Apperson Helps Students Prepare for the SAT and ACT with new Practice Test Forms that Mimic the Tests


Testing sheets are compatible with the DataLink 1200 scanner giving schools detailed analysis and reporting through DataLink Connect Software


Charlotte N.C. – Dec. 13, 2016 – In many states, high school juniors are required to take the ACT or SAT test. Assessment leader Apperson is helping schools prepare students for these important tests by offering new practice test forms that are compatible with Apperson’s DataLink 1200 scanners. The scanners and accompanying free DataLink Connect software allow teachers to quickly and easily score the practice tests and analyze the results so they can help students be better prepared for Test Day.

“The SAT and ACT tests are important, and in many states are now required. If students do well, their scores can benefit them as they apply to colleges and for scholarships,” said Bill Apperson, chairman of the board of Apperson. “However, these tests can cause students to experience test anxiety. Our goal in offering practice test forms is to help students establish their strengths and pinpoint areas to improve. By completing multiple practice tests throughout the year, students can become comfortable with the format, which lessens test anxiety and helps them achieve a higher score.”

The DataLink 1200 scanner allows teachers to quickly scan in the practice test forms for the ACT, SAT and other exams. The accompanying DataLink Connect software provides scoring, analysis and reporting to help teachers differentiate instruction.

Offering SAT and ACT practice test forms, as well as tools such as the DataLink scanner and software, are part of Apperson’s ongoing work to support educators, administrators and out-of-school-time organizations as they implement assessment solutions that inform instruction and help schools meet the required benchmarks for education.

About Apperson

Apperson’s testing and assessment solutions combine the proven reliability of scanning technology with powerful reporting and analytical software to measure and drive student success.  Apperson provides testing products for all schools’ needs, from kindergarten to higher education. The company’s DataLink Connect and Ascend software applications change lives for the better, saving teachers’ time by aiding with the grading and learning process. These solutions help to marry technology to raw data, resulting in informed decision-making for educators that improve student performance and success. For more information, visit


Lafayette Parish School System Taps E-rate Program, Funds For Learning to Create 1:1 Device Infrastructure
In support of its transformational technology rollout, Louisiana district deploys federal funding to achieve reliable, high-speed and equitable internet access 

Edmond, Okla. (Dec. 13, 2016) – Last year, the federally funded E-rate program helped connect 53.6 million students and 120,000 schools to vital telecommunications services. When Lafayette Parish School System (LPSS) embarked upon an ambitious 1:1 device initiative, the district turned to E-rate experts at Funds For Learning to guide administrators through the funding process. LPSS used the subsequent funding to develop a district-wide infrastructure capable of supporting more than 30,000 end users.

“Education technology leaders across the country strive to provide students with safe, online, interdisciplinary learning experiences that help them thrive, and E-rate funds have been a huge part of that in our schools,” said LaShona Dickerson, director of technology at Lafayette Parish School System. “Working alongside Funds For Learning has enabled us to secure the financial resources necessary to realize our Vision 2020 technology plan.”

To view the full news release, click here.


USC Shoah Foundation Announces 2017 IWitness Video Challenge That Offers $10,000 in Scholarships and Prizes

Los Angeles, December 13, 2016 – Middle and high school students have the chance to win scholarships of up to $5,000 – and additional money for their educators and schools – by entering the fourth annual IWitness Video Challenge hosted by USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.

Kicking off Dec. 13, the Challenge, which will award $10,000 in prizes overall, invites students to positively contribute to their communities, and complete an IWitness activity that involves submitting a short video explaining how they were inspired through testimony to make a positive impact. The IWitness Video Challenge is open to all secondary school students in the United States and Canada (except for Quebec) who attend public, private or home schools. Participants can access resources and submit entries

Helping to make this year’s Challenge the most successful yet are two organizational partners – Ford Motor Co., which is sponsoring the event as part of its commitment to innovative educational outreach; and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, which will administer the Challenge and help maximize reach and impact through its deep partnerships with school systems, administrators and educators worldwide and unparalleled experience in implementing education-based programs that improve student engagement and achievement.

The contest is based on one of the more than 70 activities found in IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s free educational website (, which brings the human stories from the Institute’s Visual History Archive – the world’s largest repository of testimony from survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides – to teachers and their students via engaging multimedia-learning activities.

The IWitness Video Challenge first presents students with selected testimonies from survivors who demonstrate what is possible when we make the courageous choice to act. Then, the Challenge takes students through the steps necessary to identify a problem, determine how to contribute to solving that problem, and how to create a video that captures their efforts and impact on helping to solve a problem in their community. Students will then be instructed on how to use the built-in video editor in IWitness to construct, edit and submit their one- to four-minute video project. No prior video editing knowledge is needed to participate.

Teachers who have participated in the Challenge in the past will notice updates to the contest rules as well as to IWitness. For instance, this year it is no longer incumbent upon classroom teachers to select one entry from their class; they now can submit as many projects as they find qualified.

Upgrades made to IWitness’s functionality in the past year include mini lessons – which can be completed in under half an hour – the ability for students to download their work and new rubrics that provide guidelines for teachers to follow when grading their students’ completed IWitness activities.

The prizes will be distributed as follows:

  • The student who created the National Winning Entry will receive a US $5,000 scholarship. Second place will receive a $1,000 scholarship; third place, a $500 scholarship.
  • The educator associated with the National Winning Entry will receive a $1,000 grant awarded in the form of a check, to be used to implement change in his/her school.
  • The school or organization that hosted the IWitness group/class associated with the National Winning Entry will receive a $2,500 grant awarded in the form of a check, to be used to implement change in their community.
  • The winning student, along with an educator and parent/guardian, will be flown to Los Angeles to screen their film at USC Shoah Foundation.

“Not only does the IWitness Video Challenge enable students to link their voices to those in the Visual History Archive who inspired them to act, but it also teaches them digital skills that are so important for students today,” said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen D. Smith.

The 2016 winners, a trio of eighth-graders from New Jersey, created a poetry group that enabled students at their school to express their hardships and appreciation for one another.  They found inspiration for their project after listening to Holocaust survivor Donia Blumenfeld Clenman recite her powerful poetry in her testimony.

Maya Montell, Allison Vandal and Caroline Waters of Readington Middle School in Raritan, N.J. created the Poets Undercover Guild (PUG), encouraging their friends and associates to write each other poems pertaining to the trials of middle-school life.

One of the first recipients of a poem was a sixth-grade girl who was being bullied.

“She felt really alone at that time, and she was just kind of depressed,” Caroline said. “When she read it, she felt empowered, like she wasn’t going to let the bullies tell her what to do.”

The winner of the inaugural Challenge in 2014 was Ruth Hernandez of Philadelphia. Now a senior at Esperanza Academy Charter High School, Hernandez produced a video – called “Voices of Our Journey” – based on the topic of immigration.

“When I started my video for the IWitness Video Challenge I had my mind set on making a change, but it was I who was changed through the whole process,” she said. “I remember just trying to understand how I would feel if I knew I would never see my parents again or if I had to leave everything I know. … I learned the importance of not being afraid of recognizing oppression and taking action to stop it.”

USC Shoah Foundation founder Steven Spielberg launched the inaugural IWitness Video Challenge in 2013. The Challenge was designed around the same premise as Schindler’s List, that one person can make a difference. As Spielberg said at the time of the inaugural launch, “We can use IWitness to show the power of random acts of kindness, the significance of contributing to communities and the very idea that the best way to teach empathy is with examples of it so that maybe someday kindness will be a natural reflex.”

“The effectiveness of IWitness is well documented,” said Dr. Kori Street, director of education for USC Shoah Foundation. “Students who have engaged with our free educational website IWitness are significantly less likely to believe in stereotypes and are over 90 percent more likely to stand up against hateful stereotyping.”

Educators interested in signing up their students for the IWitness Video Challenge must submit entries byMay 5, 2017 at The winners will be announced on or around June 13, 2017.

For more information and complete rules, visit


About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audio- visual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of more than 54,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes.

Visual History Archive® is a registered trademark of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education Reg. U.S. Pat & Tm. Off.

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


About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 197,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please


Bloomz Offers Class Messenger Users a One-Click Transition to Keep Communication Going After Shutdown

Educators can easily import their class and parent information, and automatically invite their classroom parents to the new app 

(Redmond, WA) December 14, 2016 — Recently, the classroom communication app Class Messenger announced on its blog that it would permanently shut down its service on December 23, leaving thousands of users without a communication tool for their classroom right before the holiday break.

In order to help these users transition to the second half of the school year, the all-in-one parent communication app Bloomz has stepped up to offer an easy way for teachers and parents who had been using Class Messenger to keep in touch without missing a step. Bloomz CEO Chaks Appalabattula said, “Lots of Class Messenger users were naturally finding their way to Bloomz to transition their classes, so we wanted to offer them a path to keep their communication going with an easy migration.”

Today, Bloomz published a page that helps current Class Messenger users transition their classes and parent information into the Bloomz app with only one click.  “We are enabling an easy and secure pass-through of information, so their users can sign up for an account now and test the app before they import their class and invite parents,” said Appalabattula.

Bloomz supports SMS/Text signups and notifications, as well as translation to more than 80 languages, making it easier for parents to receive communications. “With Bloomz, these teachers will not only keep a channel of communication with parents, but will also gain in other community and coordination capabilities, including calendaring, parent-teacher conference and volunteer signups, behavior management and student-led portfolios,” Appalabattula added.

Jenn S. a teacher from an elementary school in the Pittsburg area, used to be a Class Messenger user, along with other teachers in her school. After hearing about their shutdown, she had to find an alternative for her school quickly, so she downloaded and tried 10 different apps. “We found that Bloomz met our current expectation, but even better. It is more organized and user-friendly,” she wrote in a blog post. “As inconvenient as it is to choose a new app, this was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the opportunity to see what else was out there, and I found something better that would fit my needs.”

Bloomz, which offers its service for free, wants incoming teachers and parents to know that the company is here for the long run. “Bloomz has huge momentum behind it,” said Appalabattula.  “We closed a round of funding in May 2016, and have gained recognition in the industry, winning Product of the Year from EdTech Digest and, more recently, being shortlisted in the Reimagine Education Awards 2016. This is an amazing time for Bloomz, and both our investors and our users should have the peace of mind that we are here to stay.”

Users from Class Messenger who want to transition to Bloomz can go to to create their free Bloomz account and transfer their information before the December 23 deadline. School administrators interested in transitioning their school to Bloomz can sign up for a demo webinar at

About Bloomz

Bloomz is the free mobile and web app that connects educators with parents in a secure, social, private environment. In Bloomz, parents feel more connected than they ever have to their children’s world, and teachers have more time than ever before, because they have everything they need in one simple-to-use tool. Learn more at


Epson Introduces PowerLite 975W Projector with Ultra-Long Lamp Life for K-12 Classrooms


New Projector Delivers Widescreen, Vivid Images and

Long-Life Lamp for Reduced Maintenance and Downtime


LONG BEACH, Calif. – Dec. 13, 2016 – Epson, the number-one selling projector brand worldwide, today announced the PowerLite® 975W projector – Epson’s first classroom projector to offer up to a 10,000-hour lamp life in Bright Mode1. Featuring 3,600 lumens of color brightness and 3,600 lumens of white brightness2 and WXGA resolution, the new projector delivers vivid, widescreen images, even in well-lit classrooms. It also offers enterprise-level security via an included wireless module, and teachers can wirelessly share content simultaneously from multiple devices, providing a classroom experience that is brighter and more connected.

“Technology has enabled a new breed of teaching strategies, and Epson is focused on developing cutting edge display products that maximize image quality while minimizing maintenance and down time so teachers and students can focus on learning” said Veronika Knight, product manager, Projectors, Epson America Inc. “The PowerLite 975W introduces the latest advancements in education technology with features such as ultra-brightness for good quality display images, long lamp life in Bright Mode for minimized maintenance, wireless connection for easy projection, and screen mirroring capabilities for classroom collaboration.”

Epson 3LCD projectors have 3x Higher Color Brightness than competing models3, offering extraordinary vivid image quality. The Epson PowerLite 975W offers a 16:10 aspect ratio ideal for widescreen computers or to display HD video, providing 30 percent more usable area than a regular 4:3 image and 10 percent more than a 16:9 image. The projector still offers the flexibility of displaying 4:3 and 16:9 images, as needed. In addition, teachers can wirelessly share content simultaneously from multiple devices with the Epson iProjection™4 wireless display solution, including content from Chromebooks, PCs and Mac® computers, as well as iOS® and Androiddevices. Miracast® offers wireless HD screen mirroring for displaying a variety of content, or for comparing students’ work side-by-side.

More about Epson’s New PowerLite 975W Projector

The PowerLite975W provides advanced quality, performance, and flexibility for schools, with features including:

  • Widescreen Images – native WXGA resolution (1280 x 800) and 16:10 format
  • Ultra-Long Lamp Life – Epson’s first classroom projector offering up to a 10,000-hour lamp life in Bright Mode1
  • Wireless Networking – Enterprise-level security for peace-of-mind; wireless HD screen mirroring with Miracast; display Chromebook, iOS, Android, Mac and PC screens4
  • Simultaneously Display and Control Multiple Device Screens – Wirelessly share content from up to four devices, including Chromebooks, using Moderator software5
  • Split Screen6 Feature – Simultaneously project two images (video or still) from different sources side-by-side up to 280-inches
  • Image Sharpness and Detail – 15,000:1 contrast ratio for added clarity
  • Versatile Connectivity – 2x HDMI® ports support multiple high-definition A/V devices, with MHL® support7
  • Remote Management – Easy network connectivity; software included

As a leader in innovation and partnership, Epson also offers the Brighter Futures® program, a unique sales and support initiative available specifically for schools. Designed to help educators select and implement the best products for their classrooms while making the most of their budgets, Brighter Futures offers special pricing, extended Epson limited warranty coverage for a total of three years, dedicated education account managers, and toll-free technical support for all Epson projectors and associated accessories.

About Epson Education Products

Designed with educator input, Epson’s advanced interactive display and projector technologies make bright, collaborative learning environments a reality. Compatible with a wide range of devices and widely-used interactive software, Epson projectors make it easy for teachers to share content to engage students, no matter where they sit in the classroom. Epson’s unmatched technology, service and support ensure educators are confident that high quality, bright images and multimedia are available in the classroom every day.

Availability, Pricing and Support

The Epson PowerLite 975W is now available for $1,099* through national resellers, pro audio/visual dealers, mail order, distribution,, and the Brighter Futures program. Epson PowerLite projectors come with a two-year limited warranty (three years for Brighter Futures customers) that includes two elite technical support services – Epson PrivateLine® phone support with direct access to an expedited support telephone line, and a Road Service replacement program that includes product exchange in one business day with paid shipping. For additional information, please visit:

About Epson
Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 73,000 employees in 91 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

Epson America, Inc., based in Long Beach, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube (, and Instagram (

# # #

* Brighter Futures pricing

1 The projector has a single lamp mode, rated to last up to 10,000 hours. Lamps are warranted for 90 days.

2 Color brightness (color light output) and white brightness (white light output) will vary depending on usage conditions. Color light output measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4; white light output measured in accordance with ISO 21118.

3 Color brightness (color light output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color brightness will vary depending on usage conditions. The projectors used by a third-party lab for measuring color brightness were leading Epson 3LCD business and education projectors and leading 1-chip DLP projectors, based on NPD sales data for June 2013 through May 2014 and PMA Research sales data for Q1 through Q3 2013.

4 For wireless functionality, including via the Epson iProjection App, the projector must be configured on a network, either through the Ethernet port on the projector (check model specifications for availability) or via a wireless connection. Check your owner’s manual to determine if a wireless LAN module must be purchased separately to enable a wireless connection. Not all Epson projectors are able to be networked. The Epson iProjection App does not support all files and formats. See for details

5 Moderator feature is part of EasyMP Multi-PC Projection software.

6 Consult your user manual for input combinations.

7 Includes one Mobile High-Definition Link® (MHL) HDMI port.

Note: EPSON and PowerLite are registered trademarks, Epson iProjection is a trademark, and EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark of Seiko Epson Corporation. Brighter Futures is a registered trademark of Epson America, Inc. Mac and iOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android and Chromebook are trademarks of Google Inc. Miracast® is a registered trademark of Wi-Fi Alliance®. All other product and brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.


Assessment Leaders Join Measured Progress
David Ernst and Steve Ferrara bring national expertise to respected assessment company

DOVER, N.H.—December 13 2016—Measured Progress is pleased to welcome David Ernst as Vice President, Business Development, and Steve Ferrara as Senior Advisor for Measurement Services.

David Ernst joins us with more than 25 years of experience in educational assessment and product development. During his 17 years at Pearson, he was responsible for leading new business development, including product initiatives in online diagnostic assessments and program management for large-scale state assessment services. He established and co-led with Dr. Steve Ferrara the Center for Next Generation Learning and Assessment, one of six research centers in Pearson’s Research and Innovation Network. Early in his career, he implemented technology innovations and led customer programs for government systems at Rockwell Collins. Mr. Ernst’s experience blends an innovative, entrepreneurial approach with a deep understanding of state assessment needs and future challenges. In his role as Vice President, he will lead Measured Progress’s business development efforts in large-scale assessment.

For the full release, click here.


Second Avenue Learning Expands Leadership Team with Two New Hires
Rochester-based interactive media company welcomes director of strategic partnerships and vice president of technology

Rochester, N.Y. (December 6, 2016) – Second Avenue Learning, a leader in the design and development of serious games and interactive learning environments for K-12, higher education and corporate markets, welcomes Director of Strategic Partnerships Laura Boothroyd and Vice President of Technology Richard Carey to its expanding team. In these new roles, Boothroyd and Carey will support the growing capabilities and services at Second Avenue Learning, and expand the company’s footprint to cover the greater Boston and New York City areas.

For the full release, click here.