Metro Nashville Public Schools Selects Discovery Education to Power STEAM Transformation Plan
-Combination of Digital Content and Sustained Professional Development to Drive Shift to Inquiry–Based Interdisciplinary Instruction Across District’s Middle Schools-
Silver Spring, Md. (July 12, 2017) – The Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) today announced it has selected Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, as its partner in driving its district-wide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Transformation Plan. Through a unique combination of dynamic digital content and sustained, job-embedded, professional development, Discovery Education will support MNPS’s efforts to cultivate inquiry-based interdisciplinary instruction across the district’s middle schools that help prepare students for success in the workforce of tomorrow.
MNPS defines STEAM as an interdisciplinary approach to learning, in which rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons. Through the thoughtful application of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and the Arts in multiple contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise; MNPS educators are empowered to help students develop both STEAM literacy and critical problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to compete in the global economy.
To support the creation of the dynamic digital learning environments that power MNPS’s transformative vision for middle school STEAM education, the district is providing all middle school teachers and students access to the Discovery Education Science Techbook™ andDiscovery Education Streaming Plus beginning this Fall.
Discovery Education’s award-winning Techbooks are breakthrough digital textbooks that are aligned to rigorous standards, support a comprehensive curriculum, and are updated regularly at no cost. The series encourages all learners through interactive features that change the reading level of text and enable text to be read aloud. The Techbook series saves teachers’ time with a comprehensive design that places model lessons, student activities and assessments at their fingertips. Techbooks are platform neutral and can be used in one-to-one or one-to-many configurations and in any instructional environment.
Discovery Education’s Science Techbook series empowers educators to transform science instruction. Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate (5E) model, each Science Techbook includes rich, standards-aligned content such as video, audio, text, interactives with hands-on activities, and virtual labs that help educators differentiate instruction and provide a rich and engaging learning experience for students. Additional student features include bilingual text-to-speech and leveled reading tools, and note-taking and highlighting capabilities.
The Science Techbooks series also includes valuable STEM/STEAM resources as well. STEM Project Starters encourage students to connect math, technology, and engineering to their understanding of science concepts to produce creative solutions to real world problems. In addition, the STEM In Action resources helps students connect their work to STEM careers, which promotes a clearer understanding of how skills used in school can be applied to jobs “in the real world.” Embedded formative assessment opportunities that help educators monitor student progress are embedded into each Techbook, and like all Discovery Education digital textbooks, the Science Techbooks work on any device and can be implemented in any instructional setting.
Discovery Education Streaming Plus is a comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas that helps build students’ mastery in interpreting, understanding, and evaluating information across all subject areas. Teacher resources include lesson plans, instructional strategies, and content collections organized around themes. Students can access images, primary source documents, podcasts, oral interviews, books on tape, articles, and videos, and more. Specifically, MNPS’s educators will utilize Discovery Education Streaming Plus’s wide variety of digital resources to support the Arts component of the district’s STEAM Transformation Plan.
To further aid middle school administrators and educators from 33 MNPS middle schools as they support the STEAM Transformation Plan, a number of middle school educators participate in a STEAM professional development initiative created by Discovery Education expert staff expressly for MNPS’s educators. A comprehensive, three-year system of professional development, this effort will help middle school educators strengthen and sustain a culture of STEAM in their schools and guide them as they master STEAM instructional strategies. With a focus on developing high-quality STEAM lessons, creating interdisciplinary lessons and units, and vertically aligning STEAM education school-wide, this initiative provides the robust professional development, job-embedded coaching, and administrative leadership support necessary to create centers of STEAM excellence.
“While the Metro Nashville Community Schools’ mission is to deliver a great public education to every student, every day, we’ve created a STEAM Transformation Plan that aims to guide our district’s effort to become the number one STEAM school district in the nation,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, Director of the Metro Nashville Public Schools. “Discovery Education shares our vision that STEAM education is a viable pathway to ensuring that every student becomes a life-long learner prepared for success in college, career, and life, and we are pleased to partner with them in supporting this important district initiative.”
In addition to receiving access to Discovery Education’s dynamic digital content and robust professional development, the Discovery Education Community will support the MNPS’s educators’ efforts to transform students’ learning experiences with dynamic digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration.
“Building a culture of STEAM teaching and learning within a school district can serve as a catalyst for deeper student engagement and ultimately improved academic achievement,” said Rob Warren, Discovery Education Vice President of Educational Partnerships. “We are proud to collaborate with the fantastic Metro Nashville Public Schools’ team on their mission to become the top STEAM school district in the country, and look forward to rolling up our sleeves and beginning this initiative.”
For additional information about Discovery Education’s digital content services and professional development resources, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.
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 www.discoveryeducation.com.
Learning Counsel Events Inspire Educators Across the Country
With 85% of attendees executive rank, the Digital Curriculum Sustainability Discussions generated discourse and a new guide to making the digital transition
(Sacramento, CA) July 12, 2017 – Rousing discourse about schools’ and districts’ digital transition was the order of the day at each of the 14 Learning Counsel spring Digital Curriculum Sustainability Discussion events. From Philadelphia to Atlanta to Minneapolis to Houston to Orange County, California, these day-long meetings of local Superintendents, Chief Academic Officers, CIOs, instructional technologists, principals, and teachers inspired conversations about digital curriculum sustainability, each adding new local insights that were shared forward into subsequent cities.
“Each city gets anecdotes that David Kafitz, Ed.D., and I hear from earlier cities.,” said LeiLani Cauthen, CEO and Publisher of the Learning Counsel. “It’s almost like the Learning Counsel gets to synthesize what is working and repeat it across to others as we go to the next city.” Cauthen said 85% of attendees at the spring events were executive rank educators who came to hear from each other and discuss their plans for the future.
“Having spoken with hundreds of education executives over the past several months who represented over 200 school districts, from every corner of the country, we’ve been able to filter through the ‘noise’ and confusion,” staid Dr. Kafitz. “While the Learning Counsel has shared many lessons of how sustainability is accomplished, we’ve also learned a few new lessons ourselves about how schools are being sustainable in their digital transitions.”
Those lessons are compiled in the Learning Counsel’s latest special report, 34 Digital Transition Sustainability Tips. Some of the key factors for sustainability laid in the report include the following:
- Knowing how you fit.In other words, leaders have become aware that many teachers are, on average, not learning even the most basic tools of modern classroom technology options in the teaching colleges. This was putting a full spectrum of new professional development squarely on their shoulders.
- Shifting budgets. This continues to be a huge issue. The 2016 Learning Counsel survey of digital curriculum strategy and transition found that 80% or more of school budgets have not shifted from paper textbooks. The fastest way to get sustainable is to go to a full coverage model of digital and stop trying to pay for both paper and digital.
- Stakeholder engagement. Dr. Karla Burkholder, the Director of Instructional Technology for Schertz-Cibolo Universal City ISD in San Antonio, TX., shared with us that having everyone at the table is a smart sustainability move because agreement creates a coordinated flow of action. Not knowing the “why” of decisions leaves people with only their own separated view of things, and builds resentment.
As Max Clark, the Assistant Superintendent for Kingman-Norwich USD shared, “I must tell you that not a day goes by I don’t find myself sharing stories, facts, and other bits of information that I learned at the event. You know your work is important when I find myself sharing with others and wishing they could have heard what I heard. The exciting thing is knowing there will be more opportunities for many more to benefit from your events in the future.”
The Digital Curriculum Sustainability Discussion events dive deep into understanding types and designs of actual curriculum as a central concern—games, software, eBooks, subscriptions, apps, LMSs, SISs, testing/assessment, and how all these are strategically organized for sustainable transformation to digital. An evaluation matrix to guide the choice of the best digital curriculum software for your school is shared during the day. Industry leaders share the latest tools and solutions for district and school challenges as they define the complete education transformation continuum.
A schedule of cities for the Fall Digital Curriculum Sustainability Discussion events is now posted. All are welcome to discuss their move to digital content and curriculum.
About the Learning Counsel
The Learning Counsel is a research institute and news media hub focused on providing context for the shift in education to digital curriculum. The Learning Counsel’s membership is comprised of more than 215,000 executive rank educators. The Learning Counsel is also the home of KnowStory.com, the first special-interest-free and grass-roots social media hub for education with functions for students, teachers, schools and publishers. For more information, visit LearningCounsel.com.