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Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools’ New Partnership with Discovery Education to Enhance Classroom Instruction and Prepare Students for Post-Secondary Success

- District’s Focus on STEM Instruction will Help the District Meet the Goals of its 10-Year Strategic Plan, Destination 2025-

Silver Spring, MD (December 6, 2018)–Shelby County Schools(SCS) today announced a new partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.  This new collaboration combines dynamic digital resources and an innovative professional learning model to create a unique STEM education initiative that supports the twin goals of SCS’s 10-year strategic plan, Destination 2025.  Shelby County Schools is Tennessee’s largest public school district, serves over 100,000 students in more than 200 schools, and is among the 25 largest public school districts in the United States.

Created with the input of teachers, parents, and community leaders, Destination 2025 seeks to enhance the quality of public education as it creates a more knowledgeable, productive and successful local workforce.  This strategic 10-year plan identified early literacy, post-secondary readiness, teacher and staff development, high quality schools, and mobilizing families and community as the high-leverage priorities SCS will focus on through 2025.  Through its commitment to addressing these critical areas, SCS will reach its goals of 80 percent of seniors will be on track to learn in a postsecondary classroom or enter the workforce straight out of high school; 90 percent of students will earn their high school diploma on time; and every student will enroll in a postsecondary opportunity college or career-ready. 

SCS’s new partnership with Discovery Education is specifically targeted at improving post-secondary readiness, developing teachers, leaders, and central office capacity, and expanding high-quality school options.  This will be achieved through the strategic integration of a variety of Discovery Education’s digital resources into classroom instruction at 20 schools serving students in grades K-12 across the district.  The schools participating in this initiative were selected through a competitive application process and will be the first SCS schools to experience this innovative new STEM curriculum.This initiative officially kicked off this week during a series of special launch events hosted at three SCS schools across the district.

“SCS recently received the second highest rating on the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2018 Accountability Report, which is evidence of the hard work of our school leaders, teachers and students” ,” said SCS Chief of Schools Dr. Angela Whitelaw. “However, our team is in no way resting on its accomplishments and we are seeking new ways to accelerate our success. Our new STEM initiative, which will be powered by rich digital resources and professional learning opportunities from Discovery Education, is just the latest example of the innovative approach Shelby County Schools are taking to prepare all students for success beyond graduation.”

Educators and students at the 20 participating campuses now have access to a number of Discovery Education’s award-winning digital services, including Discovery Education Streaming Plus.  A comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas, Streaming Plus helps build students’ mastery in interpreting, understanding, and evaluating information.  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, as well as a collection of new STEM/STEAM resources designed to fuel a cultural shift in teaching and learning.

Discovery Education’s STEM Connect has also been introduced into K-8 classrooms at participating schools and serves as a key component in the district’s effort to build an engaging STEM curriculum.  A cutting-edge, web-based, interdisciplinary K-8 supplemental resource built on a 4Cs STEM skills framework, STEM Connect helps students develop the creative, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills they need for success beyond graduation. Featuring flexible, modular learning units, STEM Connect provides students an easy-to-follow educational experience that includes real-world challenges, career connections, and hands-on activities.

Discovery Education’s Science Techbookrounds out the state-of-the-art digital services now available to SCS teachers and students.  The 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 resources as well, including STEM Project Starters that encourage students to produce creative solutions to real world problems and STEM In Action resources, that help students connect their work to STEM careers.  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.

To facilitate the integration of their new digital resources into classroom instruction, educators from the 20 SCS schools involved in this initiative will also participate in a three year professional development system from Discovery Education called STEMFormation.  Designed to build and sustain a culture of STEM teaching and learning, STEMFormation helps create a shared STEM vision, develops educators and administrators, cultivates inquiry-based, transdisciplinary instruction, and prepares our future workforce.

SCS educators will also be supported by the Discovery Education Community as they 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 proud to have been chosen to help Shelby County Schools reach the ambitious goals set forth in Destination 2025,” said Rob Warren, Discovery Education Vice President of Education Partnerships.  “Superintendent Dr. Dorsey Hopson, Chief of Schools Dr. Angela Whitelaw, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Antonio Burt, Chief of Staff Brian Stockton and the entire SCS team are deeply committed to improving classroom instruction and preparing students for future success in the workforce, and we are proud to be a part of this exciting effort.”

Use #SCSSTEMFORMATION to follow SCS’s STEM intitiative on social media.  For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, 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
As the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional learning, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries around the globe. Inspired by the global media company Discovery Inc., 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. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com.

Classification: 
Teaching & Learning