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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

When resources are scarce and distances are vast, how can school districts leverage curriculum, technology and instructional support to deliver customized learning that breaks the industrial-age barriers of time, space, path and pace? In this web seminar, originally broadcast on February 19, 2015, an administrator from TIE (Technology and Innovation in Education) in the Black Hills Online Learning Community in South Dakota discussed how the organization is leveraging online learning resources to create customized and blended learning opportunities for students.

Personalized blended and online learning programs have helped many districts provide access to more courses and to improve student outcomes. But how do you start a program and then scale it across your school and district? In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 18, 2015, representatives from Getting Smart and educators from an innovative district in Kentucky discussed the key lessons learned in implementing online and blended learning, and how these programs can benefit teachers and students.

NICOLE BONO
Director, marketing
Fuel Education

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.

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