School Districts Awarded ‘Mini-Grants’ to Address Students’ Urgent Needs

Alexandria, Va. – Jan. 16, 2014 – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, announced today the 2013 recipients of the Helping Kids Program, a series of “mini-grants” designated to provide for immediate needs of children and their families.

Funded by AASA through a partnership with the National Joint Powers Alliance, the $2,000 grants will be used to furnish items such as food and clothing and in some instances, temporary housing stipends. Seven winners are chosen annually. This year’s recipients include:

  • Auburn-Washburn Unified School District (Topeka, Kan.);
  • East St. Louis School District (East St. Louis, Ill.);
  • Franklin Pierce School District (Tacoma, Wash.);
  • Grenada School District (Grenada, Miss.);
  • Long Branch Public Schools (Long Branch, N.J.);
  • Meriden Public Schools (Meriden, Conn.);
  • Wausau School District (Wausau, Wisc.).

“Undernourished children or those who do not have access to basic items of clothing are not going to be effective learners in the classroom,” said Chad Coauette, executive director, NJPA. “Our organization is dedicated to providing programs and services that create efficiencies for education in an effort to support our country’s most important resource—our children.”

“We are grateful to the National Joint Powers Alliance for establishing a relationship that can support this important initiative,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “There are communities across the country where families are hungry or cannot afford heavy winters coats. The Helping Kids Program helps these families. This effort speaks to the commitment we are making to serve under-resourced communities nationwide.”

Nearly 70 applications were submitted for this year’s mini-grants. The selection committee is made up of representatives from NJPA, AASA and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information about the Helping Kids Program, visit http://www.aasa.org/helping-kids.aspx.

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About NJPA

National Joint Powers Alliance® is a government agency that establishes an alliance between buyers and suppliers and provides other programs and solutions for use by education, government and non-profits. NJPA leverages the national purchasing power of more than 50,000 member agencies to offer a variety of competitively awarded contracts for products and services from industry-leading vendors. For more information, please visit www.njpacoop.org.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visitwww.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage. Information on AASA Children’s Programs on Twitter @AASATotalChild.

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NewSchools Venture Fund And Maryland Fund Tales2Go To Boost Reading Achievement 

Investment acknowledges the importance of adding a listening component to early childhood literacy and elementary reading instruction

Bethesda, MD – January 16, 2014 – Tales2Go Inc., a provider of audio books for early childhood programs and primary schools, announces today that education venture philanthropy organization NewSchools Venture Fund and the Maryland Venture Fund (MVF), the venture arm of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, led a $750K investment round in the company.

Tales2Go is a Netflix-like subscription service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from popular publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access. For the first time, a teacher can assign the same audio book to an entire class or grade.

“Funding from NewSchools and MVF is a game changer for our company,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Tales2Go William Weil.  “Beyond the obvious benefits of additional finances, NewSchools and MVF bring important credibility and support to our technology and purpose.  Audio books are more than a nice library resource, or good for struggling readers, they are an important tool for reading achievement in the classroom and a needed resource to aid parents at home.”

In the U.S., just 33% of fourth graders are proficient readers, according to data from the National Assessment of Educational Process. The study also revealed that students who are not reading at level by the end of third grade were four times more likely not to graduate from high school.  The problem is so acute that 32 states and the District of Columbia have statutes in place to improve third grade reading proficiency.

“Tales2Go shares Maryland’s commitment to innovation, discovery and investment in education and I am proud to welcome this dynamic young company to our State,” Governor Martin O’Malley said. “I am confident their industry-leading platform and our wealth of education resources, high-quality workforce and vibrant network of innovators and entrepreneurs will lead to continued growth and success for Tales2Go and for Maryland.”

“We’re excited to be backing Tales2Go, which is providing an increasingly important tool to support literacy for every child, regardless of their location,” Jennifer Carolan, managing partner, NewSchools Seed Fund, said. “Founders William and Tracey Weil are the right entrepreneurs to pioneer the potential of audiobooks as a critical resource for educators and parents alike to address the reading comprehension crisis.”

Tales2Go supports the development of literacy skills during the most critical early childhood and elementary years, when students acquire a foundation of vocabulary and fluency necessary for academic success.  Listening skills are given special emphasis within the Common Core State Standards, as literacy experts have long understood that children need to be good listeners in order to become good readers. The Tales2Go service is used differently across ages and grade levels, ranging from individual to group use with or without physical books in hand.

For more information on Tales2Go, please visit: www.tales2go.com

About Tales2Go:

Tales2Go is a Netflix­‐like service that streams thousands of name-brand audio book titles from leading publishers to desktops, laptops and mobile devices in the classroom and beyond. The Company has innovated on both the delivery and business model of distributing audio books to schools, early childhood programs and parents, giving users instant, unlimited and simultaneous access to its full catalog. Literacy experts have long understood that children need to be good listeners in order to become good readers since proficient reading is a combination of listening comprehension (i.e. vocabulary and fluency) and decoding skills. Tales2Go offers piloting opportunities as well as monthly and annual subscription plans, including bulk pricing for schools. More information at www.tales2go.com.

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Goalbook Expands Toolkit to Support ELL Instructional Design

Solution aids nationwide effort to meet the growing academic needs of ELL students

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2014) — Goalbook is proud to announce the addition of English Language Learner (ELL) instructional resources to its Toolkit.  The ELL content expands Goalbook’s existing repository of PK-12 academic and social emotional resources.  With the ELL release, Goalbook continues its mission of empowering teachers to ensure access and equity for all students.

The ELL resources will be officially unveiled at the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA) annual conference in February.  Goalbook’s Toolkit supports educators in the design of instructional objectives aligned to academic standards, and the new content is differentiated according to language development level, such as WIDA and the California ELD Standards.

English Language Learners (ELLs) comprise the most rapidly growing segment of students in K-12.  More than 10 percent of students are now identified as foreign language learners of English.  A growing body of academic research has revealed successful instructional practices that help close the achievement gap between ELLs and their peers, prompting schools and districts across the country to implement these practices into their classrooms.

“Designing instruction that is both academically rigorous and accessible to ELLs can be a daunting task for educators, especially with the rapid transition to new college and career readiness standards,” said Daniel Jhin Yoo, co-founder and CEO of Goalbook. “We are excited to serve educators by providing resources and tools that accelerate their instructional planning and lesson design to ensure that all students in their classroom are successful.”

“We are committed to supporting our English Language Learners with differentiated instruction,” said Janet Horowitz, director of special education at Grass Valley School District in California.  “Our educators find the Goalbook Toolkit invaluable in preparing for IEP’s and daily instruction.”

Goalbook outlines ELL strategies that demonstrate how to implement research-based frameworks, including Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and GLAD, in effective instructional design.  This alignment to standards and built-in differentiation empowers educators to design instruction that makes academic content accessible and meaningful for ELL students.

About Goalbook

Goalbook’s mission is to empower teachers to ensure access and equity for all students.  The team integrates innovative technology, professional development, and leading pedagogical research to offer a holistic solution for helping teachers personalize instruction for students.  Founded by former teachers and administrators, Daniel Jhin Yoo and Justin Su, Goalbook partners with over 100 district customers in 30 states.  Goalbook was part of ImagineK12’s inaugural class and the first company funded through New Schools Venture Fund’s Seed Fund.  Learn more at www.goalbookapp.com.

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