Winter Park, Fla. — Aug. 21, 2014 — As Minnesota gears up for the next generation of online student proficiency tests, districts are searching for new ways to help students prepare for the tests while giving teachers the data they need to improve instruction and student learning. To simplify the assessment process and provide an integrated solution for data-driven decision making, West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area Schools (District 197) will be the first in the state to implement the UNIFY assessment platform, part of the award-winning Performance Mattersassessment and data management system (ADMS).

“We didn’t have a classroom assessment tool that was used district-wide, and therefore no way to accurately view data from a district perspective,” said Cari Jo Kiffmeyer, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for District 197. “We needed a system that would allow us to conduct a standards-based, item analysis for our classroom assessments, and then compare that data to our district and state assessments. We also wanted to develop technology-enhanced items for our assessments. Unlike other systems we reviewed, Performance Matters allowed us to do all these things in one assessment and data management system.”

District 197 will launch the Performance Matters ADMS this fall. To begin, teachers in grades six through nine will use UNIFY to collaboratively develop and administer online assessments in mathematics. They will then use the ADMS to analyze their classroom assessment data, along with their state and district assessment data.

“Performance Matters will allow teachers and administrators to easily do their own data analysis, instead of having to ask someone to create a report,” said Kiffmeyer. “At the district-level, it will also allow us to conduct better program analysis as part of our Academic Return on Investment process. We use this process to compare a program’s cost to what the data says about its results.”

District 197 will complete its district-wide rollout of Performance Matters in 2015. For more information, visitwww.performancematters.com or call (407) 645-1800.



New Animated Cool School™ Program Helps Teachers Provide Students with

the Tools and Strategies Needed to Stand Up Against Bullying Behavior


From the developers of “The Social Express®,” Cool School includes lesson plans, interactive videos, assessments and everything else teachers need to educate and empower students


Encinitas, Calif. – Aug. 27, 2014 – According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year.  States have implemented strict anti-bullying laws, but any educator will tell you that punitive action alone won’t extricate the problem.  Students need to be taught – from an early age – how to recognize bullying behavior and how to respond when confronted with or witnessing the behavior.


To help educators accomplish this all-important task, The Language Express®, developers of the award-winning The Social Express®, a web-based program that teaches social and emotional learning, have created Cool School™.  Click to Tweet.  This new, highly engaging and informative interactive software program will give schools an easy-to-use tool to modify anti-social behavior by promoting pro-social interactions.  Designed for elementary school learners, the program will be available for purchase beginning September 15, 2014.  Pre-orders can be placed by going to http://www.coolschoolcentral.com.


“There are numerous programs and campaigns aimed at addressing bullying in schools, but none provide what is an essential element of behavior modification: video modeling of effective and ineffective behaviors alike.  Interactive videos are the foundation of the Cool School program, and they serve as the touch points for student reflection, class discussions and exercises,” said Marc Zimmerman, founder and CEO of The Language Express®.
“I believe that the program is well suited for its target audience. I know the students will love the animation and the content aligns perfectly with our Positive Behavioral support programs already in place,” said Dr. Sherri Wexler, a school psychologist at Encinitas Unified School District in San Diego County.


The comprehensive, six-week Cool School program begins with a pre-assessment to help each student understand their place in the cycle of bullying, whether they have engaged in bullying behavior in the past, have been a recipient or have witnessed bad actions by others.  Students in grades K-2 will partake in one lesson a week at skill Level 1, students in grades 3-4 will also have one lesson per week at Level 2, and those in grades 5+ will engage in two lessons per week at skill Level 3.  Each lesson, which lasts approximately 40 minutes, consists of one interactive episode, followed by class discussion and then personal journal writing centered on strategies for developing and displaying appropriate pro-social behavior.  In addition, the program can extend beyond the six-week time frame as teachers are encouraged to give “Promo Passes” or badges to students who demonstrate pro-social behavior, making those students Cool School Agents.


“Giving students time to reflect by way of the journal writing offers a great way to gauge their comprehension of the content,” stated Zimmerman.  “And recognizing good behavior builds awareness.  It’s critical that we teach students about the effects of bullying behavior as early as possible as it often begins when students enter kindergarten and, sadly, continues for some through adulthood.  With our new Cool School program, we are providing teachers with an easy-to-implement resource that teaches and reinforces pro-social behavior and advocates against bullying behaviors.”


About The Language Express

Headquartered in Encinitas, California, the Language Express® was formed in 2010 and launched its first product, The Social Express® in 2011. The award winning Social Express® is an engaging, educational software solution for children and young adults with social learning challenges. The software is designed to teach users how to think about and manage social situations, helping them to develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life. For more information, visit www.thesocialexpress.com or call 877-360-0155.




TeacherMatch Launches Professional Development Profile Reporting Feature

The new feature allows administrators to evaluate data from a district level and support comprehensive professionally development plans for new hires

(CHICAGO) 27, 2014 – TeacherMatch, provider of the revolutionary teacher candidate assessment solution is proud to announce the addition of it Professional Development Profile (PDP) summary reporting feature to its platform. The new reporting function allows for a summary of the overall strengths and weaknesses of recently hired employees, giving administrators the ability to design comprehensive development plans for their new employees at the point of hire, even prior to these employees working in classrooms.

Founded by a group of passionate educators with the core mission to increase student academic growth while elevating the teaching profession, TeacherMatch uses predictive analytics to help place the most qualified teachers in the classroom. Using cutting-edge, evidence-based research, the innovative PDP feature is based on the results found when new candidates take the TeacherMatch EPI (Educator’s Professional Inventory).

The PDP report provides specific, actionable steps administrators can take to advance the skills of their teachers, setting them up for success in the classroom. The report provides a template with guidelines for preparing a customized, individual plan to target opportunities for improvement.

“We’re extremely pleased with the feedback we are already receiving in regards to our new PDP reporting feature,” said Dr. Don Fraynd, CEO of TeacherMatch. “It gives district leaders a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of their new hires before they even hit the classroom, allowing a district to target mentors to new teachers and create PD plans.”

Drawn from several decades of education research and data from studies of diverse school districts across the country, TeacherMatch offers a data-driven, people-powered formula for success for K-12 education talent management.

For more information about TeacherMatch, it’s PDP report and/or EPI please visit their website at www.teachermatch.org.

About TeacherMatch

In collaboration with NWEA, TeacherMatch developed the Educators Professional Inventory (EPI). The revolutionary platform is the first teacher candidate assessment solution that uses science to rate teacher effectiveness and provide new teachers with the tools they need to improve their practice and succeed in the classroom. For more information, please visit TeacherMatch.org.