The Virtual High School Collaborates with Landmark School to Offer
Online Study Skills+ Course
VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL IS OUR ON EDUCATION TALK RADIO TODAY AT 130P
Partnership Offers Students Essential Skills; Helps Them Prepare for High School and College
Boston — Oct. 5, 2015 — To succeed today in a world filled with extracurricular activities and digital distractions, students need to be organized, focused and able to manage their time efficiently. Developing a strong foundation in basic study skills during middle and high school is more important than ever for students to flourish in college and beyond. The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.), a non-profit empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, has partnered with Landmark School, a leader in developing strategies for students to develop effective study skills, to create an online version of Landmark’s in-person Study Skills+ course.
“We are delighted to partner with the Landmark School to offer this important class through the convenience of an online platform,”said Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of VHS. “Strong study skills are the foundation of student achievement. It isn’t enough for students to simply sit in a classroom and hope to soak up the knowledge an instructor is presenting. They must put effort into learning, understanding and applying the material. The earlier they can develop these skills, the greater their chance of academic success.”
Acquiring the essential tools to learn more effectively in middle, high school and beyond was the original goal of Landmark School’s Skills+ class, offered on their campus to students in grades 6 – 12 in the summertime. By expanding to an online format through VHS, Landmark offers students from around the country a chance to learn from a trusted and proven resource and hone their general study skills while developing the unique skills that come with taking a course online. While online courses can offer more flexibility in scheduling, they often require more self-discipline and independence than traditional in-class courses.
“In order to gain academic competence, students must learn and use strategies that enable them to become efficient and effective managers of their academic tasks,” Bob Broudo, Headmaster of Landmark School offers. “As educators, Landmark is deeply invested in helping young people reach their potential. The curricula we design is informed by our goal of providing practical strategies that are the keys to effective study habits and learning. Landmark is thrilled to partner with VHS to offer these approaches to learning to a wider audience of schools and students.”
The engaging and results-oriented Study Skills+ class will focus on a host of topics, including: organizing time and materials, planning, prioritizing, initiating tasks, creating routines for work completion, focusing and sustaining attention, maximizing working memory, and self-monitoring and task shifting.
Ribeiro concluded, “Developing good study habits among a generation of digital natives with incredible demands on their attention can be tough, but it is attainable. The secret is to develop solid habits early. Now all students will have access to Landmark’s proven approach with Study Skills+.”
About Landmark School
Since 1971, Landmark School has been recognized as a leader in educating students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, helping them overcome their weaknesses, maximize their strengths and learn powerful and effective skills that they carry with them through life. Landmark offers a unique and personalized learning environment for students in grades 2-12, with a campus in Prides Crossing, MA for 370 high school students and one for 150 elementary and middle school students in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. For more information, visitwww.Landmarkschool.org or call (978) 236-3010.
About The Virtual High School
Since 1996, The Virtual High School has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. For more information, visitwww.TheVirtualHighSchool.org or call (978) 897-1900.
New ‘Managed Services’ Offering From Follett Designed
to Help K-12 Administrators Save Time, Money, Space
Will provide valuable outsourced services for districts lacking proper resources
routine and seasonal tasks involved in managing resources, ultimately saving significant time, money and space.
“We are excited as Managed Services is a brand-new offering from Follett, and comes in response to educators telling us they are spending too much time on operational activities, which takes attention away from their primary goal of student learning,” said Tom Schenck, president, Follett School Solutions. “Our customized program provides valuable outsourced services for administrators when they’re lacking the resources – staffing, facilities or time – to efficiently and effectively run their district.”
Follett’s Managed Services enables districts to:
- * efficiently locate, count and barcode school assets by using Follett’s team of experts to execute physical inventory and barcoding projects;
- * quickly order, receive, reconcile and distribute new resources within a district with new product deployment services;
- * effectively open, close or relocate schools and libraries with facility management services;
- * utilize Follett’s state-of-the-art warehouse as a scalable warehousing solution for the short- and long-term storage of district resources; and
- * solve current issues and proactively avoid future problems by building sustainable practices to ensure district policies are followed and investments are maximized.
In In select markets where Follett has rolled out the new service, the results have been striking. One such example is Community United School District 300 (D300) in Algonquin, Ill., which two years ago witnessed one of its schools lose as much as $100,000 in textbooks in just 12 months.
“You must step back and have the courage to say we have to do this better,” said Susan Harkin, CFO of D300. “At the heart of all this was that our students weren’t starting the school year with the proper materials.”
With the help of Follett’s Managed Services, D300’s textbook management is now running on all cylinders. After an initial consulting phase, Follett’s Managed Services team took a physical inventory of every book in the school and barcoded copies that needed barcode labels. The district then took advantage of Follett’s Warehousing Services and relocated the majority of books in their district warehouse to Follett’s facility. The district now operates as a lean organization that knows what they own, who is responsible for it, and where it is located.
The same school that experienced significant textbook setbacks lost only one book during the year following Follett’s involvement. Overall, the district has saved more than $500,000 and Harkin predicts savings of at least $200,000 annually moving forward.
For more information about Follett, visit www.FollettLearning.com.
About Follett’s PreK-12 Business| follettlearning.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.
About Follett Corporation| follett.com
For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to pre-K and K-12 schools, districts, and college campuses, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach and students to learn. Every day, Follett serves over half of the students in the United States, and works with 70,000 schools as a leading provider of education technology, services and print and digital content. Follett is higher education’s largest campus retailer and a hub for school spirit and community, operating more than 1,150 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores across the continent. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett is a $2.6 billion privately held company.
Tuva Releases Tuva Premium Giving Educators Interactive, Graphical Tools and Content to Teach Data Literacy
Data and Statistics Training Solutions for K-12, Higher Ed and Corporate Markets
NEW YORK – October 5, 2015 – Data about California’s significant drought are more plentiful than rainfall and Tuva is helping students learn how to analyze and interpret this information. Tuva – a data literacy platform where teachers use interactive, visual graphing tools and curated datasets to teach problem solving, modeling, evidence-based thinking and other essential skills – has launched Tuva Premium to give educators hundreds of curated datasets from authentic primary sources. Click to tweet.
Teachers across all subject areas, including math, science, social studies and language arts are grasping for ways to teach data, measurement, probability and statistics not only because new learning standards (including the CCSS, NGSS and the new SATs) require it but because our data-laden society needs citizens to be able to make sound, informed decisions. (See the California drought data set here.)
“Being able to critically think about and make sense of data and information have become gateway skills for successful participation in the workforce and civic engagement with our community,” said Harshil Parikh, Tuva founder and CEO. “Tuva Premium gives teachers access to our entire, growing bank of curated datasets as well as ready-to-use, inquiry-based activities and tasks.”
Now with Tuva Premium, teachers can choose from hundreds of additional primary sources including NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), NASA, the U.S. Census Bureau, the World Bank and many others. Teachers use these data sets, alongside Tuva’s interactive, easy-to-use graphing and charting tools, to bring inquiry-based activities and lessons into their classroom. Students can choose from a dot plot, bar chart, histogram, box plot or other ways to display the data and then consider what the chart tells them about the attributes’ relationships as they develop foundational analytical skills. (Click here to see Tuva in action.)
In addition to curated sets, teachers and students can upload their own datasets into their own secure and private repository. For example, students around the country have used Tuva to explore, visualize and analyze data from their biology, chemistry and physics labs.
“Tuva is addressing a very real need, empowering educators to teach and learners to learn data, statistics, modeling and evidence-based thinking. Our research-based, interactive and highly visual graphing tools make data come alive for learners,” added Parikh. “We are pleased to offer Tuva Premium to schools and districts across the country.”
About Tuva Labs, Inc.
Tuva is a data literacy company that offers solutions for K-12 as well as enterprises. Tuva helps data novices and learners develop data literacy and critical thinking skills through graphical, interactive analysis of curated datasets from open data sources. Activities guide learners through analysis and interpretation of data and teach how to spot patterns and extract useful information – essential gateway skills for STEM jobs and full workforce participation in the 21st Century. Visit tuvalabs.com to learn more. @TuvaLabs #dataliteracy #opendata
Gaming headset models feature surround sound and microphone-enabled chat for individual or team play
As gaming continues to be implemented in classroom instruction, having tools that serve educational and recreational needs is becoming increasingly critical. Califone International, LLC, a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual (AV) and supplemental curriculum products for use in education, announces the release of two gaming headset models designed for an immersive educational-gaming experience. The GH507 Gaming Headset and the GH131 Gaming Headset feature surround sound and microphone-enabled chat features to support team video game play.
“The GH507 and GH131 are specifically suited for gaming,” said Tim Ridgway, vice president of marketing for Califone. “We designed both headsets with superior surround sound quality and microphone to give users complete control of their gaming experience.”
The GH507 and GH131 models are customizable with industry-standard 5.1 and enhanced 7.1 surround sound that enables 3D sound effects. Both models are equipped with cushioned earcups, adjustable headband and dual pivot points for comfort during gaming sessions on Xbox One, PlayStation and PC gaming systems. The GH131 model features a lightweight design for transportable gaming. For added versatility, the GH507 includes a detachable microphone and inline controls that easily unclip for audio-only listening on any smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer or Chromebook.
The GH507 headset includes a 2-year warranty and the GH131 headset includes a 1-year warranty for purpose-built gaming.
For more information on the GH507 and GH131 gaming headsets, and to view and download the entire Califone catalog, visit www.califone.com.
Harvard Center’s Best Foot Forward Project Shares Results on the Use of Video in Classroom Observations
Research Shows the Use of Video in Teacher Observations is an Effective Tool for Improving Evaluation Feedback. Majority of Teachers Found Process Fairer and More Useful Overall
Cambridge, MA (October 5, 2015) – On October 2, researchers at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University will release findings from the Best Foot Forward Project, an initiative testing whether video technology can help address the challenges faced by teachers and school leaders in implementing classroom observations that are part of teacher evaluation systems. In four states, the study team collected data on the experience and impacts of allowing teachers to receive feedback on self-taped lessons instead of the traditional drop-in observation.
In a randomized controlled experiment, half of participating teachers were asked to tape themselves regularly, select only the videos they felt represented their best instruction, and submit those for evaluation. The observer conducting the evaluation had the benefit of watching the lesson at more convenient times of day and as many times as needed in order to give useful, actionable feedback on the lesson.
Over three years, the Best Foot Forward Project researchers surveyed hundreds of teachers and administrators and thousands of students on the use of video in the classroom. One concern was that teachers would resist being filmed, but in fact, teachers who selected to videotape themselves found the process fairer and more useful overall. By filming themselves and choosing which lessons to share, they became collaborators in their own professional development.
Teachers were also able to submit videos to external peer coaches for formative purposes. This method of training has been used heavily in athletics for decades. Research findings from the study demonstrate that the use of video increased teachers’ willingness to open up their instruction to peers and other instructional experts, compared to teachers who were not randomly assigned to use video.
“Although administrators often think teachers won’t want to be videotaped, we found that most teachers are very receptive to the idea, as long as they are in control of the footage,” said the study’s director Miriam Greenberg. “These findings open very exciting possibilities for more effective and targeted coaching and actionable feedback for educators.”
For their part, administrators found that the videos were just as authentic as drop-in observations for measuring teacher effectiveness. Though they spent more time observing instruction, administrators could also review the footage at any time. Across the study, more than half of video observation work took place at less busy times of day, such as before and after school, during the lunch hour, or on holidays.
Teachers who were randomly selected to participate in the video program were significantly more supportive of the process in lieu of or in conjunction with traditional evaluation methods. If teacher-controlled video observations help make evaluations more useful and convenient, there is great potential for evaluation to become less contentious overall.
The study team is also releasing a freely available toolkit with practical guidance for teachers and school leaders interested in piloting video observations. The kit includes advice and a suite of resources for leveraging video technology for teacher development, choosing the right technology for the classroom, and protecting the privacy of students and teachers. “Throughout the project, we learned as much about successful implementation as we did about impact.” Greenberg shared. “We wanted to share those lessons so that educators would have a head-start.”
Read the report at http://cepr.harvard.edu/best-foot-forward-project
Access the Best Foot Forward Video Observation Toolkit at http://cepr.harvard.edu/video-observation-toolkit
Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
The rapid accumulation of student achievement data by states and school districts represents an untapped national resource that promises to break longstanding stalemates in the American education policy debate. By partnering with education and policy leaders to help address their most pressing challenges, The Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) represents a new paradigm in education research and has become a focal point for education policy researchers across Harvard and around the United States.
In addition to the many education practitioners that participated in the study, the Best Foot Forward Project team engages a number of industry experts in this field as partners in the process. They include: Insight Education Group, Swivl, Bloomboard, TNTP, and Teachstone.
Washington Joins 10 Other States in Adding Medicaid Reimbursement for Schools Using Live, Online Therapy Services
As of October 1, 2015, Washington state schools gain more equitable access to live, online therapy services for underserved students
SAN FRANCISCO, October 5, 2015 – Just in time for the newest school year, schools in the state of Washington became eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement for speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and other related services delivered online—such as those provided by PresenceLearning—just as they do for such services delivered onsite to eligible students.
Live, online delivery of services—also known as telemedicine or telehealth—is a mode of delivery that has been shown to produce the same or better results when compared to onsite delivery. Telemedicine, commonly used in healthcare settings, is recognized as effective by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and other professional organizations and is supported by dozens of peer-reviewed, published research studies.
Under federal mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school districts are required to provide students who have special needs with special education and related services such as speech-language therapy. In spite of this requirement, a nationwide shortage of qualified clinicians and challenges particular to Washington state’s location and demographics—including long commutes to hard-to-reach schools, difficulty attracting professionals to certain areas, and serving large bilingual populations—make it difficult to appropriately staff speech-language pathology programs. Telemedicine has been a viable alternative for several years, but a lack of Medicaid reimbursement effectively penalized districts that chose to use it—even when telepractice was their only practical option. Now that telemedicine is Medicaid reimbursable, Washington schools can choose telepractice as a therapy delivery method without having to forgo Medicaid funds.
On September 24, 2015 Washington state’s Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction issued a memo—MEMORANDUM NO. 051-15M SPECIAL EDUCATION—stating that, “Effective October 1, 2015 telemedicine will be covered by the Health Care Authority (HCA) as an allowable mode to deliver school-based service eligible for Medicaid reimbursement when services are delivered by a qualified practitioner to a student in a school setting.” The memo further stated that, “Our office is pleased that HCA is responding quickly to the recent change in the Medicaid definition of telemedicine services in order to implement the change in school-based healthcare services this school year.”
“This is a huge win for Washington schools and their students, making sure that there is equitable access to services that students need,” said Clay Whitehead, Co-founder and Co-CEO of PresenceLearning. “Washington made a smart move here, as the federal government has delegated the decision to approve online services as a valid means of delivery to the states. As such, Washington was able to help a huge number of students with a simple clarification of their policy. No complex plan review was required. A quarter of the states in the US have already made this move, and we look forward to seeing other states follow Washington’s lead.”
In April of 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a major clarification of federal policy regarding telemedicine reimbursement, declaring that states are no longer required to submit a separate Service Provider Agreement (SPA) for coverage of telemedicine services—if they reimburse for telemedicine services the same way they submit for face-to-face services. Now, eleven states, including Washington state, plus the District of Columbia have declared that districts may submit claims for reimbursement for live, online speech-language therapy services. Several of these states, like Washington, New Mexico and Maine, have included the full range of IEP-related services delivered via telemedicine in their Medicaid reimbursement policy clarifications.
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading provider of online speech and occupational therapy, behavioral and mental health services, special education instruction, and assessments for education agencies and families of children with special needs. PresenceLearning’s nationwide network of online professionals and telehealth providers includes hundreds of highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), special education teachers, and behavioral and mental health professionals. Sessions are delivered “anytime anywhere” via live videoconferencing using the latest in evidence-based practices combined with powerful progress reporting.
By partnering with PresenceLearning, education agencies can fill service gaps related to acute and chronic shortages of special education and related services personnel, reduce high caseloads for onsite personnel, reduce their backlog of assessments, improve student outcomes, and improve efficiency. Since 2009, PresenceLearning has delivered more than a million live, online therapy sessions to students in public, charter, and virtual schools across the U.S. and globally, proving that online delivery of special education and related services is practical, convenient, and highly effective.
C. Blohm & Associates Hires Jay Bryant for New Digital Director Role
Madison, Wis. (Oct. 5, 2015) – C. Blohm & Associates, Inc. (CB&A), the premier public relations firm for the education and special needs industries, has appointed education industry veteran Jay Bryant as Digital Director. In this newly created position, Bryant will lead the development and execution of digital marketing and communications strategies for CB&A clients.
“I’m excited to have someone of Jay’s exceptional talent join the CB&A team,” said Charlene Blohm, CB&A President and Founder. “Jay’s experience in designing digital marketing campaigns for industry giants such as Pfizer and Walmart will enhance and expand our existing efforts. Jay’s extensive knowledge of search engine optimization and other digital strategies will provide immediate value in helping our clients achieve their bottom-line goals.”
As Digital Director, Bryant will lead strategic digital initiatives on behalf of CB&A clients, including social media marketing, lead generation and analytics to measure success.
Bryant has built successful digital marketing campaigns for national brands such as Walmart, Intel, Pfizer and TV Guide, as well as for education companies such as bigchalk.com, Co-nect and Educational Testing Service. He is a digital strategist and brand development leader who was awarded five patents for search engine optimization (SEO) and design work. Bryant began his career as a journalist and photographer in the newspaper industry and earned 22 national awards for editorial excellence before transitioning to digital strategy roles in the K-12 and consumer markets.
“Joining CB&A allows me to help dozens of education and special needs companies accelerate their growth and impact with successful digital campaigns,” Bryant said. “I look forward to helping our clients develop new digital strategies and evaluate their online visibility campaigns.”
About C. Blohm & Associates, Inc.
C. Blohm & Associates, Inc., is the premier public relations firm specializing in visibility campaigns for the education and special needs industries. This award-winning agency creates visibility campaigns that drive results for clients. Passion, imagination and commitment are hallmarks of this dynamic team that focuses on the importance of providing everyone with the chance to learn. CB&A crafts customized integrated marketing communications that resonate with influencers and drive results for clients, because after all, Visibility Matters. For more information, visit http://www.cblohm.com.
ASCD Leads Innovations in Professional Learning Theme for Connected Educator Month 2015
Alexandria, VA (10/6/2015)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, is pleased to announce leadership of the Innovations in Professional Learning theme for Connected Educator Month (CEM) 2015. Millions of educators from around the world took part in hundreds of professional development opportunities as part of CEM in October of 2012, 2013, and 2014. ASCD is pleased to lead a CEM theme for the second consecutive year and offer free resources and valuable discussions with educators worldwide.
Consistent innovation in the way professional learning is delivered and consumed can keep educators prepared to meet the goal of education: to prepare all students for a successful future. Throughout October, ASCD’s blog, Inservice, will feature posts aligned with this theme, along with highlighted courses, books, webinars, and more. Educators can find all of the ASCD CEM resources by visiting www.ascd.org/cem.
Here are some of the top free events and resources all educators can access:
- Twitter chat on Innovations in Professional Learning, October 6, 8:00–9:00 p.m. eastern time―Tonight’s #ASCDL2L Twitter chat will focus on Innovations in Professional Learning, including educators’ biggest professional development (PD) goals for the year, ideas for blended PD models, and more. William Kist, author of the ASCD Arias™ publication Getting Started with Blended Learning, will be the guest expert and ASCD Emerging Leader Dan Callahan will moderate. Educators can participate in the chat by using #ASCDL2L.
- Twitter chat on Innovations in Assessment, November 3, 8:00–9:00 p.m. eastern time―In the November chat, we will wrap up CEM by focusing on Innovations in Assessment, the theme led by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). NCTE will join us as the cohost of this special chat.
- Two free PD Online® courses―Educators can sign up for free access to two online professional development courses, Leading Professional Learning: Building Capacity Through Teacher Leaders andFormative Assessment: Deepening Understanding. These courses offer strategies for building capacity with ongoing, high-quality, job-embedded professional learning, putting student learning data to work, and much more.
- Free e-book download―All educators can download a free copy of Michael Fisher’s ASCD Arias publication,Digital Learning Strategies: How do I assign and assess 21st century work? This book explores what types of assignments are worth engaging online, how teachers and students can leverage global interactions to improve their work, and how teachers can assess digital projects and other work.
The Connected Educator Month initiative began in 2012 and networks educators and education stakeholders through connected professional learning experiences worldwide. For more information on the 2015 themes and a calendar of events, visit http://connectededucators.org.
Read more on Inservice and find out about all of ASCD’s social media channels at inservice.ascd.org. View all of ASCD’s books and publications at www.ascd.org/books. You can also learn about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships at www.ascd.org.