active district. “We looked into the cost of creating our own digital platform, as well as companies that offered ways of tracking our hours,” said Charlos Banks, executive director of student services and character development. “We chose x2VOL because it had the longstanding reputation for accurate management, and it creates a straight forward, user friendly—get in and get out—process for students, staff, and community partners.”


With x2VOL, now Guilford County Schools will know more about where students are making the biggest impact in their community. Yvonne Eason, coordinator for character development and service-learning is one of the pioneering leaders for character development in the district. “We’re using x2VOL to help our students capture the types of service learning experiences, and to quantify the work they’re doing,” said Ms. Eason.


Service-learning gives students an opportunity to engage and build skills needed to be successful in college and career. “This is a great opportunity for all of our students. We can deeply engage our students from different demographic and cultural backgrounds,” added Mrs. Banks.


“We’re extremely pleased to be partnering with the Guilford County Schools’ community to help them build on the excellent foundation of service rooted so deeply into their culture,” said Michele Pitman, founder and CEO of intelliVOL, developers of x2VOL. “We hope to help them understand the additional possibilities of having a comprehensive data system such as x2VOL Service Transcripts, which are available to students for college applications, resumes and scholarship applications.”


See a recent news video about x2VOL in Guilford County Schools here.


About intelliVOL

x2VOL by intelliVOL is an award-winning tracking and reporting platform for student service hours used by private and public schools and districts nationwide to customize service goals, centralize service hours and provide diverse service opportunities. x2VOL provides students with an online and mobile way to track and report service hours specific to the goals of their school while engaging them with local non-profits. Service records are authenticated and verified for each student and can be attached to their college applications, scholarship applications or resumes. x2VOL is the most widely used service tracking and reporting platform in K-12 education with over 10 million approved service hours. Learn more at or email


About Guilford County Schools

Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, serves nearly 72,000 K-12 students at 127 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, GCS works alongside local parents, businesses and colleges to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. Guilford County is also a Say Yes to Education community, giving eligible GCS graduates the opportunity to apply for last-dollar tuition scholarships to attend any 2- or 4-year public institution in North Carolina. Combining choices to meet the individual educational needs for a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities makes our families say, “GCS, Yes!” For more information, visit the district’s website at





itslearning and Alan November Partner to Show Educators How to Create Learner-Centered Practices and Environments


Educators can access new webinar recording that  shares engagement strategies and success stories


Boston, MA – Sept. 13, 2016— On August 25, a global audience tuned in to a live webinar sponsored by itslearning ( and presented by world-renowned education leader Alan November. Titled “Strategies for Creating Learner-Centered Environments and Practices” the one-hour webinar focused on strategies for supporting learner agency, creating environments where students feel safe to take risks and engage in valuable peer learning opportunities, and helping students develop critical learning skills to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the future.


November referred to Singapore’s “Teach less, learn more” mantra as an example of the idea that students, rather than teachers, should be the ones working hardest in the classroom. “It doesn’t mean that teachers are less important, I should point out,” he said. “It’s not just a question of shifting work, it’s a question of really designing assignments and facilitating, that I think is a very high-level teacher skill.”


“I think that student voice is important, that teachers can learn more about their students,” November continued. He advised teachers to have specific goals for listening to student voice, for example, understanding any misconceptions those students may have and how to correct those misconceptions.

Another reason November mentioned for encouraging student voice is that students often can explain things in ways that a new learner can understand while educators’ expertise may cause them to speak at a level to which novices cannot relate. He suggested that students be encouraged to create tutorials for their peers as well as design problems for their peers or their teachers to solve. He cited a Texan geometry teacher named Jessica Caviness who sent out a photo of a soda cup and challenged her students to design a geometry problem around the image as a no-credit, out-of-classroom activity.


One of Caviness’ students designed a problem that required not just an understanding of geometry but also of buoyancy and ice displacement. “There’s no way you would cover that in the curriculum, there’s too much to do,”November commented. “But as a stimulus to get kids to think, it really works. And in a platform like itslearning, where you can post these kinds of problems that come from students, it’s very motivating for other students. And other kids want to design problems.” He mentioned that the class’s test scores went up and that Caviness was named Texas Teacher of the Year in 2015.


November acknowledged that some attendees might be worried about being embarrassed by student-designed problems that are beyond their expertise.  He pointed out that struggling students often consider themselves “bad”students because they never had the opportunity to watch their teacher learn. He advised teachers to admit when they don’t know something and then show how they learn so that struggling students can realize that their struggles don’t make them a failure.


Another use of itslearning that November recommended was having students use the embedded tools to document their learning. “I am convinced as I watch kids document their learning, take notes, that there’s this wide range of how students document their own learning, and that’s an enormous opportunity to do this cooperatively,” he said in reference to itslearning’s student-to-student collaboration tools such as ePortfolios, blogs, discussion boards, surveys, bulletin comments and peer assessments.


Additionally, November advocated a student legacy approach where, instead of just doing work for a grade, students work for a greater good. He gave several examples of connecting curriculums to real-world problems, including one of students building a robot to help out NASA. The agency uses weather balloons to gather data on whether a planned rocket launch will be safe from lightning strikes. However, if bad weather occurred when personnel should have been outside sending up the balloon, that task and the subsequent rocket launch had to be scrubbed because of the danger the conditions posed to people. So, students at a nearby school built a robot to replace the workers who would have had to release the balloon.

“Call the local police department, call the local fire department,” November advised. “We have all these agencies in town, everywhere in America, that are probably working on real problems.” He cited Loudoun County Public Schools where Superintendent Eric Williams has committed the district to having every student create a legacy piece during the school year.


November also spoke about the changes teachers need to make in order to adopt these strategies such as reducing or eliminating lectures and other familiar tasks. In fact, he thought teachers’ high level of skill and comfort with those tasks may be “the single biggest barrier” to their using technology effectively.  “We’re trying to hang on to teacher behaviors, and we haven’t gone through this shift of control yet where students are being self-directed and collaborative,” he said.

The “Strategies for Creating Learner-Centered Environments and Practices” webinar is available for viewing at no cost at For more information about itslearning visit    # #  #



Tampa Preparatory Adopts 70 Lightspeed Audio Systems in New Upper School

Tampa Prep selects Redcat and Flexcat systems to create active learning environments and foster 21st-century learning


(TUALATIN, Oregon) September 14, 2016­­ — Lightspeed Technologies, the trusted provider of classroom audio solutions, and Tampa Preparatory School are proud to announce the installation of Redcat Access systems and Flexcat audio systems in the newly opened and redesigned Tampa Prep Upper School. Tampa Prep, an independent co-educational college prep school, now has a total of 68 Redcat Access systems and two Flexcat audio systems between the middle and upper schools.


With approximately 650 students in grades 6–12, Tampa Prep has abandoned the old classroom model of stationary desks and a teacher at the front of the room, and created what it calls Active Learning Environments (ALEs). After converting all middle school classrooms to ALEs in 2015, the school continued the trend into the upper school. The new classroom model provides students with a flexible, technologically advanced atmosphere conducive to the four C’s of 21st-century learning: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. Each classroom is equipped with a Lightspeed audio system, interactive projectors, and movable desks, so no student suffers from being in the “back of the class.”


“The integration of the Lightspeed audio systems, visual equipment, wireless networking, and educational software has been a fun and exciting process. It’s amazing to see all these moving parts and our hard work come together as we open the doors to our new upper school,” said Chad Lewis, the director of technology at Tampa Prep. “Our students can’t hide from learning in the back of the room anymore, and with these new collaborative learning tools, they don’t want to. Our flexible environment, combined with innovative technologies, gets our students out of their seats and learning in new, creative ways.”


Teachers and students use the Redcat every day and during every lesson. The system includes a wearable, wireless microphone for the teacher and a speaker that can be placed anywhere in the classroom. The combination allows teachers to move around the classroom, and saves them from voice fatigue.


“The microphones have been great for us as teachers,” said a Tampa Prep classroom teacher. “We can project our voice without having to raise our voice. Every student can hear me clearly, even if I’m facing the board.”


Tampa Prep’s foreign language teachers use the Redcats to help each student clearly hear the pronunciation of every word. They use the Flexcat systems (which consist of a wearable microphone for the teacher, a speaker for whole-group instruction, and a set of two-way audio pods that allow teachers to listen and speak to small groups) in the school’s soundproof practice spaces where teachers are able to see students working, but cannot hear them. With Flexcat, teachers can simply push a button and hear what students are saying during small-group instruction. The student, in turn, can push a button on the Flexcat pod and ask the teacher a question—all without the teacher being in the same learning space.


“One of the most important pieces of feedback we received was from a parent of one of our students,” said Lewis. “The parent said for the first time in their child’s education, he could actually hear the teacher. That was when we truly realized the power of having audio systems and how they not only help hearing impaired students, but everyone.”


Teachers are not the only ones who take advantage of the Redcats and Flexcats. During presentations, students use the microphone to aid in their speaking, and some record their practice speeches to prepare for student “declamations,” which they give once a year to their fellow students.


As a result of its commitment to expanded curricular offerings and technology supporting a variety of learning styles, Tampa Prep has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. “The effective use of technology to accelerate learning at Tampa Prep is impressive and innovative,” said David Solomon, the executive vice president and general manager of Lightspeed Technologies. “We are honored to be part of their ALE adoption and will continue to collaborate and offer support for years to come.”


The Redcat and Flexcat are both part of the newly launched Lightspeed Access Technology System, which provides a full range of classroom audio solutions that deliver interactive audio for collaborative whole-class instruction and small-group learning. All systems connect with Flexcat pods and seamlessly work together for easy scalability.

About Lightspeed Technologies

Established in 1990, Lightspeed Technologies is the trusted provider in classroom audio solutions. Our passion is to improve the listening and learning environment for every child. We believe strengthening the connection between teachers and students is at the heart of learning.


Lightspeed classroom audio systems allow teachers to speak in normal conversational tones while being assured that every child has an equal opportunity to hear all of the instruction. The no-installation, easy-to-use Redcat provides clear, low-volume, highly intelligible sound that is evenly distributed throughout the classroom so every child hears every word. The company’s audio system for small-group instruction, Flexcat, gives teachers the ability to gain insights into small group interactions and learning. The Topcat has become the premier solution for new construction and renovations due to its ease of installation, wireless connectivity, and remarkable audio quality. For more information about Lightspeed classroom audio products, visit


Lessons from The Corporate World Help Schools Tap into Thousands of Dollars of Hidden Value


ClassTag’s Parent Interests Feature Increases Parent Engagement and Volunteering.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 – NEW YORK: ClassTag, a cloud-based communication and scheduling platform that helps teachers turn parents into partners, announces a groundbreaking new approach to parent engagement and volunteering. Building on a parent’s interests and skills, teachers and school leaders are now able to match individual parents to needs and opportunities in their classroom and school.  ClassTag has found that interest and skill-based opportunities is the secret sauce in increasing parent participation and engagement.


“Teachers and parents love how ClassTag streamlines communications and scheduling, bringing everything they need into a single platform”, says Jason Olim, CTO and co-founder of ClassTag. “But our goal is larger than that. It is to help teachers turn parents into partners in the classroom, and partnership requires a solid interpersonal foundation that we are now supporting with our parent interests feature.”


When parents share their interests and skills on ClassTag, teachers learn more about them, and parents can connect with one another.  Teachers can invite parents to the classroom to share their skills, interests and stories with the students, opening new untapped possibilities for everyone involved.


Taking a cue from Corporate America, ClassTag has discovered that growing skills-based volunteering is much more productive and more successful than simply trying to get a warm body to fill a need. In doing so, ClassTag is seeing a greater potential for school fundraising and cost reductions by utilizing the resources schools already have: parents. In the past, schools have urged parents to volunteer for various activities in fundraising events in effort to reach a specific financial or project goal.  The challenge for many schools is getting parents to do something that may be out of their sphere of talents, skills, abilities, and even desire.


“After working for years in management consulting and big corporations, I have seen first hand how the corporate world approaches employee engagement in a very strategic way,” says Vlada Lotkina, CEO and co-founder of ClassTag.  “Corporations have figured this out. They know that the best way to get involvement from employees for volunteer activities is to match their interests with the needs of the charity or project. Parents, in much the same way, get a tremendous sense of value when they have an impact on children. They appreciate the recognition and the opportunity to give of themselves.”


There is a lot at stake in terms of the value for the volunteer events as well as the volunteer’s time and energy. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.8 million Americans, or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 billion in 2014. The latest figure from 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that the estimated value of volunteer time comes to roughly $23.56 per hour.


Lotkina continues, “What this means for schools is that there is not just more volunteering, but higher value engagement.  We’ve taken what we’ve learned from the corporate world and applied these lessons to ClassTag by linking volunteering opportunities to a parent’s interests and skills, creating more productive and impactful engagement as well as an opportunity to save thousands of dollars for schools.”


About ClassTag

ClassTag is a simple and powerful communication and scheduling platform that brings research-based practices to help teachers turn parents into partners and improve the quality of family support in education. It was founded by Vlada Lotkina, a fortune 500 executive, and Jason Olim, serial entrepreneur and technologist, to help parents like themselves make their children more successful and better prepared for life.  To learn more, visit:


Edthena Launches New Tool to Help Educators and Coaches Identify Specific Trends in Teaching Practices


Comment Stats creates visualizations to support meaningful, data-driven professional development


SAN FRANCISCO (September 13, 2016) – Seeing if teachers are improving their practice after receiving professional development is now easier with the new Comment Stats tool in Edthena, an award-winning video classroom observation platform for teacher development. This one tool transforms the data from comments left on teachers’ uploaded videos into a visual, data-driven way for them – and their coaches – to identify trends and determine if the professional development is improving teaching practices.


Using Edthena, teachers can upload videos of their classroom instruction and then share those videos with coaches and colleagues who provide timestamped comments. The comments are classified by four different types: questions, suggestions, strengths, and notes. With the new Comments Stats tool, the system automatically generates reports and graphs that show comments by their type and by any associated professional framework tags.


“Comment Stats enable teachers to reflect on the changes in their classroom teaching in new ways. Now teachers can look across all comments and reflect upon multiple videos at once to see trends in the types of comments they’ve received,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “And, as a coach you can look across multiple teachers at a building and determine if there are trends, such as meeting or not meeting a particular prioritized standards. Without Comment Stats, it would be hard to notice these patterns during the process of coaching individual teachers.”


The Comment Stats tool automatically collects the data from the comments thus not requiring any extra time or effort on the part of the user. The tool also works retroactively, so it will include already uploaded videos in the system-generated visualizations, such as line graphs showing comment data over time and pie charts showing comment data by percentages.


“In developing this tool, we reviewed different visualizations with our partner organizations to ensure we were providing an intuitive way for educators to use and analyze the data,” said Geller. “The Comment Stats tool allows comment data to be used in even more meaningful ways so educators and coaches can identify trends, lead professional learning conversations, and help improve teaching practices.”


Schools, districts, and teacher education programs in more than 30 states are using the Edthena platform. It helps these organizations make video observation an integral part of teacher induction, teacher mentoring, professional learning communities (PLCs), and peer observation.


To learn more about Edthena and its Comment Stats tool, visit


About Edthena
Edthena is the leading classroom observation platform for using teaching videos as part of professional development. Teachers upload classroom videos to share with colleagues who leave time stamped comments. Edthena also offers specialized collaboration tools to help organizations implement best practices for video-based professional learning. Edthena is the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as SIIA, District Administration, and EdTech Digest. For more information, visit For more news about Edthena, visit


RoboKind Expands Leadership, Welcomes Dr. Gregory Firn as SVP of Strategic Initiatives
Veteran superintendent and education researcher joins RoboKind, steps into new senior vice president role

DALLAS (Sept. 13, 2016) – RoboKind, the world leader in social robotics, announces the addition of Dr. Gregory Firn as senior vice president (SVP) of strategic initiatives. In the new leadership role, Dr. Firn will oversee product development and implementation, and legislative and research initiatives. As a former superintendent and seasoned leader in the research of education effects, Dr. Firn will carry on his work improving the quality of learning in the autism intervention field.

“RoboKind is dedicated to advancing autism intervention and invested in research to support that effort,” said Dr. Firn. “I’m excited to further my passion for teaching and learning by joining a mission to improve education for all students.”

To read the full news release, click here



SEPT 13, 2016

pivotEd Pairs Trusted Capstone Content with 500 Pre-built Lessons

The blended learning platform, built for 1:1 settings, incorporates literacy with science and social studies lessons


(Minneapolis, MN) September 13, 2016 – In time for the new school year, pivotEd, from Capstone, announces the launch of more than 500 pre-built science, social studies, and language arts lessons for students in grades 3–6.


Using Capstone’s award-winning content, pivotEd puts teachers—not technology—in control of lessons incorporating 1:1 devices. With pivotEd, teachers use lessons tied to Capstone content in their current curriculum, saving them hours of time spent preparing lessons.


“By combining Capstone’s collection of high-quality content with 500 pre-built lessons, we’ve successfully created a tool that lets teachers feel in control of their classroom and allows them to easily manage student devices,” said Matt Keller, Capstone’s chief marketing officer. “pivotEd is a trusted tool that saves teachers hours and helps them build cross-curricular lessons to create a collaborative learning environment that both students and teachers love.”


The variety of on-demand, teacher-led lessons empowers educators to control the pace of the class to make sure that no student is falling behind. With pivotEd, teachers can instantly lock, unlock, and deploy interactive lessons to keep students in the moment.


“pivotEd provides a slick solution for 1:1 schools that helps students break out important aspects of text, reflect on what they read using a variety of mediums, and embed visual clues to help the learning process,” said Josh Jackson, a fifth-grade teacher at North Trail Elementary in Farmington, MN. “pivotEd’s combination of digital and print resources gave me a variety of options at my fingertips so I could scaffold the material as I saw fit for my students. It also allowed me to quickly check for understanding through digital means, and follow up with any lingering questions by looking through the archived responses.”


pivotEd’s small-group activities encourage students to work together to accomplish tasks. Using the live response system, students can submit their responses using their devices, giving each an equal voice and an opportunity to engage in the group discussion at a level they are comfortable with. At the same time, teachers are able to monitor student interaction in real time, incorporate students’ answers into the lesson, and provide immediate digital feedback without disrupting instruction.


The wide range of fiction and nonfiction books and ebooks are leveled to fit individual reading levels and support Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, and state standards.


pivotEd is fully integrated with Google Classroom, and includes professional development resources to help teachers successfully implement effective digital strategies in their classrooms.


To learn more about pivotEd, visit


About Capstone

Capstone is a leading publisher of children’s books, digital solutions and services, literacy programs, and K–12 professional development resources. Capstone creates content in a variety of print, digital, and media formats for school libraries, classrooms, and at-home reading. For more information, visit



New Members of the Pearson Student Advisory Board Announced

2016-2017 cohort participants influence the next generation of learning tools, while gaining real-world work experience

NEW YORK – Sept. 9, 2016 – Pearson has announced the newest members of its Student Advisory Board (PSAB), which is now in its 8th year. The June 2016 – June 2017 cohort of 15 students are passionate learners and motivated undergraduate leaders seeking to implement change that impacts college classrooms across the country. For the first time, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society administered this highly competitive application process for the selection of the new PSAB members. Over 800 students applied through the PTK online portal for the 15 available positions.

Current board members work directly with Pearson executives and product development teams to make tangible changes to products and services that affect student success. The PSAB brings a strong student voice into the conversation about products that help shape the education experience and journey. Student Advisory Board members play an active role at Pearson, including:

-Brainstorming in person with senior Pearson executives on the challenges and opportunities in the education marketplace

-Collaborating with the student team on how to make a positive, lasting difference in the educational experience of others

-Gaining marketable job skills and real-world work experience prior to graduation

-Having the opportunity to travel during their term of service

-Expanding their personal and professional network

“Phi Theta Kappa is honored to have been invited to participate in Pearson’s Student Advisory Board initiative, which provides some of the best and brightest learners with a rare opportunity to implement meaningful improvements to educational technology solutions, while gaining valuable workforce skills,” said Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner.

“The Pearson Student Advisory Board offers outstanding student leaders the opportunity to help shape the learning tools and strategies that will prepare themselves and their peers to succeed in life. Their participation provides Pearson with invaluable feedback on how to continually improve our products, while helping the students to build their resumes and prepare for life after college,” said John Wannemacher, vice president, higher education strategic marketing, Pearson.

The 2016-2017 PSAB members are:

-Brendan Bennett – Lorain County Community College (graduate), Elyria, Ohio, and Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio (current student)

-Amanda Condon – Arkansas Tech University, Russellville

-Ekeme Ekanem – Los Angeles Pierce College, California

-Sanah Jivani – University of Texas at San Antonio

-Oluseun Joaquim – Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana

-Kevin Lau – University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

-Michael Liu – Harvard College, ‎Cambridge, Massachusetts

-Ricardo Lujan Valerio – Southern Oregon University, Ashland

-Juliet Mwirigi – University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson

-Arisleidy Nunez – Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

-Luke Oaks – Texas A&M University, College Station

-Nishwa Shah – McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

-Carolina Sosa – Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

-Brennan Wong – Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

-Carmel Wright – University of California, Los Angeles

The PSAB application for 2017-18 members will open on November 1st. For more information about the Pearson Student Advisory Board, visit this website.

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit



Video games can have lasting impact on learning

New Haven, Conn. (September 12, 2016) — A computer-based brain training program developed at Yale University helps improve student performance in reading and math — in some cases even more than individualized tutoring, according to a new study published Sept. 12 in Scientific Reports.

In a study of more than 500 second graders, math and reading scores on school- administered tests increased significantly more in children who used the brain training program Activate during the school year than in control classes.  The effect on math achievement scores was greater than what has been reported for one-on-one tutoring and the effect on reading scores was greater than what has been reported for summer reading programs.

For the full release, click here.


IO Education Recognized on the Prestigious 2016 Tyton Growth50 List

IO Education honored as a top 50 growth-stage company in education sector achieving impact at scale

ATLANTA – Sept. 13, 2016 – IO Education, the leader in empowering educators through data to improve educational outcomes, has been recognized as a 2016 Tyton Growth50 company. The Tyton Growth50 celebrates innovative organizations achieving impact at scale through a combination of strong financial performance; market awareness and adoption; and demonstrated customer outcomes across the preK–12, postsecondary, corporate training, and consumer education markets. As one of 50 organizations selected this year, this achievement marks a significant milestone in IO Education’s evolution.

“This honor is a tribute to the hardworking staff at IO Education and the educators whose dedication to student success pushes us to be the best partners we can be,” said Michael Williamson, chief executive officer at IO Education. “Being named to Growth50 is a significant milestone for us as we continue to seek new and better ways to utilize data to help educators improve outcomes for students and educators.”

To read the full release, please click here.

SEPT 8, 2016


-Unique virtual experiences will help classrooms around the world observe Constitution Day and International Dot Day, as well as deepen students’ understanding of how to protect and conserve our oceans-

Silver Spring, Md. (September 8, 2016)Next week, Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, is offering educators worldwide three new, exclusive virtual field trips they can use to begin the new school year with dynamic digital learning experiences.

Offered at no cost to participating educators and students, the scheduled virtual field trips are:

  • International Dot Day Virtual Field Trip on Tuesday, September 13 at 1 PM EST: Discovery Education and FableVision are partnering to host a virtual event marking International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.  International Dot Day began when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot, the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities and be brave enough to “make her mark.” During this special event, Dot Day Founder Terry Shay will showcase how his students are celebrating Dot Day. Students will also hear from the author of The Dot himself, New York Times Best Selling Author and Illustrator Peter H. Reynolds. To register for this event or submit questions to be answered live during the broadcast, visit


  • Of the People: Our Ocean, One Future Virtual Field Trip, on  Wednesday, September 14 at 1 PM EST: United States Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., September 15 and 16 to promote action to protect our ocean from threats – including unsustainable and illegal fishing, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts – and empower a new generation to lead the way toward a healthier and more sustainable ocean. During this virtual field trip offered in conjunction with the conference, students will have the one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about the challenges facing our ocean from experts including Cathy Novelli, United States Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment; Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State; and Dr. Richard W. (Rick) Spinrad, Chief Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Classrooms will also view exclusive footage of Secretary Kerry meeting with high school students to discuss ocean protection and environmental issues. Students will also be able to participate in a live Twitter chat with Dr. Vaughan Turekian during the event using @STASatState. To learn more and access this virtual field trip, visit Students can also share their own ocean action with world leaders by going to This 30-minute virtual field trip is the latest in the Of the Peopleseries, a collaboration between the White House and Discovery Education.


  • Constitution Day Virtual Field Trip on Friday, September 16 at 1 PM EST: In honor of Constitution Day, Discovery Education will take students behind-the-scenes at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Participating classrooms will have the opportunity to meet the new Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, the first woman and first African American to hold this prestigious office.  Students will also tour the largest library in the world, and, through diaries, letters, and other primary sources written by George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and others, explore the unique perspectives of our nation’s founders. Finally, participants will tour one of the library’s research labs not open to the public to see how scientists are uncovering new information from 200-year-old documents. Students will also be able to participate in a live Twitter chat with the Librarian of Congress during the event using #DEConstitutionDay2016. For more information and to register, visit

To further support participating educators, Discovery Education is providing a collection of classroom activities related to each of these virtual field trips that includes comprehensive pre-and post-event lessons, which educators can utilize to enhance the learning experience and prepare students for these virtual events. These materials can be found on the homepage of each individual virtual field trip.

“Our students engage immediately with Discovery Education’s virtual field trips because they provide unique experiences during which they can visit places and meet people they would not otherwise be able to access,” said Margie Rogers, technology integration specialist at Waynesville R-VI School District in Missouri. “We are looking forward to building these and Discovery Education’s other virtual field trips into our instructional plans throughout the year.”

All of Discovery Education’s virtual field trips are archived and available at  Educators can use these virtual field trips at any time to create an immersive learning experience for their students.

“As a former school superintendent, I understand the unique learning opportunities that virtual field trips present to teachers and students,” said Dr. Mark Edwards, Senior Vice President of Digital Learning at Discovery Education. “Discovery Education’s virtual field trips not only provide the opportunity for educators to create one-of-a-kind learning experiences for their students, they also provide valuable collateral resources that help teachers extend learning and broaden the impact of these events.  I invite educators worldwide to participate in these truly unique events.”

For more information about Discovery Education, visit

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education  



REcharge Labs Makes it Easier for Classrooms in Need to Participate in Free Online Design Challenge with STEM Class Kit Giveaway


From September 15 – September 30, 2016, educators can enter to win a free MacGyver Windmill or Solar House Class Pack


(Minneapolis, MN) September 8, 2016 – To help educators bring renewable energy engineering to their classrooms, REcharge Labs is giving away 10 MacGyver Windmill Class Packs and 10 Solar Town Class Packs to deserving teachers. The lucky winners will then use their class packs to help teams of students enter the MacGyver Windmill Challenge or the Solar House Challenge, two of REcharge Labs’ year-round online design challenges. To enter the giveaway, educators must fill out the application and list why it is important for students to enter REcharge Labs’ Online Challenge. Educators must complete the application, found here, between Thursday, September 15, 2016 and Friday, September 30, 2016.


REcharge Labs hosts three Online Challenges each month – the MacGyver Windmill Challenge, the Solar House Design Challenge and the Wind Turbine Design Challenge. To enter, students must form a team, design and build a wind or solar device and upload their energy output data to the corresponding Online Challenge portal. Each month, REcharge Labs picks a winner based on the device’s energy output, as well as design creativity, and awards the team a $50 cash prize.


The MacGyver Windmill Class Pack, which serves 15 to 45 students in grades 6-12, comes with materials for 15 windmills. Students use these kits alone, or pair them with other common household materials, to master the engineering behind windmill blade design and build a functioning windmill that lifts weight. TheSolar Town Class Pack, which is ideal for use with five to 15 students in grades 4-12, comes with materials for five solar powered houses. Students learn basic circuitry while wiring the houses with lights, motors, switches, and power storage devices. Teachers can use a single house to teach students about energy consumption and efficiency, and can then connect all of the houses to model the electrical grid.


“The Online Challenge fosters student-driven learning about renewable energy through a friendly design challenge,” said Asia Ward, Co-Director of REcharge Labs. “While our Online Challenge is free year-round for teams to enter, this giveaway will equip teachers with the tools to encourage students to get active in hands-on science.”


To learn more REcharge Labs’ Online Design challenge, visit: To learn more about REcharge Labs’ other kits, visit:


About REcharge Labs

REcharge Labs generates resources for learners to creatively explore wind and solar power. The company seeks to engage and inspire today’s students to become the innovative renewable energy leaders oftomorrow by offering effective hands-on learning activities and kits, teacher professional development, online engineering design challenges, and curricula. REcharge Labs also provides community outreach to partnering companies, energy developers, museums, state agencies, and more. For more information,




Epson’s DC-21 Document Camera Wins a 2017 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom from Learning® Magazine


LONG BEACH, Calif. – Sept. 8, 2016Epson’s DC-21 document camera has won a Learning® Magazine2017 Teachers’ ChoiceSM  Award (TCA) for the Classroom. The DC-21’s advanced features – HD 1080p resolution, large imaging sensor, 12x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, microscope adapter and audio and video recording capabilities – allow educators to easily create engaging lessons that explore multimedia objects with astounding clarity and color.


Established in 1994, the Teachers’ Choice Awards have heralded the very best in classroom-tested, teacher-recommended products. Each year, a nationwide panel of teacher-judges evaluates books, classroom supplies, educational games, software, websites, and more and then awards those with the best quality, instructional value, ease-of-use, and innovation.


“The DC-21’s flexibility offers unlimited possibilities for exploring more hands-on lessons in the classroom,” said Veronika Knight, product manager, Projectors, Epson America, Inc. “Winning a Teachers’ Choice Award is an honor and it supports the innovations we make in our products.”


More about the DC-21

The DC-21 document camera offers several advanced features to aid classroom learning, including:


–        Bright and Detailed Images: A large, highly-efficient imaging sensor captures more light per pixel to deliver bright images with high quality; 10x digital zoom and 12x optical zoom offers extraordinary close-up detail


–        Flexible Teaching Tools: Camera rotates 90 degrees vertically and horizontally so it can also be used as a webcam to capture classroom activities or for videoconferencing; capture, store and present images with an SD card1 or computer; 30 fps for ultra smooth video performance


–        Large Capture Area: Makes it easy to display two full pages; Split Screen function allows for displaying live and captured images side-by-side, ideal for comparing before and after photos


–        Portable and Durable Design: Compact design is ideal for space-constrained classrooms and robust metal arm offers durability; Kensington® lock support, built-in security bar and mounting holes offer added peace of mind


–        Auto-Select Resolution: Automatically detects the native aspect ratio of connected Epson projectors and selects the correct output resolution to match; can display 1080p, 720p, SXGA, WXGA and XGA resolutions


As a leader in innovation and partnership, Epson also offers the Brighter Futures® program, a unique sales and support initiative available specifically for schools. Designed to help educators select and implement the best products for their classrooms while making the most of their budgets, Brighter Futures offers special pricing, extended Epson limited warranty coverage for three years, dedicated education account managers, and toll-free technical support for all Epson projectors and associated accessories.


Designed with educator input, Epson’s advanced interactive display and projector technologies make bright, collaborative learning environments a reality. Compatible with a wide range of devices and widely-used interactive software, Epson projectors make it easy for teachers to share content to engage students, no matter where they sit in the classroom. Epson’s unmatched technology, service and support ensure educators are confident that high quality, bright images and multimedia are available in the classroom every day.


Availability, Pricing and Support

The Epson DC-21 is available for $499* through national resellers, pro audio/visual dealers, mail order, distribution, and the Brighter Futures program. Epson’s document cameras come with a two-year limited warranty (three years for Brighter Futures customers) that includes two elite technical support services – Epson PrivateLine® phone support with direct access to an expedited support telephone line, and a Road Service replacement program that includes product exchange in one business day with paid shipping. For additional information, visit


About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.


Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 67,000 employees in 90 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

Epson America, Inc., based in Long Beach, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube (, and Instagram (

# # #


* Brighter Futures pricing


1 SD card not included.


Note: EPSON is a registered trademark and EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark of Seiko Epson Corporation. BrightLink and PrivateLine are registered trademarks of Epson America, Inc. Brighter Futures is a registered trademark of Epson America. All other product brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.





Montour School District Selects Skyward Student Management Suite

Pennsylvania district partners with Skyward for a better SIS experience

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (Sept. 8, 2016) ­– Skyward, a K-12 school administrative software provider, is excited to announce its partnership with Montour School District in Pennsylvania. Located just outside Pittsburgh, the district adopted Skyward’s Student Management Suite in March and is now prepared to rollout the SIS solution for the 2016-2017 school year.

Darryl Yonkers, director of technology at Montour School District, described the issues administrators faced with the district’s previous SIS vendor. “The training model implemented by the prior vendor was not very in-depth, and it didn’t really leave staff in a good place right from the get-go,” Yonkers said. “Our staff struggled to complete tasks that were common things they needed to do, and the support was just terrible.”

To read the full news release, visit





SEPT 7 2016



— Participating Educators Receive Access to Standards-Aligned Lesson Plans and Can Apply to Receive Up to $240,000 in Grants and Prizes to Empower Students to Establish Healthy Habits for Life —


— In Support of Active Duty Military, One Grand Prize Giveaway Will Be Awarded to a School Serving the Military Community —


Silver Spring, Md. (September 7, 2016) – The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce childhood obesity, and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, announced today the back-to-school launch of the Together Counts™ program for the 2016-2017 school year. Established in 2010, the Together Counts program is a comprehensive health and wellness initiative designed to encourage students, educators and families to live healthy lifestyles. Since the program’s launch, a total of more than $1.6M has been awarded to deserving schools across the country.


Available at no cost, the program offers educators and students nationwide standards-based curriculum, as well as the chance to win cash grants and equipment for their schools. Updated in 2016 to address overall wellness, lesson plans tailored to Pre-K, K-2 and 3-5 teach goal-planning skills and strategies for developing lifelong resilience. All lesson plans, family resources and incentive programs can be found at; follow @TogetherCounts on Twitter and Facebook.


  • Together Counts: Healthy Decisions, Healthy Habits Curriculum: With a focus on empowering teachers with the tools they need to help their students lead healthy and active lifestyles, the new curriculum includes lessons on overall wellness – physical, social and emotional – teaching kids to make decisions that foster healthy habits throughout their lives. These resources support the federal government’s recently issued 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and are aligned to national education standards. Additionally, for Pre-K educators and families, provides age-appropriate content and hands-on activities to foster healthy habits in younger children. Empowering early educators with improved training is central to HWCF’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. An on-demand training module is available from Penn State Better Kid Care at


  • Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes: Administrators, teachers, parents and community members can enter this year’s Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three grand prizes for their school, including $30,000 in cash and sporting goods and a new PlayCubesTM Playground from Playworld, a leading manufacturer of imaginative playground and fitness equipment (entire prize package valued at $60,405 each). For the first time, the Sweepstakes will designate one grand prize to a U.S. military base or installation for a school or community organization serving the children of active duty military. Additionally, to support low-income schools, the Sweepstakes will award one of the grand prizes to a school that qualifies for Title I funding. Three runner-up winners will each receive a $5,000 cash prize. Sweepstakes open now through March 24, 2017. Entry for the sweepstakes can be found at


  • Smart From The Start Awards: The Smart from the Start Awards encourage preschool and Head Start teachers to design and implement an action plan to improve health and wellness at their school. They are tasked with incorporating the free Smart from the Start lesson plans and leveraging the larger school community as part of their plan. New this year, an on-demand training module developed by Penn State Better Kid Care is available at no cost to further support use of the curriculum in schools. The grand prize winning teacher will be awarded $20,000 for his or her school, while 10 runner-up participants will each win $2,500 for their school. Smart from the Start is part of an ongoing commitment to improve early childhood education made to the Clinton Global Initiative. Entries open now throughMarch 2, 2017. All lessons and access to the training module can be found at

Data from an initial impact study revealed students exposed to the Together Counts curriculum added one or more physical activities per week to their routine while also making healthier nutrition choices. Additionally, more than 90  percent of educators who implemented the curriculum in their classroom thought it made an impact and their students had a better understanding of healthy habits.


“Lesson plans and student resources available through the Together Counts program have engaged my students in easy-to-understand health and wellness concepts that have empowered them to live healthier lives both in and outside of the classroom,” said Francie Snyder, teacher at Prine Elementary School in Manatee County, Fl. “I look forward to introducing my new students this year to the program, and entering my school in the Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes!”


“Empowering American school students and their families to make healthy decisions that become healthy habits for life is critical to reducing obesity,” said Becky Johnson, HWCF executive director. “The Together Counts curriculum and the health and wellness grants show that educators, families and communities are motivated to live healthier lives, and we are proud to provide them with the tools, information and resources they need to inspire a new generation to live healthier, more active lives.”


“Discovery Education is committed to providing schools nationwide with free digital resources across a variety of curricular areas that empower educators, students and families with hands-on tools and engaging learning activities,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president, Discovery Education. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation to deliver a range of opportunities that teach the importance of health and wellness, and help establish healthy habits for students early on.”


For additional information on the Together Counts program visit


About Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a broad-based not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, by encouraging positive and permanent lifestyle changes among school-aged children and their families. The Foundation develops and implements innovative and collaborative educational, marketplace and community solutions with its coalition of 300 corporate and not-for-profit partners.  Through its free, award-winning Together Counts™ wellness curriculum, the Foundation has reached more than 36.1 million students. As the first commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and verified by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HWCF’s food and beverage company members gave consumers more lower calorie options by removing 6.4 trillion calories from their products– surpassing their pledge by more than 400 percent three years ahead of schedule. In June 2016 the program expanded internationally with the launch of the Latin American Commitment to a Healthy Future at the World Economic Forum in Medellín, Colombia.


About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education


About Playworld
Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld equipment is designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For 45 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. Come play with us at


“Take Back Your Schools” Action Guide Released

Five Foundational Steps to Ensure Schools Work Better for All Children from the Nation’s Leader in Education Innovation and Opportunity

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, with annual Back to School rituals now fully underway, parents, grandparents and engaged citizens have a new tool to help them make a fundamental difference in the education of their children and ensure that the status quo is the exception, not the rule.

The “Take Back Your Schools” Action Guide – fully online – provides five impactful steps to guide parents and citizens who want to be engaged in making education better for their children, their communities and the nation. Said CER’s founder and CEO Jeanne Allen, “With twenty-five years of evidence-based solutions underway, improving education opportunity and results for kids is no longer a mystery.”

Among the actions that citizens can take, the Center provides access to information about:

  • Transparency: School report cards, national and international comparisons
  • Opportunity: How states are doing in providing meaningful options
  • Engagement: Tools that empower parents & others with critical information
  • Politics & Policy: How to make sense of candidates and the policies they espouse

In addition to the five foundational steps available here, the Center will continue to build upon its unique storehouse of data and action steps to help citizens advance education innovation and opportunity in America so that all can achieve upward mobility, and the American dream.

To learn more, visit For models of success and opportunities to interview CER leadership about these and other efforts, contact CER Communications Director Michelle Tigani at


About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education. We will do this by applying ANew Opportunity Agenda to U.S. education, so that every education policy effort moving forward is focused Innovation + Opportunity = Results.


Shelby County Chooses PCG Education’s Paths to College and Career (EngageNY) to Provide ELA Curriculum

Schools in the district’s innovative trial program will implement the EngageNY ELA curriculum this fall to accelerate English language achievement for all students in grades 9–12


(Memphis, TN) September 7, 2016 –To support educators as they work to build the skills and understandings of high school students striving to meet the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Shelby County Schools has embarked on an innovative trial to bring the EngageNY English Language Arts Curriculum to students in grades 9–12.

The district is implementing PCG and Wiley’s Paths to College and Career 9-12 English Language Arts Curriculum (EngageNY) in order to change teacher practice and improve student achievement. The first goal of the trial is that, by the end of the 2016–2017 school year, students in the 80 classrooms where Paths to College and Career is implemented will report higher scores in Tennessee’s statewide ELA assessment than students in comparison classrooms.

The second goal of the trial is that, by the end of this school year, at least 80% of collected assignments in the classrooms where the Paths curriculum is implemented will demonstrate strong or excellent alignment to the CCR standards. In an analysis of previous years’ collected assignments, only 20% were aligned to the CCR standards.

Professional development for teachers and coaches is a critical component of this project. In a Paths Summer Institute conducted by PCG, teachers were introduced to the instructional shifts that underpin the curriculum and given the opportunity to dig into the initial modules under the guidance of PCG’s curriculum experts. To embed ongoing professional development in the classroom, PCG will work with coaches and district leaders to conduct classroom walkthroughs and professional development workshops that will cement and expand teachers’ instructional practices.

As Shelby County Schools’ Teacher and Leader Development Manager, Monica Jordan, explained to teachers involved in the program, “We are thrilled that your school is participating because Paths was designed specifically for districts like ours. This curriculum will help our students improve their reading, writing, and thinking skills.”

PCG’s Senior Associate Dr. Katanna Conley agreed, commenting. “The curriculum gives all students, including those who had previously been excluded from challenging learning experiences, the opportunity for rigorous thinking with grade-level texts.”

Paths to College and Career (EngageNY) is a comprehensive English Language Arts/Literacy curriculum for grades 6–12 that meets the demands and instructional shifts of CCSS. Paths provides engaging and challenging learning experiences for students and meaningful support for educators as they encounter new instructional approaches and strategies that build students’ skills and knowledge. Paths provides guidance to teachers for facilitating evidence-based conversations about text, developing students’ academic vocabulary, teaching close reading, implementing accountable independent reading (AIR), and unpacking the standards themselves.

About PCG Education

A division of Public Consulting Group (PCG), PCG Education offers consulting and technology solutions to schools, districts, and state education agencies across the U.S. and internationally to strengthen student achievement and improve organizations’ instructional and operational capacity. In partnership with clients, PCG designs and delivers training and technical assistance to build educators’ ability to improve instruction, develop standards-based curriculum, and meet the needs of diverse learners along the pathway to college and career readiness.  PCG supports practitioners at all stages of standards implementation and school improvement. More information is available at

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