edWeb.net Wins SIIA Education Technology CODiE Award for Best Collaborative Social Media Solution for Educators
PRINCETON, NJ, May 19, 2016 — It was announced yesterday that edWeb.net, a professional learning and social network for educators, is the winner of the SIIA CODiE Award for Best Collaborative Social Media Solution for Educators. This is the second year in a row that edWeb.net has won this prestigious industry award.

edWeb.net is a free professional learning and social network that is a highly engaged community of educators who are on the leading edge of innovation in education. edWeb members are teachers, faculty, administrators, and librarians at K-12 and post-secondary institutions who are working together to provide peer leadership, training, and support. Educators are creating their own communities on edWeb, and also participating in edWeb’s professional learning communities and webinar programs. edWeb’s growing ecosystem is a collaboration space where educators and thought leaders in the education industry gather and share ideas that can improve learning for all students.

The winner announcement was made by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, to an audience of over 300 education, software, information and business technology leaders. 29 awards were given for products and services deployed specifically for education and learning professionals. Details about the winning products can be found at http://www.siia.net/codie/2016-Winners.

The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. The judges provided feedback on how edWeb met the criteria for this award including the comment that edWeb is “A robust, learning community that exceeds all of the criteria for this category. Extensive foot print across the educational landscape.”

Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO commented, “We thank all of our members, our presenters, and our partners who make edWeb truly collaborative, and free for educators. We are honored by this wonderful recognition, and thankful to SIIA for helping us grow since our founding in 2008.”

About edWeb.net
edWeb.net is a free professional learning and social network that is a highly engaged community of connected educators who are on the leading edge of innovation in education. edWeb’s growing ecosystem is a collaboration space where educators and thought leaders in the education industry gather and share ideas that can improve teaching and learning. Learn more at www.edweb.net. Follow edWeb.net on Twitter @edwebnet.
About the SIIA CODiE™ Awards
The SIIA CODiE Awards is the only peer-reviewed program to showcase business and education technology’s finest products and services. Since 1986, thousands of products, services and solutions have been recognized for achieving excellence.  For more information, visit siia.net/CODiE.

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.

itslearning WEBINAR ALERT: Shedding Light on District Efficiency


WHAT: A no-cost webinar for K-12 educators and administrators interested in learning about the factors that affect a district’s level of efficiency.


CO-PRESENTERS: Kevin Hogan, Content Director, Tech & Learning Magazine and Elvira Salazar, Sr. Manager, Design, Media & Online Learning Houston (TX) Independent School District.


WHEN:  May 24th11 am EDT


REGISTER: http://info.itslearning.net/district-efficiency-webinar.html


Newton, MA – May 18, 2016— Today, many school districts around the nation are being asked to do more with less. School budgets are tighter than ever and human resources are sparse, yet each is being asked to continually improve student performance, follow dozens of different standards, and support a more personalized, customized learning experience across all grade levels.


Achieving balance in this evolving environment is difficult when a district has myriad disparate teaching systems that require multiple different log-ins, a lack of consistent vision, high teacher turnover, and letter grades that don’t provide students with enough feedback or motivation to improve.


On Tuesday, May 24th at 11am EDT, Kevin Hogan, content director at Tech & Learning magazine and Elvira Salazar, Sr. Manager, Design, Media & Online Learning Houston (TX) Independent School District will share some of the factors that affect a district’s level of efficiency including:


  • What tools and processes are in place for developing and managing curriculum?
  • How effectively are pedagogical principles like Universal Design for Learning and Personalized Learning being implemented?
  • How accessible and efficient are the methods of delivering Professional Development?


The webinar is free, but registration is required. For more information go to:http://info.itslearning.net/district-efficiency-webinar.html


About itslearning

Established in 1999, itslearning is headquartered in Bergen, Norway, and has offices in Boston, Atlanta and multiple locations around the world. For more information, visithttp://www.itslearning.net.


ALEXANDRIA, VA — ASCD Executive Director and CEO Deb Delisle announced today that she has named Cameron Brenchley as ASCD’s Managing Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Brenchley joins the ASCD team in a newly-expanded position that has been vacant since 2015.

In his new role, Brenchley will oversee ASCD’s communications and social media strategies to enhance the nonprofit organization’s mission to serve the whole child. Brenchley will lead critical initiatives to not only engage ASCD members, but all educators across the globe who are committed to enhancing learning systems and advancing student achievement.

Prior to joining ASCD, Brenchley was Vice President at Collaborative Communications Group, an education-focused communications firm in Washington, DC. From 2011 to 2015, he held several positions in the Obama Administration, most recently as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications at the U.S. Department of Education. Brenchley was also the U.S. Department of Education’s first Director of Digital Strategy, and served as a Senior Digital Strategist in the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy in 2014.

“Cameron brings extensive knowledge on how to deliver powerful stories using the communication tools that matter to educators,” said ASCD Executive Director and CEO Deb Delisle. “As ASCD continues to expand its impact and reach, it is critical that we continue to adapt to the changing media landscape to reach the global education community. Cameron is a pioneer in the education community for finding new ways to engage audiences, and is poised to help ASCD continue its dedication to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading.”

Brenchley’s previous positions also include Press Secretary and New Media Specialist in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as six years in the U.S. Air Force, serving four of the six years overseas. Brenchley received a master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, and bachelor’s degree in history from Valdosta State University.

ASCD is a global community advancing student achievement by supporting the whole child. ASCD supports learning, teaching, and leading across the global education community, with 125,000 members—superintendents, principals, teachers, professors, and advocates—from more than 138 countries. To learn more about how ASCD supports educators, visit www.ascd.org.


SIIA Announces CODiE™ Award Winners for Education Technology Industry

Twenty-nine awards given for education industry innovation and excellence 

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2016)— The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today announced the winners of the 2016 CODiE Awards in education technology. The winner announcement was made to an audience of over 300 attendees, and 29 awards were given for products and services deployed specifically for the education technology market. An overall Education Technology CODiE Award winner will be named during a special CODiE Award Celebration party at the Education Industry Symposium onJuly 26 in Denver, CO.

To view the full list of winners, click here


National Coalition on School Diversity Urges Policies to Mitigate Racial and
Socioeconomic Segregation in Schools Confirmed by GAO Report

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 2016 – Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report confirming increased racial and socioeconomic segregation in our nation’s public schools. Two years ago, the GAO was asked to examine changes in student racial isolation or integration in schools over time, why and how selected school districts have implemented actions to increase student diversity, and the extent to which the U.S. Departments of Education (DOE) and Justice (DOJ) have addressed issues related to racial discrimination in schools. The GAO concluded that DOE data shows that the percentage of K-12 public schools with students who are both mostly poor and mostly Black or Hispanic is growing. In 2013-14, 16 percent of our nation’s K-12 public schools served student populations comprised of 75 percent or more Black and Hispanic students and 75 percent or more students eligible for free or reduced lunch (FRL) (up from nine percent in 2000-01).

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is a network of civil rights organizations, academics and advocates committed to policies that promote racially diverse and integrated learning environments.  Unfortunately, over 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, our increasingly diverse nation continues to struggle with disparities in educational opportunity and outcomes along racial and class lines. As a result, NCSD continues to push for policies that promote student achievement, racial and socioeconomic diversity, engagement and equity in schools. For instance, NCSD support’s the President’s proposed “Stronger Together” program, which seeks to provide $120 million in funding to support school districts’ voluntary pursuit of diverse learning environments. As the GAO report makes clear, housing segregation continues to contribute to school segregation and exacerbate educational inequities. The GAO report also documents the prevalence of disparities in disciplinary actions and access to academic courses in schools that are highly isolated by race and poverty.

The NCSD is convening a public briefing on Thursday, May 19 on “School Diversity:  An Answer to Racial and Economic Segregation.”  Panelists will include Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Associate Professor Jennifer Holme of the University of Texas-Austin and Brenda Shum, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The briefing will take place at 210 Cannon House Office Building from 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. EDT. All are welcome to attend and hear what the federal government, states, and local school districts are doing to combat racial isolation and what more must be done.

Concentrated poverty and racial isolation detrimentally affect student learning and life outcomes. However, the GAO report reinforced that in jurisdictions where education officials took steps to improve racial and socioeconomic integration, outcomes improved for all students. Research shows that racially and economically diverse schools benefit students’ academic and life outcomes, and that students who attend diverse schools are more likely to achieve higher test scores, and better grades, to graduate from high school and attend college.

The NCSD agrees with the GAO recommendations that DOE utilize its civil rights data to identify and address educational disparities in segregated schools. The NCSD also supports federal policies and legislation which would incentivize states and local school districts to reduce racial and socioeconomic isolation in public K-12 schools, such as magnet school programs and innovative and constitutionally permissible school assignment plans.

These conclusions are consistent with a recently released study by Sean Reardon, Demetra Kalogrides and Kenneth Shores of Stanford University, which reveals large academic gaps in places that have a high level of segregation in public schools. Some of the largest gaps between the achievement of white children and their peers of color exist in some of the wealthiest communities such as Berkeley, California; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Evanston, Illinois. The Stanford study shows the extent to which race and class are inextricably linked, and how that connection is exacerbated in school settings which may offer fewer high-level courses and have fewer skilled teachers. More significantly, even in districts where white students and their minority classmates had similar socioeconomic backgrounds, academic gaps persisted, highlighting the importance of addressing both racial and socioeconomic isolation.

“As we reflect upon the promise of Brown, it is true that there is much to celebrate and yet there is much still to be done,” observed Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Progress cannot mask the great inequalities which continue to exist and which are reflected in our nation’s schools. As the challenge of persisting racial segregation becomes more urgent, we must offer real solutions and take positive steps to promote racially and socioeconomically integrated schools. We urge our policy makers to use the findings and recommendations in this GAO report to support innovative strategies to mitigate the racial and socioeconomic segregation in our schools and to ensure educational equity for all students.”

Dennis Parker, director of the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union, states, “Our failure to achieve the equal educational opportunity which was the goal of Brown v. Board of Education is a national disgrace which will continue to impose societal costs long into the future. We must end racial and ethnic segregation and poverty concentration in our schools if we hope to achieve equity and truly effective education for all.”

“We have known for many years that low income children do better in schools that are racially and economically integrated,” noted Phil Tegeler, executive director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. “But instead of learning from this, the GAO report shows that we are steering more and more low-income children, especially children of color, into high poverty, segregated schools. We can and must do better.”

About the National Coalition on School Diversity
The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is a network of civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to expand support for government policies that promote school diversity and reduce racial isolation.  NCSD also supports the efforts of state and local school diversity practitioners.  Our work is informed by an advisory panel of scholars and academic researchers whose work relates to issues of equity, diversity, and desegregation/integration.  For more information about NCSD, visit www.school-diversity.org


Sunburst Digital establishes itself as the K12 Leader in offering Integrated Technology Solutions spanning all grades with their successful school launch of Wonder Workshop


HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL — May 17, 2016 – Introducing coding and computer science into every classroom is the new American “moonshot”. From President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union address to the new curriculum mandates in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City, educators are placing a high priority on exposing students to these important 21st century skills.


Sunburst believes it’s important to establish age appropriate, hands-on STEM, coding, programming and critical thinking routines at all grade levels. The key when looking at new programs is to make sure that Sunburst doesn’t just “react” to the call for 21st century skills, but it effectively introduces the new disciplines fully into the academic schedule.


There is only one coding and robotics solution developmentally appropriate for early childhood audiences, Wonder Workshop. Dash & Dot are designed as an instructionally sound solution suitable for early learning. Sunburst customers are adopting the lovable robots at a breakneck speed. The program touches key social, emotional and cognitive learning principles proven vital for every young learner’s success. Sunburst is grateful to have become Wonder Workshop’s leading distributor.


“Sunburst Digital is a natural partner to help us with our mission of enhancing coding education in schools,” said Vikas Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Wonder Workshop. “We’ve designed an easy-to-use, hands-on solution that directly supports the teacher’s everyday work rather than making it more difficult. Their team dove right in, and listened to our own passion for helping kids and teachers.”  As part of the company’s mission to bring coding education into every classroom, Wonder Workshop launched its 2nd annual“Wonder League” this month. The competition begins this fall (with registration taking place now). The League is the first network of elementary code clubs inspiring students to learn code through immersive robot challenges.


Wonder Workshop is available from Sunburst at http://wonderworkshop.sunburst.com


About Sunburst: Sunburst has connected educators with technology and digital content solutions for three decades. We sell, support, and provide curriculum services directly to schools. Our solutions are found in more than 95% of US school districts. We selectively work with educational development companies launching products by helping schools and partners take risk out of innovation. We believe implementing instructionally sound digital content solutions enhances teaching and raises outcomes. www.sunburst.com

About Wonder Workshop
: Wonder Workshop launched Dash & Dot in 2014 and within its first month, delivered more than $3.5M in robots to 37 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European countries, India, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Today, Dash & Dot are in more than 2,000 elementary classrooms. Based in San Mateo, CA, Wonder Workshop was founded in 2012 by Vikas Gupta, Saurabh Gupta and Mikal Greaves, inventors, designers, programmers and parents with the mission to make coding a new creative tool that is accessible for children from age five and beyond.