E-rate Modernization Empowers Students and Library Patrons

Edmond, Okla. (Feb. 5, 2014) – Funds For Learning (FFL) Chief Executive Officer John Harrington released the following statement today after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s remarks at the National Digital Learning Day event at the Library of Congress:

“I applaud Chairman Wheeler’s commitment to bringing high-speed connectivity to every school and library. Ubiquitous broadband Internet access for students and library patrons is a national priority – and one that is readily achievable via the existing E-rate funding program.

Unfortunately, as of today, our nation’s schools and libraries lag behind in the types of connectivity that they need, particularly in classrooms. To quote the Chairman, this is ‘a crisis that undermines our nation’s future.’

The time for action is now. Chairman Wheeler has laid out a pragmatic course that will provide both immediate and long-term improvements to the E-rate funding program.

We all share a responsibility to serve and support our library patrons and students. A modernized E-rate program will dramatically impact every community in America. Funds For Learning pledges our support to this initiative, including a commitment to providing additional tools and resources to support E-rate applicants at no cost to them.”

About Funds For Learning
Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student Internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.FundsForLearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.


Pitsco Education’s 2014 Big Book: One Proven Resource

PIttsburg, Kansas (January 30, 2014) — One teacher committed to helping each student; one student engaged in learning — this is the driving force behind Pitsco Education’s creation of hands-on, STEM-based products and curriculum for the 2014 Big Book catalog.
Whether an educator is looking for a project for an entire class or2014 Catalog imagejust one student, the Big Book offers plenty of such activities, including several new ones:
  • MiniMaglev Student Demonstrator — An affordable desktop maglev track and car for teaching the principle of magnetic levitation.
  • Sun Ray Car Kit — A cool reimagining of the Ray Catcher Solar Car that enables students to change gear combinations and customize the look.
  • Win-Win Detector — A race finish detector to clear up once and for all who won — and it works with most launchers and kits that race on a line.
  • National Instruments Action Packs — Combining activities, curriculum, and myDAQ miniSystems, these action packs use interactive LabVIEW™ software to focus on Heat Transfer, Structures & Earthquakes, and Power & Energy.
These are just a few highlights from 340 pages of products featured in easy-to-peruse sections: Dragsters, Aerospace, Sustainable Energy, Structures, Physical Science, Robotics, Engineering, Math, and STEM. Pitsco activities engage each student, small groups of students, and your whole class in relevant learning. Our mission is to be the one resource for all of your instructional needs. Put the power of Pitsco to work for you and your students today.
To learn more about these and other activities, request a free copy of the 2014 Big Book catalog by calling 800-835-0686 or request/download it at www.pitsco.com.
Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.


Headsets Strengthen Speaking and Listening Skills
Califone products support speech intelligibility, aiding development of critical speaking and listening skills
defined by ELA Common Core State Standards

San Fernando, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2014) – Having tools to aid lesson comprehension is a key factor in a student’s ability to achieve desired learning goals. Califone International, Inc., a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual (AV) and supplemental curriculum products for use in education, offers headphones and headsets that help students build the speaking and listening skills defined as critical components in the English Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Common Core State Standards.

Our products are designed with desired learning outcomes in mind,” said Tim Ridgway, vice president of marketing for Califone. “Specifically, Califone headphones and headsets support speech intelligibility, which is an important aspect of student comprehension as it pertains to speaking and listening activities. These products enable educators to incorporate rich audiovisual resources into their lessons to support academic goals, including that of meeting Common Core ELA anchor standards.”

At TCEA 2014, Califone is showcasing a number of AV products that assist educators in meeting Common Core ELA anchor standards, including the Listening First™ Stereo Headsets, which are ideal for early elementary language activities and mobile-based learning initiatives. Attendees also will be able to check out the award-winning Titanium Series. Titanium headsets are durable and versatile, offering the best sound isolation within the Califone line, and a higher level of speech intelligibility for language learning.

In addition, Califone will highlight a host of products that accelerate speaking and listening skills development, and strengthen mobile learning initiatives. These include: PA-MBiOS, the first Califone speaker designed specifically for use with iPads and iPhones; the PA-BT30 speaker with Bluetooth wireless technology; and the six-position 1206i Jackbox for iPads, iPhones and iPods.

For more information on the full line of Califone products that support the speaking and listening portion of the Common Core ELA anchor standards, and to view and download the entire Califone catalog, visit www.califone.com.

About Califone
Califone was founded in 1947 and continues to be a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual and supplemental curriculum products for use in education. The company’s products enable educators to incorporate rich audiovisual resources into lessons that help students build speaking and listening skills, critical to the English Language Arts portion of the Common Core State Standards. Califone offers a complete line of audio solutions, wireless systems and multimedia products for small, medium and large presentation needs, and serves millions of educators and students in the PreK through higher education school environments.



Raising the BAR: Becoming Assessment Ready
Education Networks of America, CoSN and eLearn Institute to Release Best Practices and Resources to Prepare Districts for New Online Assessments Nationwide 

Washington, DC (February 5, 2014) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), eLearn Institute and Education Networks of America (ENA) will release a white paper, case studies, readiness recommendations and a checklist, and interactive FAQs next Tuesday, February 11 outlining the steps school districts should take to prepare for online assessments, including information for districts in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (Smarter Balanced) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortiums.
Detailed case studies of three school districts – Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township in Indiana, and West Side School District #202 in Idaho – are included. In addition, PARCC and Smarter Balanced have provided answers to frequently asked questions from district technology leaders in both written and video format. Finally, resources include readiness recommendations and an accompanying checklist for districts.
During an hour-long webinar next Tuesday, leaders from eLearn Institute, Smarter Balanced, PARCC and the profiled districts will discuss the report and related resources.
  • Tom Ryan, CEO, eLearn Institute
  • Brandt Redd, CTO/CIO, Smarter Balanced
  • Susan Van Gundy, Director for Assessment Technology, PARCC
  • John Williams, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (TN)
  • John Keller, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township (IN)
  • Lillian Kellogg, Education Networks of America (ENA)
Tuesday, February 11
1-2 p.m. ET
Webinar participation is free for CoSN members and the media. Click here to register.
Press should contact Michael Kaplun at michaelkaplun@cosn.org or Jennifer Cummings atjcummings@cosn.org for details. 
The webinar is part of CoSN’s 2013-2014 Webinar Series. Learn more at: www.cosn.org/webinars-all.
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 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areasannual conference and events,  advocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.

National Superintendent of the Year to be Announced Feb. 13

What:  AASA, The School Superintendents Association, will announce the 2014 AASA National Superintendent of the Year at AASA’s National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn. The National Superintendent of the Year program, co-sponsored by Aramark Education, VALIC and AASA, and now in its 27th year, celebrates the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents.

When: The announcement will be made Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, during the General Session held from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. (Central Time)

Who:   The four finalists for 2014 AASA National Superintendent of the Year:

Watch the Video: Meet the four finalists for the 2014 AASA National Superintendent of the Year.

Where:  The Nashville Music City Convention Center, 201 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203

More:    To learn more about the 2014 National Conference on Education, visit the conference website.

About AASA

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 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.

TCEA-Learning.com Partnership Brings Tech Literacy Assessment to Texas Schools 
Free online assessment provides districts with the data necessary to understand how well students grasp critical 21st century skills

Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas (Feb. 5, 2014) – To meet districts’ growing need to understand students’ 21st century skills proficiency, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is partnering with Learning.com to offer all Texas schools a technology literacy assessment at no cost to districts. Now in its fourth year, the partnership helped 224 districts deliver nearly 137,000 assessments to eighth grade students during the 2012-13 school year.

The online assessment includes a blend of interactive, performance-based questions and multiple-choice, knowledge-based questions to measure and report technology literacy and skills for middle school students. The assessment is based on the Technology Application TEKS (TA-TEKS) and provides districts with the data needed to evaluate students’ 21st century skills.

Important dates for the Spring 2014 assessment phase include:

– Deadline to Request Participation: Feb. 14, 201
– Deadline to Submit Campus Details Worksheet: March. 1, 2014
– Last Day the Assessment is Available to Districts: June 14, 2014“Educators can use the assessment data to not only evaluate overall proficiency, but also examine each of the new TA-TEKS strands,” said Cliff Green, vice president of education and customer experience at Learning.com. “TCEA is a natural partner to help us address the needs of Texas schools and support educators as they strive to help their students exceed new requirements.”In addition to receiving their own data, districts receive statewide comparison data to support improved technology learning and help educators integrate technology into core curriculum more efficiently.“Today’s students need to be able to use technology to communicate, research, acquire knowledge, and solve problems,” said Lori Gracey, Executive Director at TCEA. “Educators that use the assessment get actionable data to inform instruction to help ensure that their students are developing the digital skills necessary to succeed in our global economy.”To learn more about the technology literacy assessment, including participation and registration details, visit the TCEA assessment page.About Learning.com
Learning.com provides digital curriculum and assessments that help students develop 21st century skills to prepare them for success in college and their future career opportunities. With Learning.com’s digital content management tools, teachers can organize and customize how they deliver content to students. Learning.com provides implementation and professional development services to support educators as they integrate technology into instruction and move to digital content. Founded in 1999, Learning.com currently partners with more than 2,700 districts. For more information, visit www.learning.com and connect with us at www.facebook.com/learningdotcom and www.twitter.com/learningdotcom.About TCEA
TCEA is a member-based organization devoted to the use of technology in education. Our primary focus is on integrating technology into the PreK-12 environment and providing our members with state-of-the-art information through conferences, workshops, newsletters, the Internet, and collaborations with higher education and business. For more information, visit www.tcea.org*****************************************************************************ACT Report Reveals New STEM Gap: Untapped Pool of STEM-Interested Students

Students Need Early, Ongoing Guidance and Direction to Encourage Pursuit of STEM Career Opportunities

IOWA CITY, Iowa—A new report from ACT reveals an untapped pool of students who have an interest in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) but are not planning to pursue a STEM career as they prepare for the future. The data point to a gap between interests and intentions that, if addressed, could help put more students on the path to STEM careers.

“The good news is that student interest in STEM is high overall,” said Jon Erickson, ACT president of education and career solutions. “The bad news is that a sizable number of students may not be connecting the dots between their innate interests and a potential STEM-related career.”

The ACT national and state report series, The Condition of STEM 2013, examines the expressed and measured interests of high school graduates in the class of 2013 who took the ACT® college readiness exam. Expressed interest is when students say they intend to pursue a particular major or occupation. Measured interest, in contrast, is derived from students’ responses to the ACT Interest Inventory, a battery of questions that measures preferences for different types of work tasks.

A total of 48 percent of the ACT-tested 2013 graduates had expressed and/or measured interest in STEM, including 16 percent who had both. Twenty-three percent had only expressed interest, planning to pursue a STEM career even though their inventory results suggest that other fields may be better aligned to their interests. But nearly one out of every 10 graduates (9 percent) had only measured interest in STEM; they had no plans to pursue a STEM major or career despite their innate interest.

“Nothing is more costly to the nation than untapped potential, and that’s why we must do more to ensure that all students understand the career opportunities that match their interests, particularly those that exist in important STEM fields,” said Erickson. “If we can identify students earlier and then keep them engaged, they may be more likely to choose a STEM career.”

ACT’s report also points to a gap between STEM interest and preparation. Around half or more of the 2013 ACT-tested graduates planning to pursue STEM majors and careers were not ready to succeed in first-year math or science coursework in college. Readiness was significantly higher, however, among students with both expressed and measured interest than among those with only expressed interest.

“Early assessment and intervention are extremely important in helping students get on track for college and career success, and that’s particularly true in the areas of math and science, where so many of our students are falling behind,” said Erickson. “That’s one reason why we’ve built STEM scores and benchmarks into our new ACT Aspire™ system and why we’re committed to keeping science tests in the ACT and ACT Aspire assessments.”

Selecting a career that matches interests can help students succeed. Previous ACT research has shown that when students’ interests are aligned with their chosen college majors, they are more likely to remain in their major, persist in college and complete their degree in a timely manner.

“The findings in this new report are supported by those in our recent College Choice Report, which showed that a surprising number of students are planning to pursue majors or careers that don’t match their interests,” said Wayne Camara, ACT senior vice president of research. “If we encourage young students who are interested in STEM to consider related careers, I believe both they and U.S. employers will benefit.”

A number of national reports have pointed to a need for more workers in STEM fields. A recent report from the Bayer Corporation’s Facts of Science Education survey suggests Fortune 1000 companies are struggling to fill STEM positions due to a shortage of qualified candidates. And a 2012 report by President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technologyconcluded that the need for STEM professionals will significantly outweigh the availability of those workers over the next decade if current trends continue.

“This report gives educators, business leaders and policymakers access to important new information regarding the condition of STEM education in our country,” said Lisa Brady Gill, executive director of education policy and advocacy for Texas Instruments. “We feel it provides much-needed insight that will help us as we work together towards real and meaningful change in this area.”

The STEM job outlook is strong, and STEM occupations tend to be high paying, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’sBureau of Labor Statistics. In the recently released U.S. News & World Report 100 Best Jobs of 2014, more than half of the top 50 jobs are STEM related.

The Condition of STEM 2013 reports for the nation and for each state can be accessed for free on ACT’s website atwww.act.org/stemcondition.

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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from kindergarten through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to www.act.org.