Pitsco announces $500 scholarship winner

Pittsburg, Kansas (March 27, 2014) — Pitsco Education has announced its first quarterly scholarship winner of 2014. HeatherHeather Roach photoRoach, who teaches chemistry and anatomy and physiology at East High School in Anchorage, Alaska, plans to use her $500 certificate from Pitsco to purchase more supplies for theFIRST® robotics teams she coaches. “All of the great TETRIX®-related products have been wonderful in helping my students learn about robotics,” she says.
Heather was nominated by fellow teacher Tracy McKeon. “Heather is a teacher who inspires her students to greatness,” explains Tracy. “She never hesitates to dedicate her time and talents to her students.”
The $500 Pitsco Scholarship is awarded quarterly to a worthy educator. Winners receive a $500 certificate to purchase products atwww.pitsco.com. To be eligible, nominees must be currently employed in the education field.


Insight Education Group Unveils Growth-Centered Video Observation and Feedback Platform for Teachers and School Leaders

Platform includes opportunities for teachers to be coached by content-specific coaches

(ENCINO, Calif.) March 27, 2014 – Insight Education Group is thrilled to announce the launch of ADVANCEfeedbackTM, a platform for teachers and school leaders designed to manage the observation and feedback process like never before. Through live or video-based observations, the intuitive platform can be used by school and district observers or by Insight’s team of expert content-area coaches to provide meaningful feedback, identify and share specific examples of great teaching and organize resources so educators can easily access this information and accelerate growth.

ADVANCEfeedbackTM was developed from Insight’s extensive experience in partnering with schools, districts, charters, and states across the country since 2000 on a variety of teacher effectiveness initiatives.

With the rise of teacher evaluation systems in nearly 30 states, school leaders are looking for ways to manage the increased demands on the number of teacher observations required. In addition, with the adoption of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, teachers are asking their school leaders for more meaningful feedback on their instructional practice. ADVANCEfeedbackTM seeks to provide solutions to these very challenges.

  •        The platform supports the focus on growth versus gotcha. Through the platform, school leaders, observers, or Insight’s coaches can provide teachers with the kind of feedback that will inspire and support growth in their practice.
  •        The platform can save school leaders time and reduce paperwork. With a streamlined process and less paperwork, school leaders can spend their time on activities that further teachers’ growth. In addition, school leaders can complete all observations in one place instead of going to multiple systems.
  •        The platform is customized for a school or district’s specific context. Through live or video-based observations, the platform can accommodate any observational criteria, including instructional frameworks or observation rubrics. A variety of pre-loaded rubrics are also available.
  •        Through Insight’s team of expert content coaches, teachers can receive the meaningful and individualized feedback they’ve sought. Insight has formed a team of experienced coaches available to provide individual, content-specific support (including expertise in the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards) to teachers through the platform. The coaches have strong track records of increasing student achievement in their own practice.

Insight’s CEO Dr. Michael Moody comments, “In my years as a teacher, principal, district leader and CEO of Insight, I have learned that providing actionable, specific and timely feedback to teachers is absolutely key to supporting growth in their instructional practice and ultimately moving student achievement. Through ADVANCEfeedbackTM, we have set out to create a platform that supports growth when it comes to the observation process – rather than producing that ‘gotcha’ feeling.”

Insight will provide two ways for school leaders to find out more information about ADVANCEfeedbackTM. First, educators can attend a 45-minute webinar entitled “Using Video for Coaching, Observation and Even Evaluation” where they will learn about key lessons learned and helpful resources in using video in coaching and observation. In addition, individual 30-minute product demo tours will also be available.

For more information about ADVANCEfeedbackTM, please visit: www.insighteducationgroup.com/AF

For more about Insight, please visit: www.insighteducationgroup.com

About Insight Education Group:

Insight Education Group is an educational consulting firm that supports the growth of teachers and school leaders. Since 2000, we have partnered with schools, districts, charters, states, and education organizations across the country to understand their challenges and provide matching solutions that get results. Our ultimate goal is to ensure all students get a great education. Learn more at: http://www.insighteducationgroup.com/

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Pennsylvania K-12 School District Selects
Follett’s Aspen Student Information System

Big Spring School District adoption to enable personalized learning


MCHENRY, Ill., March 27, 2014 – Big Spring School District in Pennsylvania has selected Follett’s Aspen student information system (SIS) for the collection, reporting and management of student data and information.  The Aspen platform integrates learning management capabilities and uniquely connects student information to classroom curricular, educational and communication tools.


According to Richard Fry, superintendent, Big Spring School District, Aspen’s tie to the classroom makes it the perfect fit for delivering personalized instruction. “It’s easy to talk about individualized learning plans for every student, but you darn well better have a SIS designed to support that and serve as a communication tool with everyone in your community,” said Fry. “Aspen, far and above, provides that flexibility and fits the bill.”


The goal of Big Spring’s search committee was to find an effective, efficient SIS that was responsive and adaptive to increasing demands for integrating student information across administrative, curriculum and assessment programs.  “Our biggest requirement for a solution was the integration of a learning management system and a student information system,” said Brandie Shatto, Big Spring’s director of educational technology. “With Aspen, we found that, and we were especially impressed with the ability to customize.”


“Aspen rose to the top in our search for a new platform because it not only met our current needs, but will take us where we want to go with the capability to grow,” added Fry.  “We believe that this switch to Aspen will help move the district forward.”


The Big Spring adoption of Aspen—one of the first in Pennsylvania—builds on Follett’s existing relationship with the district. “Big Spring School District has been a Follett customer for several years with our market-leading Destiny Library Manager solution,” said Tom Schenck, president and COO of Follett School Solutions. “This is clearly a progressive district that has staked out a bold vision of its current and future needs, with the ultimate goal of supporting their students from kindergarten through graduation.”


When the Newville, Pa.-based district goes live with Aspen for the 2014-15 school year, officials expect the impact to be significant.  “As the process evolved, the folks from Follett were able to show us what it was we were asking for,” saidKevin Roberts, Big Spring’s director of curriculum.  “We started to see that our picture for using data in the future included Aspen.”


Now in 15 states and Canada, Aspen serves more than 1.5 million students.


For more information on Follett’s PreK-12 business, visit FollettLearning.com. For more information on Big Spring School District, visit www.bigspringsd.org.


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About Follett’s K-12 Business 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 Corporationfollett.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.



Nye County Students Earn Double the Class Credits in Half the Time

District-wide gains impressive since redesigning alternative education program

(PAHRUMP, Nev.) March 27, 2014- In one semester, students in Nye County’s alternative education school have completed twice as many class credits as they did for the entire 2012-13 school year.

Karen Hills, the school’s principal, attributes her students’ success to the way the school has retooled its blended learning model, which includes online curriculum from Odysseyware.  

“We knew there was much more we could be doing to leverage Odysseyware with our students, which led us to reexamine our blended learning model as a whole,” Hills said.

Previously, students were given all of their courses for the year and were asked to spend 20 hours a week working on whatever courses they chose. To get the full student experience, Hills enrolled herself in six online courses – a typical load for her students.

“Given the choice between so many courses, I found myself thinking, ‘I don’t want to do math today,’ or ‘oh, my favorite show is on!’ It was hard to stay focused,” Hills said. “I knew if I was struggling to get the work done, my students were too.”

After Hills’ experiment, she and her staff changed the structure of their blended learning program to address the challenges she faced. Students are now given three weeks to work on one course at a time.

“Now our kids can really focus on getting their courses done,” said Hills. “Once they realize they’re actually in charge of their own success, they step up and take ownership of their learning.”

Currently, Hills has 123 high school students enrolled in Odysseyware courses at her campus. Since implementing their new model, they have already completed 133 more credits than the 162 students who were enrolled last year – in half the time.

“We’re seeing unbelievable learning gains with the new program,” said Hills. “People used to think of our school as a ‘destination of last resort,’ and we’re proving them wrong.”

Beth TeGrotenhuis, the president and COO of Odysseyware’s parent company, Glynlyon, said she was encouraged by the results in Nye County. “Every student should be given the right tools for them to succeed,” said TeGrotenhuis. “That is exactly what the team in Nye County has done, and we could not be more proud of their success.”

For more information about Nye County’s alternative education school, visit www.nye.k12.nv.us/

For more information about Odysseyware and a complete course list, visit them online at www.odysseyware.com

About Odysseyware

Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Odysseyware is an innovative, multimedia-enriched online curriculum. Completely web-based, Odysseyware provides 21st century educational solutions by offering the core subjects of history and geography, math, language arts, and science along with enriching electives, CTE, placement testing, diagnostics and professional development. More than 300,000 students across the United States have connected with self-directed learning through Odysseyware. This curriculum is sold directly through regional education specialists. To learn more, visit www.odysseyware.com or call 877.795.8904.



New Issue of NASBE’s State Education Standard Explores Different Dimensions of Deeper Learning for State Policymakers to Consider
The issue includes articles from Robert Rothman, Linda Darling-Hammond, Peter Levine and more.

Arlington, VA – Today, we expect our students to be ready for the 21st century. Now more than ever, they are asked to learn more, to master new technology, and to apply what they have learned. These skills, including critical thinking and problem solving, effective communication, collaboration, and academic mindsets are competencies often referred to as “deeper learning.”

A new issue of the State Education Standardthe National Association of State Boards of Education’s award-winning journal, is dedicated to the topic of deeper learning, and how state policymakers — and state boards of education in particular — are in a position to adopt policies that ensure students graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college, career, and civic life.

The Standard’s feature article, “The Learner and Learning: 2014 and Beyond” highlights key findings and recommendations from NASBE’s study group on deeper learning, a group composed of members from 13 state boards of education. Among their recommendations: Ensure state policies create a foundation for deeper learning; align students’ educational experiences with 21st century college, career, and civic demands; and enable education systems driven by quality and innovation.

The issue also features an article by Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, who argues that fostering deeper learning isn’t about a single policy, but transforming a full education system. And, noted education thought-leader Linda Darling-Hammond examines the need to create high-quality, yet affordable assessments for deeper learning, while experts Peter LevineMargaret HiltonElliot Washor, and others explore the connection between deeper learning and citizenship, social emotional learning, personalization, and student engagement.

“As this issue of the Standard shows, while the basic concepts of deeper learning are not new, what is changing is our focus on ensuring all students have access to rich deeper learning experiences,” says NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “Equity and excellence have been the hallmarks of state boards of education from their earliest days, so this issue is a natural fit for state boards to take on — and all across the country, state boards are stepping up to the challenge.”

Read the full March 2014 issue of the State Education Standard. Individual articles can be downloaded here.

Hard copies can be purchased for a nominal fee by contacting boards@nasbe.org.

Publication of this edition of the State Education Standard was made possible with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. NASBE thanks the foundation for its support and acknowledges that views expressed in the journal are those of the authors alone.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.