West Announces New SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program Partners


Four new edtech companies join West’s Education group’s growing initiative to support schools selecting and deploying complementary web-based products and services


SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif., March 30, 2016 — To support schools and districts as they select and deploy web-based education products and services, West Corporation, a leading provider of technology-enabled communication services, today announced four new partners in the SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program. The Ecosystem is built into SchoolMessenger Passport, West’s Education group’s free single sign-on product for districts. The newest partners in the program are Hero from HeroK12, Professional Learning Maps, EdProtect from Education Framework, and Eduvision from JDL Horizons.

Introduced in fall 2015, SchoolMessenger Passport allows districts to provide teachers, staff, parents and students with quick and secure access to online learning applications, open educational resources (OER), and a variety of school management and administration software programs using single sign-on (SSO). That means each individual only has to remember one user ID and password to log into multiple district-approved educational resources, including SchoolMessenger products.

Both the free standard and paid premium versions of Passport include a catalog of “product connectors” that enable SSO to popular web-based services. Through the SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program, companies can highlight additional services they can provide, such as allowing schools to use one-click account provisioning tools within the Passport catalog.

“Last year’s announcement of the SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program was met with enthusiasm from both leaders in school districts around the country and our colleagues in the edtech industry,” said Carmi Paris, vice president of business development, West’s Education group. “We welcome these new partners to the program and look forward to its continued growth.”

The new partners in the Ecosystem Program represent the breadth of edtech companies providing services to school districts today:

  • Hero is built to capture the complete picture of student behavior, from incident tracking and referral process automation to full support for Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports initiatives. Access to the real-time behavior data in Hero allows administrators to address positive and negative behaviors quickly and effectively, while comprehensive reporting keeps stakeholders informed about their school’s progress towards behavioral goals.


  • Professional Learning Maps takes the guesswork out of professional development so administrators can meet the individual needs of educators and stay within budget. Districts can ensure every hour spent on professional development is on target. Professional Learning Maps helps design a cohesive and comprehensive professional development offering that provides teachers with best-in-class learning opportunities customized for their needs and focused on their goals.


  • EdProtect helps schools and districts safeguard student data and streamline parental consent. It engages parents in the privacy conversation, it empowers educators to choose safe learning resources, and it provides a method for administrators to govern the student data privacy process.


  • Award-winning Eduvision allows K-12 schools, districts and associations to easily create, publish and manage video assets, and leverage video’s impact as a very powerful communications medium.

Educators can learn more about more about these companies at a free webinar, “What’s New in Passport” on Thursday, April 7 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET.

Companies that want to be considered as a SchoolMessenger Ecosystem Program partner can apply at http://www.schoolmessenger.com/partners or contact Paris at888.527.5225 x475.

About West’s Education Group

West’s Education group, part of West Corporation, is the trusted provider of SchoolMessenger 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 products, visit www.schoolmessenger.com or call 888.527.5225.


Edthena Introduces Video Portfolios For Teachers To Securely Share Videos For Job, Award Applications



SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 28, 2016 – One of the truisms of today’s professional marketplace is that some skills are better observed than described. To help fill this need, the Edthena classroom observation and coaching platform now offers a video portfolio feature that enables teachers to securely share up to three teaching videos with external parties, such as principals looking for new hires.


“Our new portfolio feature makes it easy for teachers to put together a video resume demonstrating their skills,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “But it’s not just for teacher hiring. Teachers can also create a portfolio for awards submissions, conference proposals or for any instance where they need to share videos of their classroom work with people who are not already using the Edthena platform.”


The portfolio creation tool guides teachers toward developing a targeted and focused presentation of their skills. One of the strong recommendations: use short videos with a total running time of less than 15 minutes.


“We interviewed a host of stakeholders in a school who would review a video portfolio,” said Geller. “They were clear that a portfolio needed to contain a limited amount of video which had a clearly defined purpose. Anything we could do to highlight the teacher’s skills would make their process faster and easier when deciding whether to proceed further in the hiring process.”


Using the Edthena video commenting tools, teachers can leave remarks at specific moments in time to direct viewers’ attention or provide additional context about the classroom environment. Each moment can be tagged to the rows of a proficiency framework or set of standards.


The principal or other hiring professionals, when viewing the portfolio, will see the tagged skills prominently displayed.  In addition to the video itself, the reviewer will be able to access documents such as a lesson plan or samples of student work that may have been attached by the teacher.


In making the portfolio, Edthena wanted it to be easy for teachers to share with people who were not registered users of the platform. But this meant that a new security model needed to be developed as well.


“Privacy and security are paramount, so we created a dual layer of security. We wanted teachers to feel confident that every step has been taken to keep their videos secure. There aren’t any other platforms that offer this level of security for sharing combined with this level of ease,” said Geller.


When teachers create a portfolio, they receive a customized URL along with an access code that can be added to a resume or award application.


After reviewers type the access code into the form on the custom URL, they complete an email verification process to receive a login link, which expires automatically after two weeks.


The teachers can see the email domain (but not the name) of everyone who has access. This allows the teacher to monitor which organizations have access and revoke the permission at any point in time.


“Our hope is that having a video portfolio will allow teachers to stand out from other candidates for a job or an award,” Geller said. “Teachers often have a lot of video of their professional skills inside Edthena, and now they have a way to showcase those skills to people outside the Edthena community in a secure and easy way.”


Click to see a sample video portfolio


About Edthena
Edthena is a classroom observation and instructional coaching platform that makes teacher videos the core of teacher professional development. Teachers upload classroom videos and share to colleagues who leave time-stamped comments. Edthena also offers specialized collaboration tools to help organizations implement best practices for video learning.


For more information, visit www.edthena.com.

For more news about Edthena, visit blog.edthena.com.


MIDAS Education Introduces Advisory Board Members

Industry leaders support the new data platform that delivers educators the functionality of 13 systems through one user interface


(Denver, CO) March 30, 2016 – MIDAS Education today introduced the members of  its advisory board, a group of prominent industry leaders who are devoted to data, passionate about learning, driven to innovate, and dedicated to improving schools and student performance.


MIDAS (Massively Integrated Data Analytics System) enables teachers, administrators, parents, and students to access real-time, actionable data through a simple, intuitive Web interface. The company’s EEM (Education Enterprise Management) solution has already been adopted by districts across the nation. Created by educators for educators, MIDAS replaces all of a district’s instructional and compliance data systems with one holistic solution. MIDAS’s leadership works tirelessly to make its software work the way schools and teachers do.


“MIDAS Education is passionate about connecting data for educators and administrators to improve student outcomes,” said Megan Harney, the founder and CEO of MIDAS Education. “We are 100% focused on developing and delivering a system that helps educators do amazing things every day.”


The MIDAS advisory board boasts decades of experience in sales, education, and technology. Members include the following:


Kathy Hurley

A former New Jersey teacher, Kathy Hurley has more than 40 years in the education industry and has served in top positions in both publishing and technology companies, including Pearson and IBM. Upon completing her fellowship in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard, Hurley co-founded a global non-profit organization called Girls Thinking Global, which has a mission to connect global change-makers to empower adolescent girls around the world. She currently sits on multiple boards, including the advisory board for the New York Academy of Sciences. Hurley uses her expertise in education policy, sales, marketing, and business development to help further the work of top businesses, executive-level customers, associations, and foundations.


Chuck Amos

A proven industry executive, Amos has more than two decades of experience in the ed tech industry. He started his career with Apple; several years later, he co-founded and became the CEO of Atomic Learning, which grew to become the world’s leading provider of Web-based software training. Amos currently serves as CEO of Minnesota-based GuideK12, which introduced geovisual analytics into the education sector.


Rosalyn Menon Kennedy

Menon Kennedy leads executive communications at Google for North and South America business operations. An experienced and award-winning producer, journalist, and communications strategist, she previously served as Director of Global Communications for the Coca-Cola Company. She also produced for “The Dr. Oz Show,” CNN, “60 Minutes,” and the “CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.”


Dr. John Whitcomb

An educator at heart, Dr. Whitcomb has been an innovator in education, a physician, an author, and business owner for 40 years. In his early years at Yale University, Dr. Whitcomb helped found a longitudinal clinic for students, the first of its kind in America and now the model for more than 120 others. Dr. Whitcomb also created Wisconsin’s first Wellness University to teach preventive medicine. He has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as the author of multiple books and has taught financial literacy.


Peter Storer, Jr.

Storer earned his A.B. in Economics from Harvard University and worked at CBS in network sales, where he developed one of the first computerized systems for sales planning. In 1986, Storer started his own software firm specializing in systems for broadcast channels and cable networks. He is now a consultant for MediAnswers. He also serves on several non-profit boards and is chairman of the George B. Storer Foundation, which provides grants to support early childhood and nature-based education.


Steve Anderson (Senior Adviser to the Executive Team/Board & Investor Liaison)

Educated at Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Anderson had careers in commercial and investment banking and served as the treasurer of a major U.S. brewery. He then managed a $50 million Milwaukee private equity and venture capital firm. Since retiring, Anderson has consulted with, and been on, several private and non-profit boards with revenues up to $400 million.


About MIDAS Education

Based in Denver, CO, MIDAS Education was founded by Megan Harney, who, as a sophomore at Harvard and part-time teacher, was inspired to create a system that would hold her students accountable and help her to individualize instruction. Ten years later, after teaching herself to program, conducting tens of thousands of hours of market research in schools, and investing every penny she and her family had, MIDAS was born.


MIDAS encompasses the functionality of up to 13 different software packages in one EEM (Education Enterprise Management) solution, with a single log-in and an intuitive user interface.  For more information, please visit MIDASEducation.com.