Verso Names Paul Taylor New Vice President of Sales

Company Also Announces Opening of First U.S. Headquarters in San Diego

 

SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 8, 2015Verso announced today it has hired Paul Taylor as its new Vice President of Sales. Taylor joins Verso after working in a similar capacity for the past five years for Shmoop, an online education content company.

Founded two years ago in Australia and currently in use by 7,000 schools worldwide, Verso is focused on a “pedagogy first” approach to the implementation of education technology and professional learning. Verso builds professional communities that connect educators with teaching strategies that activate student voice and transitions all students from surface to deep learning.

Colin Wood, Verso CEO and President, also announced his company is opening its first U.S. headquarters in San Diego, adding Taylor will manage the office.

“We’re excited to bring Paul on board as he is passionate about the K-12 sector and shares our approach to building long-term partnerships with customers,” Wood said. “As Verso is expanding rapidly in the U.S. – especially in California, Texas and South Carolina – it’s important for us to have a headquarters here, and someone with the passion and drive that defines Paul’s professional career.”

Taylor began his career as a corporate recruiter where he helped grow companies such as ValueClick and Efficient Frontier before spending the past six years in K-12 education. In his role with Shmoop, among building the sales and account services team, Taylor built partnerships with many schools, districts, and state-run agencies. Some of his most noteworthy partnerships were the ACT test prep partnership with the state of Utah, and test prep partnerships with Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida virtual school programs.

Wood said Taylor is a significant addition to Verso’s global team and will be especially integral to establishing Verso’s presence in California where he will sell Verso Campus, the company’s personalized professional development platform.

For more information about Verso, visit its website at www.versoapp.com.

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MimioTeach Named a “Readers’ Choice Top Product” by District AdministrationReaders; MimioPad and MimioVote Receive Honorable Mention Designations

 

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

 

BOSTON, MA – Dec. 8, 2015 –Mimio, a global leader in interactive teaching technologies, has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K-12 leaders who named its MimioTeach™ interactive whiteboard to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2015.” In addition, the MimioPad™ wireless pen tablet and the MimioVote™ assessment device received honorable mention designations.

 

The winners were compiled from over 2000 nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. The Readers’ Choice Top Products have been announced online and in the December 2015 issue of District Administration.

 

“One of our main goals in developing MimioClassroom™ interactive teaching technologies, mobile applications, and software is to make the classroom experience a much more engaging and user-friendly environment for teachers and students alike,” said Dan Winkler, chief technology officer for Mimio. “The recognition from these hardworking and knowledgeable education award committees reaffirms that our whole suite of products is helping to do just that.”

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,” said J.D. Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “All of our 2015 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”

 

Mimio customer Kirk Huckabone, an administrator at Santa Clarita Christian School in California, offered this perspective in his nomination: “MimioTeach is a great interactive digital display tool that is inexpensive and easy to install.  My early education teachers feel much more at ease having their young hands use the tools, since there is no board to damage and no worry about permanent ink markers ruining it.”

 

Winkler added, “Our interactive teaching technologies continue to shape the 21st century learning experience for teachers and students alike. We remain dedicated to igniting the natural curiosity of students and the enthusiasm of teachers with our educational solutions, and are especially honored to be nominated by the very educators who work every day to help students excel.”

 

 

About Mimio

Mimio is a global leader in interactive teaching technologies that offer a better way to learn and an empowering way to teach. For more than 18 years, Mimio has created award-winning, innovative, and affordable hardware and software that increase teacher effectiveness and student engagement in K-12 classrooms. For more information, visit www.mimio.com. Follow Mimio on Twitter @MimioTechnology and “Like” us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Mimio.Technology.

 

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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AASA Releases 5-Year Study on the American School Superintendent

Alexandria, Va. – Dec. 9, 2015 – Today, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, released a new comprehensive study, documenting demographics, background and experiences of American school superintendents.

The Study of the American Superintendent: 2015 Mid-Decade Update, serves as a follow up to AASA’s landmark 2010 Decennial Study, which examined historical and contemporary perspectives on our nation’s school system leaders. This year’s report includes a supplementary section on gender of the superintendency.

“It’s critical for the education community-at-large to understand the history and context of superintendents, which is why our 2015 Update is so important,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “By serving as a voice for all students, superintendents hold one of the most important positions in the country. Data generated by this series of reports will help us improve our school district leadership and help us address issues such as supporting female and minority superintendents in our communities.”

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • The pattern of an aging superintendency continues from the 2010 study; one-third of superintendents plan to retire within five years.
  • While increases have been made throughout the years, females only make up 27 percent of the superintendency, up only 2 percent from 2010. This stands in direct contrast to the female-dominated teaching force.
  • Superintendents most often see politics as inhibiting their performance, with school board members, staff and community as the greatest contributors.
  • Career satisfaction remains high; over 80 percent of present superintendents would choose to be a superintendent again. This number is lower for female superintendents, at 78 percent.

The work is a collaboration of the following authors:

  • Noelle Ellerson, associate executive director, policy and advocacy, AASA;
  • Leslie Finnan, policy analyst, AASA;
  • T.C. Mattocks, associate professor, Bridgewater State University;
  • Robert S. McCord, research professor in residence, AASA;
  • George J. Petersen, founding dean, Clemson University ; and
  • Christopher Stream, associate professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

For specific questions about the 2015 Mid-Decade Update, please contact Leslie Finnan at lfinnan@aasa.org. For more information about the report, visit The Leading Edge blog. Click here to access a public summary of the report’s findings.

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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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Strike Authorization Vote in Second-Day; CTU reiterates call for Mayor and Board of Ed to join in campaign for progressive revenue solutions

 

CHICAGO – As public school educators continue the second day of their strike authorization vote, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) reiterated its call for the Chicago Board of Education to partner and fight for real funding solutions that can stabilize the school district for years to come.  This week the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) said that if its executive director issues a complaint on the CTU’s pending unfair labor practice complaint it would hear oral arguments on the Union’s request for a preliminary injunction on January 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Results of the vote will be announced after the Union has informed its rank-and-file members and school leaders of the results.  The last day of voting in schools is Friday, December 11. CTU is working to ensure that 100 percent of its members cast a ballot. No preliminary results are available as of this writing, however, labor leaders are confident they will have the 75 percent needed to authorize a work stoppage if needed.

 

The Union contends the Board of Education is purposely stalling labor talks and refuses to enter the fact-finding stage in order to circumvent good-faith collective bargaining. On November 23rd CTU President Karen Lewis formally requested that bargaining proceed to fact-finding; and on December 7th the Union formally requested temporary relief after the Board denied the request. CTU also contends that the Board of Education has unlawfully discontinued payment of teachers’ regular salary steps and educational lane increments in order to force Union members to accept such cuts as part of a final agreement.

 

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) chief executive Forrest Claypool refuses to fully explain why the school district is in poor financial shape and how its current fiscal crisis was manufactured to gut public education.  The Board is asking teachers to agree to $653 million worth of givebacks that will harm the district students and educators themselves.  It has also rejected contract proposals that require no money at all such as ending scientifically invalid “value-added” measures in evaluations; allowing union members to maintain their rights to grieve wrongful discipline and overturn it with an arbitrator; reducing the frequency of standardized testing; freezing charter expansion and school closings; funding Grow Your Own instead of Teach for America to increase the numbers of teachers of color; allowing teachers to decide how many grades are appropriate for students; and, joint lobbying for a progressive income tax, millionaires tax, LaSalle Street tax and banking accountability legislation to fully fund our schools.

 

There are other facts worth noting:

 

FACT #1 CTU members have given more than $2 billion dollars since 2011:

 

  • The Chicago Public Schools took a three-year pension holiday worth $1.2 billion.
  • In 2011 the mayor rescinded our 4 percent raise which is $100 million per year for a total of $500 million.
  • CTU members and their students have absorbed thousands of layoffs worth more than $500 million.

 

Fact #2 The Chicago Public School continues to make poor and ill-advised decisions and that is why it is broke on purpose:

 

  • The Board of Education and a steady stream of chief executive officers over the last five years have been granted pension relief under the agreement that they would work out their financial issues.
  • The Board’s push for a three-year pension holiday contributed to the spike in pension contributions.
  • There has been no real effort to put forward the amount of revenues needed, e.g. opting out of TIF or forcefully advocating for graduated state income tax.
  • The CTU has called for bank and financial industry reforms that include ending predatory bank deals, reducing bank fees, enacting a financial transaction tax and borrowing reform.
  • The mayor’s handpicked Board has made no attempt to rein in charter expansion at a time when funds are incredibly tight.  Why approve new charter operations when the district is unable to afford the responsibilities it has now?
  • In fact, charters and annual debt service to banks now combine to form a full one-fifth of the district’s budget.
  • The  CTU’s proposals only serve to equalize the opportunity for all the city’s students:

ü  Smaller Class Sizes

ü  Full and rich curricula

ü  Wraparound services

ü  Broad range of extracurricular activities

 

Fact # 3 CPS has failed to offer equitable and adequate solutions: 

 

Senate Bill 318 and their newest one, the 20-20 Plan—offered by the Chicago Public Schools are non-starters because they fail to offer equitable and adequate solutions.

 

  • The 20-20 Plan: Without identified new revenue, the district’s 20-20 proposal only creates “new” winners and losers. The proposal to shift 20 percent to Chicago necessarily means that schools in the rest of the state will lose funds. The real issue is that there is currently too little money going to education.  In short, we need new revenue.
  • SB318: This legislation is a stunt by the mayor and a danger to our schools.  It will eliminate all future CPS funding from Springfield, give away their ability to control their own property tax rates and end the block grants that provide significant funding to our schools. Even with the state picking up a portion of the CPS pension payment, the bill makes a provision for a new “pension holiday” and no new revenue will make our financial challenges even worse.

Fact #4:  There are REAL solutions that require leadership and accountability

 

  • Sue the banks to recover the money they stole through toxic swaps and other predatory deals. These deals are taking $500 million from CPS straight to big bank profits.
  • Sweep the TIF accounts. Mayor Emanuel has already returned a portion of his billion dollar slush fund, but there is more than enough left sitting as surplus that he could use. He could snap his finger and have enough money to make the immediate crisis go away if he wanted.
  • Progressive revenue is the real solution to providing the neighborhood schools our students deserve: They include a fair, progressive income tax and a $1 LaSalle Street Tax that could generate billions for our school district and state over time.

 

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve.  The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois.  For more information please visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.

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National CTE Associations Applaud Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act
Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization legislation shows unprecedented federal support for Career Technical Education students, programs

Alexandria, VA – The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) today applauded Congress and President Obama on the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a law reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which includes Career Technical Education (CTE) as a core component of a well-rounded education.

“By acknowledging that all students need to be prepared for college and careers, ESSA takes important steps toward breaking down long-standing silos between CTE and academic programs, said NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green. “The new law will help ensure more students find success through public education, and we look forward to CTE programs having a more integral role in this success.

“Through the work of CTE advocates and their champions on Capitol Hill, we’ve begun a new chapter under ESSA that will foster a public education system that empowers students through high-quality CTE,” continued ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “We look forward to supporting ESSA’s implementation and helping to maximize the opportunities presented in this new law to strengthen the linkages between academics and CTE.”

Both organizations are prepared to assist their respective memberships in carrying out the new law. In particular, ACTE and NASDCTEc support ESSA’s inclusion of key CTE provisions that promote integration of academic and CTE content in the classroom, such as specialized professional development, expanded college and career guidance programs, and improved availability of CTE student performance information.

The measure passed through the Senate by a vote of 85 to 12, and was approved by the House by a margin of 359 to 64 on December 2. Today, President Obama signed the legislation into law.  

About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.

About NASDCTEc
The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) was established in 1920 to represent the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across the nation. NASDCTEc, through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, aims to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish in a global, dynamic economy. 

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SIIA Awards Pioneers in Education Technology in Innovation Incubator Program

 

For Immediate Release:
SIIA Communications Contact: Allison Bostrom, (202) 289-7442,  abostrom@siia.net
PR Contact: Lauren West, C. Blohm & Associates, (608) 216-7300, lauren@cblohm.com

SIIA Awards Pioneers in Education Technology in Innovation Incubator Program
FANSchool, Inc., MathSpace, CatchOn, Recognized as Top Innovators at Industry Event

NEW YORK, NY (Dec. 9, 2015) – The Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of SIIA recognizes the top innovative products in the education technology market as winners of the Innovation Incubator program. Winning products were presented at the Education Business Forum, the leading business and finance conference for the K-12 and postsecondary education technology market, held Dec. 8-9 in New York City.

Award Winners:

  • Most Innovative:  FANSchool, Inc., Fantasy Geopolitics
  • Most Likely to Succeed:  MathSpace, MathSpace

Runners-Up:

  • Most Innovative Runner-Up:  MathSpace, MathSpace
  • Most Likely to Succeed Runner-Up: CatchOn, CatchOn

Judges of the Innovation Incubator program assessed more than 40 applicants on a broad range of criteria. With input from educators and industry leaders across the country, ten participants and one alternate were selected as finalists for the program. Judges from the education technology industry selected the top four innovations at the Education Business Forum.

“This year, we are really pleased at the diversity of our Innovation Incubator participants.” said Karen Billings, vice president and managing director of ETIN. “We’ve seen a broad range of education technology products, as well as a very inclusive group of developers who are bringing these products to market.”

The Full list of Finalists:

 

Alternate:

The SIIA Innovation Incubator Program identifies and supports entrepreneurs in their development and distribution of innovative learning technologies. The program began in 2006 and has provided support for dozens of successful products and companies in their efforts to improve education through the use of software, digital content, and related technologies. The program is open to applicants from academic and non-profit institutions, pre-revenue and early-stage companies, as well as established companies with newly developed technologies.

About ETIN
ETIN (the Education Technology Industry Network of SIIA) is the leading voice for 200+ companies that provide software applications, digital content, online learning services and related technologies across the PK-20 sector. ETIN drives growth and innovation within the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities, government relations and critical ed tech market information. For more information, visit siia.net/etin.

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