Here are the Regional Finalists for the 2016 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology!


WASHINGTON, Oct 19, 2016 — The Siemens Foundation today announced the 2016 class of regional finalists for the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier research competition for high school students.

This year, 96 regional finalists have been invited to advance to the next round of the competition where they will vie for college scholarships ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000 and one of the most prestigious science honors awarded to high school students in the country today.

“Every year, I look forward to seeing whether this will be the year when we’ll see a project that will lead to developing the cure for cancer – or identify tomorrow’s coolest technology,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “We congratulate the regional finalists on their accomplishments and wish them luck in the next phase of the competition.”

The Siemens Competition, launched in 1999 by the Siemens Foundation, was established to increase access to higher education for students who are gifted in STEM and is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens.  This competition, administered by Discovery Education, seeks to recognize and hopefully build a strong pipeline for the nation’s most promising scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

These 96 regional finalists announced today were picked from an exceptional group of 498 semifinalists that were recognized on October 18.  The semifinalist projects are those considered outstanding and notable from the pool of more than 1,600 projects submitted this year.

Regional finalists will go on to compete in one of six regional competitions virtually hosted over three consecutive weekends in November at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (November 4-5); Georgia Institute of Technology (November 4-5); University of Notre Dame (November 11-12); The University of Texas at Austin (November 11-12); California Institute of Technology (November 18-19); and Carnegie Mellon University (November 18-19). Winners of the regional events will then advance to the final phase of the competition, National Finals at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., December 5-6, 2016, where $500,000 in scholarships will be awarded, including two top prizes of $100,000.

A complete list of finalists and their projects will be available at www.siemens-foundation.orgpreceding each regional event held in November.


For up-to-date news and announcements about the Regional Competitions and the National Finals, follow us on Twitter @SFoundation (#SiemensComp) and like us on Facebook at SiemensFoundation.


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About the Siemens Foundation

The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $90 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are helping close the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.  For further information, visit or follow @sfoundation.


About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at

Today, Pearson released the results of its first Adult Learners Survey, measuring the attitudes of adults who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in a degree or certificate program. The poll found that traditional workplace fears of being outsourced or replaced by younger or immigrant labor are giving way to fears about keeping pace with technology.

These new concerns also are driving people to continue their education. Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents indicated they will need additional education to keep up with advancements in their field, while sixty-nine percent (69%) fear that technological advancements will make their job significantly different within the next five years. Less than half (41%) worry about being replaced by younger workers, less than one third (30%) are concerned their job will fall victim to overseas outsourcing and only one quarter (25%) worry immigrant labor will take their job.

“As the global economy and student population change, it’s clear we need new ways for people to access to higher education,” said Todd Hitchcock, chief operating officer for Pearson Embanet. “Adult students are stretched with their current jobs, along with family and financial commitments. The higher education community needs to look toward online education, certification programs and flexible in-person programs to meet people where they are and in a way that suits their lifestyle or career needs.”

That flexibility is proving to be a key need for adult students. For those enrolled and working toward a degree, less than a third (27%) are pursuing that degree only using in-person courses. The rest are using online only programs or some combination of online and in-person classes. Across current and potential students, two-thirds of those polled (66%) view online program as being as prestigious as traditional degree programs, signaling confidence in the online programs they need.

Among other the key findings in the poll:

Beyond concerns about keeping up with a changing workplace, adult students were also concerned with improving their overall standing in life. For those who have already enrolled in an education program, nearly half (45%) said that improving their earning potential was a primary motivation for returning to school. Thirty-eight percent (38%) said they believed furthering their education would lead to a better life and a quarter (25%) wanted to improve their position at their current job.

Even with the urgency of re-skilling, the cost of returning to school is a major concern for adults, with eighty percent (80%) saying it’s a key barrier to completing their education. Equally important is the time commitment; with around eighty percent (79%) of adults saying the availability of classes to fit their schedules and the length of time needed to complete an education are other barriers.

Four year, public colleges and universities are the preferred place for more than half of adults enrolled and working toward a degree-followed by private four-year institutions and community colleges. For-profit colleges lag far behind as preferred institutions for adult students.

Adult students are more concerned about finding the right course or program subject, rather than picking an institution first. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of adult students say they selected the program or course of study first, rather than the institution.

While more than a third of adult learners (36%) said they wanted to advance in their current position, less than fifth of respondents (14%) say they had gotten any advice or information from their employer and half (50%) say lack of approval or support from their employer is a barrier to completing their education. These points all signal that employers are missing an important opportunity to develop their current workforce.

The poll was based on 1,634 online interviews conducted by PSB in late July and early August 2016 with US Adults aged 25-64 who were either enrolled in or planning to enroll in a degree or certificate program.

Click here to view the full report.


Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology.


Education Secretary John King Opposes NAACP Call for Charter Caps

Says charter caps like those in Massachusetts are “arbitrary” and “a mistake”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Secretary of Education John King, in remarks at the National Press Club, joined the chorus of education leaders, elected officials and respected members of the African-American community in criticizing by the NAACP‘s decision to demand moratoriums on charter schools.

He commented that caps on charter schools only serve to limit the amount of high-quality classroom seats available. King explained that “any arbitrary cap on the growth of high-performing charters is a mistake in terms of our goal of trying to improve opportunity for all kids”.

King’s comments on charter schools come right on the heels of comments made by Sephira Shuttlesworth, wife of the late civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who in the Lowell Sun called on Massachusetts voters to approve more charter schools and bring her late husband’s vision to life, “… educational opportunity for all …the battle for which he and others repeatedly put their lives on the line rages on.”Rev. Shuttlesworth founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was one of the key leaders in the civil rights movement.

Earlier this fall, chief of staff and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Wyatt T. Walker said if Dr. King were alive he would have supported charter schools “without a doubt.” The interview appeared in Real Clear Life in September.

“Charter schools have proven to be some of the most effective means to educating students most in need of diverse learning opportunities. They have the changed lives of countless individuals in the communities they serve,” said CER Board of Directors member Donald Hense. Hense, himself a civil rights activist, founded Friendship Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC and served under Marion Wright Edelman at Children’s Defense Fund.  “Limiting charter schools is like limiting education,” added Hense.


About the Center for Education Reform

Founded in 1993, the Center for Education Reform aims to expand educational opportunities that lead to improved economic outcomes for all Americans — particularly our youth — ensuring that the conditions are ripe for innovation, freedom and flexibility throughout U.S. education.


President and Mrs. Bush Participate in Education Leadership Roundtable 

Conversation highlights Bush Institute release of comprehensive research on principal preparation


Fort Worth, Texas (October 19, 2016) – President and Mrs. George W. Bush today participated in a roundtable conversation with community and school leaders to discuss education leadership and the importance of attracting and supporting great principals, part of the Bush Institute’s focus on education reform.

“The principal can make a significant difference in a school. And so the question is are school districts properly recruiting, training, and retaining effective principals?” said President Bush. “Our goal is to find out what works and spread it nationally.”

President and Mrs. Bush were joined by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner, and other education leaders for the conversation at Edward J. Briscoe Elementary in Fort Worth.

The roundtable coincides with the Bush Institute’s release this week of two related major studies on education leadership: aprincipal preparation evaluation study and the Principal Talent Management Framework, developed through the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.

Of in-school factors, principals are second only to classroom teachers when it comes to impact on student learning. Despite the influence that principals can have, more rigorous research and information to guide schools and districts on how to prepare, recruit, support, and retain the most effective school leaders is needed.

The Bush Institute’s new studies look at effective ways to evaluate principal preparation and describe how districts can implement and update policies to get, support, and keep great principals.

The research on principal preparation, the result of a two-year study with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), highlights the link between principal preparation programs and student outcomes in five large districts across the United States.

The second study, specifically designed for school districts, includes a detailed literature review and guidebook. The guidebook, called the Principal Talent Management Framework, looks at how districts can evaluate policies and practices and ensure they align with elements of principal effectiveness.

The Bush Institute will also co-host an event Thursday with Texas Christian University focused on the complexities of evaluating principal preparation and how evaluation efforts can be improved in the future. The event includes a panel discussion with faculty who prepare educational leaders and conduct research related to this field from TCU, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), the University of Denver, and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

For more information about the study, framework, and the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership, please visit



About the Bush Institute:

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of cultivating leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work.

About the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership:

Rooted in President and Mrs. Bush’s belief that “excellent schools must first have excellent leaders,” the Bush Institute developed the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL) to dramatically improve the way our nation’s principals are prepared and supported. AREL is one of the Bush Institute’s flagship programs which signifies that school leaders are critical in raising achievement for students across the country. AREL is transforming districts’ talent management of school principals and helping to ensure that school districts have the knowledge and tools to attract and retain effective principals.


Research Shows That Project-Based Learning with Defined STEM Boosts Student Engagement and Test Scores

In a new study, PBL helped students perform better on standardized assessments and project tests than students in direct-instruction programs  


(CHICAGO, IL) October 20, 2016 —Defined Learning, a K-12 educational media company combining technology, creativity, and curriculum to provide useful and relevant tools to schools, today announced the release of a new research report, developed by MIDA Learning Technologies, LLC. The report focuses on quantitative and qualitative evaluations of students’ problem-solving abilities after implementation of Defined STEM in science class.


The research proves that the PBL strategies used by Defined STEM help students understand concepts more deeply than those who had traditional instruction, resulting in better performance on a wide range of assessments. Teachers reported marked improvements in the depth of students’ discussions and their problem-solving skills.


“I can see the growth from the beginning where we started out with the students, and I could see the growth as students increasingly took on more responsibility,” said a participating 2nd-grade teacher. “As time went on, (students) were not just asking questions but answering them.”


A participating 5th-grade teacher added, “Students didn’t look at it as learning—they were having fun. They also had a sense of accomplishment when they saw what they have done.”


The meaningful and authentic tasks presented by Defined STEM learning support student development of real-world skills and analytical thinking. In these projects, students are told that they are in the role of a real-world job, and are given a real-world problem to solve while collaborating with their peers. These tasks increase engagement by showing how the material learned can be applied to a future career, which allows students to imagine themselves in that career path.


According to the research, this increased engagement resulted in students performing better on both standardized assessments and project tests than students in traditional direct-instruction programs.


“This research is a powerful validation of our project-based approach to education,” said Joel Jacobson, the co-founder and chief operating officer of Defined Learning. “The data shows that PBL promotes independence, collaboration and problem-solving, all while keeping students engaged and showcasing how the tasks they do in school will be relevant to future careers.”


For more information, please download the research report here.


About Defined Learning

Defined Learning is a K-12 educational media company that combines technology, creativity, and curriculum expertise to provide useful and relevant products to schools. Defined Learning’s flagship service, Defined STEM, is a platform that enables teachers to provide application of knowledge to students through the use of project-based learning, real-world careers, and meaningful reading and writing activities. To learn more, visit


Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready® Helps Close the Achievement Gap for Students in the Nation’s Largest Urban School Districts

Award-winning program now used by more than 1 million students in Council of the Great City Schools districts and 3.5 million students nationwide


MIAMI, October 19, 2016—Curriculum Associates serves more than 1 million students with its i-Ready program in 48 of the 70 districts that comprise the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS). The program informs instruction which in turn improves student achievement. The CGCS, which is the only national organization to exclusively represent the needs of urban public schools, is convening this week for its 60th annual fall conference in Miami, FL.


“One of the most powerful outcomes of our i-Ready program is its proven impact on accelerating student growth,” said Rob Waldron, CEO of Curriculum Associates. “Helping students, particularly those in the nation’s largest urban schools, get on grade level at a faster pace is critical to closing achievement—and equity—gaps.”


In addition to its wide usage in CGCS districts, i-Ready is currently being used this school year by approximately 10 percent of all K–8 students nationwide, serving over 3.5 million students across all 50 states. Additionally, more than 1 million students use the program every school day.


Built to address the rigor of the new standards, i-Ready is proven to help students make real gains. It combines a valid and reliable growth measure and personalized instruction into a single online product. The adaptive diagnostic for grades K–12 pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level and generates a combination of online instruction for grades K–8 and downloadable teacher-led lessons that are unique to each student’s diagnostic result. The program also delivers targeted skill instruction support through mobile apps. The program’s individualized instructional plans are easy to understand, helping educators differentiate instruction and support a blended learning solution.


“Curriculum Associates’ mission has always been to make classrooms better places for students and teachers,” said Waldron. “With i-Ready, we’re helping districts assess smarter, saving teachers valuable classroom time for what matters most—teaching.”


i-Ready has been recognized with numerous education awards. Most recently, i-Ready won a 2016 Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) CODiE Award and a 2016 Association of American Publishers (AAP) REVERE and Golden Lamp Award and was named a 2016 MassTLC Innovative Technology of the Year finalist in the EdTech category. i-Ready Diagnostic also recently received the highest ratings on the Screening Tool chart from the Center on Response to Intervention (Center on RTI) at American Institutes for Research.


To learn more about i-Ready, visit To learn more about the effectiveness of the program, visit


About Curriculum Associates

Founded in 1969, privately owned Curriculum Associates, LLC designs research-based print and online instructional materials, screens and assessments, and data management tools. The company’s products and outstanding customer service provide teachers and administrators with the resources necessary for teaching diverse student populations and fostering learning for all students. Curriculum Associates was recently honored as one of Boston Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies, The Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work and as a Best Technology Workplace by Tech in Motion’s Timmy Awards, among others.