Mount Vernon High School to be Featured in Career Tech Celebration

February 13, 2014, 9:00-11:00 a.m.

WHAT: February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Across the country, CTE educators are celebrating the successes and achievements of CTE professionals, students, alumni, and supporters using the theme, “Celebrate CTE Superheroes.”

Staff from the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has organized a tour of Mount Vernon High School on Thursday, February 13, 2014, from 9:00-11:00 a.m., to showcase a local example of a promising career and technical education program while underscoring its importance in preparing a robust workforce for 21st century jobs.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), U.S. Department of Education leaders including Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, and local education officials will join us and explore the CTE programs that Mount Vernon High School has to offer, which are preparing students for fulfilling careers in in-demand fields. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the school’s affiliation with the International Baccalaureate® Career-related Certificate program. The event will include a brief introduction by Mount Vernon High School leadership, a tour of several programs offered at the school and a Q&A with teachers, administrative staff and CTE students. ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson and ACTE staff will also be on hand to speak about the importance of such programs, locally and nationally.

Career and technical education provides students with significant advantages in academic and career preparation, and strengthens our nation’s economy by filling the skills gap. Data shows students who participate in CTE courses are more likely to graduate high school, move on to postsecondary education, and perform better on standardized tests. ACTE works closely with leaders in business, public policy and industry to ensure programs are training students in the skills that employers need most.

WHEN: February 13, 2014; 9:00-11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Mount Vernon High School
8515 Old Mount Vernon Road
Alexandria, Virginia, 22309

WHO: The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 25,000 members; career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels. ACTE provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information on career and technical education, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders. For more information, please visit our website:

NOTE: For more information on CTE Month, please visit Members of the media who would like to attend this event should contact ACTE Media Relations Manager Sean Lynch at or 703-683-9312. For more information about the International Baccalaureate program, please contact Robin Khan, Communications and Marketing Manager, at or 301-202-3172.



Smart Toys and Games, Inc. Partners with Hooked on Science


SmartMax Donation Helps Students Learn STEM Concepts


SAN FRANCISCO – February 6, 2014 – Smart Toys and Games, Inc., a leading producer of award-winning single-player logic games and the SmartMax® magnetic construction system has partnered with Hooked on Science, donating building sets that students can playfully explore the wonders of magnetism as part of learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) concepts.

Hooked on Science inspires students to be inquisitive about the world around them and to develop a long-term interest in science and math. While working in groups, students will use the SmartMax School Sets for hands-on experiments. They will discover the science behind the SmartMax magnets and engineering structures.

“Kids learn best through hands-on experiments,” said Jason Lindsey, executive director at Hooked on Science. “SmartMax allows educators to teach kids all about magnets through hands-on investigations. The best part about SmartMax is that kids don’t realize they are actually learning while having fun.”

SmartMax School Sets come with 100 colorful pieces including: 48 short yellow bars, eight medium-length red bars, 18 long blue bars, and 26 large and easy to manipulate magnetic balls, all in a clear bin for easy storage. SmartMax sets provide children the chance to experience the wonders of magnetism and the fascinating world of construction in a safe way, even from a very young age.

The diverse SmartMax line includes vehicle sets, glow in the dark pieces, and LED lit pieces, all of which can be combined with other sets for endless combinations. To date, SmartMax has received numerous awards and honors including: the TOY INSIDER’s HOT HOLIDAY TOYS list, Parents’ Choice Awards, National Parenting Publication Awards, National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Tillywig Top Fun Awards, Creative Child Awards, Major Fun Awards, PAL Awards, among others.

SmartMax School Sets are available on,, and quality toy stores everywhere.

Brain-building fun for both children and adults can also be had online at, where Smart Toys and Games has made fourteen of their single-player puzzle games available virtually at various levels including Starter, Junior, Expert, or Master.

About Smart Toys and Games, Inc.

Smart Toys and Games products develop logical thinking and problem solving skills in all ages through fun, challenging play. Each multi-level game from the SmartGames line is designed to move players through carefully-sequenced levels of game play. Fun, durable and compact, SmartGames are perfect for travel.SmartMax® construction sets enable children to explore the fascinating world of magnetism in a safe and creative way through making strong building structures and vehicles. Additional product lines offered by Smart Toys and Games include Tangoes®, which is based on the ancient Chinese Tangram puzzle and combines artistic and mathematical elements to create a variety of designs; Twisterz Toys® which are hand-held battery free toys that support early learning skills such as spelling and reading; and online brain-building fun for both children and adults at  For more information about Smart Toys and Games, Inc., including their entire product line for all brands, visit You may also connect on Facebook with SmartGamesSmartMax, and Twisterz.


ALAS to Recognize Superintendents from Minnesota and Georgia for Outstanding Leadership February 14


WASHINGTON, D.C.—February 6, 2014—The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) will recognize St. Paul (MN) Public Schools Superintendent Valeria S. Silva and Cobb County (GA) School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa with the Outstanding Educator Award at its 9th Annual ALAS Recognition Reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, February 14, at Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, TN.


As the first Latina superintendent in Minnesota, Valeria S. Silva serves a highly diverse enrollment of 38,000 students in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS), the state’s capital school district.  Prior to her appointment in 2009, Ms. Silva held several senior leadership posts with SPPS, including chief academic officer and director of English language learner programs for a district where 45 percent of its students learning English are also fluent in languages as diverse as Amharic, Spanish, Somali, Hmong and Karen. As an internationally recognized champion for children, she has been called upon to inform educational best practices in Chile, Cuba, Panama, and other schools worldwide. In 2004, she accompanied a delegation to Wat Tham Krabok refugee camp in Thailand to lay the groundwork for welcoming 1,700 new Hmong students into SPPS. Ms. Silva currently serves as Chair for the Council of Great City Schools.


Dr. Michael Hinojosa has served as superintendent of the Cobb County School District, the nation’s 25th largest school district with a student population of approximately 107,000. His career in public education, from teacher and coach to superintendent of six school systems, spans more than three decades. Prior to joining Cobb, Dr. Hinojosa served as a superintendent/CEO for the Dallas (TX) Independent School District. With a firm belief that education, and not environment, is the key to a student’s success, he has led several school districts to improved student achievement. Dr. Hinojosa’s recognitions include being named 2002 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards and 2005 Superintendent of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin.


“Our honorees this year are dedicated educational professionals who truly care about student success,” said Veronica Rivera, ALAS executive director. “Ms. Silva and Dr. Hinojosa are great examples of how commitment, caring and inclusion can transform educational environments where all students can succeed.”


The reception is being held in conjunction with the AASA National Conference on Education.




About the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS)

The ALAS mission is to provide leadership at the national level that assures every school in America effectively serves the educational needs of all students, with an emphasis on Latino youth, by building capacity, promoting best practices, and transforming educational institutions. ALAS was established in 2003 in response to a lack of national advocacy and representation of Latino students.


AASA Applauds President Obama, FCC on Proposals to

 Improve Technology in Education   

Alexandria, Va. – Feb. 7, 2014 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s call to use existing E-Rate funds to improve Internet connectivity for schools and libraries. This statement is also in response to steps taken by the Federal Communications Commission to modernize E-Rate by changing how the program’s applications and funds are processed.

“AASA applauds these proposals by the President and the FCC because they show bold leadership in an area critical to education: technology and digital learning. We urge the administration and the FCC to take additional steps to ensure permanent funding to E-Rate by raising the program’s funding cap.

“The infusion of $2 billion of existing but unused current E-Rate dollars is an important first step in a comprehensive approach to modernizing the program. The focus of the Obama Administration’s energy in this critical area comes at an important time. These early steps—by the White House and FCC—are just the first steps in a process that brings both long-term programmatic changes and a permanent funding increase.

“According to AASA research, education technology and related infrastructure and professional development were areas that were hardest hit during the recession and through the damaging cuts of sequestration. These delays in investments occurred when superintendents and the school systems they served were faced with unprecedented demand for technology and connectivity, including devices, virtual learning and online testing.

“E-Rate currently represents the sole source of dedicated federal education technology funding and played a pivotal role in transforming classrooms across the nation, providing basic Internet connectivity to millions of students over its 18-year history. Demand for the program more than doubles the available supply, meaning this hugely successful program has unmet potential to further ensure that all students aren’t just merely connected—but they’re connected to the truly transformative power of technology in learning.”

Read Dan’s blog, “Steps to Modernize E-Rate and Improve Technology in Education.”  

The following statement is from Noelle Ellerson,

 AASA Associate Executive Director, Policy and Advocacy

“AASA stands ready to work with both the White House and the FCC to modernize the E-Rate program. We are absolutely committed to the belief that serious efforts along these lines will be two-fold—focused on programmatic and structural changes as well as permanently increasing the program’s funding level. Programmatic changes without funding will derail the long-term success of the program. Funding without policy changes is a lost opportunity and poor investment. The two go hand-in-hand.”


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, Follow AASA on Twitter at or on Facebook at Information on AASA Children’s Programs on Twitter @AASATotalChild.