In Hillsborough County Public Schools, Preschoolers Using Waterford Early Learning ‘Significantly Outperform’ Control Group
Report: Nation’s Eighth Largest School District Sees Learning Gains Even When Waterford Was Introduced Mid-Year
SALT LAKE CITY and TAMPA—March 29, 2016—A study of early learners in the nation’s eighth largest school district spotlights how the Waterford Early Learning curriculum delivered through the cloud is helping preschoolers. The study also shows students who need extra support make significant learning gains, even for those in classrooms that implemented mid-year.
A report commissioned by Hillsborough County Public Schools, based in Tampa, Fl., found that preschoolers who used Waterford to fidelity “significantly outperformed” students in a control group. The learning gains were consistent across ethnicity, gender, dual language learners and special education learners.
The report, which covered the 2014-2015 school year, found that children using Waterford for at least 1,000 minutes starting mid-year showed greater gains than their peers in oral language vocabulary, phonological awareness, print knowledge, and math.
“Waterford has definitely made a difference within the last year with all of our students and especially in the areas of literacy and language and math; with dual learners showing the greatest gains,” said Evelyn McFadden, Head Start Supervisor for Hillsborough County Public Schools.
The Hillsborough School district includes 54 schools, with 92 Head Start classrooms and approximately 2,000 students. Since Waterford’s implementation, the early education curriculum has been a valuable resource for students. McFadden said the results are also recognized by teachers, their supervisors and teachers of upper grades.
“Principals find that the students who come with at least one year of Head Start, which would include Waterford usage this year and last year, are better prepared academically to meet the challenges of kindergarten,” she said.
Hillsborough’s Coordinator of Assessment and Accountability, Lourdes Plunkett, said Waterford’s live data is helping teachers and principals better understand students’ learning levels.
“Administrators can pull the data out any time on a daily basis and get a snapshot of where a child or a group of children are, which is critical for schools and districts moving forward,” Plunkett said.
The district chose Waterford several years ago after searching for a developmentally appropriate literacy program to add enhancements in K-2 classrooms. District success and familiarity of Waterford’s K-2 program made implementing Waterford’s preschool model the next logical step.
Head Start teacher Eric Rassler at Tampa’s Egypt Lake Elementary, which serves a predominantly Hispanic population, said the biggest thing he has noticed about Waterford is students becoming more fluent in English earlier.
“This year, I have several students from Cuba. The daily exposure to Waterford is making them fluent in English,” Rassler said. “There is also great improvement in math. Waterford is providing a new opportunity to repeat what I teach in math even when I am not sitting next to them or working in a small group.”
Rodriquiez Perry, who teaches at an inner city school, Robles Elementary, said Waterford has given children confidence and knowledge of using a computer, something they previously lacked.
“Initially, this child did not like being on the computer. He felt inadequate and did not have the skills. This was an extremely withdrawn and shy child. As time has gone by, he has made tremendous progress and now loves the computer. He knows how to use it and has greatly improved specifically in letter identification and letter sounds,” Perry said.
Hillsborough County Public Schools Head Start is a Delegate to Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioner.
Schools and districts can learn more about Waterford Early Learning, which is made by the Waterford Institute, at
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Waterford Institute is a nonprofit research center that creates personalized cloud-based instruction through award-winning curriculum, content and assessment for children aged pre-K to 2nd grade. As a nonprofit, Waterford is uniquely focused on providing accessibility, equity and excellence for our youngest learners to position them for a lifetime of learning and success. For more information, or call 801-349-2200.

Funds For Learning Announces Updated E-rate Manager Portal in Anticipated Record Funding Year

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Redesigned portal compatible with new E-rate Productivity Center, makes applying for E-rate funding easier

Source: E-rate Manager

The easy-to-use, updated E-rate Manager portal allows schools and libraries to tap into the record amount of funds available this year.

Building on 19 years of experience, Funds For Learning announces the release of version 16.1 of its E-rate Manager® web portal. Compatible with the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC) online tools, including the new E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), the nation’s largest E-rate consulting firm’s system helps applicants successfully manage and prepare their E-rate paperwork.

This portal arrives at a time when the request for funding will hit an all-time high. In 2015, USAC committed a record $3.17 billion to schools and libraries nationwide. This number reflects the largest sum ever awarded in a single year, and $338 million still remains to be distributed. In 2016, the demand and availability of funding is expected to be even higher.

“The E-rate program has undergone substantial changes in 2016. Additional funds result in extra paperwork,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “The easy-to-use, updated E-rate Manager portal allows schools and libraries to tap into the record amount of funds available this year.”

Funds For Learning’s new portal features a cleaner design to reduce stress for E-rate coordinators. To minimize data entry and lessen the strain on applicants, the portal now includes capabilities including an easy upload feature, enhanced profile checking and a tool that transfers applications to EPC.

Applicants should allow ample time to complete all forms in the EPC system before the E-rate filing window closes on April 29. Additionally, school districts should take inventory of their sites and services to make sure everything is accurately recorded in USAC’s records.

To see the new E-rate Manager web portal and view Funds For Learning’s newly renovated website, visit

About Funds For Learning
Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student Internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit http://www.FundsForLearning.comor phone 405-341-4140.


Kids Discover Online Unveils ‘Search by Standards’ Feature

The new widget helps educators align engaging science and social studies lessons and units with state and national standards

(NEW YORK, NY) March 29, 2016 – Kids Discover today announced the addition of a “Search by Standards” widget to Kids Discover Online, its interactive, digital library of engaging science and social studies content.

Educators can now search for Kids Discover Online units by grade level; subject matter; and state, Common Core, or Next Generation Science standards.

The widget is free for all users, and features easy-to-use drop-down menus. Once an educator has selected a standard, grade level, and subject to search for, the system generates a list of lessons and units that support student mastery of that specific topic or skill. With the click of a button, educators can view a lesson and use it instantly or add it to their “Classroom” for assigned reading and class activities.

Kids Discover Online enables educators to mix and match material from science and social studies so they can help their students explore big ideas through cross-curricular learning.

“I’m a strong supporter of education by design, and Kids Discover’s standards alignment makes it easier for teachers to make that happen,” said Dr. Kimberly Greene, associate professor of education at Brandman University. “Cross-curricular lessons are crucial to help students break out of the idea that learning happens in silos.”


“Our team has incorporated educators’ feedback throughout the planning and development of Kids Discover Online, and the ability to search by standards was a high priority for educators,” said Ted Levine, the president and CEO of Kids Discover. “The ‘Search by Standards’ widget is a valuable resource for aligning content to standards, ensuring student mastery of skills, increasing student engagement, and creating cross-curricular lessons.”


Specializing in the 150 most commonly taught science and social studies topics in kindergarten through eighth grade, Kids Discover Online offers ad-free, engaging, nonfiction reading materials vetted by subject experts from leading institutions. Subjects such as the Constitution, Ancient Greece, Matter, and Ecology are presented using a mix of one-page infographics, articles, iconic photographs, and interactive elements to guide teachers and students through lessons.


For information about school and district pricing for the upcoming school year, please e-mail


About Kids Discover

For more than 25 years, Kids Discover has been creating beautifully crafted nonfiction products for kids. With a specialty in science and social studies, the team of talented writers, award-winning designers and illustrators, and subject experts from leading institutions is committed to a single mission: to get children excited about reading and learning. For information, please visit



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