Oh, the temptation to play an April Fools joke on you all was there, but I’ll refrain. Just use this as your warning to be on your toes this coming Sunday, and to be the wiser and not the fool! I hope I can remember my own warning.
Thank you for continuing to send over your news and updates. Here’s what’s been happening in education news and also some personal updates…
Movers and Shakers
This week, Library Journal announced the 2018 Movers & Shakers, celebrating 50 people who are transforming what libraries deliver to their communities in the United States and beyond. Picked from a pool of nearly 300 nominations, this latest cohort joins a group of outstanding library workers that is now more than 850 strong! The full class, along with a map of their geographic distribution by state, is available online.
Thomas Motter Joins Peachjar as the Vice President of District Relationships
Peachjar, a leading digital flyer system for more than 12,000 K-12 schools in the US and Canada combined, announced that Thomas Motter has joined the company as the Vice President of District Relationships. A seasoned education technology executive, Motter has already started establishing, building and expanding relationships with Peachjar’s existing and prospective K-12 clients.
Joyce Whitby Joins Peachjar As Vice President of Global Sales
Peachjar also announced that Joyce Whitby has been hired as Vice President of Sales. In this new role, Joyce will be responsible for driving increased market share and furthering the company’s global growth in school districts and community organizations. With 12% market share, Peachjar is currently used by thousands of US and Canadian schools and reaches more than 7 million parents. The company also has more than 14,000 community organizations, cities, state, and government agencies using the platform.
Last week, CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) honored education technology champions at the organization’s 2018 Annual Conference in Washington, DC. The individuals and teams were awarded for their efforts in advancing innovative, personalized learning settings in K-12 education technology.
The winners of CoSN’s awards were:
• District Team Leadership Award: St. Vrain Valley School District (CO)
• Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity: Beaverton School District (OR)
• Excellence in Public Service Award: Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ) and Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT)
• Hurley Private Sector Champion Award: Michael (Gus) Schmedlen, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Hewlett-Packard
• Volunteer of the Year Award: Frankie Jackson, CETL, Chief Technology Officer, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD (TX)
• Partnerships That Matter Award: Alliance for Excellent Education
• Seymour Papert Lifetime Achievement Award: Darryl LaGace (awarded posthumously)
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) announced the six companies selected for its annual Technology Innovation Showcase.
“NSBA has worked at the intersection of education technology policy and practice for more than three decades to bring entrepreneurs, school board members, and district leaders together to discuss innovative solutions that can support public education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director & CEO.
Submissions were solicited from numerous start-up companies providing innovative approaches to challenges across the K-12 curriculum, administrative operations, and communication channels. Reviewers included educators from NSBA’s “20 to Watch,” a recognition program that honors emerging education technology leaders.
The 2018 Technology Innovation Showcase includes the following companies:
Align Us, Inc.: The interconnected team-productivity tools are built on a modern, private, social collaboration platform to ensure all staff have the same opportunity to understand the mission, vision, and strategy established by district leaders, and how it relates to their daily contributions.
EdPrivacy by Education Framework: The world’s first student data privacy management system that helps K-12 school districts proactively protect student data, engage parents in the privacy conversation, and manage privacy obligations with transparency and accountability.
FilterED by GreyED Solutions: This framework-aligned, data analysis tool enables districts to diagnose the current state of technology, teaching, and learning across their organization. School leaders obtain the evidence, data, and context needed to prioritize, implement, measure, and monitor ongoing technology initiatives.
MathBRIX: With initial funding from the National Science Foundation, cloud-delivered visual games and activities help children ages 3–8 “see” the big ideas behind math. They emphasize higher-order thinking skills and concept acquisition, areas often overlooked in early elementary instruction.
Muzology, LLC: Learning experts and hit songwriters combined efforts to harness the power of music to boost academic outcomes and make learning fun. Muzology’s gamified, web-based platform uses music videos to trigger memory, emotion, motivation, and attention – four critical areas of the brain related to successful learning – in its first algebra-readiness offering.
PAIRIN: The PAIRIN Readiness Management System™ provides a baseline measurement that integrates soft skills and hard data to match students to optimal programs, careers, and jobs, and offers comprehensive resources to help students further develop those soft skills through coaching.
In other Education Industry Updates…
Renaissance Acquires myON to Expand Digital Literacy Solutions – Renaissance and myON come together to deliver a shared vision of literacy growth for all students.
Renaissance®, a leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics, today announced the acquisition of myON®, a leading provider of digital literacy solutions, from Francisco Partners. myON’s expansive digital content library and literacy tools, paired with Renaissance’s complementary reading practice and assessment offerings, enables Renaissance to deliver a comprehensive, innovative suite of reading solutions to educators and students worldwide. myON provides students with unlimited, simultaneous access to a personalized library of more than 13,000 digital books at home or in the classroom. myON also provides daily news articles written for students with myON News™, including French and Spanish content. Check out the entire news story >>
LocateMySchool Streamlines the School Boundary Communication Process – The web-based software-as-a-service uses GIS technology to simplify the sharing of important school boundaries, directions, bus stops, and contact information.
LocateMySchool™, a web-based, interactive, software-as-a-service developed by Planware, a division of Educational Data Systems, now provides 24/7 access to important school boundary information, directions from an entered address, and contact info in one application. Read the full release >>
Permission Click Adds Capital and Readies for International Expansion – The company will use the new investment to expand across North America and into several new markets.
Permission Click, the global leader in K–12 school form automation, has closed a multimillion-dollar capital raise, led by an international strategic investor. The new investment will allow Permission Click to significantly expand its school-facing organization across North America, while turning an eye to new markets overseas. The company is working to make more than a dozen new hires in sales, marketing, and product development.
Permission Click is best known for its School Edition, which delivers digital permission slips, forms, and payment collection for K–12 schools. It recently launched a premium, full-featured District Edition, which has quickly gained traction across the U.S. and Canada. Permission Click is already used by thousands of schools in more than 30 countries and 108 languages. Read the full release >>
Catapult Learning Launches New Turnkey STEM Program Inspired by the Engineering Design Process – Supplemental Programs for School Year & Summer to Complement Existing Curriculum.
For many school administrators, integrating STEM into K-12 classrooms can prove challenging. Helping eliminate this pain point, Catapult Learning, a leading provider of instructional intervention and professional development solutions, announced the launch of its new STEM program.
Inspired by the Engineering Design Progress, Catapult’s turnkey supplemental program easily integrates into a school’s existing operation, either during or after school, during summer school, or as part of a professional development initiative. Making this STEM program unique and exciting is that it’s designed around the ‘E’. This emphasis on engineering fosters an engaging and collaborative classroom that encourages teamwork as well as hands-on learning for students. Read more >>
Carnegie Learning Meets Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Federal Funding Requirements through Department of Education-Funded Study – Carnegie Learning Math Solution shows Level 1 “Strong Evidence” of efficacy and can be implemented with Title I funding.
Carnegie Learning announced that the Carnegie Learning Math Solution meets federal funding requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a Level 1 program demonstrating “Strong Evidence” of efficacy. Schools can use Title I funding to bring the power of the Carnegie Learning blended learning approach to their students. Read the full story >>
Discovery Education announced a renewal of its 18-year partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB). This collaboration will continue empowering K-12 educators across the state through Discovery Education Streaming Plus, creating dynamic digital learning environments with high-quality content. For more information on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s education division, visit http://www.gpb.org/education.
Useful Information for Educators
Capstone’s PebbleGo Celebrates Women’s History Month
Capstone’s award-winning PebbleGo™ database is kicking off Women’s History Month with a fun resource for young researchers to discover amazing women. Students in grades K-2 are encouraged to visit the PebbleGo Women’s History website and answer a short, four-question quiz about their interests. The results will reveal a great woman from history who shared similar interests and may be someone the student might enjoy learning more about in PebbleGo. Read the entire news story. >>
Bloomz Announces Free Premium App Offer for Teachers and Schools – For the rest of the school year, the company is offering complimentary subscriptions for the Premium version of its award-winning school-to-parent communication app.
Bloomz announced that it will be providing a free year of its Teacher Premium subscription to educators across the country, with the opportunity to get a free subscription for their school as well. The promotion allows teachers and schools to test out the Bloomz Premium subscription, which offers exclusive tools to communicate and coordinate with their parent community, such as unlimited storage for teachers and administrators, as well as premium features like engagement reports, premium calendar, and premium functionality for all parents and teachers in their community. In order to qualify for a Teacher Premium subscription, any teacher can create a Bloomz account (if they don’t have one already) and refer their school principal or administrator by following the instructions below to schedule an appointment with a Bloomz representative. If the administrator decides to give Bloomz for Schools a try, the entire school gets the premium experience for the remainder of the school year (through July 31st, 2018) at no cost.
Eager Adoption, Stellar Reviews For New ELA Curriculum – Great Minds and Teachers to Present Wit & Wisdom at ASCD Conference.
Writers and users of Great Minds’ new K-8 English Curriculum, Wit & Wisdom, will present at the ASCD Empower18 Conference in Boston, March 24-26. “My experience with Wit & Wisdom has been so encouraging and expectation-shattering,” said Mike Taglienti, a Grade 4 teacher at Fort Logan Northgate School, in Colorado. “I have never felt so ecstatically, relentlessly, and consummately bought in.” See Taglienti’s piece about Wit & Wisdom in ASCD Express at http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol13/1313-taglienti.aspx. A video of Taglienti describing his experience with Wit & Wisdom will debut at the ASCD conference. Read full news article >>