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Rallycross helps teach STEM concepts

Pitsco puts on CO2 races for students and drivers at Red Bull GRC event in D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 20, 2014) — What better way to teach STEM concepts to a group of urban middle school students than to let them customize their own cars and compete against each other and some of the most accomplished race-car drivers in the world? 

Pitsco Education provided customized VW rallycross kits to 80Rallycross driver with studentsDistrict of Columbia Public Schools students at an event in RFK Stadium on June 20, 2014, two days before the running of the Volkswagen Rallycross DC, which was the third round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Series. Pitsco has been the leading provider of educational CO2racing materials and equipment for more than 40 years.


Students had the opportunity to personalize their balsa wood cars and then race them in head-to-head competition on a Pitsco racetrack. Students were divided into four teams, each of which was joined by a professional rallycross driver: Scott Speed, Austin Dyne, Tanner Foust, or Steve Arpin.


The first-time educational community event was put on by RootVW dragsterCause, Inc., and sponsored by Volkswagen and Andretti Sports Marketing with the hopes of increasing local students’ knowledge of STEM concepts associated with auto racing.


“The goal for Andretti Sports Marketing was to connect STEM concepts to racing, and there’s no better way than through CO2 racing,” said Pitsco Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery. “When kids get their hands on those cars in a setting of real-world auto racing, it’s hard to beat. And the drivers were great with the kids.”


Added Jason Turner, CEO of Root Cause, Inc., which designed the program and engaged community support, “With exciting tools like these from Pitsco, together with the Andretti S.T.A.R. Program, we’re making real-life connections to science and technology most kids only see on TV shows and video games — up close and personal in a fun, hands-on, and immersive environment. At a critical educational juncture, middle school, we want children to see themselves working in these exciting STEM-based careers, and with access to events like this, begin to visualize a path to achieve it.”


After students worked in their “pit” areas to personalize cars and then raced them against each other and the pros, they walked to the paddock where drivers and mechanics discussed the science and engineering behind racing — both the type that would occur on the rallycross track and that which had been experienced on the Pitsco track a few minutes earlier.

For more information about Pitsco Education, visitwww.pitsco.com. For more about the Volkswagen Rallycross DC event, visit http://www.rbgrcdc.com/. To learn about services from Root Cause Inc., visit http://www.rootcauseinc.com. For more about CO2 racing, visit Pitsco’s Science of Speed site athttp://www.science-of-speed.com/.


Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.


DreamBox Learning Introduces Spanish Language into Math Program

Spanish offering available for K-8 curriculum for 2014-2015 school year

BELLEVUE, Wash. (June 26, 2014) – DreamBox Learning (www.dreambox.com) today announced the integration of native Spanish language into its K-8 math curriculum coming Fall 2014, combining both English and Spanish content in a single program. This new expansion makes DreamBox Learning’s award-winning curriculum and Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ technology accessible to a greater number of students with more personalized experiences than ever before – allowing more students to learn in the language environment they feel most comfortable.

Addressing the Growing Need for English Language Learner Support

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are currently 4.7 million students in the United States classified as English Language Learners (ELL), with approximately 76 percent of these students speaking Spanish. In many schools, teachers struggle to keep up with ever-growing class sizes, and often do not have the resources to adequately help students who might be experiencing language-related challenges. Many of these students are learning both the English language and mathematical concepts simultaneously, struggling with vocabulary or syntax.

With lessons offered in Spanish, DreamBox Learning has further removed language roadblocks to learning math for ELLs, adding Spanish voiceover within lessons, with each element carefully evaluated by student focus groups and lengthy consultation with Spanish-speaking teachers. For students, all content and user experience will be fully available in Spanish.

“It’s critical that all students have the support and opportunities to acquire the skills needed to succeed not only in math, but also in life,” said Jessie Woolley-Wilson, president and CEO of DreamBox Learning. “DreamBox Learning delivers personalized learning paths that motivate and guide all levels of learners, regardless of where they live or whether English is their first language, to achieve math proficiency. The addition of the Spanish language option supports our commitment to help every student realize a deeper understanding and life-long confidence in math.”

Building upon Current Success and Committing to the Future

Along with DreamBox Learning’s current support for Spanish language with native speaking customer support team members, the integration of Spanish math lessons is a natural extension for a program that is already driving successful results for ELL students to date.

“We are committed to providing appropriate instructional programs that ensure academic progress and success for all students across our diverse and multilingual population,” said Brian Kilduff, math intervention teacher specialist of Frederick County Public Schools. “With its highly motivating and visual environment, DreamBox Learning aligns with our commitment to help eliminate achievement gaps due to factors such as language barriers. We’re excited to see the addition of Spanish language as one more way to do this.”

As part of the company’s long term commitment to the support of all learners and educators, DreamBox Learning is working with the Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (ALAS) to build connections with the organization that will support academic achievement and increase awareness within its constituency. In addition, DreamBox Learning is a sponsor of ALAS’ annual conference in Atlanta and will be in attendance at the October event.  DreamBox Learning is also a proud sponsor of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA) and will be involved in its 13th Annual Summer Institute in July.

“CALSA is proud to welcome DreamBox Learning into the organization as a company that is striving to meet the needs of all learners,” said Dr. David Gomez, executive director of CALSA. “Their latest work to provide math instruction in Spanish provides increased access to learners to develop the math skills that they will need to be successful in school and life.”

For more information, please visit http://www.dreambox.com/ or Booth #2866 at the ISTE Conference from June 28 through July 1.

About DreamBox Learning

DreamBox Learning was founded in 2006 in Bellevue, Wash. and launched its first online learning software in January 2009. The platform has won more than 35 top education and technology industry awards and is in use in all 50 states and throughout Canada.  DreamBox Learning Math™ offers a groundbreaking combination of Intelligent Adaptive Learning, a rigorous K-8 mathematics curriculum and a motivating learning environment. The innovative DreamBox platform captures every decision a student makes while working in the program and adjusts the student’s learning path appropriately, providing millions of individualized learning paths, each one tailored to a student’s unique needs.  DreamBox Learning Math is available for PC and iPad.  For more information, visit www.DreamBox.com.


Shmoop Earns CLRN-Certified® Status, Offering Unique Breadth and Depth of Courses

Shmoop’s 9th-grade ELA course, Introduction to Literature, has been certified by the

California Learning Resource Network (CLRN).


June 27, 2014, Mountain View, CA. – Shmoop University (www.shmoop.com), a digital curriculum company aimed to make learning fun and accessible, has earned CLRN certification for its 9th-grade English Language Arts Online Course. By year end, Shmoop plans to submit for certification a variety of courses in English Language Arts, Math, Science, and History.


To earn certification, courses are required to meet rigorous California Department of Education Standards and Common Core State Standards. They are also required to meet 80 percent of iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Courses. Shmoop blew the requirements out of the water, receiving a rating of 95 percent for Content Standards and 88 percent for Online Standards for its English Language Arts Online Course.


David Siminoff, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Shmoop, remarks, “Shmoop is a one-stop shop for education. Students love us. Teachers love us. And this CLRN-Certified® status proves that we offer more than engaging materials and a goofy sense of humor—we are a premier provider of best-in-breed academic resources.”


Shmoop’s full course catalog includes Common Core-aligned courses in all subjects, including,

  • Business and Career Preparation;
  • College Preparation;
  • English;
  • Health, Physical Education, and Counseling;
  • History and Social Sciences;
  • Humanities;
  • Life Skills;
  • Literature;
  • Math;
  • Science;
  • Technology and Computer Science;
  • Test Prep; and
  • Writing.


They offer traditional courses, like a full suite of Core ELA and Math courses for grades 9-12, along with special interest courses like Young Adult Literature and an entire course devoted to Breaking Bad. Each of Shmoop’s courses—written by teachers and content experts—digs deep into the content matter, all while helping students develop the skills they need to succeed.


Shmoop will be at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2014 Conference and Expo in Atlanta (June 28 – July 1) at booth 3341, where educators can learn more about the wealth of resources Shmoop has to offer.


About Shmoop

Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching resources. Shmoop content is written by experts and teachers, who collaborate to create high-quality and engaging materials for teachers and students. Shmoop Courses, Test Prep, Teaching Guides, and Learning Guides balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous concepts. Shmoop sees 10 million unique visitors a month on its site and offers more than 7,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards, named “Best in Tech” twice by Scholastic Administrator, and awarded with two Annual Education Software Review Awards (EDDIES). Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, California.




New Report Examines the Powerful Impact of Data on K-12 Education
CoSN’s Newest EdTechNext Issue Encourages District Technology Leaders to Employ Learning Analytics to Personalize the Student Educational Experience
Washington, DC (June 26, 2014) – What if K–12 educators could apply their skills and know-how to personalize and improve education through data?
That is the central question explored in CoSN’s (Consortium for School Networking’s) summer 2014EdTechNext report, titled “Learning Analytics: Using Data to Personalize Teaching and Learning.” Amid the growing attention to “big data,” the new report dissects the data discussion down to a granular, learner-centric level and examines its potential to collect and deliver real-time student information to create an individual learning ecosystem.
“Last school year, there were few buzzwords bigger than ‘big data’—for a multitude of reasons. But when it comes to learning, the effective, governed use and analysis of data can be an enormous game changer in our classrooms,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “This new report provides district technology leaders with insight on how to support learning analytics and leverage their potential. While the undertaking requires the right technology and expertise, it can bring the learning-centric education models directly to the student and only the student.”
Capturing research from the U.S. Department of Education and industry insight, the report details how learning analytics can harness data streams—traditional metadata, activity streams and paradata—collected from learning and content management systems, mobile and online learning platforms and many other data sources.
The potential of learning analytics, as the report explains, to supercharge continuous improvement in student learning is unlimited and can create an incredible paradigm shift. This is only possible, however, if leaders have a vision and monitor progress along the way.
In addressing the challenges of learning analytics, the report encourages districts to consider the required technology infrastructure and tools, data quality, governance, stewardship and privacy, and the meaningful use of data. The following questions should be asked for districts to use data to inform instruction and impact day-to-day classroom practices, teaching, and learning:
For Districts, Schools, and Teachers
  • Which instructional resources do students access most during a defined timeframe (e.g., a grading period)? How and why are they useful?
  • How are students who regularly access learning resources doing academically? How does this compare to students who rarely access learning resources?
  • Which standards are high-performing, on target, and under-performing students meeting? With which standards are they struggling? What learning resources can we recommend for specific under-performing students?
For Students
  • Am I making progress and meeting expectations in my learning?
  • Which standards have I mastered? Which ones am I not on target to master?
  • What more do I need to do, and which learning resources are recommended, to help me meet learning targets?
CoSN’s EdTechNext reports are quarterly publications that provide professionals with quick snapshots of up-to-date information on trends and technologies on the horizon.
The series is supported by Amplify, Best Buy, Blackboard, CDW•G, Cisco, Comcast, Dell, ENA, Google, HP, iboss Network Security, Identity Automation, Ipswitch, Juniper Networks, Kajeet, Lenovo, Lightspeed Systems, Microsoft, Pearson, Pearson Foundation, Presidio, Qualcomm, SchoolDude and Sprint.
The publications are only available to CoSN members. For media contacts interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the latest and previous reports, please contact Michael Kaplun atmichaelkaplun@cosn.org.
Learn more about CoSN’s EdTechNext reports at: http://cosn.org/ed-tech-next-reports.
About 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 eventsadvocacy and policymembership, and the CETL certification exam.