Entries Open for PASCO/NSTA 2016 STEM Educator Awards

Three middle and high school educators demonstrating excellence and innovation in the field of STEM education will each receive $5,500 in prizes.

PASCO® Scientific and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) are now accepting applications for the 2016 PASCO NSTA STEM Educator Awards. Three middle and high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers will be recognized for implementing innovative inquiry-based, technology-infused STEM programs. Applications — which can be found at http://www.nsta.org/about/awards.aspx#stem— must be received by Nov. 30.

Each winner will receive a $500 monetary gift, a $5,000 certificate for PASCO Scientific products, and up to $1,000 in travel expenses to attend the NSTA national conference, March 31 to April 3, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Award recipients will also be honored at an awards banquet at the conference.

“STEM-related jobs are a vital and growing sector in today’s world,” said Steven Korte, CEO of PASCO. “So, it’s essential to recognize and share innovative STEM learning approaches, especially ones that address real-world applications that can be connected to classroom and science lab experiences. We’re pleased to continue our relationship with NSTA to sponsor this award, and to recognize and honor the best of the best STEM educators.”

As part of the application process, educators must submit a narrative describing how they address real-world applications or problems integrating the elements of STEM, differentiate their instruction for students of varying ability levels, incorporate sensor-based data collection and visualization technologies, and support national science education standards. They must also include examples of student products exhibiting real-world applications, along with letters of support from education colleagues.

For first time applicants or educators who have questions about this year’s awards program, NSTA is hosting an informational webinar on Wed., Oct. 21 at 6:30p Eastern time.  The webinar is free, but registration is required. For more information go tohttp://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/NSTA/webseminar46.aspx

About PASCO scientific

PASCO has been designing, developing, and supporting innovative teaching and learning solutions for K–12 and higher education since 1964. PASCO’s team of educators, scientists, educational researchers, engineers, and many others is committed to the advancement of STEM education around the world. Today teachers and students in more than 100 countries use PASCO solutions. For more information, visit www.pasco.com.


PASCO and PASPORT are registered trademarks of PASCO scientific. SPARK Science Learning System, SPARK, SPARKscience, SPARKvue, SPARKlink, SPARKlabs, MultiMeasure Sensors and MatchGraph are trademarks of PASCO scientific. Mac, iPad and iPod touch are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.; iPhone is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.; App Store is a service mark of Apple Computer, Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft, Inc. Android, Chromebook, the Google Play store icon, and the Chrome Web Store icon are trademarks of Google, Inc. Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG. All other brands, products, or service names are or may be trademarks or service marks of, and are used to identify products or services of their respective owners.


Califone Wins Four 2015 Awards of Excellence

Two portable PA systems, noise-blocking ear buds and wireless keyboard recognized in new product category

For recognition in superior design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual (AV) products in education, CalifoneInternational LLC, received four Tech & Learning 2015 Awards of Excellence. The program honored Califone AV solutions in the new product category—the Bluetooth® VoiceSaver™ PA, the E3T & E3USB Ear Buds, the KB4Bluetooth Keyboard and the Wireless PresentationPro™ speaker.

To receive, not one, but four awards is a great achievement that speaks to our continued dedication to providing powerful and useful technology for education,” said vice president of marketing for Califone, Tim Ridgway. “We’re proud to have our tools, serving a variety of classroom needs, recognized among the industry’s top new products.

One of the two award-winning audio systems, theBluetooth VoiceSaver PA is a lightweight, portable system that offers hands-free convenience in groups as large as twenty individuals. TheWireless PresentationPro, also recognized in the new product category, can be connected to a range of devices and is suitable for any indoor or outdoor speaking environment.

To support the growing importance of digital learning and gaming, the award-winning E3T/USB Ear Buds offers full-bodied sound for quality listening. The KB4 Bluetooth Keyboard was awarded for enhancing digital learning by enabling wireless typing on a number of iOS, Windows and Android devices.

All four products were evaluated by Tech & Learning, a leading online education publication serving the K-12 education community as a resource for education technology and sponsor of the 33rd annual Awards of Excellence program. The program honors hardware, software, network and web products that make significant enhancements to educational environments and tools. All entries undergo thorough review by experts in the field whose selection criteria include how well products work in the classroom, ease of use for students and educators and effective learning improvements.

Once again this year, the Tech & Learning judges examined hundreds of entries to select the winners of 2015’s Awards of Excellence. This wasn’t just checking off spec sheets and surfing other people’s reviews. Each product was handled and scored individually. Not an easy task,” said Kevin Hogan, editorial director for NewBay Media’s Tech & Learning Group. “These companies can be proud that their products were selected as winners by this prestigious team of judges.

For more information on the four award-winning products by Califone, visitwww.califone.com/products.

About Califone

Califone was founded in 1947 and continues to be a leader in the design, development and manufacturing of audiovisual and supplemental curriculum products for use in education. The company’s products enable educators to incorporate rich audiovisual resources into lessons that help students build speaking and listening skills, critical to the English Language Arts portion of the Common Core State Standards. Califone offers a complete line of audio solutions, wireless systems and multimedia products for small, medium and large presentation needs, and serves millions of educators and students in the PreK through higher education school environments.


AASA Releases Statement Applauding Long Awaited GAO Report

Alexandria, Va. – Oct. 19, 2015 – As we approach the 40th anniversary of the enactment of legislation known today as the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, applauds a new federal report that touches on a key provision in IDEA, known as “maintenance of effort.” Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, issued the following statement today following the release of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s report investigating the problems school districts experience when trying to comply with this provision. The provision is intended to ensure education funding is cut as little as possible and that federal funding does not take the place of other financial resources that would be coming from states and local districts.

“Given that federal funding for IDEA is down $579 million since 2010 and at least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the current school year than prior to the recession, AASA believes federal policy must empower local leaders to ‘do more with less.’

“This important report highlights the need for amending the IDEA maintenance of effort provisions to provide more flexibility to districts, which is why we urge Congress to pass the BOLD (Building on Local District) Flexibility in the IDEA Act. This bill provides districts with the option of realizing savings in their local special education expenditures when they find more efficient ways of providing high-quality services and programs for students with disabilities.

“The GAO report underscores the obligation that district leaders have to leverage local education funding in a manner that best serves the maximum number of students. IDEA must provide districts with the flexibility to ensure they are not wrongly penalized for changes in their special education funding levels that in no way impact the provision of special education to students with disabilities.”

The GAO report, which was requested by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, highlights that while the overall rate of noncompliance with IDEA’s maintenance of effort requirement is rather low, many districts across the country are struggling to maintain funding levels.

For specific questions about the GAO report, please contact Sasha Pudelski, AASA assistant director, policy and advocacy, at spudelski@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.


ETA hand2mind hosts its 50th edWeb webinar for math teachers

PRINCETON, NJ, October 20, 2015 – ETA hand2mind has hosted a professional learning community (PLC) on edWeb.net for the past three years, providing free professional development for elementary and middle school math educators.

The community, Building Understanding in Mathematics, launched in January 2012 with host and presenter Sara Delano Moore, Ph. D., Director of Mathematics and Science at ETA hand2mind. Since then, the community has grown to over 6,400 math education professionals, with over 6,000 CE certificates issued and more than 20,000 views of the program’s recorded webinars. Most of the community’s webinars are presented as multi-part series, providing deep, meaningful professional development on a variety of topics.

On October 13, 2015, Sara Moore presented the community’s 50th webinar, on the topic of geometric reasoning with shapes and attributes. During the webinar, she told her audience, “We could not have made it to 50 webinars without all of the energy and excitement all of you bring to this community every month. The learning that happens here is collective work.”

Lynn Scott, Senior Program Director for edWeb.net added, “Every webinar from this program includes time for reflection to ensure attendees understand the “why” as well as the “how” of the math topic at hand. And Sara always shares practical strategies that educators can use immediately to improve their math instruction. Math teachers have told us how grateful they are for this free professional development program from ETA hand2mind.”

Building Understand in Mathematics is a free professional learning community on edWeb that provides a forum for educators to learn and share ideas to improve their teaching and help their students build understanding in mathematics. The community hosts free monthly webinars and online discussions and is a growing learning center for math educators around the country, and the world.

Educators, math curriculum directors, and school administrators are invited to join the free Building Understand in Mathematics professional learning community at www.edweb.net/math.

The community’s next free webinar, “Geometric Reasoning with Shapes & Attributes Part 3: Properties of Lines & Angles,” will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information, contact: 

Lisa Schmucki, Founder and CEO, edWeb.net
908-407-2755 | lisa@edweb.net

Brandi Brown, Director of eCommerce, ETA hand2mind
847-968-5190 | bbrown@hand2mind.com

About edWeb.net
edWeb.net is a free professional learning and social network that makes it easy for educators to collaborate, share innovative ideas, and improve teaching and learning. edWeb.net provides the support and training educators need to advance their own practice, build better schools, and prepare students for life-long learning and career success. Schools and districts lack the time, expertise, and funding to provide the professional development educators need – edWeb.net fills that gap. Learn more at www.edweb.net or follow edWeb.net on Twitter @edwebnet.

About ETA hand2mind

ETA hand2mind offers proven hands-on solutions for grades PreK-12, with educational and supplemental materials that enrich teaching and engage students in math, science, and reading. The Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company’s solutions provide instructional curriculum, custom-kit solutions for content providers, manipulatives, interactive digital applications, and teacher coaching and development. For more information, visit hand2mind.com.



Alma Triples Customer Base, Rolls Out in Top School Systems

Emerging leader in integrated student information and learning management system continues rapid growth with significant school adoption

PORTLAND, Ore. (Oct. 19, 2015) – Alma Technologies, Inc., provider of the first holistic student engagement platform for K-12 schools, has added numerous districts, charter management organizations and schools to its roster of customers who are rolling out its technology for the 2015-16 school year. The company’s year over year growth in the number of students served accelerated by 350 percent, significantly expanding its share of the student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS) markets.

As schools and districts have become increasingly frustrated with older and fragmented management systems, administrators have turned to Alma for its intuitive and streamlined workflow, flexibility, long-term cost-effectiveness, and high-quality customer support. Alma now serves school districts, public charter schools and private schools in 37 states and 20 countries. Most recently, Alma was implemented in KIPP Chicago, Boise Independent School District in Idaho, Khan Academy Lab School in California, Texas Christian University and Texas A&M.

We were looking for a management system that was as intuitive and efficient to use for our teachers and parents as the applications they regularly use in their daily lives,” explained David Roberts, Administrator of Technology, Boise School District. Alma fit that criterion, and more, with simplified Google Classroom integration and standards-based grading and reporting tools. We’re excited to roll it out in several schools this year and lay the groundwork for greater operational and instructional effectiveness in the district.”

Alma has also expanded its platform with several new features including a district analytics and reporting suite and a curriculum planning and standards assessment tracking tool, as well as enhancements to scheduling and course management. This summer, Alma announced it was the first student information system to pioneer Google Classroom integration to offer high-quality, modern tools for teachers at a fraction of the cost. Alma customers are taking advantage this school year of the one-click process to set up a Google Classroom for every teacher in their schools and districts and easily make changes without headaches for IT departments and lost instructional time.

The rapid adoption of our hybrid SIS/LMS solution by schools and districts signifies our role as an emerging leader in the market and disruptor in the ed tech landscape,” said Alma President Jack Macleod. District administrators and teachers deserve modern tools at a budget they can afford to support their digital transition. We are their dedicated partners in embracing a future of education in which technology better serves our teachers and institutions.”

Honored for its excellence in the market, Alma has received several industry awards in the past year, including the 2015 Digital Innovation in Learning Award from EdSurge and Digital Promise. Alma was recognized in the Mindful Data categoryfor offering a platform to schools that manages, translates and delivers data to users in a manner that is understandable and actionable while maintaining security and clear, understandable privacy policies.

About Alma Technologies, Inc.

Alma is focused on improving student outcomes by enhancing workflow automation and data management in K-12 education. Its Holistic Student Engagement Platform unites a student information system and learning management system into an integrated, intuitive experience that empowers educators with a 360-degree view of the student learning process. The cloud-based software integrates multiple school and district functions into a single system that chronicles state reporting, curriculum management, lesson plans, grades, report cards, school calendars, inter-school messaging and notes, student data, parent communications, and assessments. At the same time, Alma enables districts to do more with less by simplifying their complex ecosystem of tech tools through consolidation while saving time and money. Alma provides a flexible, scalable solution that can work for any school and any budget. To learn more about Alma and its features, or to request a demo, visit www.GetAlma.com or contact @GetAlma.