Learning Upgrade Releases Math Upgrade 6 Courses, Previews Math Upgrade 7 at NCTM

All courses aligned with Common Core, featuring music and games to engage students with varying learning styles

(SAN DIEGO) April 02, 2014 – Dedicated to help students meet the rigors of the Common Core through songs, videos and games, Learning Upgrade will unveil its Math Upgrade 6 course at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference April 9-12.  Attendees will also get a sneak peek at Math Upgrade 7 before it is officially released in April.

Math Upgrade 6 is designed to support student mastery of all 6th grade Common Core standards for math.  Students are guided through 60 step-by-step lessons to ensure they meet the rigors of the Common Core.  Each lesson provides practice problems accompanied by immediate intervention and remediation with multimedia supports.  Students repeat low scoring lessons to mastery, earning a gold certificate when proficient on every Common Core standard.

“Districts across the country are working hard to prepare for the Common Core.  Providing practice lessons that engage all levels of learning abilities and learning styles to reach all students is a challenge shared by many district administrators. Lessons from Learning Upgrade are a great way to help struggling learners catch up and help all students master every Common Core standard,” said Learning Upgrade co-founder Vinod Lobo.

The Math Upgrade series of courses, designed by educators, cover each standard benchmark in grades 1-8.  Designed from the ground up specifically for the Common Core, these courses feature practice problems in the style of the various new digital tests like those from PARCC and Smarter Balance: multi-step word problems, drag-and-drop answers, and interactive graphs.  Teachers can use the courses individually or as whole-class lessons with projectors or interactive whiteboards.

Learning Upgrade provides a unique opportunity for teachers to incorporate popular music, video and interaction to make math lessons engaging.

In addition to introducing the new courses at NCTM, Learning Upgrade will host a session on “Math Upgrade Common Core Lessons using Songs, Video and Games.” The session will be held at 2 p.m. on both April 10 and 11 in Room 208 at the New Orleans Convention Center.

For more information about Learning Upgrade and their sessions at NCTM, please visit them online at www.learningupgrade.com

About Learning Upgrade

Founded in 1998 by educators, musicians, artists and programmers in San Diego, Learning Upgrade designs innovative, engaging lessons to support struggling students in reading and math. Through the incorporation of songs, video, games and educational research, Learning Upgrade has helped over 1 million students make learning breakthroughs.

For more information about Learning Upgrade, please visit them online at www.learningupgrade.com


Teachers Gather for Latest in Math Education at NCTM Annual Meeting
Reston, Va., April 2, 2014—The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) will offer more than 700 sessions and workshops, covering all levels, pre-K–grade 12, at its 2014 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition. The four-day conference, April 9–12, will feature presenters from New Orleans and all across the country. Topics will include the Common Core State Standards, STEM education, achieving equity and social justice, and classroom use of technology.“Whether you’re a classroom teacher, coach, administrator, preservice teacher, or math specialist, NCTM’s Annual Meeting has something for you,” said NCTM President Linda Gojak.Keynote speaker Steven Strogatz of Cornell University will kick off the conference with the session “The Joy of x.” An award-winning math scholar with a broad interest in applied mathematics, Strogatz studies how synchrony occurs spontaneously in nature (Wednesday, April 95:30–7:00 p.m.).

Continuing its tradition of mathematics education leadership, NCTM will unveil Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All to define and describe the principles and actions, including specific teaching practices, that are essential for a high-quality mathematics education for all students. What’s exciting about NCTM’s new blueprint for mathematics education? The writing team will present several sessions at the conference about the publication’s focus on teaching and learning and how to engage students in mathematics thinking.

Rote memorization through drill and practice does not lead to fluency. Join NCTM President Linda Gojak to look at the ways to help students use strategic thinking to develop fluency through reasoning and sense making (Thursday, April 10, 2:00–3:00 p.m.).

In spring 2015, the Common Core assessments will be administered for the first time. What actions will best prepare teachers and students for these assessments? NCTM President-Elect Diane Briars will discuss opportunities and challenges (Friday, April 11, 2:003:00 p.m.).

Bill Amend, the cartoonist who created the comic strip FoxTrot, has been injecting math and science humor into the funny pages for more than 25 years. He’ll share examples and stories and discuss the joys and challenges of bringing math to the masses (Saturday, April 12, 12:30–1:30 p.m.).

Conference activities will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Attendees may register on-site at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at the following times: Wednesday, April 9, 8:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.; Thursday, April 11, 7:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; Friday, April 10, 7:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.; and Saturday, April 12, 7:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.

In addition, hundreds of the latest education products will be on display in the NCTM Exhibit Hall at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Thursday, April 10, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Friday, April 11, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; and Saturday, April 12, 8:00 a.m.–noon.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is the public voice of mathematics education, providing vision, leadership, and professional development to support teachers in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. With 80,000 members and more than 200 Affiliates, NCTM is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education in prekindergarten through grade 12. The Council’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics includes guidelines for excellence in mathematics education and issues a call for all students to engage in more challenging mathematics. Its Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics identifies the most important mathematical topics for each grade level. Focus in High School Mathematics: Reasoning and Sense Making advocates practical changes to the high school mathematics curriculum to refocus learning on reasoning and sense making. NCTM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for our nation’s students.



Vernier and NSTA Honor Seven Teachers for their Innovative Use of Data-Collection Technology in STEM Education


2014 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners each receive a prize valued at $5,500

BEAVERTON, Oregon, April 2, 2014 – Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) named seven innovative science and STEM teachers as winners of the 2014 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. The winning educators — one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator — were selected by an NSTA-appointed panel of experts for their use of data-collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator, or other handheld device in the science classroom.


Each winner will be formally recognized at this year’s annual NSTA National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts on April 4, 2014, and will receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the conference.


“The use of data-collection technology provides students from kindergarten to college with the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific learning,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “Each of this year’s award winners demonstrated truly innovative ways that probeware can enhance the teaching and learning processes in science and STEM classrooms.”


This year’s Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards’ winners include:


Category: Elementary School

Bill Burton, The Lamplighter School, Carrollton, TX

Bill Burton uses the Vernier Force Plate during a lesson that allows his first grade students to explore friction. During the investigation, students experience the forces required to overcome friction as they pull themselves across several hundred tennis balls. As they experience this activity, real-time data collected by the Force Plate is projected on the interactive whiteboard for class discussion.


Category: Middle School

David Auerbach, Cardigan Mountain School, Canaan, NH

Encouraging hands-on scientific discovery, David Auerbach has students participate in the C-Prize project, a takeoff of the X-Prize, in which students construct and test rocket prototypes to learn about speed, velocity and acceleration. They additionally identify variables, develop hypotheses and analyze data collected using a Photogate and data-collection devices.


Christine Gleason, Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, MI

Focusing on the themes of energy and sustainable resources, Christine Gleason has her eighth-grade students build a classroom-sized alternative energy system as part of an end-of-year project. Students collect electrical power data, comparable to those being made on the school’s rooftop wind turbine system. Students then use the data to improve their own designs.


Category: High School

Gary Garber, Boston University Academy, Boston, MA

Unlike many traditional high school pendulum experiments, Gary Garber’s students use sensors — including the Photogate, Motion Detector and Accelerometer — as well as computer modeling to further their physics understanding. In addition to analyzing their own findings, students are able to analyze data Garber collected using the Vernier Wireless Dynamics System during a pendulum experiment on a NASA reduced gravity flight.


Brian Bollone, Northview High School, Grand Rapids, MI

Students in Brian Bollone’s class use an array of sensors to research quantitative questions regarding the measurable chemical factors during animal decomposition. During the activity, students correlate their data with daily qualitative measurements of entomological activity and photographs, and they test their hypothesis using still-born fetal pigs in a secure location on the school campus.


Ashley Webb, DeSoto Central High School, Southhaven, MS

With the help of teacher Ashley Webb, the “Creating Leaders in STEM” program at Central High School in Southhaven, Mississippi provides innovative opportunities for AP Physics and AP Environmental Science high school students to review for their AP tests. At the same time the students are helping sixth-grade students at the junior high school engage in hands-on, inquiry-based STEM education using Vernier technology.


Category: College

Dr. Paul Adams, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS

Dr. Paul Adams’ engineering students use technology to conduct high-altitude ballooning challenges. To further expand on these challenges, Dr. Adams will have students migrate the Vernier sensors to an Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform to create a lighter system, which reduces the cost of the balloon launch.


To learn more about the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and to find details for the 2015 application, visithttp://www.vernier.com/grants/nsta/.


About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 33 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With world-wide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college. Vernier’s technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students’ critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Vernier’s business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit www.vernier.com.


NASDCTEc/NCTEF Star of Education Award Winners Announced 


Washington, D.C., April 2, 2014 – Today the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) was proud to announce the winners of this year’s Star of Education Awards at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting. Demonstrating leadership, vision and dedication to Career Technical Education (CTE), each of these honorees has made extraordinary contributions to the practice and expansion of CTE.


This year’s awardees include two Distinguished Service-Congressional Award winners Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA), the recipients of the State CTE Director Emeritus Award are Dr. Kathy Shibley of Ohio and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth of California, and Russ Weikle of California is the first-ever State CTE Director Rising Star honoree.


“The CTE community is blessed with an abundance of talented and passionate individuals who work all day, every day to realize thevision of high-quality CTE,” said NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green. “Today’s honorees have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Each has dedicated years of faithful service and visionary leadership to the CTE enterprise, and we all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”


As Co-Chairmen of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Representative Thompson and Representative Langevin have been vocal champions of CTE and have a proven track record of raising awareness and understanding of the CTE enterprise among their colleagues in the legislative branch. The CTE Caucus Co-Chairmen have held congressional briefings on the importance of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, spearheaded letters to the executive branch and congressional leadership on the value of investment in CTE and have consistently made a compelling case for CTE’s positive economic impact and return on investment. Their years of tenacious advocacy on behalf of CTE was the driving force behind the NASDCTEc Executive Board’s decision to honor each of them with this Distinguished Service-Congressional Award.


“As co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus and a longtime supporter of job and skills training programs, I am honored to accept the Star of Education Award,” said Congressman Langevin. “It is our duty to provide a strong education for all students, and that must include robust career and technical programs. These programs prepare our youth for the careers that are available today and will continue to grow in the future. Investments in CTE are returned many times over through a skilled workforce that serves to strengthen our economy.”


“It’s a distinct honor to receive the Star of Education Award,” stated Congressman Thompson. “I want to thank the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium for their work to expand and improve career and technical programming across the country.  As Co-Chairman of the bipartisan House Career and Technical Education Caucus, I look forward to continuing our shared advocacy on behalf of aspiring learners of all ages to ensure they have access to the training and tools necessary to succeed in career and educational endeavors.”


Also honored were two new inductees into the ranks of State CTE Directors Emeriti. Dr. Kathy Shibley of Ohio and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth of California both retired in 2013 after long careers of exceptional service to their states and to the CTE community. Since assuming the mantle of State CTE Director of California in1996, Dr. Ainsworth affected major change to the CTE landscape in his state, increasing gender equity compliance, developing business and industry partnerships and cultivating a modern CTE curriculum for his state. In her term as State CTE Director of Ohio, Dr. Shibley cultivated a reputation for making data-driven decisions and pursuing visionary reform. In particular, Dr. Shibley made significant contributions to the development and implementation of the National Career Clusters® Framework and prioritized student preparation and support services.


At ceremony’s close, Mr. Weikle received the first-ever State Director Rising Star Award. Even before taking the reins as State CTE Director of California, Mr. Weikle convened the CTE Plan Resources Group, which helped lay the foundation for the California State Plan for Career Technical Education. Mr. Weikle is also responsible for pioneering work in the distribution of Perkins funding, adopting the Perkins Grant Management System to streamline the distribution of Perkins funds throughout California.



The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education (NASDCTEc) was established in 1920 to represent the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary and adult career technical education (CTE) across the nation. NASDCTEc, through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, aims to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish a global, dynamic economy.  Learn more at www.careertech.org.