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English-language learners now comprise more than five percent of Cincinnati’s school population—which has grown more than 500 percent in the past five years.

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Like most districts, increasing the graduation rate is a top priority in the School District of Palm Beach County. And with 187 schools and 183,000 students, the Florida district has a large challenge.

With students coming to the classroom with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels in math, it can prove difficult to meet each of their needs. By combining high-quality curriculum, instruction and digital tools, blended learning has the potential to meet each student’s individual needs at their own pace. In this webinar, educators from the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York City discussed how the school has transitioned to a 21st century math program by combining Cathy Fosnot’s Contexts for Learning Mathematics with adaptive technology to give students more autonomy and to inspire them to take ownership of their math learning.

At the Challenge to Excellence Charter School (C2E) in Parker, Colorado, educators are using tablets and Google tools in surprising ways to foster creativity, collaboration and content creation in grades K-3, while also establishing a foundation of knowledge-seeking skills that students will use in later grades. In this web seminar, educators from C2E discussed how the school is using Android tabletswith Google Play for Education both inside and outside the classroom for research, projects, field trips and more, how these tools have helped students take ownership of their learning, and the keys to a successful implementation at any school or district.

Whether you have just begun your blended learning journey, or it is a path you have been traveling down for several years, it’s important to stay dynamic and reflective on your practice in order to ensure that your blended initiative is having a positive impact on student success.

State legislation, local culture, industry thought leaders and other factors influence the approach a school district takes in defining evaluation frameworks for teachers, leaders and staff. These variables give rise to an ever-changing set of policies, standards and evaluation rubrics that add to the complexity of educator effectiveness programs.

Close reading is a popular term today in elementary literacy classrooms and a requirement in the Common Core ELA standards in order to ensure students are college- and career- ready. It enables students to independently comprehend increasingly challenging texts. Students need to develop the habits of mind and the skills necessary to unpack the deep, embedded meanings found in complex, challenging texts on their own.

Central Valley School District near Spokane, Washington, hadn’t passed a bond in 17 years. In February 2015, the district overcame its history of failed referendums, a vocal No campaign and a 60 percent voter approval requirement to pass its $121.9 million bond with nearly 70 percent approval.

When administrators consider implementing blended learning, they tend to start with technology, evaluating what they have or what they need. But what happens after the technology—the operational side of things—is what can really make or break a blended learning initiative.

With many assessment mandates rolled out by Ohio in recent years, the 6,000-student Plain Local School District ended up in a challenging situation.

“Like others in the state, each time a mandate came out, we fulfilled it with a new assessment,” says Cassandra Sponseller, Director of Teaching and Learning and Director of Gifted Programs for the economically and geographically diverse district. “So we soon had a hodgepodge of overlapping assessments that were one dimensional with no vertical alignment.”

In this web seminar, originally broadcast on April 14, 2015, educator Kevin Brookhouser discussed ways to empower students by providing them time to drive their own learning, using the simple concept of 20Time: giving students one day a week to work on a project of their choosing—one that serves a real audience and solves a real-world problem. Inspired by author Daniel Pink and Google’s “20 percent time”—a practice that allows employees to take time out of their “day job” to work on a side passion project—Brookhouser created his own version and applied it to the classroom.

For a number of years, an aging student information system (SIS) plagued Bethlehem Central Schools, located near Albany, New York. By spring 2013, it was apparent new software was needed to maintain the data about the district’s 4,900 students.

“We correctly predicted our SIS would soon be considered end-of-life and would no longer be supported,” says Dr. Sal DeAngelo, chief technology officer for the district. “We wanted to stay ahead of the curve and find a new solution before that happened.”

The need for a secure and protected digital learning environment in districts is paramount, particularly when it comes to online testing. While conducting large-scale online testing requires advanced coordination that is both time-consuming and complex, using iPads can save time and simplify the process, so teachers, students and administrators can focus on teaching and learning, and on being better prepared for online exams.

While blended learning has become a common topic of discussion and an increasingly common district-level strategy for driving student achievement, strategies for successfully making the transition to this new model of learning are often ignored. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 17, 2015, presenters explored best practices and lessons learned from blended learning initiatives.