More Than 140 K-12 Leaders Nationwide Convene in Houston for ‘Teaming for Transformation II’
 
Two-Day Event Continues Collaborative Network’s Ongoing Conversation on Leading Digital Learning Conversion in Schools
Washington, DC (October 10, 2013) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), as part of itsTeaming for Transformation: Leading Digital Conversion for Student Learning II (T4T), this week gathered more than 140 K-12 leaders in Houston, Texas’ Katy Independent School District (ISD) to continue the discussion on how to improve student-centered learning. One of several Teaming for Transformation IIhybrid professional development activities, which began in August 2013 and will conclude in March 2014, the event allowed participants to explore the process of digital conversion during school site visits and share insights in panel discussions and networking sessions. Teaming for Transformation II comprises 19 districts nationwide and is made possible with support from Follett Library ResourcesPearson andPresidio.
“It was an honor to host CoSN’s second Teaming for Transformation conference here in Katy ISD,” said Alton Frailey, Superintendent, Katy ISD. “We are truly in an age of transformation in education, as the increased integration of technology in the classroom is leading to greater student engagement and creative teaching methods. Bringing together education leaders from around the country to share ideas and best practices will only lead to greater transformation that will ultimately benefit all students.”
The two-day event took participants on a site visit to schools in Katy ISD and gave them an opportunity to interact with administrators, teachers and students. Afterward, participants went on a virtual site visit to Huntsville City Schools (AL) – a session which was led by Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski. The site visits allowed participants to witness both districts’ approaches firsthand and to see how two different digital conversions have successfully transformed teaching and learning.
Event participants also worked together to develop action plans during panel discussions, networking sessions and team-oriented exercises on:
  • Synchronizing curriculum and technology while preparing for sustained digital conversion infrastructure;
  • Forming a vision for day-to-day support for a digital conversion at classroom and school levels; and
  • Developing and sharing next steps toward a digital conversion.

Teaming for Transformation II members will take their lessons learned this week and continue collaborating through an online community of practice and face-to-face meetings at CoSN 2014in Washington, DC.
In its second installment, T4T strives to build and advance excellence in teaching and learning with digital resources and tools, as well as help to create and strengthen a digital learning environment supporting student academic success. Two districts that participated in the network’s inaugural year shared their experiences:
“Gwinnett Country Public Schools was able to benchmark our work against other districts in T4T, those that were ahead of us in the transformation, those walking beside us, and those beginning the process. This affirmed some of our strategies, and helped us redirect in other areas. As a specific example, we saw and heard from several districts that planning for X:1 (rather than 1:1) device implementation could be an effective instructional strategy, and that affirmed our direction,” said Tricia Kennedy, Executive Director for eCLASS Transformation, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GA).
“Participating in CoSN’s Teaming for Transformation provided impactful support as we forged the path of 1:1 technology in our K-12 learning environments. The sharing of ‘real world’ challenges through a collaborative team offered support and solutions at critical times throughout the year,” said Ann W. Linson, Superintendent, East Noble School Corporation (IN).
Teaming for Transformation II is informed by CoSN’s Empowering the 21st Century Superintendentinitiative, as work CoSN has done around online communities of practice, and produced in partnership with AASA (the School Superintendents Association), Katy ISD and Huntsville City Schools.
To learn more about the network, please visit www.cosn.org.
About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) 
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visitwww.cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areasannual conference and events,  advocacy and policymembership and the CETL certification exam.

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Florida Elementary School Making Big Strides With

Rourke Educational Media’s Reading Web Program

Students in grades 3-5 show marked improvement in reading, science, FCAT scores

VERO BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 10, 2013) – Rourke Educational Media’s Reading Web program, designed to engage struggling 2nd-12thgrade readers in developing their reading skills, has dramatically helped students in a central Florida elementary school to make strong gains in their vocabulary development, reading comprehension and reading fluency, as well as their proficiency in science.

The School District of Osceola County chose The Rourke Reading Web – a program that includes both software and books with a focus on a student’s fluency and vocabulary development – as a reading intervention program to help ELLs who scored at level 1 on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading and Science to improve their reading and science skills. The Reading Web is correlated to the Common Core State Standards and supports the district’s CCSS initiatives as well.

The strides made by students in grades 3 through 5 at the district’s Lakeview Elementary School have recently been documented in a video (http://vimeo.com/rourkeeducational/readingwebtestimonial) and a 12-page study released by Rourke Educational Media. Data analysis shows:

  • Reading scores indicate that 30 percent of English Language Learners (ELL) scored at or above grade level.
  • Science scores indicate that 18 percent of ELL students reached level 3 or above.

“Since Reading Web is standards-based, participating students also became better prepared to succeed in both their science classes and on high-stake assessment,” said Dalia Medina, the district’s director of the multicultural education department “Based on these results, it proves that the Reading Web is an effective tool to be used as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) intervention program, and motivates the learners to be successful and competitive – academically as well as socially – with their peers.”

Lakeview Elementary School implemented Reading Web in November 2010, at which time students were reading significantly below grade level. By the end of March 2011, participating students increased their knowledge of new vocabulary in context from 25 to 60 percent. Based on their responses to multiple-choice questions, their reading comprehension of the text read increased from 40 to 75 percent. Based on textbook passages read, the average words per minute increased from 50.7 to 65percent.

Analysis from November 2011 though March 2012 showed significant improvement among participating students in vocabulary recognition (35 to 70 percent), reading comprehension (45 to 80 percent) and words per minute (58 to 70 percent).

Christopher Luciano, Lakeview Elementary’s ESOL paraprofessional, implemented Reading Web during the computer lab period for an average of 45 minutes per day, and quickly watched his students become “extremely engaged and excited about reading.” Classes commence at the end of March to allow students to get ready for the FCAT exams. After FCAT, students check the books from the Media Center for extended learning, and they also access the program from their homes to continue the learning process.

Luciano said his school witnessed significantly improved FCAT scores for 2011-12. A comparison of average scores shows that the percentage of ELLs scoring at level 3 and above (district-wide) increased at all grade levels. ELLs at Lakeview Elementary experienced higher increases than ELLs in the district as a whole and statewide.

The percentage of Osceola ELL students scoring Achievement Level 3 and above on FCAT-SSS Science in fifth grade increased from an average of 6 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2012. ELL students at Lakeview Elementary were able to show an increase of 50 percent in a two-year span.

Luciano said Reading Web “focuses on what students need – comprehension and vocabulary – and helps them accelerate their reading and learning.”

The School District of Osceola County has 71 schools and an enrollment of nearly 55,000, 25 percent of whom are ELL students.

More information about Rourke Educational Media is available at (800) 394-7055, or by visiting its website atwww.rourkeeducationalmedia.com.

About Rourke Educational Media
Rourke Educational Media LLC has been publishing eye-catching, engaging children’s books and classroom content complying with national curriculum standards since 1980. A global leader in educational technology, print, and distribution, Rourke Educational Media promotes literacy/reading for preK-12 market, and offers interactive ebooks, assessment tools, print resources and other learning resources for the classroom, library and parental involvement.

Find Rourke Educational Media on Facebook

Follow Rourke Educational Media on Twitter @RourkeBooks

Read Rourke Educational Media’s Blog

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The 2013 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium pre-conference sessions offer focused workshops that are highly interactive for administrators, educators and policymakers for blended, online and competency-based learning.
Here is a look at two of the workshops available:
Blended Learning Districts: Leadership Strategies for Personalized Learning and Technology Adoption
Sunday, October 27, 2013  (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
Learn directly from Superintendents leading blended learning programs in this leadership development workshop focused on blended learning planning and implementation. At this workshop, Dr. Marianne Bartley, Superintendent of Lebanon School District, Stephen Dackin, Superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, Dr. Kenneth Eastwood, Superintendent of Middletown School District, and Dr. Cindy Elsberry, Superintendent of Horry County Schools, will share their strategies for planning and implementing blended, personalized learning. With lessons learned and a panel discussion, attendees will also have an opportunity to collaborate with the panelists and each other in one of the following areas: Instruction, Policy, Human Capital, and Facilities. Space is limited, REGISTER HERE
Design Choices for Competency Education
Sunday, October 27, 2013  (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
This workshop will bring leaders in competency education together with those at early stages of their learning curve to share experiences and ideas about how to design competency-based schools and districts. The session will be facilitated by Susan Patrick, President and CEO of iNACOL, and Chris Sturgis of MetisNet. The workshop will focus on the design elements and discuss topics such as designing competencies and grading, student agency, information systems, systems of supports and others. REGISTER HERE
A full list of pre-conference workshops can be found at http://inacol2013.pathable.com.
Registration for these pre-conference workshops held on Sunday, October 27th is separate from the iNACOL Symposium and space is limited to ensure small group interactions and discussions.
Please register for workshops online in advance: http://www.inacol.org/events/symposium/registration/.
We look forward to seeing you!
About the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium
 
In October, the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium will bring together more than 2,000 experts, leading practitioners and educators, innovators and policymakers from from national, state, district, private and other programs to network and learn at the premier K-12 blended and online learning conference. Experts in K-12 blended and online education will have robust networking opportunities; learn about the latest trends, challenges and opportunities for new learning models; engage in interactive session presentations; and gain access to the latest research and best practices reports.
 
The symposium highlights the cutting-edge work in K-12 blended and online education across the country. The only national conference focused solely on K-12 blended and online learning in such a comprehensive way, the Symposium attracts the highest-level practitioners and policymakers seeking to develop innovative programs within educational institutions in the United States, Canada, Mexico and abroad each year.
 
For more information, please visit http://www.inacol.org/events/symposium/.
About iNACOL
 
The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality blended and online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focused on research; developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access; developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended, and competency-based education; and supporting the ongoing professional development of classroom, school, district and state leaders for new learning models. To learn more about iNACOL, please visit http://inacol.org.

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Application Period Open for ‘School Library Program of Year’ Award

Honor to Support Excellence in School Libraries Co-Sponsored by AASL, Follett

MCHENRY, Ill., Oct. 9, 2013 – Follett and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) today announced that applications are being accepted for the 2014 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award.  The competition is open to K-12 programs that are fully integrated into the school’s curriculum and meet the needs of the changing library environment.

Guided by AASL’s “Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs”, the NSLPY award seeks to reward and promote exemplary programs that empower learners to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers and ethical users of information. Each winning school library program will receive $10,000, plus a crystal statue.

The award is co-sponsored by AASL and Follett, the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States. Follett has a rich history in the school library space, and illustrates its advocacy for school libraries and their important role in improving literacy by supporting award programs such as this.

At this year’s American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, the 2013 NSLPY Award winners were honored: Swan Valley High School (Saginaw, Mich.), Pennsylvania Avenue School (Atlantic City, N.J.), and New Augusta South Elementary School (Indianapolis).

“The process of applying for the NSLPY Award provided us with a valuable self-assessment tool,” said Kay Wejrowski, library media specialist, Swan Valley High. “The AASL visitation gave us the opportunity to reflect on our strengths as well as our challenges, while affording us the chance to learn from experts from around the country.”

Wejrowski added she applauds Follett and AASL for their continued partnership to promote literacy and help transform school libraries to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities they serve. “We are grateful to Follett and AASL, who have challenged us to create a culture of readers who are responsible and embrace a love of learning, and then developed a model for us to achieve that goal,” she said.

For more information on the NSLPY Awards or to apply, visit www.ala.org/aasl/awards/nslpy. The deadline to submit an application is Jan. 1, 2014.

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Text Box: ABOUTAbout Follett’s K-12 Business www.follettlearning.com
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 Corporationwww.follett.com

Since 1873, Follett has served as the trusted partner in education for students and educators at all levels of learning. Today Follett delivers physical and digital learning materials, retail services, school content and management systems to more than 70,000 early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and on more than 1,000 college campuses.  Headquartered in River Grove, Illinois, Follett is a $2.7 billion privately held company.

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NEWS FROM THE NATIUONAL COUNCIL FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES
Critical Report Released Today by CIRCLE

The nationally recognized Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) based at Tufts Univeristy’s Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, released today All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement. The report is written by the Commission on Youth Voting and Civic Knowledge, a distinguished bipartisan group of scholars that provides recommendations for educators, parents and national, state and local policymakers on how to engage American youth.

In his concluding remarks, Peter Levine, Director of CIRCLE, mentioned today two large areas of need the report pointed to: policy innovation — the development of education policies that permit standards to be better and higher [order] thinking. He referred to NCSS’s College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards as an important vehicle in accomplishing some of that work; and increased collaboration — not putting all the burden on teacher’s shoulders, but rather sharing that responsibility among teachers, students, parents and community organizations in the form of multimember coalitions stressing the need of and working towards a high quality civics education.

From a press release received today, the following are more specific highlights from a press released on the report’s findings. 

  • Current levels of knowledgeable engagement by America’s youth remain too low.  Less than half of young Americans vote, even in presidential elections, and just 10 percent of Americans between 18 and 24 met a standard of “informed engagement” in the 2012 presidential election cycle.
  • Opportunities for civic learning and engagement are highly unequal.  White, wealthy students are four to six times as likely as Hispanic or Black students from low-income households to exceed the “proficient” level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in civics. Only 7 percent of students whose parents didn’t graduate from high school and who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch reached “proficient.”
  • Civic education is increasingly viewed as controversial by the public. A quarter (24.8 percent) of the teachers surveyed by the Commission thought that parents or other adults in their community would object if politics was discussed in their course—even though they were asked about a course on government or civics taught during a presidential election year.
  • Although highly controversial, voting laws have only small effects.Photo ID laws seemed to lower voting for young people who have not attended college. Same Day Voter Registration modestly, but reliably, boosts youth turnout. The overall effects of these laws are small compared to the larger challenges to engaging youth in democracy.

We encourage you to read the full report found at:
http://www.civicyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CIRCLE-youthvoting-individualPages.pdf

A report summary is available at:
http://www.civicyouth.org/commission-on-youth-voting-and-civic-knowledge-releases-report/