South Carolina’s Fort Mill School District Selects Discovery Education as New Partner in Driving STEAM Teaching and Learning

-Unique Combination of Digital Resources and Sustained Professional Development to Support Educators’ Efforts to Create Culture of STEAM Teaching and Learning –

 

Silver Spring, MD. (July 26, 2017) – South Carolina’s Fort Mill School District (FMSD) announced today the selection of Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, as their new partner in creating a culture of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education districtwide. Through a unique combination of dynamic digital resources and sustained, job embedded, professional development, this new collaboration will ignite a consistent, sustainable, inquiry-based and transdisciplinary approach to STEAM education across the school system.

This new relationship directly support’s the school district’s Strategic Plan, which provides the framework through which FMSD will achieve its vison of providing each child an innovative, personalized, rigorous education that empowers all students to achieve their greatest success.  In addition, FMSD’s new partnership with Discovery Education supports the district’s belief that programs, personnel and curriculum should be selected with students’ best interests in mind.

To create the dynamic digital learning environments that support FMSD’s vision for STEAM education, the district will, at the beginning of the school year, empower all teachers and students to bring the real world into teaching and learning with Discovery Education Streaming Plus.  At the same time, all teachers and students in grades K-8 will begin using Discovery Education’s award-winning Science Techbook™ to experience real-world scientific concepts.

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. Students can access a variety of digital assets including images, primary source documents, podcasts, oral interviews, books on tape, articles, videos, and more, then are empowered to become content creators with a suite of content creation tools that help teachers and students safely and easily collaborate in real-time on virtual projects. Teacher resources include lesson plans, instructional strategies, and content collections organized around themes, as well as a collection of new STEM resources designed to fuel a cultural shift in teaching and learning.

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.

As building an environment that facilitates exceptional teaching is among the four goals of the Fort Mill School Strategic Plan, approximately 50 administrators and 72 educators will participate in a STEAM professional development initiative delivered by Discovery Education’s expert professional development staff. This capacity building effort will help administrators and teachers strengthen and sustain a culture of STEAM in their schools and guide them as they master new STEAM instructional approaches.  With a focus on developing high-quality STEAM instruction, 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.

“The Fort Mill School District believes that a strong grounding in STEAM provides students a foundation upon which success can be built in any future academic or career endeavor,” said Dr. Chuck Epps, Fort Mill School District Superintendent. “We believe our collaboration with Discovery Education will create a vibrate culture of STEAM that will help prepare all students for college, career, and citizenship.”

In addition to receiving access to Discovery Education’s dynamic digital content and robust professional development, the Discovery Education Community will support FMSD 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.

“Discovery Education is honored to be part of Fort Mill Schools’ effort to create STEAM-focused learning environments,” said Anna Strassner, Education Partnerships Manager at Discovery Education. “We look forward to working closely with Dr. Epps and his talented team as we implement Fort Mill Schools District’s ambitious plan for providing all students exciting STEAM-based learning opportunities.”

For more 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.

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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.

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The National Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) is pleased to announce that New York Times best-selling author and world-renowned TED speaker Sir Ken Robinson will deliver the opening keynote for its 38th annual event, to take place January 23-26, 2018. FETC is the largest, independent education technology event focused on leveraging technology to drive preK-12 student success.

To learn more about Sir Ken Robinson and FETC 2018, please read the full release below or at this link: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb14533514.htm

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Renaissance Announces Expanded Partnership with Classworks
as part of Renaissance Growth Alliance

Best-in-class assessment and instructional providers team up to support seamless personalized learning

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (July 25, 2017) – Renaissance®, the leader in pre-K-12 learning analytics, announces an expanded partnership with Classworks® as part of the newly formed Renaissance Growth Alliance™. The collaboration allows for a seamless connection between Renaissance and Classworks, ensuring a steady flow of actionable data, simplifying educators’ access to vital information necessary for student growth.

“Teachers are at the heart of everything we do. We focus on providing them the time and the tools to do what they do best—teach,” says Paula O’Gorman, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Renaissance. “To support this focus, we’ve formed the Renaissance Growth Alliance to enable integrated solutions between best-in-class instructional providers with Renaissance’s planning, assessment, and practice solutions to drive a holistic view of student growth and performance. We are pleased that Classworks is one of these Renaissance Growth Alliance partners.”

To read the full news release, please click here.

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ETIN Releases Guidelines for Research on Educational Technologies in K-12 Schools
Changes in education technology and policy spur updated approach to industry research

Washington, DC (July 25, 2017) – The Education Technology Industry Network, a division of The Software & Information Industry Association, released an important new report today: “Guidelines for Conducting and Reporting EdTech Impact Research in U.S. K-12 Schools.” Authored by Dr. Denis Newman and the research team at Empirical Education Inc., the Guidelines provide 16 best practice standards of research for publishers and developers of educational technologies.

The Guidelines are a response to the changing research methods and policies driven by the accelerating pace of development and passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which has challenged the static notion of evidence defined in NCLB.  Recognizing the need for consensus among edtech providers, customers in the K-12 school market, and policy makers at all levels, SIIA is making these Guidelines freely available.

To read the full release, click here.

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Edthena’s New Commitments Feature Allows Teachers to Quickly Create Their Professional Learning Plans

 

During the video coaching process, teachers can turn comments into an actionable PD to-do

 

SAN FRANCISCO (July 25, 2017) – Teachers can take further ownership of their professional learning plans and better track all of the to-do list items stemming from their coaching conversations with Edthena’s new Commitments feature. This tool enables coaches and peers to flag comments from the video feedback process as actionable proposals. Teachers decide which proposals they’d like to accept, set a target date for the goal, and report back on their progress.

 

“The coaching process is all about helping teachers identify trends in their teaching and set goals to improve their professional practice to ensure student growth and success,” said Rychie Rhodes,  an instructional coach in St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, CO. “With the Commitments feature in Edthena, we will now be able to have a bird’s-eye view of the specific areas of teaching we are focusing on and better track those ‘next steps’ discussed during the coaching process to keep us moving forward.  When both the teacher and the coach agree upon a focus of improvement, and it is evidenced by the data, we are able to go deeper with our conversations.”

 

With the Edthena platform, teachers quickly and easily upload videos of their classroom instruction from any video camera and then share those videos with coaches and colleagues who provide timestamped comments categorized as questions, suggestions, strengths, and notes. Each comment – and subsequent commitment – is tied to a professional skill as defined by their school or district’s professional standards to describe high-quality teaching.

 

One-click reporting allows teachers and coaches to track and summarize the commitments throughout the school year to help identify both short- and long-term progress and trends in teaching practice based on those standards. This tight alignment to standards is useful for teachers as they document – and collect data to support – their professional learning throughout the year.

 

“Supporting the ability to create and track teacher commitments grew out of feedback from our partners,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “Reflecting on teaching practice is only part of the process of teachers improving their skills – they must also decide to take action and commit to trying a change in their teaching. The Commitments feature provides teachers with an organized, evidence-based way to do this throughout the year.”

 

In addition to tracking commitments originating from activity inside Edthena, teachers can also use the Commitments feature to document goals set through other professional development conversations such as a face-to-face meeting.

 

Schools, districts, and teacher education programs in nearly 30 states are using the Edthena platform to make video observation an integral part of teacher induction, teacher mentoring, professional learning communities (PLCs), and peer observation.

 

To learn more about Edthena and its new Commitments feature, visit www.edthena.com.

 

About Edthena
Edthena is the leading classroom observation platform for using teaching videos as part of professional development. Teachers upload classroom videos to share with colleagues who leave time stamped comments. Edthena also offers specialized collaboration tools to help organizations implement best practices for video-based professional learning. Edthena is the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as SIIA, District Administration, and Tech & Learning. For more information, visit www.edthena.com. For more news about Edthena, visit blog.edthena.com.

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PowerSchool Extends Its Unified Classroom Ecosystem Through Partnership 
With Schoology Learning Management System 
Partnership designed to enhance the education experience for customers using Schoology’s LMS and PowerSchool’s Unified Classroom

NEW YORK (July 24, 2017) – PowerSchool, the leading provider of K-12 education technology solutions, today announced that Schoology, a leading provider of learning management systems (LMS), has been named an approved Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and selected as the only external LMS partner in the U.S. to be embedded into PowerSchool’s Unified Classroom.

PowerSchool’s Unified Classroom is an industry-first solution that places student success at the center of the classroom by bringing together learning management, formative assessment, standards progress, grading, early warnings, analytics, and collaboration in one easy-to-use platform for teachers, students, and parents.

For the full release, click here.
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New Study Finds Alabama Students Improve Test Scores Using Fuel Education’s Stride

 

Study by the Auburn University Center for Evaluation (ACE) found Fuel Education’s digital learning solution “a valuable method of improving scores for any student”

 

Herndon, Virginia, July 20, 2017 — Since 2006, the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS), in partnership with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), has provided schools across Alabama with access to Stride™, an award-winning adaptive digital learning solution from Fuel Educationâ (FuelEdâ), to improve student outcomes and to better engage individual students in school. To test the effectiveness of the program, the Auburn University Center for Evaluation (ACE) analyzed ACT® Aspire® data for students using Stride and compared it to scores of their matched peers. The study, “Data Analysis and Evaluation of the Motivated Data Stride Computer-Online Learning Program and its Impact on ACT Aspire Results,” found Stride was “successful during the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 school years in improving academic achievement in targeted schools.”

 

Key findings from the study include:

  • Students who used Stride improved math benchmark pass rates by 15 percent compared to their demographically matched peers who improved pass rates by 8 percent.
  • Students who used Stride improved reading benchmark pass rates by 10 percent whereas their peers showed no statistically significant change.
  • Students who used Stride and are economically disadvantaged improved math pass rates by 23 percent whereas their peers showed no statistically significant change.
  • African American students who used Stride and are economically disadvantaged improved at a greater rate than their peers for math pass rates (23 percent vs. 10 percent) and reading pass rates (18 percent vs. 13 percent).
  • Students who are in special education and used Stride improved reading benchmark pass rates by 57 percent compared to an improvement of 33 percent by their matched peers.

 

The study states, “Overall, the evidence provided in this report suggests that Stride is a valuable method of improving scores for any student. However, those with the most to gain appear to receive the greatest benefit from participation.”

 

Charles A. Gardner, Ed.S., principal of Hokes Bluff Elementary School in Etowah County, AL, and a 2016 NAESP Distinguished Principal, agrees that Stride is effective for his students. “Stride gives students confidence because it meets the student at his or her particular level of ability,” said Gardner. “Students are motivated by the coin-based reward system and the gaming component, and it is a great example of learning while having fun. Additionally, we use Stride’s data analytics in our monthly data meetings to provide the teachers with important information regarding student achievement. Stride reports are easily understood and we can provide them to parents in parent/teacher conferences so that parents can see their children’s progress.”

 

“Stride is appropriate for use in both classroom and after-school settings,” said Sean Ryan, General Manager at FuelEd. “More importantly the ACE study suggests that when students interact with Stride’s engaging content, they are more likely to make greater academic gains than their peers.”

 

In Stride, students are motivated to master math, language arts, reading, and science concepts by the prospect of earning “coins” they can redeem for gaming time. A variety of content ensures students are engaged and the adaptive question engine helps them focus on the concepts they need to practice. The built-in assessments allow teachers to gauge preparedness for end-of-course and end-of year tests and can help track student performance and guide instructional intervention. Stride is online so it can be accessed anytime, anywhere on a variety of devices, including tablets and Chromebooks.

 

“The key findings from this research affirm the work of students, teachers, administrators, and our CLAS Academic Specialists, as well as validate the academic benefits of the Stride adaptive learning platform,” said Dr. L. Earl Franks, CAE, recently retired CLAS Executive Director. “Furthermore, we are extremely honored and proud to be affiliated with a program that provides these types of exceptional results for Alabama students. We are also appreciative to the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama State Board of Education, and the Alabama Legislature for providing much needed at-risk funding to assist those students and schools who need it most.”

 

Fuel Education will host a webinar on Stride on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm ET. Register here: http://online.fueleducation.com/StrideWebinar-Reg.html. To learn more about Stride, visit fueleducation.com/stride.

 

About Fuel Education

Fuel Educationâ partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through 12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education serves more than 2,000 school districts, offering one of the industry’s largest catalogs of K–12 digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. To learn more, visit fueleducation.com and Twitter.

 

©2017 Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Fuel Education, FuelEd, and Stride are trademarks of Fuel Education LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Follett’s New Destiny Analytics Gives K-12 Districts

Greater Insight into Managing Their Key Resources

Administrators can now make fact-based decisions with real-time evidence

 

 

McHENRY, Ill., July 20, 2017 – Designed to provide customers with real-time insights into how their educational resources are being managed, Follett today announced it is offering Destiny Analytics, a district-wide subscription solution to complement its market-leading Destiny Library Manager and Destiny Resource Manager platforms.

The multi-featured reporting solution will allow administrators and educators to explore data from both platforms, including student patron records, and to discover trends and exceptions that are displayed into easy-to-understand graphs and charts.

Destiny Analytics will turn data into information and allow our customers to work smarter, make educated decisions to efficiently manage their learning resources and more effectively deliver an educational experience,” said Nader Qaimari, President, Follett School Solutions.

Available to use on any device, Destiny Analytics will create interactive dashboards and reports to analyze and visualize information, which then can be easily shared with other district personnel. Highly interactive, the tool will allow users to begin a query in one area and ask subsequent questions based on new information and data uncovered.

Analytics will be integrated into the existing Destiny platform in three ways:

1) Dashboard: Immediately upon opening Destiny Analytics, relevant inactive charts and graphs are displayed that anyone can use without having any product experience.

2) Pre-configured Analyses: Ready-made analyses to dynamically provide a pre-configured selection of data and processed information or visualizations, yet still provides interactive operability.

3) Analyzer Tool: A universal tool to select data, create an interactive analysis grid to manipulate and generate data visualizations.

An explainer video brings Destiny Analytics to life — http://bit.ly/2vvKos9. Also, a recent webinar is archived and available for viewing:http://tinyurl.com/y8rtgryj. To reach a sales representative to inquire aboutDestiny Analytics, call (877) 899-8550.

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted provider of educational resources to K-12 institutions. With proven experience in delivering educational content and technology solutions, Follett seeks to provide tools that connect educators and students in an evolving learning environment. For more information, visit www.follettlearning.com.

 

About Follett’s PreK-12 Businessfollettlearning.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.

 

About Follett Corporation follett.com

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus stores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6-billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.

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StudySync Presents the 2017 MyStudySyncTV Contest Winners

 

Each year, StudySync awards prizes for the top middle school and high school video productions,

along with recognizing exceptional work from both individuals and ensemble casts

 

NEW YORK (July 20, 2017) – StudySync has announced the winners of its fourth annual MyStudySyncTV contest. A panel of judges screened student-produced videos that mimicked the signature StudySync®TV videos of student-led literary discussion groups on texts within the StudySync program. The 2017 top production awards went to the eighth grade students of Elizabeth Ellison at Robert C. Fisler School in Fullerton, Calif. and the students of Katharine Hertz at Geneva High School in Geneva, Ill. Both teachers will receive a $500 Amazon gift card for classroom supplies. Recognition was also given to the best actor, actress and ensemble cast at both levels.

 

Middle School Winners and the Runner Up

Robert C. Fisler students made an impressive showing this year, achieving a grand sweep of the middle school awards. In addition to taking the top production award for their enthusiastic and thorough analysis of Emily Dickinson’s poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” Ellison’s students won the Best Middle School Ensemble Cast award for their production of Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House. One of Ellison’s students, Gianne Veluz, also won the Best Actress award for her performance in a MyStudySyncTV video discussing John Green’s novel The Fault in our Stars.

 

“Ms. Ellison has participated in previous contests and is a long-time StudySync user,” said Robert Romano, Co-Founder and CEO of StudySync. “The level of excellence we saw in her students’ video submission made it clear that they have internalized the collaborative interaction and comprehension skills that are modeled in StudySync TV.  Seeing students so inspired and creative was the most gratifying part of this competition for me.”

 

The Best Actor award went to another Fisler student, Carson Kim, the sixth grade student of Katrina O’Meara and the star of a video about David Halberstam’s nonfiction work The Fifties. StudySync also gave an honorable mention to the grade seven students of Fisler teacher, Mary Smith, for their video’s solid acting and well-written screenplay about civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

 

Also recognized were Daisy Linville’s students at Spencer Middle School in Spencer, Wis. Their screenplay on Judith Ortiz Cofer’s short story Abuela Invents the Zero received the runner up designation for Best Middle School Production.

 

High School Winners and the Runner Up

Geneva High School students also swept up many of the awards at their level. In addition to their winning the High School Top Production award for their analysis of Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, one of Hertz’s team, Caleb Ericson, won the Best Actor award for his role in the production. Another of Hertz’s students, Sarah Mozden, won the Best Actress award for starring in a submission on Jane Eyre’s novel Wuthering Heights.

The Best Ensemble Cast for a High School Production award also went to Geneva High School students, but this time the students of Corinne Laird, for their video about Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness.

 

Students of teacher Amanda Gaspary at Santa Fe Catholic High School in Lakeland, Fla. won the runner-up designation for Top High School Production for their well-scripted video entry on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 1.

 

“To create these award-winning episodes, students must work together to develop essay prompts and scripts, plan props and video effects and act—a complete and authentic media experience,” said Romano. “We were impressed by this year’s submissions, at once academic and creative. When students are both enthusiastic and informed, it’s incredible what they can accomplish.”

 

About StudySync

StudySync is a comprehensive 6-12 ELA/ELL curriculum that offers powerful digital instruction with full print support accessible for all learners. Flexible, engaging and literature-rich, StudySync brings together fiction and nonfiction texts with video and other multimedia elements to advance students’ reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. StudySync — an anywhere, anytime, any device experience — offers English language arts instruction, interdisciplinary collaboration, peer-to-peer review, assessment, and a digital library that is searchable by genre, theme, grade and Lexile® level. For more information about the StudySync educational platform, visit http://www.studysync.com.

 

McGraw-Hill Education is the exclusive distributor of StudySync in the United States.

 

About McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education is a learning science company that delivers personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators, and professionals drive results. McGraw-Hill Education has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East, and South America and makes its learning solutions available in more than 60 languages. Visit us at www.mheducation.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

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OppU Helps Students Understand Money Management by Providing Free Interactive Financial Literacy Lessons

Chicago – July 26, 2017 – When students begin work or head to college, many get their first taste of economic independence. To give them the skills they need, OppLoans, a Chicago-based financial firm, launched a new financial education site called OppU.

OppU provides free interactive lessons that teach the fundamentals of money management. The classroom-friendly courses are aligned to national standards for financial literacy and cover topics such as spending, saving, credit, and debt.

OppU is free to use and available to the public.

“It can be difficult for schools to teach money management because they’re already under a lot of pressure to teach many different subjects,” said Ann Logue, an author and lecturer on finance at the University of Illinois, who contributed to the curriculum. “OppU provides an easy-to-use and free way to incorporate financial literacy into student learning inside or outside of the classroom.”

Built on Moodle, a digital education platform, the courses consist of short interactive videos that can be accessed through the OppU website. During the videos, OppU instructors present the lessons and students are asked to answer questions about the material. Students must click on the correct answers in order to complete the lesson. Each topic ends with a cumulative quiz.

“Some basic financial knowledge can prevent a lifetime of financial woes,” said Beth Tallman, a former financial literacy college instructor and high school math educator who also helped author the curriculum. “OppU delivers that information in an upbeat, engaging way, in distinct and digestible chunks that people of all ages will find helpful.”

As an educational tool for teachers, the OppU lessons can be shown in the classroom or assigned to students to complete at home. Instructors can confirm student progress through a completion tracking feature that awards credit when videos are watched and quizzes passed. OppU is optimized for display on mobile devices, so learners can complete the courses on their phones or tablets.

A lender that serves the underbanked, OppLoans created OppU as part of its mission to promote financial empowerment.

“We see the consequences of bad credit on a daily basis,” said Jared Kaplan, CEO of OppLoans. “We wanted to build something that delivers the knowledge and skills that people need to start, and stay, on the right path.”

In 2016, the financial services NGO FINRA found that nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. A survey of K-12 educatorsdiscovered that 92 percent of them believe financial education should be taught in schools, but only 12 percent actually do. OppU aims to fill this gap by offering engaging, practical lessons that can be used inside or outside of the classroom to help students and adults of all ages learn to better manage their money.

Click here to visit OppU.

About OppUOppU is a free financial literacy site that teaches money management through interactive videos, cumulative quizzes, and more. It is available to the public at OppLoans.com/mooc. The standards-based curriculum was created by OppLoans, an online lender that provides safer, more affordable borrowing options to the underbanked. One of the highest-rated online lenders in the industry, OppLoans offers free financial education to its customers and reports their on-time payments to help boost their credit scores. Through its OppU Achievers Scholarship, OppLoans donates $10,000 annually to students who have demonstrated outstanding drive and achievement.

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Chicago Public Schools Selects Follett Aspen

For Its New Student Information System

CHICAGO, July 26, 2017 – Following a lengthy search process, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has selected Follett Aspen for its new student information system (SIS). CPS intends to transition to Aspen in 2019.

Aspen will replace the district’s current SIS as well as consolidate multiple other products into a single educational platform. By delivering a flexible, state-of-art solution for hosting and managing student data, Aspen will enable CPS staff to more effectively and efficiently perform their academic and administrative duties.

A mobile-friendly, one-stop application for teachers, administrators and the school community, Aspen’s many features include a teacher portal, and improved parent and student portal. Aspen’s Gradebook, used by teachers to capture attendance and grade information, will offer parents and students timely access through its web-based portal.

“Illinois has been Follett’s home since 1873 and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be the student information system vendor of choice for our neighboring Chicago Public Schools,” said Nader Qaimari, President of McHenry, Ill.-based Follett School Solutions. “This was important to us as a company because of the respect we hold for CPS, and we worked diligently to prove to them our Aspen SIS answers all the district’s needs. We look forward to a long, successful partnership.”

Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest school district, serves 381,349 students in 652 schools. Follett’s Aspen SIS currently serves more than two million students throughout 236 school districts in the U.S. and Canada.

Follett School Solutions is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States. For more information about Follett, visit FollettLearning.com.

For more information on Chicago Public Schools, visit cps.edu.

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About Follett’s PreK-12 Businessfollettlearning.com
Follett is the largest provider of educational materials and technology solutions to PreK-12 libraries, classrooms, learning centers and school districts in the United States, and a major supplier to educational institutions worldwide. Follett distributes books, reference materials, digital resources, ebooks and audiovisual materials, as well as pre-owned textbooks. Follett also is one of the leading providers of integrated educational technology for the management of physical and digital assets, the tracking, storing and analyzing of academic data, and digital learning environment tools for the classroom focusing on student achievement.

About Follett Corporation follett.com

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus stores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6-billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.

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Renaissance Star 360 Approved as a K-2 Assessment by the 
Arkansas Department of Education

Renaissance, Arkansas Department of Education work together to provide comprehensive early childhood assessment

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (July 26, 2017) – Renaissance®, the leader in pre-K-12 learning analytics, has announced that its Renaissance Star 360® assessment suite has been approved as a K-2 assessment by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The state’s contract for Star 360, based on mutual agreement by Renaissance and the ADE, may run through June 30, 2024.

The ADE is committed to supporting early childhood education to ensure that all Arkansas children develop a strong foundation for learning. In doing so, the ADE seeks to provide all K-2 students with a comprehensive assessment that measures student performance and growth on the Arkansas English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics academic standards for grades K-2. The assessment solutions adopted by the ADE are measured through a rigorous and thorough approval process.

Mike Evans, interim CEO at Renaissance, says, “Star 360 can maximize instructional and practice time by immediately yielding timely and actionable data-driven insights and reports designed to provide rich information and drive instruction. We’re honored to be able to support the ADE’s efforts to provide teachers with critical insights to prevent students from falling behind.”

To read the full news release. please click here.

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5 Firms Selected to Design EDspaces 2017 Classrooms
(Silver Spring, MD) — The Education Market Association (EDmarket) is pleased to announce the results
of the design competition for education session classrooms during the 2017 EDspaces Conference &
Expo in Kansas City. The classrooms provide an extension of learning by allowing participants to
experience firsthand the learning environments in action.
The winners of the EDspaces classroom design competition:
• DEMCO, Inc.
• Moseley Architects
• Scott Rice Office Works / DLR Group/VS
• School Outfitters
• Susan Gladden Interiors
Proposals were evaluated for aesthetics, overall functionality, vendor engagement, relevance to the future
of educational facilities, and flexibility of the learning space. Five classrooms are featured, with two
located on the exhibit floor, and three in the convention center meeting room areas. The proposals were
judged by a review panel of school purchasing influencers and architects.
“How great it is that so many architects and designers are willing to share the latest thinking about
learning environments and that manufacturers are working in partnership with the A&D community to
bring these new ideas to EDspaces and the AIA-CAE Fall Convention,” said Stuart Pettitt, FAIA, LEED
AP, Straub Pettitt Yaste Architects, a member of the review committee and AIA-CAE leadership.
EDspaces is October 25-27, 2017 in Kansas City, MO. EDspaces which brings together the key
professionals who plan, design and manage innovative learning environments with the dealers, service
providers and manufacturers who support them. EDspaces attendees include buyers and decision makers
from school districts, colleges and universities from across the country; dealers; and architects and
interior designers. The AIA Committee on Architecture for Education holds its annual Fall Conference in
conjunction with EDspaces.
The Education Market Association connects people who want to succeed in the education market by
providing events, resources and leadership to those serving education. For more information on the
Education Market Association, please visit http://www.edmarket.org. To join the conversation at EDspaces,
visit http://www.ed-spaces.com.
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Statement from ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque on NAACP charter schools report

Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) released the following statement on the NAACP Task Force on Quality Education report issued today.

“We recognize the NAACP’s effort to look more closely at charter schools and, in rightfully acknowledging their value, also seeking opportunities for improvement. We also agree with the report’s recommendation to better align funding to meet student needs.

“However, charter schools are fundamentally about empowering parents with options for their children. We are disappointed the report does not emphasize that. Restricting the autonomy of charter schools defeats the unique and necessary alternatives they offer.

“One of the most important ways to ensure equity for all students is to change the power dynamic in America’s education system. This requires putting parents in charge of making decisions on behalf of their own children, with quality options no matter what their zip code. The proven results are better outcomes for that child and desperately needed improvements in how the entire system responds to each and every child’s unique needs.”

The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) is a national leader in education reform. ExcelinEd is a hands-on, how-to policy and advocacy organization that designs and promotes model legislation and supports states with technical expertise, policy development and implementation strategies and public outreach.
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Schools in Four Countries Renew or Expand Online Course

Offerings from The Virtual High School

 

Students from Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico and Brazil Join Learners from China, Dubai and Others Around the World to Take STEM, Core, Elective and College & Career Courses

 

Boston — July 26, 2017 — The Virtual High School (The VHS), a non-profit empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, today announced that schools in Istanbul, Turkey; Huenenberg, Switzerland; Los Viñedos, Torreón, Coahuila Mexico; and Recife, Brazil are supplementing their online and e-learning curriculum offerings through the highly-acclaimed learning collaborative.

 

“We are delighted to be partners with this online learning pioneer,” said Jessyca-Lucero-Flores, Principal at Colegio Americano de Torreon in Mexico.“Their leadership in catering to the student experience is really inspirational. We know, and the VHS team comprehends, that our students today have more advanced needs than ever before. And because of that understanding, VHS offers the most innovative courses. This is a testament to how deeply they care about students having the best online educational experience available to help them succeed after high school.”

 

For the last 20 years, the VHS mission has been to provide middle and high school students with access to high-quality online and blended learning experiences while supporting educators with the professional development and services they need to provide effective education for every student. Schools that partner with VHS have access to a wide range of core, elective, credit recovery and AP® courses that inspire, ignite and deepen learning regardless ofgeographic location. VHS helps students develop independent learning skills, prepare for college and careers, earn credit, and engage with their peers in global classrooms.

 

“What a testament to our robust offerings,” said Carol Ribeiro, President & CEO of VHS. “We welcome our new international school partners, and welcome back our returning schools who’ve chosen to continue to offer their students VHS high-quality programs and services. We’re pleased that VHS helps provide schools with curriculum options that may not be locally available.” Each VHS partner school has access to 338 core, elective and AP® online courses, as well as highly-qualified faculty.

 

“One of the wonderful advantages of taking a VHS course is that our classrooms are global in nature – students are learning with, and from, a diverse group of students, all within the same ‘global’ classroom,” said Ribeiro. “For example, in our AP Environmental Science course, students conduct experiments locally and share their results with their classmates, enabling students to better understand environmental science by engaging with their peers from around the world.”

 

About The Virtual High School

The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides middle and high school online courses for students and professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development, individualized course offerings, and support for blended learning initiatives. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning.  The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Associations (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit www.VHSlearning.org or call (978) 897-1900.

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itslearning Certified by IMS Global Learning for OneRoster 1.1

 

Leading LMS Provider Ensures Schools and Districts Have Reliable and

Secure Standards-Based Ways to Roster and Post Grades

 

Boston, July 26, 2017 – itslearning, a leading learning management system provider, today announced that it has achieved the most current level of IMS Global Conformance Certification for the IMS OneRoster®. The new certification, OneRoster 1.1, solves a school’s need to securely and reliably exchange roster information, course materials and, now with v. 1.1, the ability to pass/report grades between systems. A major upgrade to OneRoster 1.0, which itslearning secured certification for in 2016, is based on the IMS Learning Information Services (LIS) information model and supports both the commonly used .csv mode for exchange and the latest real-time web services mode known as REST.

 

“This is great news for educators,” said Bailey Mitchell, Chief Academic Officer, itslearning. “First, by adopting the OneRoster standard schools can eliminate the error-prone burden of manually creating unique class roster data extracts for every digital text, web publisher and platform provider as well as duplicate data entry of grades. Furthermore, teachers and administrators can save massive amounts of time.  With accurate rosters, publishers prevent missing student accounts and incorrect class groups, which are major stumbling blocks to using online resources in the classroom.”

 

Designed specifically for the K-12 market, itslearning helps improve education in and out of the classroom. Its intuitive LMS features –– including curriculum management, communication, collaboration, and analytics reporting –– effectively connect teachers, parents, and students to create differentiated learning solutions for every student.

 

With the system’s new cloud integration, districts using G-suite by Google or Microsoft’s Office 365, will find it easier to synchronize their preferred cloud service with their itslearning accounts and all their favorite cloud apps without ever leaving the itslearning LMS. The company has also enhanced its mobile app, so K-12 students and their teachers now have the full LMS experience even when they’re on the go. Users are able to access course content, resources and tools on their Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Students can also use the app to submit assignments and attach files.

 

Additionally, itslearning’s assessment updates make it even easier for K-12 teachers to assess and grade their students. Those updates include a streamlined grading workflow and a new capacity for annotating student submissions online. Teachers now have the ability to easily see students’ assignment status, to search and share assessment activities, and to deliver tests and see grades on any device.

 

Mitchell concluded, “This seal of approval signifies our commitment to being a one-stop partner with schools and districts so they can focus improving teaching and learning.”

 

About itslearning

With a passion for improving teaching and learning through technology, itslearning lives at the heart of education. In fact, the itslearning platform is the first LMS in the K-12 marketplace to offer educators content accessible from the cloud, including 2 million free and open resources, searchable, tagged with rich metadata, and ready to use. Established in 1999, itslearning is headquartered in Boston, MA and Bergen, Norway and serves more than seven million users worldwide. For more information, visit https://itslearning.com

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