School-Parent Communication Under Updated Federal Requirements to be Highlighted by NSPRA and West’s SchoolMessenger…FEBRUARY 3RD WEBINAR

School public relations association teams with trusted K-12 communications provider for February 3 webinar to help schools move forward with best practices

West Corporation’s trusted platform for school community engagement, SchoolMessenger, today announced a collaboration with the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) to jointly host a webinar to help schools improve the effectiveness of parent communications and their compliance with updated federal regulations.

In mid-2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new guidance on its rules regarding the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). TCPA generally forbids calls made using automated dialing systems to any telephone number assigned to a mobile phone without prior express consent (or opt-in). The FCC treats an SMS text message in the same way as a voice call. There are exceptions for calls and texts made for “emergency purposes.”

However, in the quarter century since TCPA was enacted, the variety of communications options available to both schools and parents has multiplied. Not only has smartphone adoption skyrocketed, but voice calls and SMS text messages have been joined by email, websites, social media, and mobile app push notifications.

“It’s the best use of the current mix of communications channels to engage a school community that’s key to effective parent communication,” said Rich Bagin, executive director of NSPRA. “Most communication professionals understand the critical importance and impact of their programs. We’re partnering with SchoolMessenger, which has been at the forefront of K-12 communication technology since 1999, to help schools navigate this constantly evolving landscape.”

The webinar, which is open to NSPRA members, SchoolMessenger customers, and other professionals responsible for school communications, will be held on Wednesday, February 3 at 10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern. Among the experts providing tips, identifying best practices and citing tools will be NSPRA’s Bagin, SchoolMessenger’s Vice President of Government Affairs Mark Schneiderman (formerly of the Software and Information Industry Association), and SchoolMessenger’s Senior Vice President Nate Brogan.

“The FCC’s recent action clarifying TCPA has helped highlight the need to use an intelligent combination of methods to reach parents,” said SchoolMessenger’s Brogan. “Schools have to be prepared to quickly and efficiently handle recipient consent and preferences, and both we and the districts we work with have a wealth of experience to share in these areas.”

Participants in the webinar will also receive a white paper detailing best practices, and information about other new notification system tools to aid them in both improving TCPA compliance and effective communications.

To register for the February 3 webinar, visit

About SchoolMessenger
SchoolMessenger products, part of West Corporation, are K-12’s most-trusted communications solutions. Thousands of schools and other educational institutions in all 50 U.S. states and Canada depend on SchoolMessenger products and services. From notifications and websites to custom mobile apps and social media, school leaders have relied on the SchoolMessenger platform since 1999 to engage with their communities in multiple languages and on any device. To learn more about SchoolMessenger, visit or call 888.527.5225.


Dremel Fuels Maker Movement in Education With Advanced 3D Printer

Debuting as the brand’s first device for education, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder empowers students to master key STEM concepts through hands-on learning and creativity

A common challenge when educators are asked to use a new device is understanding its practical classroom application. Dremel, a trusted manufacturer of tools for life and learning, today announced a 3D printer designed to support teachers and demystify 3D printing technology in the classroom. The Dremel 3D Idea Builder marks Dremel’s first foray into the education market, extending the reliable brand’s reach from workshop to classroom.

The Dremel 3D Idea Builder is made specifically for education, with easy-to-use software and lesson plans. Written by interdisciplinary curriculum experts, the 3D printer’s comprehensive teaching and learning kits integrate with existing STEM curriculum. To help teachers while they implement 3D printing, 1:1 customer support and training are available via phone, Skype, online chat and email.

“Because classroom technology continues to evolve, we wanted to provide students with a tool that truly captures their limitless potential,” said George Velez, Manager, Dremel 3D Education. “Paired with support and resources that help teachers integrate the technology into their instruction, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder can spark students’ interest in important STEM concepts.”

Sixty-five percent of today’s K-12 students will enter jobs and careers that do not yet exist, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report. To prepare students for the future career landscape, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder nurtures their confidence to explore, create and solve problems.

The 3D printer enables students to design and build their own digital models and then interact with their models in the physical space – ultimately enhancing retention of abstract concepts. Dremel supports this endeavor by providing 10 curriculum-based lesson plans and 3D model kits designed specifically for exploring STEM education with the nuances of 3D printing.

Easy and safe to use, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder features a fully enclosed workspace to ensure clean building conditions in classrooms. The printer’s reduced noise quality minimizes distractions while printing.

To learn more about the Dremel 3D Idea Builder and its capabilities, visit To learn about its curriculum resources, visit

About Dremel
Founded in 1934, Dremel is the industry standard in leadership and excellence for versatile tools systems. The Dremel 3D Idea Builder expands the brand’s reach from the workshop to the classroom to provide educators and students with cutting-edge technology for STEM education. Built upon the brand’s dedication to empowering makers through creativity, precision and project enjoyment, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder nurtures student confidence by giving them a tool to design and build their own models to understand lessons. With available curriculum to draw connections between 3D printing and instruction, Dremel is providing educators with the support they need to transform classrooms. Learn more about classroom applications and curriculum-based learning at


Editor’s Note: Dremel® is a registered brand name and is used as an adjective to describe the products made by the Dremel brand


AASA Names 2016 Women in School Leadership Award Finalists

Alexandria, Va. – Jan. 13, 2016 – Education leaders representing Alabama, New Jersey, Texas and Washington comprise the four finalists for the 2016 Women in School Leadership Awards, announced today by AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

Co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the award is designed to recognize exceptional leadership of active, front-line female administrators who are making a difference in the lives of students every day and pay tribute to the talent, creativity and vision of outstanding women educational administrators in the nation’s public schools.

“This award provides AASA and the nation’s education community with an opportunity to showcase the talented women educators who are providing outstanding leadership,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for partnering with us in this program. We are also grateful to the four finalists for their commitment to excellence in public education and the tireless work they are doing on behalf of their respective school districts and the students who come to school every day in these communities.”

The award is given in two separate categories: the superintendent/assistant superintendent category and the central office administrator/principal category. The criteria include demonstration of strength in both personal and organizational communication, professionalism and community involvement.

The finalists are:

Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent category:

  • Carla Santorno, superintendent, Tacoma Public Schools, Tacoma, Wash.
    Under Santorno’s leadership, Tacoma Public Schools has initiated unique partnerships which have positive results for the Tacoma school community. The partnership with the Tacoma Housing Authority has provided housing vouchers for students at a low income, high mobility elementary school. The vouchers are tied to parent engagement and housing stability. Partnerships with three local four-year colleges and universities, both public and private, have yielded gap financial funding for qualified low-income students, priority admission to education programs with guaranteed teacher interviews at graduation from college and a whole child district initiative designed to provide a sustainable system for insuring high quality social emotional learning for PK-12 students.
  • Karen Rue, superintendent, Northwest Independent School District, Justin, Texas
    Rue joined Northwest ISD in July 2005 as the superintendent of schools. Under her leadership, the district continues to increase academic success while providing all students with opportunities and experiences designed to prepare them for their future. Rue is leading a transformational change in education at Northwest ISD and in Texas to ensure that all students are equipped for the digital age in which we live. She has a passion for public education and is dedicated to supporting ISD educators as they prepare students to be future ready: ready for college, ready for the global workplace and ready for personal success.

Central Office Administrator/Principal category

  • Kimberly Clark, assistant principal, Pinelands Regional School District, Little Egg Harbor, N.J.
    Clark currently works at Pinelands Regional, a 7-12 public school district, as an assistant principal. In addition to her building-level responsibilities, she is the district supervisor of several departments including English as a Second Language, special education and gifted and talented education. As a researcher, Clark focuses on the topics of educational leadership, feminist theory, gender performance, and nontraditional administrative certification. A 2014 graduate of Rowan University’s educational leadership program, she has used her scholarship and professional practice to publish as well as present her findings locally and nationally.
  • Aimee Rainey, principal, Florence City Schools, Florence, Ala.
    Rainey has extensive knowledge of the school improvement process. She served on the Alabama Commission of AdvancED for 10 years and co-chaired the committee leading numerous school accreditation visits and participated in several district accreditation visits. She currently serves as an Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) reviewer for colleges and universities going through the accreditation process. She has been a building-level administrator for 12 years, serving 10 of those as the principal with a proven track record of leading schools to success. She served as principal of Calcedeaver Elementary for four years and has been principal of Florence Middle School for six years.

Candidates are judged based on leadership in meeting the learning needs of students, personal and organizational communication strength, constant professional improvement of knowledge and skills, and active community involvement. The final award recipients, one each in the superintendent/assistant superintendent category and central office administrator/principal category, will be announced during the AASA 2016 National Conference on Education, Feb. 11-13, 2016, in Phoenix, Ariz.

For more information about AASA’s Women in School Leadership Awards, contact Bernadine Futrell, AASA director of awards and collaborations, at


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



ASCD Announces Pre-Conference Institutes for 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Atlanta

Alexandria, VA (01/12/2016)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, is pleased to announce the pre-conference institute lineup for its 71st Annual Conference and Exhibit Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. The pre-conference institutes will be held March 30–April 1, 2016. Educators can choose from more than 20 institutes that provide in-depth, immersive learning experiences in areas such as leadership, curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

“The pre-conference institutes are a great way for educators to dig deeper into issues they face when teaching and leading and learn strategies and solutions from world-renowned leading experts and ASCD authors who have firsthand knowledge of and experience in addressing those challenges,” said Jim Hemgen, managing director of ASCD professional learning services. “We carefully selected the institute topics and presenters to provide educators with in-depth learning opportunities that will help them raise student achievement and ensure the success of every child in the classroom.”

During the three-day institute, Leading for Effective Differentiation: Growing the Teachers Who Grow the Kids, Carol Ann Tomlinson and Michael Murphy will discuss what it takes to initiate, implement, and institutionalize differentiated instruction in schools. School leaders will learn why differentiated instruction is crucial in successfully implementing rigorous curriculum, how to formulate a mission and plan to support consistent movement toward differentiation, ways to motivate teachers to grow, and much more.

Targeted options for educators interested in two-day or one-day institutes include sessions presented by ASCD authors and leading education experts, such as Baruti Kafele, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Jay McTighe, Myron Dueck, Pete Hall, Diane Lapp, Maria Grant, Kelly Johnson, William Sterrett, Bryan Harris, Margaret Searle, and Marilyn Swartz. Some of the timely topics covered in these institutes include the following:

  • Principal leadership
  • The Understanding by Design® framework
  • Interactive strategies for engaging reluctant learners
  • Capacity building for success

In addition to these sessions, ASCD will offer site visits to schools as part of the pre-conference institutes. Educators also have the option to visit a school on Thursday and attend one of the one-day institutes on Friday. The school visits include short trips to Gwinnett County Public Schools that have received the 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education, an award for school districts that demonstrated the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps. Educators will have the opportunity to tour one of these six schools:

Building on these pre-conference institutes, the 71st ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show will feature 13 specific learning paths that will help educators of all backgrounds and interests. The conference will also feature more than 300 exhibiting companies displaying the latest education trends and technologies. To register for the ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show or any of the pre-conference institutes, visit the conference website at

During the conference, attendees can connect with ASCD and with each other by following @ASCD on Twitter, by following ASCD’s official Instagram account @officialascd, and by using the official social media hashtag for the conference, #ASCD16. To learn more ways to connect with ASCD and the benefits of becoming a member, visit


North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Adopts Let’s Talk! 
The cloud-based communications solution will strengthen responsiveness and track response time to stakeholders throughout the state

(HERNDON, VA)January 14, 2016 – K12 Insight today announced a statewide implementation of Let’s Talk!, its cloud-based communications solution, by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). The department is using Let’s Talk! to create a culture of two-way communications between state education officials and community members, be it parents, teachers, students, taxpayers, or staff. Feedback submitted through Let’s Talk!, accessible through a button on the department’s website, is automatically routed to the right state department official for a timely response. On the backend, the department is leveraging the information and data collected through individual conversations to inform decision-making and better serve local communities.

The NCDPI is also using Let’s Talk! to track Freedom of Information Act and public records requests, and to manage its social media interactions so that parents, teachers, and students have a more controlled, reliable way to communicate feedback. The goal is to strengthen the department’s responsiveness and ensure the community gets the information it needs—and gets it in way that they can use it.

“Customer service is important to the Department of Public Instruction, and Let’s Talk! is a helpful tool to make sure we are serving the public in a timely way,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “Public schools have many customers and stakeholders, including parents, students, employers, higher education, and educators, so it is helpful to track our interactions with all of our customers to be sure we provide the service they need.”

Let’s Talk! works with more than 30,000 school administrators across the country, but this is the first time a statewide system has adopted the solution.

“We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to partner with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction,” said K12 Insight Founder and CEO Suhail Farooqui. “State Superintendent Atkinson is committed to providing parents and community members across the state with top-notch customer service. Let’s Talk! gives every stakeholder an opportunity to directly reach DPI staff with comments and ask questions.”

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state’s public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education. 

About K12 Insight
K12 Insight, based in Herndon, VAworks with more than 30,000 school administrators to strengthen the relationships that power education. Our custom solutions combine technology, research, and expert training to help school leaders build trust and drive positive change in their local communities. Learn more at

About Let’s Talk!
Let’s Talk! is a cloud-based communications solution that helps K12 school- and district-level administrators identify opportunities for engagement, manage potential crises, and build stronger relationships with parents, teachers, students, community members, and staff. Manage all of your inbound and outbound school communications from one location and stay connected with your community from wherever you are with our always-on mobile app. Learn more at



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