PRODUCTS, SERVICES & EVENTS

12/3/15

Coolcher Launches Virtual Classroom Platform to Share Classes and Cultures from Teachers Around the World

The new online creativity platform delivers live, online courses in the areas of language, arts, music, and STEM
(ATLANTA, GA) December 2, 2015 — Coolcher today launched its virtual classroom platform offering online classes taught by teachers from around the world. The classes can be scheduled to fit with any school’s calendar. For a one-time fee, schools and after-school centers get access to all courses for an unlimited number of classes for one year, giving students the opportunity to enjoy unique courses, and interact live with not just the teacher, but also with their peers from around the country.

“We created Coolcher as parents who were looking for courses that help our daughter learn more about her heritage, but were unsuccessful in finding anything,” said Jatin Grover, the founder of Coolcher. “With this new platform, we hope to bring the whole world to kids around the U.S.—a whole world of new and unique subjects, and a whole world of new cultures.”

The platform also connects homeschoolers with other students and homeschoolers who are taking the classes at the same time. The virtual classroom environment gives homeschoolers a connection with more students, bringing with it enhanced collective knowledge and creativity.

“More and more, every high-paying job requires not just skills but creativity, and to boost creativity the development of the right brain should begin at an early age,” said Grover. “Our unique courses in creative areas and multi-linguistics speed up the development of students’ right brain as well as giving them tools for college preparedness by teaching world cultures.”

Coolcher courses are community-led, and the company is always looking for teachers who bring a creative approach to their lessons. Teachers who would like to be added to the Coolcher portfolio to work with kids around the country and the world can share information about themselves and their courses at coolcher.com.

About Coolcher

Based in Atlanta, GA, Coolcher is a virtual classroom platform that connects kids at school and at home with teachers from around the world. Our teachers bring courses in subject areas like language, arts, crafts, and STEM for live, online classes. These teachers bring not just their knowledge, but also their cultural background to help expand kids’ worldview.

Press Contact:

Sue Hanson

PR with Panache!

sue@prwithpanache.com

 

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SmartFind™ – Powered by TeacherMatch® – Named a “Reader’s Choice Top Product” by District Administration Readers

Nominations from top K12 leaders led to the selection of products that enhance learning across the country

(Chicago, IL)  – December 2, 2015 — SmartFind has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K12 leaders who named it to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2015.”

“We are honored to have SmartFind recognized as a Readers’ Choice Top 100 product,” says Don Fraynd, co-founder and CEO of TeacherMatch. “We are proud to deliver a streamlined, customized solution that allows our partner districts to secure high-quality substitutes and make every day a learning day.”

The winners were compiled from 2,100-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. The Readers’ Choice Top Products has been announced online and in the December 2015 issue of District Administration.

District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas, such as technology, sustainability and curriculum instruction.

“It was inspiring to learn about the products being used in today’s schools and classrooms that are helping districts succeed,” says JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “All of our 2015 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

About District Administration

District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit www.DistrictAdministration.com.

About TeacherMatch

Founded by a group of dedicated educators, TeacherMatch offers a data-driven, people-powered formula for success for Advanced Education Talent Management™. SmartFind – Powered by TeacherMatch – (formerly SmartFindExpress) has been re-engineered to provide K-12 school districts with a total absence management and workforce planning platform. SmartFind is the most advanced, comprehensive system for absence management and workforce planning available today. For more information, please visit www.sf.teachermatch.org.

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AASA Applauds House-Passed Every Student Succeeds Act

Alexandria, Va. – Dec. 2, 2015 – Today, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) took one step closer to reauthorization when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement:

“The communities throughout our country deserve great schools. Today’s House vote represents relief from a broken law that lacked the flexibility states and local school districts need to support student learning and achievement.

“AASA, The School Superintendents Association, endorses ESSA and we commend the House for passing this landmark legislation that preserves important federal cornerstones such as equity, accountability, standards and assessments, while empowering state and local education leaders to more effectively operate the education systems for which they are responsible.

“We commend the House and Senate for maintaining steady momentum for ESEA since this summer. We applaud Representatives John Kline and Bobby Scott, and Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray for their leadership throughout this process.

“On behalf of more than 13,000 school system leaders and, more importantly, the students they serve, we are pleased with today’s vote and look forward to a similar Senate outcome as early as next week.”

Further AASA analysis and response is available on AASA’s policy blog, The Leading Edge.

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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.

 

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GuideK12 Named a “Readers’ Choice Top Product” by District Administration Readers

 Nominations from top K-12 leaders led to the selection of products that enhance learning across the country.

(Minneapolis, MN) December 2, 2015 — GuideK12 has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K-12 leaders who named it to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2015.”

“We are proud to receive the Readers’ Choice Top Product award for 2015. The team at GuideK12 takes great pride in the service and relationships we build with our clients, so an award that comes from our customer’s input means the world to us,” said Chuck Amos, GuideK12’s CEO.

GuideK12 is decision-support software that helps administrators make more proactive and effective decisions about student needs, program placement, boundary changes, school choice, emergency planning, and student performance by adding geographic context and data visualization. GuideK12 merges disparate data sets onto an interactive map for more informed, efficient, and transparent decisions.

District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas, such as technology, sustainability, and curriculum instruction.

The winners were compiled from 2,100-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. The Readers’ Choice Top Products has been announced online and in the December 2015 issue of District Administration.

“It was inspiring to learn about the products being used in today’s schools and classrooms that are helping districts succeed,” says JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “All of our 2015 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

About GuideK12™:

Minnesota-based GuideK12™ is the leading provider of web-based geovisual analytic tools that enable education decision-makers to instantly explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to student and community information. With spatial visualization of information, decisions on everything from boundary analysis to policy changes to resource planning and referendum planning can be faster and more insightful. GuideK12 translates data into actionable information so administrators can visualize, analyze, and predict. GuideK12 has received numerous education technology industry awards and nominations, including NSBA technology showcase, EdTech Digest Cool Tool Awards, SIIA Codie, and DA Top 100 products award. GuideK12 serves large metro, suburban, and rural school districts throughout the United States. It is owned by private investors and a private investment group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more about GuideK12, please visit www.guidek12.com.

 

About District Administration

District Administration provides K-12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters, and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit www.DistrictAdministration.com.

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Measured Progress Awarded Maine Statewide Assessment

College Board SAT included in contract

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“Measured Progress fully understands Maine’s desire to offer an efficient, practical, statistically valid assessment, while cutting back on testing time.” – Maine Acting Education Commissioner William H. Beardsley

The Maine Department of Education has awarded Measured Progress the contract for the 2015-16 Maine Educational Assessments (MEA) in mathematics and ELA/literacy for grades 3–8 and third-year high school.

Announcing the award, Maine Acting Education Commissioner William H. Beardsley acknowledged that the Request for Proposals (RFP) reflected the input of many educators across the state, including those who served on the Assessment Task Force. Further, Beardsley said the detailed proposal review process resulted in a solution that is “best for Maine’s students and educators.” Five companies submitted proposals in response to the RFP.

“Measured Progress is a tested partner with Maine, a valued relationship for over 30 years, and they are our neighbors and employ Maine residents,” Beardsley said. “Measured Progress fully understands Maine’s desire to offer an efficient, practical, statistically valid assessment, while cutting back on testing time.”

Aligned to Maine’s College and Career Readiness Standards, the MEA at grades 3–8 will be a program called eMPower Maine developed by Measured Progress. The MEA at the high school level will be the SAT, provided at no personal cost to all third-year high school students under the same contract.

eMPower Maine will use a variety of item types to yield meaningful information about what Maine students know and how they can apply that knowledge. To establish continuity, eMPower Maine provides some comparability to assessments administered in other states but with shorter testing time than previous assessments.

The eMPower Maine program also includes a unique feature for Maine students and educators: a predictive connection to the SAT, based on Measured Progress’s collaboration with the College Board. The grades 3–8 tests are anchored in the same foundational research as the SAT Suite of Assessments. Results of the eMPower Maine assessment at grade 8 are linked to the SAT scale, providing an early indicator of college and career readiness.

The College Board recently redesigned the SAT to better measure college and career readiness and to more closely reflect what students are learning in class. Changes to the exam include a focus on the areas of math that matter most for college and career readiness, a move away from obscure vocabulary words to the use of relevant words in context, and the elimination of the guessing penalty. As part of its contract with Measured Progress and the state of Maine, the College Board provides students taking the SAT with access to free, personalized online practice through Khan Academy.

The online testing platform for grades 3–8 will be provided by Measured Progress’s partner and industry expert, eMetric. eMetric’s end-to-end iTester delivery system has been effectively used in summative, interim/benchmark, and formative assessments in numerous states and districts. Measured Progress and eMetric have a well-established working relationship that has resulted in successful implementations for several statewide assessment contracts.

The new contract with Maine represents the next step in a longstanding collaboration between Maine and Measured Progress. “We are delighted to once again be working with the Maine Department of Education,” said Martin Borg, CEO of Measured Progress “Measured Progress and the Maine DOE have a 30-year relationship that began before the inception of The Maine Educational Assessment in 1985. Given our long and successful relationship, Maine is the ideal place to roll out our eMPower Assessments along with the SAT from the College Board.”

Together, eMPower Maine by Measured Progress and the SAT offer a coherent, aligned and comprehensive college- and career-ready assessment solution.

For more information, visit http://www.measuredprogress.org.

ABOUT MEASURED PROGRESS
Measured Progress, a not-for-profit organization, is a pioneer in authentic, standards-based assessments. Since 1983, we have successfully partnered with more than 30 states and hundreds of districts across the nation to support their assessment programs. Today, we develop 21st century assessments for classrooms, districts, states, and consortia. We are proud to be the nation’s leading provider of alternate assessments for students with cognitive disabilities.

Measured Progress connects the K–12 educational community with innovative and flexible assessment solutions. Our goal is to provide meaningful information about student progress to improve teaching and learning. It’s all about student learning. Period.

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Knovation Honors Districts for Outstanding Usage of Online Learning Resources

Digital Learning Award winners include districts in Alabama, North Carolina and Illinois

CINCINNATI, OHDecember 2, 2015 – To recognize the top 100 districts using the Knovation Content Collection to personalize learning with reliable and engaging online resources, Knovation announces the recipients of its 2015 Digital Learning Awards. The program honors districts across the U.S. that use netTrekker or icurio to find, organize and share hundreds of thousands of standards-aligned resources that are professionally evaluated, tagged and maintained, ensuring students truly benefit from their digital shift.

Awards are presented to small-, medium- and large-sized districts based on their usage of the Knovation Content Collection via netTrekker or icurio during the 2014-2015 school year. Below are the top three districts for each size category:

Large-Sized Districts (more than 25,000 student enrollment)

      1. Baldwin County School District, Bay Minette, Alabama (icurio)
      2. Cabarrus County School District, Concord, North Carolina (icurio)
      3. Wake County School District, Cary, North Carolina (netTrekker)

Mid-Sized Districts (5,000-25,000 student enrollment)

      1. Mooresville Graded School District, Mooresville, North Carolina (icurio)
      2. Alhambra Elementary School District 68, Phoenix, Arizona (netTrekker)
      3. Coppell Independent School District, Coppell, Texas (netTrekker)

Small-Sized Districts (less than 5,000 student enrollment)

    1. Community Consolidated School District 93, Bloomingdale, Illinois (icurio)
    2. Corinth School District, Corinth, Mississippi (icurio)
    3. Ross Local School District, Hamilton, Ohio (icurio)

“The Digital Learning Awards honor school districts that are leading high-level implementation of digital resources,” said Randy Wilhelm, CEO of Knovation. “We recognize the outstanding use of online learning resources in these schools as an advancement of personalized learning for each and every student.”

As educators continue to recognize the value of free online resources to enrich learning, the Department of Education supports this significant shift with the appointment of an OER Advisor and the launch of a campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed online educational materials. Knovation makes it incredibly simple to find, organize and share free online resources as they become an essential piece of equal learning opportunities.

View the complete list of Top 100 Digital Learning Award winners at: www.knovationlearning.com/dla.

About Knovation

Since 1999, Knovation has delivered on the promise to do something good for kids, every day, by helping districts meet the needs of diverse K-12 learners in blended digital learning environments.

Knovation makes it easy to find, manage, and use free digital content for learning by professionally evaluating, standards aligning and continuously maintaining a collection of over 360,000 digital resources covering all subjects and all grades. Knovation’s collection can be accessed through the company’s award-winning solutions (netTrekkerand icurio) or through custom integration with several instructional or assessment platforms. For more information, please visit knovationlearning.com.

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Students Gain Six Months of Grade-Level Ability in Their First Two Months of the 2015-16 School Year

Like most educators, fourth-grade math and science teacher Derek von Waldner teaches students who have a wide range of abilities: Some begin school well below grade level, while others are ready for more advanced work.

“I use MobyMax for differentiation,” the second-year Screven County teacher said. “That’s where MobyMax is really awesome—students who have different needs can learn at different levels, even though they’re in the same class together. One kid could be working on fifth grade math, and another could be working on second grade math.”

von Waldner’s students all have Chromebooks for use during class. For part of the school day, they work through the MobyMax software individually while he circulates throughout the room and offers help.

“I have some students who are way above a fourth grade level, and they’re able to work at their own pace with relevant content while I can go around to the other students and help remediate,” he said.

He also uses the data from MobyMax’s progress monitoring reports to group students by ability during small-group instruction.

Using MobyMax to deliver highly targeted instruction has benefited all of von Waldner’s students—from his lowest to his highest achievers. In just the first nine weeks of school, on average, his fourth-grade math students achieved a six-month grade-level increase, performing three times higher than normal in math.

For the lowest students, “it’s pulling them up to grade level,” he said. “For me to sit there with a student and get him up to grade level in nine weeks would take all of my time, whereas MobyMax is filling those gaps quickly.”

To learn more about Screven County’s use of MobyMax, download a case study at http://spotlight.mobymax.com. For more information about MobyMax, visit http://www.mobymax.com.

About MobyMax
MobyMax unlocks the power of personalized and blended learning to help students learn twice as fast. The company offers the only complete K-8 curriculum covering English language arts, math, and science. MobyMax identifies skill gaps with find-and-fix technology that targets instruction and helps students increase one full grade level in just 40 hours. Moby’s comprehensive system includes multiple motivation tools, test prep, assessments, messaging, parent portal, classroom clicker, and progress monitoring. MobyMax is used in more than half of all K-8 schools in the United States and has more than 15 million students registered. For more information, visit http://www.mobymax.com.

 

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Goldwater Institute, Foundation for Excellence in Education, Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, American Federation for Children File Supporting Brief Asking Supreme Court to Hear Case on Douglas County, Colorado School Voucher Program

 

Contact: Starlee Coleman, (602) 758-9162

Washington—Four non-profit organizations dedicated to ensuring all American children attend a school that challenges them and prepares them for the future have filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case that would overturn “Blaine Amendments” in state constitutions and remove the chief obstacle to school vouchers in all 50 states.

 

In 2011, the Douglas County, Colorado elected school board created the nation’s first school board-approved school voucher program. The program allowed all students who had been enrolled in a Douglas County public school the previous school year to apply for a tuition scholarship to attend a private school of their choice. The pilot program was capped at 500 students per year and many more families applied than were given scholarships.

 

The ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit against the program on the basis that it violated the state constitution’s “Blaine Amendment,” which blocks public funds from being given to religious institutions or schools. Even though these scholarships were given directly to parents, not to a religious school, the state Supreme Court ultimately struck the program down as a violation of the Blaine Amendment.

 

Blaine Amendments were inserted into many state constitutions, sometimes as a pre-condition for admittance into the union, at a time when anti-Catholic bigotry raged throughout the country. The amendments were specifically designed to prevent Catholics from using public resources to educate their children in Catholic schools.

 

While school vouchers have been upheld as constitutional at the federal level by the Supreme Court (Zelman v. Simmons-Harris in 2002), several state courts in addition to Colorado’s have used Blaine Amendments to strike down state-funded school voucher programs.

 

Supporters of the Douglas County tuition scholarship program have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and strike down Blaine Amendments in all states. If successful, this would clear the way for school vouchers in all 50 states. Half of all states currently have school voucher programs in place.

 

Blaine Amendments can be found in 37 state constitutions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

 

In their amicus brief, the Goldwater Institute, Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, and American Federation for Children ask the Supreme Court to hear the case and, ultimately, strike down the Blaine Amendments.

 

“The educational opportunities of millions of American schoolchildren are jeopardized by the Blaine amendments,” says Clint Bolick, the vice president of litigation at the Goldwater Institute and author of the amicus brief. “In states with robust private school choice programs, like Florida, data shows that the racial achievement gap is closing and thousands more disadvantaged students are going to college.”

 

“The Blaine Amendment is an archaic and ill-designed provision designed to sanction state-sponsored discrimination,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of ExcelinEd. “Shamefully, the ACLU and others have embraced this bigoted legacy. It is with great pride that our Foundation joins this effort to preserve the individual rights and liberties of all families, regardless of income, to pursue a brighter future for their children.”

 

“This case could represent an important breakthrough in securing educational opportunities for children who today are trapped in failing schools,” said Julio Fuentes, the president of Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options.

 

“Every child deserves the opportunity to access a quality education that suits their needs,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel for the American Federation for Children. “This lawsuit challenges an outdated law rooted in bigotry. AFC is honored to work with this coalition to break down barriers to options and choice in education, and empower countless families with the ability to take control of their child’s education and reach their full potential.”

 

 

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About the Goldwater Institute

The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.

 

About ExcelinEd

The Foundation for Excellence in Education is transforming education for the 21st century economy by working with lawmakers, policymakers, educators and parents to advance education reform across America. ExcelinEd is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Learn more at ExcelinEd.org.

 

About HCREO

Founded in 2001, Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options addresses the crisis in Hispanic education by providing parents with free information and resources to guide them in becoming advocates for their children. Hispanic CREO is the only national public policy Hispanic organization dedicated solely to K-12 education reform to advocate for parents and children. Hispanics are the most undereducated minority group in the United States.

 

About the American Federation for Children

American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.

 

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