ENA, CoSN and eLearn Institute Unveil Suite of Resources to Prepare School Districts for New Online Assessments
Resources – Including New White Paper, Case Studies and Readiness Checklist – Provide Recommendations and Best Practices to Help Districts ‘Raise the Bar’

Washington, DC (February 19, 2014) – Education Networks of America (ENA), in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and eLearn Institute, today released a rich suite of resourcesthat outline key considerations and steps school districts should take to prepare for online assessments. The resources, which include a white paper, case studies of three school districts, frequency asked questions (FAQs) and answers, and readiness recommendations and checklist, provide invaluable information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia (Smarter Balanced) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) upcoming online assessments.
The groups recently held a webinar discussion with leaders from Smarter Balanced, PARCC, and the profiled districts, as well as ENA, eLearn Institute, and CoSN to discuss the report and related resources. Click here to listen.
“Preparing for online assessments is one of the highest priorities for school districts across the nation and one of the most complex challenges they face,” remarked Keith R. Krueger, CoSN CEO. “To support districts’ efforts, these powerful resources equip school leaders with not just information, but also real insight, experiences, and best practices based on how other districts are preparing.”
“Being assessment ready goes beyond just purchasing devices, and it establishes a fundamental intersection between instruction and technology. We learned that online assessments are a catalyst for personalized learning, and assessment readiness is an important point of emphasis for all districts in their strategic planning. We are proud to partner with CoSN and eLearn Institute to move the needle and prepare districts,” stated Lillian Kellogg, Vice President, ENA.
The resources include several key elements, which are outlined in an executive summary:
  • White Paper, titled “Raising the BAR: Becoming Assessment Ready,” highlights the purpose and value of online assessments and provides detailed information on the assessment consortia implementation plans as well as network infrastructure, device, support and instructional design, and preparation considerations.
  • Case Studies of three school districts – Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in TN, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township in IN, and West Side School District in ID – capturing experiences, recommendations, and best practices of large, medium and small school districts as they prepare for online assessments.
  • FAQs based off a survey of school districts across the country on their assessment ready concerns; the responses were collated and combined into questions then posed to Smarter Balanced and PARCC with their responses.
  • Readiness Recommendations and Checklist is based on observations from the case studies and interviews with experts and feedback from the consortia and provides eight key considerations and suggestions for assessment readiness.
“We know the considerable challenges that district leaders face in preparing for these new technology-based assessments. I know that my colleagues will find this robust suite of resources helpful. The checklist, in particular, helps school districts learn from the experiences and key observations of other school districts as well as establish a planning process that is intentional and comprehensive,” commented lead author, Dr. Tom Ryan, CEO, eLearn Institute, and former CIO of Albuquerque Public Schools, NM.
To access the resources, please visit: www.cosn.org/raisingthebar or www.ena.com/raisingthebar.
Representatives from ENA, CoSN, and eLearn Institute are available for further comment.
About Education Networks of America (ENA)
ENA is the leading provider of managed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions to school systems, libraries and governments. In 1996, ENA created one of the first statewide K-12 networks in the U.S. and has earned a reputation as experts in the design, deployment and management of data, voice and video solutions. Today, ENA manages multiple statewide and district-wide education and library networks, including 11 of the largest school systems in the country, successfully serving over 5,200 end sites, 555 school districts and 295 libraries, more than 2.5 million students, educators and administrators, and 3.6 million librarians and patrons. For more information, please visit http://www.ena.com.
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.
About eLearn Institute
The eLearn Institute is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to transforming education through the effective use of digital learning tools. The central focus of the institute is to help schools and districts design, build, and “own” their eLearning programs. The eLearn Institute understands that having the right digital tools is one half of the challenge that educators and schools face, and using these tools effectively to building transformative educational models that support great learning is the other half of the challenge. The institute assists schools to create a facilitated community of online educators to share best practices, effective learning models, and new ideas specific to online and blended learning. For more information, please visit http://www.elearninstitute.org.


Kajeet Scores 10 Additional Patents for Innovation in Communication Device Management

Proprietary Technology Helps School Districts Administer Connectivity for Students

BETHESDA, Maryland—Feb. 20, 2014 —Kajeet® (www.kajeet.com/education), the wireless service provider dedicated to kids and education, announced today that the U.S. Trade and Patent Office issued 10 additional new patents to the company covering management of a communications device. This proprietary technology — found in the Kajeet SmartSpot™ device — allows school districts to provide safe mobile broadband to students outside the classroom while regulating how and when the mobile device is used and who pays for the service. The similar technology is used in Kajeet’s cell phone management platform which allows parents to manage their kids’ cell phone activity.

The following 10 patents have been awarded to Kajeet in the last few months: U.S. Patent Numbers 8,588,735; 8,594,619; 8,600,348; 8,611,885; 8,630,612; 8,634,801; 8,634,802; 8,634,803; 8,639,216; 8,644,796.

Kajeet’s technology is keeping students connected to online educational resources after school hours in school districts around the country including: Detroit, Miami-Dade, Forsyth, Fairfax County, Green Bay, Tucson and Chicago. The Kajeet SmartSpot device offers an affordable and simple option to bridge the digital divide providing disadvantaged students with broadband access to the Internet anytime or anywhere. The Kajeet Sentinel® platform allows schools to fully customize and filter the websites students can visit and the time of day or night appropriate for student use. Teachers and administrators can manage access hours and filter out non-educational content keeping students on-task and controlling costs.

“As parents ourselves, Kajeet has been innovating for more than 10 years to make mobile technology safer for kids, and simple for those who love them to manage where, when  and how they access the online world,” said Daniel Neal, CEO and founder of Kajeet. “In today’s world learning communities extend far beyond the classroom.  We’re excited to make that a simple and safe environment for students around the country.”

About Kajeet®

Kajeet, the only wireless service provider dedicated to kids and education, is solving the digital divide in schools. Kajeet for Education provides portable Wi-Fi hotspots with school-managed off-campus Internet connectivity.  Giving teachers or administrators the ability to set access hours and filter out non-educational content, the Kajeet Sentinel® platform connects students to essential academic resources on the Internet anytime, anywhere. The Kajeet SmartSpot™ is compatible with all devices students use today and is 100 percent compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). For more information, please visit us at www.kajeet.com/education.


ACT Kicks Off 2014 College and Career Readiness Campaign

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT leaders will join North Dakota state officials, including Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler, this afternoon at the state capitol building in Bismarck to honor a student, a high school, a community college and an employer for serving as leading examples of success in college and career readiness across the education and workforce continuum.

It’s the first of eight trips for ACT over the next five months, as its leaders travel to each partner state that is participating in the nonprofit organization’s second annual College and Career Readiness Campaign. From now until June, ACT will join state governors and superintendents to honor the achievements of students, schools and employers in their state that benefit their communities and succeed despite the challenges they face.

ACT’s partner states in this campaign are: Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“The accomplishments of these award winners are both humbling and enlightening,” said Jon Whitmore, chief executive officer at ACT. “These are the students who overcame odds, the educators who helped them succeed, and the companies that improved the lives of their employees. ACT is proud to work with our partnering states to recognize the accomplishments of these exemplary individuals.”

State leaders nominate award recipients in four categories:

  • Student Readiness Award and scholarship (awarded to a student)
  • College and Career Transition Award (awarded to a high school)
  • Career Preparedness Award (awarded to a community college)
  • Workplace Success Award (awarded to an employer)

ACT will review all state nominees and select four national semifinalists, one in each category, in March. A national selection committee comprised of education and workforce development leaders will then select one honoree per category for national recognition. National award recipients will be recognized at the ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 2014.

“The people, schools and employers we celebrate are models to follow not only in their state, but across the country,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT vice president. “By sharing their stories and celebrating what they’ve accomplished, we hope to inspire more people to become involved in efforts to improve the college and career prospects for students and workers everywhere.”

To learn more about ACT’s expanding College and Career Readiness Campaign, visit ACT’s website. As ACT travels to state events, check its Twitter feed (@ACT) to read about award winners and their accomplishments.

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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.