Can ditching letter grades improve student learning and engagement?

educationdive | February 15, 2019

Eliminating letter grades is appealing idea to many educators and gaining momentum among those who advocate for standards-based grading, competency-based grading or other alternative models. Ditching traditional letter grades reduces stress levels and competition among students, levels the playing field for less advantaged students, and encourages them to explore knowledge and take ownership of their own learning, Education Week reports. However, many critics — including a large percentage of parents — fear that eliminating letter grades lessens accountability and personal responsibility for students and does not adequately prepare them for the reality of college or future careers. A switch to non-traditional grading methods also requires strategic planning, careful implementation and great deal of support from all stakeholders involved. Another approach to grading — the “no-zero” policy — advocates for making a 50% the lowest score a student can receive on an assignment. But among educators, the practice is the most controversial when a student turns in no work at all. At a time when many states issue letter or number grades to schools, some educators are advocating the abolishment of such practices when it comes to students. Letter grades, they say, cause undue stress in students who become too competitive and miss the joy of education altogether. In fact, some school districts have redefined or abolished the practice of naming a valedictorian and salutatorian for this very reason.

Spotlight

A new infographic from K12 Insight explores the alarming pattern of school violence nationwide–and points to the critical importance of effective school safety policies.How is your school or district dealing with incidents or threats of violence? What safety protocols do you have in place? Tell us in the comments.

Spotlight

A new infographic from K12 Insight explores the alarming pattern of school violence nationwide–and points to the critical importance of effective school safety policies.How is your school or district dealing with incidents or threats of violence? What safety protocols do you have in place? Tell us in the comments.

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Herff Jones Virtual Learning Sessions Hit It Big With Yearbook Staffs

prnewswire | October 21, 2020

Herff Jones, an achievement division of Varsity Brands and the leading provider of graduation and educational products and services, launched Pivot Project Live, a series of six webinars all about "yearbooking" during the pandemic. Developed to address the unique challenges facing yearbook staffs everywhere, these live webinars are intended to ease the burden of creating a yearbook amidst a whole new normal. Hundreds of advisers from across the country tune in to hear from other top, long-time advisers to discuss hot topics like getting great photos from a distance, changing coverage plans to meet changing environments, and building a culture when face-to-face isn't the norm. Each week's webinar is themed and led by a new guest speaker with a Q&A at the end.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Cloudbeds Horizon launches to empower hospitality schools to upskill students in cloud technology

Cloudbeds | December 10, 2021

Cloudbeds, the hospitality industry’s fastest-growing technology provider, announced the launch of Cloudbeds Horizon, a new educational partners program designed to empower hospitality’s future leaders with modern technology skills and innovation. Cloudbeds Horizon launches following a successful pilot program with EHL, the world’s most prestigious hospitality management school. Cloudbeds Horizon partners with hospitality schools and universities worldwide to provide access to its innovative cloud software, knowledge base, and on-demand educational materials to help upskill students in modern cloud software and technology. For the EHL pilot, Cloudbeds partnered with the university’s hospitality technology class to develop a weeklong curriculum for students to gain experience managing test properties through the Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform. More than 300 students who follow EHL’s Bachelor in International Hospitality Management have participated in the class thus far, providing positive feedback on Cloudbeds’ intuitive design and ease of use. “Our goal at EHL is to ensure that our students are not just well-prepared for the future, but that they are leading the way and shaping the hospitality industry,” says Julien Simon, Lecturer at EHL. “We view Cloudbeds as a prime example of modern, state-of-the-art technology powering hospitality businesses around the world, and we are excited to partner with them to offer our students a hands-on learning experience on the platform.” “In the hospitality industry, digitalization and automation are becoming must-haves, not nice-to-haves. Cloudbeds Horizon is designed to ensure that all future generations of hospitality leaders are equipped with the technology skills they need to run successful, modern properties,” says Sebastien Leitner, VP of Partnerships at Cloudbeds. “At Cloudbeds, two of our core values are Discovery and Kaizen — always learning and always improving. Cloudbeds Horizon is a natural extension of these ideals. It is an investment in the development and training of the next generation of hoteliers and hosts, so that together we can drive the digital transformation of hospitality and collectively move the industry forward.” Adam Harris, CEO of Cloudbeds Cloudbeds Horizon is now available to any hospitality education program worldwide, with universities receiving special educational licenses for students to learn directly on the Cloudbeds Hospitality Platform. The platform can be tailored to accommodate the school curriculum, complete with specific exercises and activities designed for the class. With Cloudbeds Horizon, hospitality students can also enhance their learning experience with free access to Cloudbeds University, an online learning portal with hundreds of on-demand courses, training videos, industry best practice guides, and standard operating procedures for managing a successful hotel business. About Cloudbeds Cloudbeds is a SaaS company creating the most forward-thinking technology in the travel industry. We deliver a transformative technology platform upon which any lodging provider, from luxury hotels to campgrounds, can build and run their business. We help businesses reach travelers in every corner of the globe and empower them to spend more time with their guests, and less time worrying about technology. Cloudbeds has brought together the smartest minds from around the world to innovate new technology that challenges the status quo and makes the world a more connected welcoming place.

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

KKR Invests in Taylor’s Education Group to accelerate innovative and creative teaching and learning methods

Taylor’s Education Group | November 26, 2021

Global investment firm KKR and premium Southeast Asian private educator, Taylor’s Education Group (“TEG”), today announced the signing of agreements under which KKR will acquire a minority stake in Taylor’s Schools. Taylor’s Schools owns and operates six award-winning international schools – Garden International School, Nexus International School Singapore, Nexus International School Malaysia, Australian International School Malaysia, Taylor’s International School Kuala Lumpur, and Taylor’s International School Puchong. KKR’s investment positions Taylor’s Schools to accelerate growth and regional expansion. Focused on the K-12 education system, Taylor’s Schools seeks to empower its learners to become productive leaders in the global community through innovative and creative teaching and learning methods, preparing them for future opportunities. Taylor’s Schools is a member of TEG, a leading private education institution in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Other education-focused verticals under the TEG umbrella include Taylor’s University, Taylor’s College, The British University Vietnam and Taylor’s Hostel Management, among others. These education institutions continue to be wholly owned by TEG. “Over the years, Taylor’s Schools has grown in significance as a provider of top-class international school education in Malaysia and Singapore. With the intention to expand our portfolio of international schools in the ASEAN region, we are honoured that KKR has decided to collaborate with us in the next phase of our growth. We view their choice as a firm endorsement of the strategy of our K-12 schools platform. We believe that their commitment to building and sustaining long-term strategic partnerships suits us. They will complement our strength in education operations with their regional network, expertise in mergers & acquisitions as well as their access to capital. TEG will remain as the controlling shareholder of Taylor’s Schools and we are pleased that the current management team will continue managing our schools. We will ensure that the world class K-12 international education that we are known for and our community of parents and students have come to expect is sustained.” Dato’ Loy Teik Ngan, Executive Chairman of Taylor’s Schools SJ Lim, Managing Director at KKR, added, “We are excited by this opportunity to share our knowledge and provide a capital solution for Taylor’s Schools in its ambition to further expand into the region and provide quality educational experiences to more students. Under the leadership of Taylor’s Schools’ management team, all four brands have consistently achieved strong academic outcomes and we are confident that it is primed for more success. KKR also looks to leverage our operational experience, global network, and education expertise to further enhance Taylor’s Schools’ offerings.” Among its other areas of focus in Southeast Asia, KKR looks to support leading family businesses who contribute meaningfully to the region’s economic prosperity, in their efforts to build sustainable businesses into the next generation. KKR’s diversified and multi-asset investment platform provides KKR with the flexibility to support ambitious companies with a suite of comprehensive, bespoke financing solutions, further enhanced by its global experience and operational capabilities. In the education space, KKR has built up a strong track record in Asia and globally, including through investments in Lighthouse Learning (formerly EuroKids International), a leading Indian education services provider, Cognita Schools, a UK-based global private schools group, EQuest Education, a leading educational services provider in Vietnam, and Education Perfect, a leading education technology firm in Australia and New Zealand. KKR invests in Taylor’s Schools from its managed funds. Rothschild & Co. is the sole financial advisor to Taylor’s Schools and its shareholders on the transaction. About Taylor’s Education Group Taylor's Education Group is one of the largest private education groups in Malaysia with 20,000 students. It has established itself as a provider of highly regarded quality education and in the last decade has grown its operations to Singapore and Vietnam. With an unsurpassed track record built up over seven decades, Taylor’s has earned the reputation as the leading private educational provider in Malaysia, and offers a breadth of education institutions from pre-school to postgraduate courses. Among its tertiary institutions, Taylor's University is currently ranked the #1 private university in Malaysia & South East Asia by QS World University Rankings 2022 and, together with Taylor's College, has consistently been the winner of the People's Choice awards over the last decade, as well as received recognition from multiple professional bodies around the world. About KKR KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life, and reinsurance products under the management of The Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries.

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