Ed Department's draft accreditation rules loosen oversight

Educationdive | January 07, 2019

The U.S. Education Department is releasing a draft proposal for new rules to guide the higher ed accreditation process, Bloomberg Government reported.The proposed rules loosen oversight for accreditors and religious institutions, and they give colleges more flexibility to define their own programs — particularly concerning online and competency-based education (CBE), the credit hour and correspondence courses, Inside Higher Ed reported.It will be addressed in a negotiated rulemaking session on accreditors slated to run from Jan. 14 through March.In a meeting with higher ed industry leaders last month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hinted at her department's priorities for the upcoming rulemaking session. Among them were clarifying responsibilities for accreditors and state and federal regulators, as well as determining which existing rules affecting accreditors are "ambiguous, repetitious, or unnecessarily burdensome."

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3 Ways State Education Leaders Can Support School Districts consist of revise application requirements for title .Provide competitive grant for  to district most committed taking action.

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3 Ways State Education Leaders Can Support School Districts consist of revise application requirements for title .Provide competitive grant for  to district most committed taking action.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Varo Bank Launches "SaveUp" Financial Education Course in Collaboration with EVERFI

EVERFI | September 17, 2022

Varo Bank, the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank, announced today the launch of SaveUp, a free middle school savings curriculum designed in strategic partnership with social impact education innovator, EVERFI. The SaveUp course is the largest initiative to date of the Varo Money Power program, which includes free online financial education lessons for adults and the Russ x Varo Money Power financial education workshops for high school students designed in partnership with NBA superstar Russell Westbrook.SaveUp empowers students by providing them with the tools they need to build a strong savings foundation and will be available to 4,500 middle schools nationwide by June 2024. The course is aligned with Jump$tart National Standards for Personal Finance Education and focuses on middle school students to provide them time to learn and practice savings habits before they start to deal with more pressing financial challenges in high school and beyond. "Everyone deserves the same access to opportunity, and that starts with financial education,Through this joint initiative, Varo and EVERFI continue to advance our shared mission of expanding financial inclusion and helping young people learn the fundamentals of what it takes to build wealth for themselves and their communities. We plan to leverage this program content in the future to broaden the reach of financial education and literacy to a wider audience going forward." Colin Walsh, Founder and CEO of Varo Bank Throughout the course, students will learn the importance of saving, how to budget, how savings can help reach financial goals, and how to open a savings account. This will be accomplished through an interactive learning experience that includes: Self-guided lessons to help students develop simple, actionable strategies. Real-world scenarios that prime students for long-term behavioral change using problem-solving and self- reflection activities. Detailed score reports and offline extension activities to help teachers maximize their impact across all students. Middle school is a time of financial socialization for students as they start to develop their own values and beliefs around money," said Ray Martinez, Co-Founder and President of EVERFI. "Developing the SaveUp curriculum and bringing it to middle schools around the country, is just part of our commitment to help students, especially those in low-to-moderate income populations, build the knowledge and skills they need to achieve financial wellness and stability while providing equal access to the financial services system. About Varo Bank, N.A. Varo Bank is the first all-digital, nationally chartered U.S. consumer techbank built from the ground up, designed to make financial inclusion and opportunity a reality for all. Varo Bank is reimagining the modern banking experience and providing customers with the tools they need to build financial resilience and realize their financial power – with offerings such as Varo Believe, a secured card to help build credit, Varo Advance to help stretch hard-earned dollars between paychecks, the ability to earn cashback at 1,000 merchant locations nationwide, and a newly launched high yield savings account option, more than 38x the national average. A different kind of financial institution – Varo Bank serves everyone striving to build a better future – from those with abundance to people struggling to make ends meet. Varo has been named one of Forbes' World's Best Banks in 2022, Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies, and is on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies for 2022. For more information on Varo Advance, Varo Believe, and other offerings such as Perks, visit www.varomoney.com, like Varo Bank on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter @varobank. @2022 Varo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. About EVERFI, Inc. EVERFI from Blackbaud is an international technology company driving social impact through education to address the most challenging issues affecting society ranging from financial wellness to mental health to workplace conduct and other critical topics. Founded in 2008, EVERFI's Impact-as-a-Service™ solution and digital educational content have reached more than 45 million learners globally. In 2020, the company was recognized as one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company and was featured on Fortune Magazine's Impact 20 List. The company was also named to the 2021 GSV EdTech 150, a list of the most transformative growth companies in digital learning. Blackbaud, the world's leading cloud software company powering social good, acquired EVERFI in December of 2021.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Amazon adds academic and career coaching to employee benefits

Amazon | August 03, 2022

Amazon is partnering with education organizations Beyond 12 and Kaplan to bring even more features to the Career Choice program - one of Amazon’s nine skills training programs. Career Choice already offers pre-paid college tuition to its more than 750,000 hourly employees. With these new partnerships, employees will have access to career coaching, college advising, and specialized career services free of cost. Through the expanded benefits program, employees will receive virtual one-on-one coaching to help them identify the academic programs that best fit their skills and long-term goals, as well as continuous support throughout their higher education experience. Studies consistently show that expanding access to higher education is a proven way to create social and economic mobility for Americans. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, individuals with some college but no degree earn 18% more than their peers with just a high school diploma, while those with a bachelor’s degree earn 62% more. However, numerous studies show that access to higher education is only the start, and that all too often students with the best intentions don’t finish their programs. Harvard University studies found that fewer than 40% of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment, and completion rates are even lower for minorities, older students, and part-time students. In fact, the Pell Institute found that only 9% of students with lower incomes earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid 20s, compared with 77% of their higher-earning peers. That’s why Amazon is investing in programs to help employees get the guidance and coaching they need to be successful students free of cost. While financial constraints are undoubtedly a barrier for students, high-quality academic advising and career coaching improves academic outcomes—especially for lower-income or first-generation postsecondary students. “While Career Choice has always been complemented by advisement services, feedback from participants has shown that more comprehensive and ongoing coaching would help employees choose programs better aligned to their career goals. We want Amazon team members to successfully navigate the challenges of going to school while working and ultimately use their new skills to find incredible opportunities, These partnerships with Beyond 12 and Kaplan are a game-changing enhancement to our program and the careers of Amazon’s employees.” -Tammy Thieman, Global Director for Career Choice at Amazon With these new partnerships, Amazon is envisioning an expansion of the Career Choice program - which has more than 80,000 total participants—that will encourage other employees to take the next step in skills training. Career Choice is designed to put employees on a path toward well-paying, in-demand professions with a coaching framework that empowers them along the way. Participating in Amazon’s Career Choice Coaching program has been a valuable experience, To know I have a personal coach I can rely on, build a rapport with, and who is committed to helping me advance my career goals has been reassuring, saidCicero Vieira, an Amazon fulfillment center employee in Baltimore. Beyond 12 is a national technology-based nonprofit whose mission is to improve the outcomes of students from under-resourced communities. The organization supplements live virtual coaching with a mobile app that guides students through activities, deadlines, and behaviors that lead to success throughout their education. Eliminating the barrier of tuition is a tremendous benefit for Amazon employees, but postsecondary education completion gaps can’t be ignored, Our coaching program helps identify and address the systemic and structural barriers students face before those challenges lead them to drop out. We’re pleased to partner with Amazon to go beyond getting students ‘into’ college and focus on getting students ‘through’ college, saidAlexandra Bernadotte, founder and CEO of Beyond 12. Kaplan helps prepare students for higher education by offering test prep, including for license and certification exams, while also offering degree programs, English learning, and pathway programs. Kaplan’s program with Amazon will connect employees to career services, such as networking, resume development, job interview preparation, and online brand building services, to enhance job placement. Kaplan is committed to helping people succeed, and this exciting new partnership with Amazon builds on our proud legacy of changing lives and building stronger futures. We’re thrilled to be empowering so many thousands of hardworking employees at Amazon and look forward to being at their side until they’ve reached their educational and professional objectives, said Greg Marino, CEO of Kaplan’s North America division.

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Orenda Education Merges With Think Together to Create Scalable School Improvement Nonprofit

Think Together | September 13, 2022

Think Together, one of California's largest nonprofits serving K-12 schools today announced it has completed the merger with Orenda Education, a top school improvement and professional development consultancy. Upon the close, the combined organization will serve more than 200,000 students across the state with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Moreover, the organization will be better positioned to rapidly scale their impact. "We're thrilled to bring our two organizations together in our combined efforts to improve student success and close the achievement gap,This merger is the natural evolution of Orenda's existing relationship with Think Together and solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring that the more than 2 million California students that are performing far below grade level have the support they need during the school day and beyond to succeed academically." Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth Over the past seven years, Think Together and Orenda have had an affiliate agreement in place while the full acquisition builds the long-term financial and operational capacities for Orenda to continue to scale. Orenda's work focuses on transformingeducation systems, either across a school district or by cohorts of schools, providing professional development to all levels of district staff, around a specific data-driven but people-centric school improvement model. Think Together partners with over 60 school districts and charter management organizations to provide more than 900 direct-to-student academic and enrichment programs at more than 450 school sites across California, serving more than 100,000 youth. Orenda Education works behind-the-scenes with school district leaders and educators to identify inequities in schools and then transform their systems to ensure all students have access to a premium education. "Think Together has always been an incredible partner, infusing the infrastructure needed to provide an efficient model for changing the odds for kids," said Orenda Education Founder and CEO Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle. "Our two models have always complemented each other but now, we can efficiently scale our vision for all students to receive the premium education they deserve." The acquisition comes as both organizations experience tremendous growth due in large part to new and renewed state investments in education to accelerate learning recovery efforts and provide educators with needed support amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, teachers, school leaders and administrators need to think outside the box to address the issues impacting students including socio-economic biases, social emotional learning, and more," added Barth. "Providing these much-needed supports to educators means districts and schools can provide the skills they need to teach, lead and counsel during and following a period of great disruption during the pandemic. Recently the U.S. Department of Education reported a dramatic decline in scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) known as the nation's scorecard. Two decades of growth for American students in reading and math were wiped away by just two years of pandemic-disrupted learning, according to national test scores released last week. And, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country's high- and low-achievers. Orenda's approach to school improvement has proven to accelerate student outcomes, such as mastery of grade-level standards (measured by math and English language SBAC scores), improved A-G class completion rates, and improved graduation rates. They also provide administrative coaching, teaching strategies, and leadership clinics. To expand these services, Orenda was recently awarded a $4 million Education Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education to digitize and distribute their school improvement approach through an online platform that is effective and highly scalable to schools and districts in any geography, and to those who require less in-person support. Think Together adds Orenda to their growing list of services that support student education in and around the school day. Think Together's flagship afterschool programs support students in underserved communities with homework help, enrichment, social-emotional learning and physical well-being, all to enable students to strive for college or a fulfilling career. To provide high-quality programs, Think Together partners with philanthropic organizations like the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Breaking down the barriers to opportunity, equity and access in education by keeping students and their success as the centered focus is one of the most meaningful investments for our future generations" said Alyssa Santino, Program Director of the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Ensuring the educators, leaders and structures around students are supported and inspired and effectively trained with research-based, proven and engaging strategies is imperative for thriving students and communities. We are pleased to partner with Think Together and Orenda Education as they excel in this space and continue to transform the trajectory of students and the schools they attend." Barth sees the combination of direct services to students through expanded and early learning, coupled with equity-based professional development, as an effective combination to supporting student achievement alongside their school district and charter partners. Dr. Paul Gothold, Superintendent of County Office of Education in San Diego agrees. His former district, Lynwood Unified School District, realized astonishing improvements when partnering with both Think Together and Orenda, including increasing graduation rates from 56% to 90.8%, and A-G college eligible rates from 18% to 53%. Orenda provides the technical expertise for true district turn-around. The systems approach and professional development modules to build staff capacity ensures all leaders have the tools and resources to provide a premium education for all students, said Gothold. "With Think Together's financial and operational support, Orenda is well positioned to continue providing much-needed education innovation to schools throughout the state and beyond. About Think Together For over 25 years Think Together has partnered with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators.

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