Follett Unveils Lightbox — Interactive Multimedia Springboard for PreK-12 Learning

All-in-one, easy-to-use interface designed to inspire, engage today’s student


McHENRY, Ill., Aug. 13, 2015 – Follett today unveiled Lightbox, a fully interactive, multi-dimensional interface for PreK-12 teachers looking to improve student engagement, comprehension, vocabulary and literacy development. Designed with digital natives and the way they learn in mind, Lightbox supports instructors with varied approaches to teaching topics, while its built-in tools create an engaging, student-centered learning experience for even the most disengaged students.


“There isn’t another solution on the market quite like Lightbox,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president of content services and solutions for Follett. “Traditional ebooks tend to be recreations of print resources and do not take advantage of the benefits of modern technology.”


Qaimari added Lightbox is easy to use, affordable, aligned to state standards and can supplement any science, social studies or reading strategy/literacy program. Its objective, he stressed, is to stimulate students’ keen interest and immersion in a topic that ultimately leads to deeper mastery of the subject.


“While national surveys show students spend an average of 8 minutes with a traditional ebook,” Qaimari said, “our pilot districts are telling us their students are spending an average of 45 minutes in a Lightbox topic.”


Cotton Creek School, part of Wauconda Community Unit School District #118 in Island Lake, Ill., was among the districts to pilot Lightbox. “My students were very excited and motivated to use Lightbox,” said Susan Fluger, fourth-grade teacher. “They were engaged and enjoyed sharing their discoveries with one another.”


Lightbox delivers market-leading multimedia content from multiple sources in a single interface available on any device. For instance, if a class is studying glaciers, all elements of the lesson on the topic are aligned to the standards and built right into Lightbox, including:

  • Audio: High-quality narration using an advanced text-to-speech system to boost student comprehension
  • Video: Embedded high-definition video clips to make learning come alive
  • Activities: Printable PDFs that can be emailed and graded, ideal for assessing student progress
  • Weblinks: Carefully curated links to external, child-safe resources to enhance learning
  • Slideshows: Pictorial overviews of key concepts to engage and inspire visual learners
  • Google Maps: Interactive maps and satellite imagery to provide context
  • Quizzes: Multiple choice assessments that are automatically graded and emailed for teacher review
  • Key Words: Highlighted important terms matched with their definitions to enhance vocabulary and understanding

According to Darlene Baker, principal at Cotton Creek School, “The whole cycle of learning, testing and instructing is all together, in one place – Lightbox is fabulous.”


Textbooks, ebooks and other resources are supplemented with core content from renowned video providers, Google Maps, library collections in Follett Destiny Library Manager, and For more information or to purchase Lightbox, visit


For more information about Follett, visit


William Paterson University of New Jersey to Pilot Expansion to Undergraduate, Master’s Students

(August 6, 2015, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is expanding the AACTE Holmes Scholars® doctoral-level program to also support underrepresented students at earlier stages of their education careers. Beginning this fall, William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., will pilot the new programs for undergraduates and master’s-level students to help diversify the education workforce.

Currently, participation in the Holmes Scholars Program is open to all AACTE member institutions with doctoral programs in education. The newly expanded Holmes Program will reach high school students through the Holmes Cadets Program, undergraduates through the Holmes Honors Program, and master’s-level students through the Holmes Master’s Program. The peer network will continue to feature prominently across all levels, with doctoral Holmes Scholars mentoring Master’s and Honors students just as the scholars benefit from mentoring through the alumni network.

“The Holmes Scholars Program is an important asset to the profession, and a model that has the potential to be effective on a wider scope,” said Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. “Expanding its reach to future teachers at the undergraduate and master’s levels—and even in high schools—will enable more institutions to participate, and contribute to a more systemic effort to remedy the persistent underrepresentation of minorities in the educator pipeline.”

Currently operating in 25 institutions in 16 states, the existing Holmes Scholars Program provides mentorship, peer support and professional development to education doctoral students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, especially racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities. Participating institutions may offer scholarships, fellowships or tuition waivers in addition to mentoring and financial support for scholars to attend national conferences. At the national level, Holmes Scholars participate in a summer institute, as well as the AACTE Annual Meeting. They also participate in regular communications through AACTE and benefit from close connections with the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA).

Since its inception in 1991, the Holmes Scholars Program has increased the diversity of the candidate pool for faculty positions in colleges of education, with hundreds of alumni now in tenure-track, clinical and leadership positions. By extending similar supports to secondary, bachelor’s and master’s students, the new Holmes Program will bolster another important candidate pool: minority students preparing to enter the PK-12 teaching workforce and graduate programs in education.

Under the leadership of College of Education Dean Candace Burns and Holmes Director Sharon Leathers, William Paterson will launch the Holmes Honors and Holmes Master’s programs in the 2015-16 academic year. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to further our efforts in diversifying the teaching workforce,” said Dean Burns. “Our Holmes students will have an extraordinary opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer support networks, both at William Paterson University and with colleagues across the country in partnership with the AACTE Holmes Scholars and the alumni network.”

“As the William Paterson Holmes director, I am pleased to coordinate the planning and implementation of the first Holmes Honors and Master’s programs,” said Leathers. “I am especially excited at the potential for these programs to highlight and promote student scholarship and learning.”

Jacob Easley II, dean of Eastern Connecticut University’s School of Education and Professional Studies/Graduate Division, is a Holmes Scholars alumnus and president of NAHSA. He encourages more students from underrepresented communities to take a broader view of their future options, including envisioning themselves as teachers or even professors. “An investment in the Holmes program is part of a comprehensive plan underscored by continuous improvement not only of our educator preparation programs, but of the profession at large,” Easley said.

For more information about the AACTE Holmes Program, visit

AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on Day 1. Its over 800 member institutions represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE leads the field in advocacy and capacity building by promoting innovation and effective practices as critical to reforming educator preparation. For more information, visit


International Baccalaureate authorizes 100th Career-related Programme (CP) School:  Back of the Yards Preparatory High School

Career and Technical Education takes a leap forward with CP

August 13, 2015, Bethesda, MD – The International Baccalaureate, long recognized as an academic leader dedicated to developing the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world, is proud to announce that Back of the Yards Preparatory High School is the 100th school to be authorized to offer their newest educational program, the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme, or CP.

The CP meets the needs of schools seeking a technical or career-related studies option that combines career-related skills with a rigorous academic program to prepare students for success in career or post-secondary education.  By combining challenging academics with hands-on experience in career pathways chosen at the local school level, the CP distinguishes itself from traditional vocational education programs and helps to shape students who are prepared for success in either career or higher education.

At Back of the Yards Preparatory High School in Chicago, Illinois, every ninth and tenth grade student participates in the Middle Years Programme.  The school will begin offering the Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme for the 2015/16 school year.  Back of the Yard’s dedication to shaping successful, responsible citizens makes them a fitting choice for this landmark CP authorization.

“At Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School, we aim to engage our students in holistic and rigorous studies that advance critical thinking and motivate students to become problem solvers who are prepared to make a great contribution to our global community,” said Head of School Patricia Brekke. “Our authorization as a CP school allows us to offer our students another pathway to success.”

Back of the Yards Preparatory High School students will be able to pursue a career-related studies option in digital media as part of their CP experience and the school has plans to expand their career offerings. Their career-related studies will be complemented by a minimum of two IB Diploma Programme courses, as well as a CP core that includes an approaches to learning course, community and service, language development and a reflective project.

Drew Deutsch, regional director for IB Americas said, “We want to congratulate Back of the Yards Preparatory High School on its achievement of becoming the 100th IB World School to offer the Career-related Programme. We anticipate that the CP will become one of the IB’s most popular offerings because its flexibility allows schools to cater the programme to the needs, backgrounds and contexts of their students and their community.”

About the IB

Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging education programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For more than 45 years, the IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than one million IB students attend over 3,700 schools in 147 countries.