SIIA Innovation Incubator Program Announces 2014 Finalists
Ten education technology innovators to be featured at the 2014 Education Industry Summit


WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2014) – The Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) announces finalists, and an alternate, for its Innovation Incubator Program. The program will be held during the 13th annual Education Industry Summit, the leading conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market. The finalists will feature their products during the event, May 12-14 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Awards will be presented to the Most Innovative and Most Likely to Succeed, based on the votes of conference attendees. The Educator’s Choice Award will also be presented based on votes from educators and administrators from around the U.S., and SIIA will award prize packages from program partners to the award winners.
 
The SIIA Innovation Incubator Program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

“Innovative technology in the classroom is key to revitalizing the educational experience and leveraging shifts in the digital learning space,” said Karen Billings, vice president for the SIIA Education Division. “This year’s Innovation Incubator participants have provided products that are central to keeping our students engaged while promoting creativity and entrepreneurship.”

***********************************************************************

Responsive Classroom Leadership Conference to Celebrate What Works in Schools

Author Charles Eisenstein Will Give Keynote Address

 

Turners Falls, MA—“Celebrating What Works in Schools” will be the theme of the 9th annual Responsive Classroom Leadership Conference to be held October 27–28 at the JW Marriott in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Experienced Responsive Classroom consultants and veteran educators will provide professional learning and networking opportunities for school and district leaders who are working to improve instruction, classroom management, and students’ social-emotional competencies. Attendees will also hear about the new Responsive Classroom middle school program currently in development.

 

In the keynote address, Charles Eisenstein, social philosopher and author most recently of The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, will speak about how Responsive Classroom educators are helping to encourage habits of connection and collaboration rather than habits of separation.

 

During two full days of sessions, discussions, expert panels, and networking time, conference attendees will gather plenty of proven practical strategies to use immediately as they work to build positive school community, effectively manage classrooms, and enhance academic engagement. All participants will find sessions that fit their interests, whether they’re new to the Responsive Classroom approach or further along in their implementation.

 

In one session, Responsive Classroom’s newest book, The Language of Learning: Teaching Students Core Thinking, Listening, & Speaking Skills, will serve as the jumping-off point for a discussion on how school leaders can support teachers as they teach the competencies essential to having deep academic conversations.

 

And in a special double session for those new to the approach, participants will delve into how the foundational ideas and teaching practices that underlie the Responsive Classroom approach impact teaching in three key domains—engaging academics, positive community, and effective management.

 

Other session topics include overcoming obstacles to schoolwide implementation, introducing students to safe and responsible use of technology and social media, sharing the good news happening in a school or district with parents and the general public, the crucial role of leadership in sustaining Responsive Classroomimplementation, building community through schoolwide Morning Meetings, and many more.

 

“Every day,” says Responsive Classroom executive director Lora Hodges, “I see educators working so hard usingResponsive Classroom practices to make schools better places for students—and for teachers. This conference is a great opportunity to celebrate and build on that hard work.”

 

Registration for the conference, to be held October 27–28 at the JW Marriott in Chicago, is now open, with an early bird discount through July 31st.

 

ABOUT NORTHEAST FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN, INC., AND

THE RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM® APPROACH

The not-for-profit Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. (NEFC) was established in 1981 by elementary school educators who envisioned a way of teaching that would bring together academic and social learning throughout the school day. That way of teaching, called the Responsive Classroom approach, is a research-based approach to elementary education that leads to greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. It has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of the most well-designed, evidence-based academic, social and emotional learning programs. NEFC offers Responsive Classroom on-site consulting services to schools and districts; workshops and institutes for educators in locations around the country; and numerous books, videos, and other resources for teachers and administrators.

 

************************************************************************

Teachscape Introduces New Online ELA & Literacy Courses to Help Educators Navigate the Common Core State Standards

 

Courses include video exemplars, expert commentary, standards-aligned teaching cases, and more

 

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2014—Teachscape has expanded its award-winning Teachscape LearnProfessional Learning Suite. In addition to its online courses about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics, The Common Core Series in Teachscape Learn now boasts new video-based, self-paced courses on the CCSS for English Language Arts (ELA) & Literacy. This interactive series, which was developed specifically to help educators understand and effectively implement the new standards, includes case studies, extensive expert commentary and more than 24 hours of course content.

 

The courses range in length from 15 minutes to two hours and use a multimodal approach to boost educators’ knowledge about the CCSS for ELA & Literacy. Experts include distinguished professors and content experts from several institutions, including University of California, Berkeley; Rutgers University; University of Maryland, College Park; and Stanford University. Teachers from various grades and diverse classroom settings are featured in the courses to ensure educators find relevant content that will inform and shape their classroom practice.

 

“When teachers—novice and veteran educators alike—have a clear understanding of what the new standards mean for their teaching, and they can see what those instructional shifts look like in real classrooms, they can align their own instructional practices accordingly,” said Peter Worth, director of learning design at Teachscape. “Our goal in designing these courses was to create a learning experience that, whether used as a stand-alone resource, or as part of a comprehensive professional learning program, would help to build that understanding and inspire teachers to reflect on their practice as they implement the Common Core.”

 

Users can access an overview of the CCSS for ELA & Literacy by starting with the introductory course, which will guide them through the standards as well as the series. Throughout the series, learners will benefit from interviews with leading literacy experts, recommended readings, and reflection questions. Five of the new courses focus on key instructional shifts (changes) that need to be considered as a result of the CCSS, and there is one additional course that focuses on implicit aspects of the standards identified by expert contributors. These courses present a research-based analysis of the CCSS and provide considerations for implementation. Six teaching cases each showcase a full-length, standards-aligned lesson with reflection by the teacher and/or a discussion by one or more experts.

 

The new courses are part of the award-winning Teachscape Learn Professional Learning Suite, which helps teachers and administrators reflect on practice, collaborate with colleagues, and build relevant skills. Teachscape Learn includes a research-based PreK–12 course library, online learning communities, video upload and sharing tools, and personalized learning plans. Teachscape Learn is part of the integrated online Teachscape Effectiveness Platform, which provides districts and states with tools for classroom observation and evaluation as well as professional learning, and supports the development of effective teaching practices throughout an educator’s career.

 

About Teachscape

Teachscape uniquely combines innovative technology, engaging content, and expert services to develop great teachers. From its classroom observation training and technology to its powerful web-based content delivery platform, Teachscape’s award-winning products and services have been inspired by its dedication to sparking transformative change in teaching practice. Since 1999, Teachscape has worked with schools and school districts, charter networks, archdioceses, universities, and state education departments to measurably and continuously improve the effectiveness of educators to produce gains in student achievement. Teachscape’s partners, including Charlotte Danielson, ETS, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, have helped to shape its vision, its products, and its strategies. To learn more about Teachscape and its complete collection of professional development offerings, go to http://www.teachscape.com.

*******************************************************************

Lexia Reading Core5 Dramatically Improves Student Achievement in

Kansas Statewide Reading Initiative

 

Mid-year report shows statistically significant reductions in the number of students behind

grade level and at high-risk of not meeting end-of-year benchmarks

 

BOSTON — April 23, 2014 — Lexia Learning, a Rosetta Stone® (NYSE:RST) company, today announced mid-year results from the Kansas Reading Initiative in which the use of the Lexia Reading® Core5® program has driven statistically significant gains in student achievement, with the number of students working on material at/above grade level doubling from 36% at the beginning of the school year to 72% at the mid-year point. In addition, there was a statistically significant reduction in the percentage of students considered to be at high risk of not meeting end-of-year benchmarks—dropping from 46% to 27%.

 

Results from the first half of the 2013–2014 school year were recently presented to the Kansas Cabinet for Children and the Senate and House Education Committees. The report details the mid-year achievement levels for nearly 10,000 student participants who met recommended usage requirements for the program. More than 220 schools across the state are participating in the Kansas Reading Initiative, which provides access to the Lexia Reading Core5 program at no cost to schools.

 

“Lexia Reading Core5 is driving real learning and growth as it closes skill gaps at an exceptional rate,” said Heather Vincent, principal at Franklin Elementary in Wichita, Kansas. “It’s giving students the time to practice and learn, and it’s also addressing their deficiencies with precise material. In addition, the program directs the reading intervention specialist via specific action plans and structured lessons so that improvement happens much more quickly than it would without such a powerful tool.”

 

The Kansas Reading Initiative is an ongoing statewide grant that provides schools access to Lexia Reading Core5 to help close the reading gap. The program provides personalized learning for students of all abilities in grades pre-K–5 and student progress is monitored in real time, without stopping to administer a test. Student performance data are predictive of future outcomes on commonly used assessments such as DIBELS®, AIMSweb® and MAP®, and drive the Lexia Reading Core5 program’s student-specific recommendations for teacher-led instructional strategies. The Kansas State Department of Education has deemed Lexia Reading Core5 as an approved assessment for Student Growth Measures.

 

Educational Design Solutions (EDS), a Kansas-based company, is Lexia’s statewide partner for the Kansas Reading Initiative. Together, EDS and Lexia have worked closely with schools across the state to ensure implementation success by helping schools, teachers and students meet usage requirements necessary to achieve expected academic gains. To learn more about the Kansas Reading Initiative, please visit www.kansasreading.com.

 

About Lexia Learning

Established with a promise to improve student literacy through the use of technology, today more than one million students are currently improving their reading proficiency with Lexia Reading® software. A Rosetta Stone company, Lexia’s programs have been nationally recognized and proven effective in six peer-reviewed, research-based outcome studies published in scientific journals such as The Journal of Reading Research and the Bilingual Research Journal. For more information, visit www.lexialearning.com or call 1-800-435-3942.

**********************************************************

Divestment Movement Crosses $100 Million Endowment Line, Unity College Praises Pitzer Decision

Unity, Maine – April, 2014 –  A movement that began on November 13, 2012, at a 350.org event featuring environmental activist Bill McKibben and Unity College President Stephen Mulkey, has reached its most significant milestone to date.

     Pitzer College of Claremont, California, has announced its intention to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  With an endowment valued at $125 million, Pitzer silenced critics who said that the divestment movement in higher education would collapse.

     At the 350.org event in Portland, Maine, McKibben welcomed Unity College President Stephen Mulkey to the stage.  He was greeted with a standing ovation when he revealed that the environmentally focused college had become the first in the nation to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  Some questioned the significance of the gesture, given that Unity’s endowment is relatively modest ($13.5 million at the time, now $15 million).

     Since that time, both Mulkey and McKibben have travelled the United States nurturing the movement they started.  They have supported grass roots divestment movements at high profile institutions like Harvard University, which has resisted student and faculty calls to divest.

    History may be tilting on the side of visionaries like Mulkey and McKibben.  With the recent announcement by Pitzer College that it will divest and strengthen campus-wide efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, a new threshold — divestment by an institution with an endowment in excess of $100 million — has been crossed.

     “I applaud the initiative shown by Pitzer College and welcome them into the fold of colleges that have divested,” noted Mulkey.  “History will look back on Pitzer’s decision as among the milestones along the way to broad action to mitigate global climate change and secure a healthy planet in perpetuity.”

     Mulkey feels that with every milestone reached, the critics of divestment are losing steam.

     “Not so long ago critics said that divestment was a stunt pulled by small environmental colleges with small endowments and little to lose,” Mulkey stated.  “Pitzer’s decision validates the idea that this movement is not limited to small colleges, and that the rest of higher education should consider following suit.”

     In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science, the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change.  Other ground-breaking “green” innovations include the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world.

     Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.


 
Innovation Incubator Program finalists were selected from the applicant pool based on key selection criteria, including:
– Ability to positively impact end users of the product
– Ability to succeed in the ed tech market
– Level of originality and innovation

All Innovation Incubator finalists will present during the Business Profiles Presentations Monday afternoon, May 12, which is immediately followed by the Innovation Showcase & Networking Reception, where they will be available for one-on-one product demonstrations and in-depth discussions.

Innovation Incubator Program participants are:
 
Capture Education – A scheduling software that reduces data entry tasks and allows real data driven decisions to be made.
 
Crowdmark Inc. – A document assessment web application that allows instructors, or teams of instructors to easily mark up and grade documents.
 
EDUonGo – A cloud-based platform that allows highly collaborative learning and educational sharing.
 
Million Dollar Scholar – An open online platform that delivers highly tailored scholarship opportunities to students in High School and College and empowers students to achieve those scholarships.
 
Mondokio International News – The next generation resource for news articles in the classroom, it allows for customization to avoid bias and allows students to consider multiple perspectives.
 
Mosa Mack: Science Detective – A web library of animated science materials that engages students with a mystery format for each lesson.
 
Nepris – A web-based platform that seamlessly connects curriculum, industry expertise, and classroom needs to engage students in STEM and expose them to real job skills and role models.
 
Promethean/Classflow – An integrated learning platform that enhances education productivity by orchestrating and streamlining a collaborative teaching and learning process.
 
Ranku – A discovery engine for online degrees, using personalized search through LinkedIn and Facebook to help adults find reputable online degrees from accredited universities.
 
Smart Science Education, inc – Interactive video based online science labs for grades 4-12 that supply online science labs where lab space, cost and time challenge the use of hands on labs.
 
Alternate:
 
SchoolToolsTv.com – A state-of-the-art video website that provides teachers with daily, one-minute videos that help teach important social skills, create a healthier school climate and reduce bullying.
 
For more information about the Education Industry Summit, visit siia.net/eis/2014/incubator.asp or contact Lindsay Harman atlharman@siia.net.

About SIIA
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education, and intellectual property protection to more than 800 leading software and information companies. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide software, digital content, and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities, and critical market information. For more information, visit www.siia.net/education.
 

***************************************************

Growing Popularity and Reputation of Unity College Leads to Unprecedented Expansion Unity, Maine 

With the popularity of Unity College surging nationally and internationally, the College has announced an unprecedented expansion of faculty and staff. As the first college in the United States to adopt sustainability science – the leading-edge of 21st century transdisciplinary (collaborative) environmental problem solving – as its framework for teaching and learning, Unity has attracted top talent to augment its visionary faculty, staff and administration.  The College community welcomes the following individuals to an endeavor that is vibrant, focused and without borders.  Just as Unity College issues forth environmental professionals who become leaders across the globe, so too, is it attracting professionals who are committed to ensuring that Unity reach its key goals in service to the sustainability of the planet.   The newest members of the Unity College community are:

Mary Saunders Bulan, Ph.D., Director of Half Moon Field Station and Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Enterprise

Jennifer Lorraine Cartier, Ph.D., Director of Teacher Education and Science

Matthew W.H. Chatfield, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology

Zachary Falcon, Assistant Professor of Conservation Law and Environmental Policy

Jeffrey (Steve) Kahl, Ph.D., Director of Sustainability

James Killarney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Chemistry

Bill Kovarik, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Writing

Sheryl Spann, Director of Marketing and Communications

James Spartz, (Ph.D. candidate) Assistant Professor of Environmental Communications

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science, the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change.  Other ground-breaking “green” innovations include the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world, and its first-in-the-nation decision to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education. Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

********************************************************************

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education

and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions

Announce the publication of America’s Public HBCUs: A Four State Comparison of Institutional Capacity and State Funding Priorities

This report unveils the historical and current racial disparities in state funding allocations to HBCUs and offers strategies to obtain more equitable state allocations.

Philadelphia, PA, April 22, 2014 – Despite educating traditionally underserved students—including large swaths of Black students, a disproportionate number of first generation students, and a rapidly increasing number of Latino students—Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are under siege in many southern states. State policy makers are moving toward funding mechanisms that disproportionately disadvantage HBCUs, and many policy makers and pundits have called for the elimination of these schools altogether.

In a report released today, America’s Public HBCUs: A Four State Comparison of Institutional Capacity and State Funding Priorities, William Casey Boland and Marybeth Gasman present a case study of these institutions in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina, and call for thoughtful reform in state funding and policy to better support their missions. The report, which builds on a pre-recession study by James T. Minor, has been issued from Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

The report considers several critical areas at public HBCUs:

  • Diversity: African Americans continue to make up the majority at all HBCUs, but these institutions are becoming more diverse. Latino enrollment more than doubled in every state in the study, while White enrollment has declined; enrollment numbers for a combined category that includes Asian Americans and American Indians varies by state, with sharp increases in Mississippi and North Carolina and declines in Alabama and Louisiana.
  • State funding: Although some HBCUs, especially in North Carolina, have seen a boost in state allocations, on average HBCUs continue to be funded at lower levels than PWIs. This is particularly troubling given that HBCUs serve predominantly low-income students, whose families have fewer resources to pay for education.
    • Louisiana severely cut funding to all public 4-year institutions, but HBCUs were hit the hardest. For example, in 2012 Grambling State University and Southern University at New Orleans, both HBCUs, received 36% and 35% less funding, respectively, than they did in 2007. The only PWI in Louisiana that experienced a decrease as substantial is the University of New Orleans, which saw a drop of 32%.
    • Legal decisions concerning racial discrimination in Mississippi and Alabama had a beneficial effect on state funding of HBCUs in these states.
    • North Carolina HBCUs benefitted from increased state appropriations, especially North Carolina A&T State University (20%) and North Carolina Central University (28%).
  • Advanced degree programs: With the current higher education barometer heavily favoring efficiency, many policymakers and higher education leaders are proposing to eliminate what they view as unnecessary duplicate programs. Such proposals tend to disproportionately affect HBCUs—for example, the governors of Louisiana and North Carolina recently attempted to close programs at HBCUs or merge them with PWIs.

America’s Public HBCUs also compares the degree attainment of the states’ HBCUs with the total number of degrees conferred to African Americans statewide in 2011. HBCUs continue to play a crucial role in successfully graduating underrepresented students, and they continue to evolve with changing populations and needs. Moving forward, Boland and Gasman offer recommendations and action plans for state governments and HBCUs for increasing state support to strengthen these historical educational institutions. A theme throughout the recommendations is for state policy makers to temper calls for efficiency—including performance-based funding initiatives and program duplication assessments—so that they don’t come at the expense of students served by HBCUs.

For the complete report go to: http://www.gse.upenn.edu/pdf/cmsi/four_state_comparison.pdf

Dr. Gasman is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her research has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek, and on CNN and National Public Radio.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. A small percentage of education programs in the U.S. offer doctoral degrees, a tiny fraction are located at flagship research universities, and no other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, not to mention the first-ever business plan competition launched exclusively in education. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/.t

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from across the spectrum of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to harness the collective strengths of the these institutions and to solve the challenges they face. An integral part of American higher education, MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Tribal Colleges and Universities; Hispanic Serving Institutions; and Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. Among the Center’s goals are to elevate the educational contributions of MSIs, ensuring their participation in national conversations; to increase rigorous scholarship on MSIs; and to bolster the efforts of MSIs to close educational achievement gaps and assessment performance of disadvantaged communities. The Center for Minority Serving Institutions is located at the University of Pennsylvania under the direction of Professor Marybeth Gasman.

***********************************************************************

Vietnam Veteran Awarded PrepForward’s Teacher Preparation Scholarship

PrepForward has chosen a grandfather, who served in Vietnam, as the latest recipient of their teacher preparation scholarship.

  • Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friendRepost This
PrepForward, Strengthening Teacher Foundations

PrepForward

I can check off becoming a teacher from my bucket list.

Wayland, MA (PRWEB) April 23, 2014

PrepForward, an industry leader in online teacher preparation, established a scholarship program to ensure dedicated educators with financial needs could obtain proper training. Bob Corbin, a 61-year-old grandfather, has been awarded a PrepForward scholarship to help him prepare for his teacher certification exams. Mr. Corbin will receive free access to any of PrepForward’s self-paced math, reading, language arts, writing, or inclusion courses to help him gain the skills and confidence necessary to succeed on the MTEL exams and in the classroom.

Mr. Corbin, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Marines from 1970-1979, is seeking a career change. He started with substitute teaching and is now enrolling in the Elementary Education program at Worcester State University. He has always placed a high value on education, including being the only one of his large family of 8 siblings to graduate from college. With 9 grandkids, he finds it important to give back to his community and fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher. With MTEL test prep, he says he “can check off becoming a teacher from my bucket list.”

PrepForward established a scholarship program in response to tougher certification standards and teacher evaluations that have been approved by several state legislatures. Hopeful educators are now facing increasing challenges as they start out their K-12 teaching career. In particular, many prospective Massachusetts educators are struggling to pass the difficult MTEL tests that are required for their teaching license. Scholarship applicants may be at any stage in their teaching career, including candidates preparing for certification or existing teachers seeking professional development.

As experts on MTEL certification exams for teachers in Massachusetts, PrepForward helps aspiring teachers master the core content they need to pass state licensing exams and maintain high professional standards throughout their careers. Teacher candidates can review their core knowledge using a self-paced platform that features targeted lessons, interactive exercises, detailed explanations, rich diagnostic data, and expert instructor support. Please contact PrepForward to find out how these solutions to improve teacher effectiveness can be used to help the educators in your district or institution.

About PrepForward

PrepForward is a leader in content review for current and future teachers, offering effective, flexible study programs via an online, self-paced platform. PrepForward’s courses are designed to help K-12 instructors stay sharp at every stage of their teaching careers. The self-paced courses help educators gain a deep understanding of the concepts they need to teach with confidence. The team consists of seasoned experts in instructional design, teaching, and curriculum development from MIT, Harvard, and other leading universities. To learn more about PrepForward and its solutions for teachers, go to http://www.prepforward.com.

***************************************************************

Montpelier-Sponsored VA and DC Schools Advance to National Finals in We The People Civics Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 23, 2014

CONTACT: Caroline Godfrey, Communications Associate
Email: cgodfrey@montpelier.org / 540-308-2077

Orange, VA – On April 25-28, young constitutional scholars from across the nation will meet for the 27th annual We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals in Washington, D.C. Judges, attorneys, legislators, college professors, and other community leaders will judge the competition, evaluating students’ knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including their historical context and impact in contemporary politics and current affairs.

The Montpelier Foundation applauds Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School of Richmond, VA and Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy, Capitol Hill and Parkside Campuses, both of Washington, D.C., for advancing to the national finals, for their outstanding work throughout the year, and for their demonstration of civic knowledge.

We The People is a nationally acclaimed civic education program that helps students understand the history, philosophies, and evolution of our constitutional government. As part of its initiative to elevate civic engagement among America’s youth, Montpelier’s Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution hosts the program in Virginia and Washington, D.C. and offers free professional development seminars to teachers who are interested in the curriculum each summer. Since its inception in 1987, more than 28 million students and 75,000 educators nationwide have participated in the We The People programs sponsored by the curriculum authors, the Center for Civic Education. Read more about the competition here.

The national competition will take place at George Mason University and in hearing rooms on Capitol Hill. Media outlets are encouraged to announce the finalists in local news sections and to cover the event on April 25-28 at both locations. For schedule details, please contact Emily Voss, Education and Outreach Manager, at evoss@montpelier.org.

Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier
The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier seeks to enable the public to expand its knowledge and understanding of the Constitution. Through nonpartisan online and on-site programs, the Center inspires participation in civic dialogue, improves the public’s understanding of U.S. founding principles, and enables citizens to deepen their understanding of and participation in our constitutional self-government. To date the Center has served teachers from all 50 states, judges, state legislators, police officers, members of the media, and dignitaries from more than 60 countries. To learn more, visit montpelier.org/center.

About James Madison’s Montpelier
Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, Architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth President of the United States. Montpelier is administered by The Montpelier Foundation, which seeks to inspire continuing public engagement with American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison. The historic home and grounds are open to visitors and student groups throughout the year, and through the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, Montpelier provides world-class residential and online educational programs. Montpelier is a National Trust Historic Site. To learn more, visit www.montpelier.org or contact cgodfrey@montpelier.org.

The Center for Civic Education
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the U.S. To learn more, visit http://www.civiced.org/.

*******************************************************

Divestment Movement Crosses $100 Million Endowment Line, Unity College Praises Pitzer Decision

Unity, Maine – April, 2014 –  A movement that began on November 13, 2012, at a 350.org event featuring environmental activist Bill McKibben and Unity College President Stephen Mulkey, has reached its most significant milestone to date.

Pitzer College of Claremont, California, has announced its intention to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  With an endowment valued at $125 million, Pitzer silenced critics who said that the divestment movement in higher education would collapse.

At the 350.org event in Portland, Maine, McKibben welcomed Unity College President Stephen Mulkey to the stage.  He was greeted with a standing ovation when he revealed that the environmentally focused college had become the first in the nation to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  Some questioned the significance of the gesture, given that Unity’s endowment is relatively modest ($13.5 million at the time, now $15 million).

Since that time, both Mulkey and McKibben have travelled the United States nurturing the movement they started.  They have supported grass roots divestment movements at high profile institutions like Harvard University, which has resisted student and faculty calls to divest.

History may be tilting on the side of visionaries like Mulkey and McKibben.  With the recent announcement by Pitzer College that it will divest and strengthen campus-wide efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, a new threshold — divestment by an institution with an endowment in excess of $100 million — has been crossed.

“I applaud the initiative shown by Pitzer College and welcome them into the fold of colleges that have divested,” noted Mulkey.  “History will look back on Pitzer’s decision as among the milestones along the way to broad action to mitigate global climate change and secure a healthy planet in perpetuity.”

Mulkey feels that with every milestone reached, the critics of divestment are losing steam.

“Not so long ago critics said that divestment was a stunt pulled by small environmental colleges with small endowments and little to lose,” Mulkey stated.  “Pitzer’s decision validates the idea that this movement is not limited to small colleges, and that the rest of higher education should consider following suit.”

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science, the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change.  Other ground-breaking “green” innovations include the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world.

Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

 

*

 

 

 

Advertisements