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 Pitsco Education Logo
Evaluation reveals gains in elementary science

Dept. of Defense grant report focuses in part

on Pitsco program in Okaloosa County, FL

(August 18, 2014) — A Department of Defense Education Activity Grant evaluation Okaloosa Science Report Infographicof elementary science programs that incorporate Pitsco Education Science Missions revealed significant gains in state testing by students in Grades 3-5 in Okaloosa County, FL.


The goal for the Interact, Investigate, and Transform Grant was for at least 80% of military students in five targeted schools to achieve gains in science of 1% in 2012 and 2% in 2013. Instead, the third, fourth, and fifth graders combined to register a 14% gain on the Discovery Education Assessment for science during the two-year period. As part of their experience, all students rotated through the hands-on Pitsco Missions programs.
When asked what activities used in the labs were most beneficial to their overall science program, teachers included the following among their comments:

  • “The Missions were wonderful and the students enjoyed using them and I was surprised how independent they were able to be.”
  • “The Missions were helpful. The hands-on experience and the ability to have the students think beyond the activity was helpful. I enjoyed the lab as well.”
  • “Missions, particularly Air Power, Space, and Soil and Rocks. These were a great reinforcement for complex ideas.”Okaloosa science students

Third-grade teacher Renee Laney of Eglin Elementary says she likes the well-rounded design of the Missions science program. Students fill roles — Commander, Information Specialist, Materials Specialist, and Communications Specialist — and sharpen their reading, math, and science skills simultaneously as they cooperatively complete hands-on activities in small teams.

“I’m not standing in front of them and they’re listening to me,” Laney said. “They are actually reading. They are being told what to do within the text. So, one, they’re independently reading. Another, they’re having to actually finish the job on their own, learn a step-by-step process, and hand me a finished product at the end — all without me intervening.”


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.



New Tech Spin-Out Brings Enterprise-Quality Tools to EdTech and Consumer Markets

Verite Educational Systems offers easy-to-use, multi-platform software for schools and home

Dulles, Va., August 18, 2014Verite Group Inc. announces the spin-out of Verite Educational Systems Inc. to design and market enterprise-quality technology tools to educators and families who together are raising the next generation of digital citizens.

Verite Educational Systems will serve the educational technology market, which in the first quarter of 2014 saw total investment of more than US$500 million. Currently embarking on its Round A financing, the spin-out launches with US$1.3 million in seed funding provided by its management team and Taher Behbehani, high-tech entrepreneur and corporate executive.

Led by a team of experienced technologists from Verite Group who are compelled by their shared passion as concerned parents, Verite Educational Systems will build innovative, multi-platform and easy-to-use tools for teachers and parents to nurture the next generation of digital citizens and help children thrive online. For more than a decade, Verite Group has provided Subject Matter Expert (SME) services and tailored technology solutions to large corporations and government clients.

Verite Educational Systems will bring fresh leadership to the EdTech sector, which is grappling with a variety of issues, including the rise of Internet exposure in early childhood, increased utilization of technology in K-12 education, and the market’s complicated and fragmented array of offerings that only play catch-up to the deluge of new websites and apps.

“Ten years ago, it was easy to manage my older children’s time online. It’s much different now with my middle-schooler,” said George Dotterer, CEO and co-founder of Verite Educational Systems. “When shopping for Internet security software for my home, I was dismayed to discover that schools and parents did not have access to a solution anywhere near the quality of those designed for my clients. My colleagues and I decided to pool our talents and extend our expertise to schools, parents and children who, increasingly, operate in a high-tech world.”

Offering a combined 40 years in network security, Verite Educational Systems will set a new market standard by designing highly sophisticated Internet management solutions that will be intuitive and easy to integrate into existing systems. The company’s team of six technologists and systems designers work at the intersection of technology, operations and data analysis, enabling them to design and build solutions that combine emerging technology, proven results and expert know-how.

“To design highly-secure systems, we stay abreast of looming threats so we can fortify against them,” explained Dotterer. “The average school administrator, teacher or parent shouldn’t need a PhD in IT to protect their children from the dangers and distractions of the Internet. We’ll have that covered.”

The company’s inaugural product, NetRef, will roll out in schools in fall 2014 and to families in spring 2015. The Internet management solution empowers educators and parents to set the boundaries kids need to use the web safely. NetRef can help children focus and manage their time online productively whether they are at school, at home or on the go. During a successful beta roll-out at a large high school in the Washington, D.C. metro region earlier this year, Verite’s team collaborated closely with teachers, administrators and IT leaders to incorporate user feedback into the product to fine tune and enhance NetRef’s functionality.

More than 2,000 teachers, school administrators and IT specialists previewed the new technology during a “sneak peek” presentation at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) annual conference in June. Get schooled in NetRef at, on LinkedIn and Twitter @NetReferee



Knovation Drives Digital Conversion With Curriculum Services Solution

Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina partners with company to customize alignment of digital learning resources to curriculum

CINCINNATI, OHAugust 18, 2014 – As more districts shift from print to digital learning resources, many administrators are looking to ease the transition for teachers and students by aligning curriculum with high quality and relevant digital content. With more than 30,000 students in 39 schools, Cabarrus County Schools in North Carolina is paving the way for digital conversions through its partnership with Knovation. This fall, the district will utilize Knovation’s new Curriculum Services to guide its transition by providing tailored digital content for science, math and English language arts (ELA) classes.

Looking to move from traditional textbooks to flexible and rigorous online digital content, Cabarrus County turned toicurio, a learning engagement solution from Knovation that supports blended learning environments. With district-wide access to icurio across elementary, middle and high schools beginning in August, Cabarrus County is also working with the company’s Curriculum Services team to align digital resources to the district’s specific curriculum for core subject areas and grade levels to ensure that content is age-, grade- and context-appropriate.

“Although there are plenty of free resources available online, the challenge comes in vetting, tagging and aligning digital content to a district’s established curriculum,” said Dr. Jason Van Heukelum, deputy superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools. “With icurio, we can provide curated, tailored content that is easily accessible to teachers and meets the demands for all of our K-12 units and lessons.”

The new service combines Knovation’s content expertise with the depth of its Learning Resource Library, featuring hundreds of thousands of digital learning resources, which are aligned to and delivered through a district-specific scope and sequence built directly into icurio. Cabarrus County has utilized Knovation Curriculum Services in general science, biology, chemistry, Earth and environmental science, math and ELA courses across multiple grade levels, with more custom curriculum planned for additional grades and subjects in the near future.

“When transitioning from print to digital resources, districts place a high priority on alignment to their academic initiatives and curriculum documents,” said Joe Grieshop, president and managing officer at Knovation. “With our Curriculum Services, districts receive the best educational resources that are expertly matched to their curriculum.”

Led by doctoral-level content managers, Knovation’s Curriculum Services team partners with each district to understand its unique curriculum, instruction and assessment strategies and objectives. By reviewing district curriculum, building a digital organizational structure and aligning resources to curriculum maps and pacing guides, Knovation’s content managers customize learning resources for each district and ease the transition from print to digital curriculum for teachers, students and parents. Through Curriculum Services, Knovation helps districts meet their instructional goals by providing a comprehensive approach to customized digital curriculum.

About Knovation

Knovation designs and implements advanced personalized learning solutions that reduce barriers to learning and allow districts to realize meaningful outcomes from their technology investment. The company’s portfolio includesnetTrekker, the trusted solution for delivering more than 360,000 educator-curated, digital learning resources; andicurio, the learning engagement solution for 21st century blended learning that helps districts implement their digital conversions. Knovation also provides professional learning and consulting services, a fully curated digital learning resource library and resource management and delivery services. Since 1999, the company has impacted more than 27 million students and over 1 million teachers in schools nationwide. For more information, please contact Knovation at 1.855.KNOVATE or visit



New Release from itsleaning Addresses Key Needs For Student

Mobility And Teacher Collaboration


Boston, MA – Aug. 18, 2014 — When classes resume for the 2014-15 school year, students and teachers will be able to take advantage of enhanced access options, more streamlined processes and several more upgrades in the itslearning ( K-12 digital learning platform. The 2014 CODiE Award winner for ‘Best PK-12 Personalized Learning Solution,’ itslearning is the learning management system of choice for a growing number of districts nationwide and has announced the following enhancements in their latest release:


  • Access and visibility enhancements for teachers, students and parents
  • Better access to content and collaboration
  • Insights to student workload and physical resources availability


Access and visibility enhancements for students and teachers

itslearning has streamlined and restructured the login page and main landing page for students to improve access for students with all types of devices. The simplified login page allows students easy access to coursework and instructional materials on tablets, mobile devices, and laptops. The new “My Page” gives students quicker access to tasks, notifications, messages, personal files, ePortfolios and Individual Learning plans.


Students with mobile devices will now be able to easily record or select previously recorded video from within the platform to quickly include in blogs, ePortfolios, discussion boards or submission to assignments.


Finally, parents will now be able to access their children’s calendar in addition to the daily lesson planner via the itslearning Parent Portal.


Better access to content and collaboration

The learning objects repository, called Library, is vastly improved, allowing teachers and staff to quickly and efficiently search for and share content with their students. Teachers can collaborate on a resource by adding colleagues from their school or district as co-authors and create new versions of content with the original author’s permission. Publishers can now share resources compliant with IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specifications in the Library as well, allowing districts that have subscribed to publisher content to have a single repository for digital resources.


All of these shared resources can be added to courses and will be accessible via the itslearning recommendation engine, enabling teachers to assign additional personalized tasks to students who have not yet mastered specific course learning objectives. As their creators update resources, they will automatically update in all courses, saving districts and teachers time and ensuring that students have access to the most current content possible.


Insights to student workload and physical resources availability

Further reducing teacher time on non-teaching tasks, itslearning has added workload ratings to its Custom Activity tracking tool to help teachers keep students from being burdened with too much work within a particular time frame. Teachers can now also book resources such as rooms or equipment through the calendar with clear insight to availability and who has already booked what resource.


A full list of new features can be found on the itslearning website:


About itslearning, Inc.

Established in 1999, itslearning is a cloud-based K-12 learning management system designed to make teaching easier, learning more engaging, and parent involvement more effective and efficient. Headquartered in Bergen, Norway, itslearning has offices in Boston, Atlanta, London, Birmingham, Berlin, Paris, Mulhouse, Malmo, and Enscheda. For more information, visit