Ed Dept awards $123M in grants promoting STEM innovation

educationdive | September 30, 2019

The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Friday announced $123 million in new grant funds distributed to 41 school districts, nonprofits and state educational agencies, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release. Awarded states received anywhere between $1.4 and $8.6 million to fund innovative programs meant to improve academic achievement for high-need students. Of the grant money, $30 million was awarded to eight districts, organizations or state agencies in rural areas, while over $78 million was distributed to nearly 30 grantees to fund STEM projects and education. Out of the latter, an overwhelming majority also included a specific focus on computer science. The grants were awarded as part of the Education Innovation and Research Program (EIR), which was established under the Obama administration in 2016. At its conception, the program was to allocate approximately a fourth of its grant funds to support rural areas, and all funds were meant to help support grantees in finding innovated solutions to overcome persistent educational challenges facing underserved students and boost achievement.

Spotlight

Innovative districts are expanding their summer programs beyond traditional remediation of course failure to meet a wide range of student learning needs. These innovative programs include options to earn initial course credit, prepare for college entrance exams, and remediate gaps in the prerequisite knowledge needed for success in the upcoming grade level. Effective summer programs increase equity and opportunity by offering a range of options that serve increasingly diverse student populations across grade levels.More recently, forward-thinking districts have introduced digital curriculum to support credit recovery efforts and to personalize student learning through prescriptive assessment. This innovation has enabled competencybased progression, and allowed for extended work outside of school time. Students can now work at their own pace, potentially faster than the pace of the class. The shift to digital curriculum also allows teachers to facilitate more than one course within a single classroom section, potentially saving districts thousands of dollars in staffing costs.

Spotlight

Innovative districts are expanding their summer programs beyond traditional remediation of course failure to meet a wide range of student learning needs. These innovative programs include options to earn initial course credit, prepare for college entrance exams, and remediate gaps in the prerequisite knowledge needed for success in the upcoming grade level. Effective summer programs increase equity and opportunity by offering a range of options that serve increasingly diverse student populations across grade levels.More recently, forward-thinking districts have introduced digital curriculum to support credit recovery efforts and to personalize student learning through prescriptive assessment. This innovation has enabled competencybased progression, and allowed for extended work outside of school time. Students can now work at their own pace, potentially faster than the pace of the class. The shift to digital curriculum also allows teachers to facilitate more than one course within a single classroom section, potentially saving districts thousands of dollars in staffing costs.

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CORPORATE LEARNING SYSTEMS

Rosetta Stone and HIAS Extend Partnership Providing Free Language Learning Lessons to Refugees During Global Resettlement Efforts

Rosetta Stone | December 14, 2021

Rosetta Stone, the world's leading language learning brand, and HIAS, the international Jewish humanitarian organization, have extended their partnership to provide HIAS' refugee clients with free language learning software. Through the collaboration, Rosetta Stone donated 500 subscriptions that will help newly resettled refugees acquire language skills, more easily integrate into local communities, and open pathways to economic inclusion. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that nearly 2 million people were forced to flee their homes during the first six months of 2021. Notably, forced migration is not specific to any one geographic region: Humanitarian crises around the globe are putting people at extreme risk; asylum seekers and refugees are braving unsafe conditions to start new lives; and political unrest is creating entire populations of stateless people with little emergency assistance. HIAS is uniquely qualified to address the modern refugee crisis and has helped more than 4.5 million people escape persecution. The organization facilitates application processes, resettles the most vulnerable people from all over the world, and works with U.S.-based social-service organizations to welcome refugees into local communities. HIAS first partnered with Rosetta Stone in 2019 to help refugees more easily enter into American society through language instruction. Rosetta Stone and HIAS then extended their collaboration in 2021 to continue assisting HIAS' clients with their education, social integration efforts and employment opportunities. HIAS and its clients have access to language lessons in 25 languages, including English, Arabic, Spanish, and more. "Our partnership with Rosetta Stone has given refugees additional tools to acclimate to their new lives and navigate the resettlement process with increased confidence and language skills. We are excited to continue this partnership and continue to provide opportunities to our staff and clients to communicate more easily and create welcoming communities." Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS Bahati Buzindu, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and HIAS client, shared, "Rosetta Stone is really helping me understand what other people are talking about, and I've been encouraging—and teaching—other refugees to use it, too!" "Refugees come from all walks of life: They are doctors and farmers, interpreters and caregivers; some speak multiple languages, while others were denied a formal education. Regardless of a person's skill set, adjusting to a new home is incredibly difficult, especially after being forced to flee one," said Jennifer Gu, COO of IXL Learning, Rosetta Stone's parent company. "HIAS and Rosetta Stone's partnership is an important step toward helping resettled people grow new language skills, and empowering them to ease into communities and lead independent lives." Through Rosetta Stone, learners practice new languages in an immersive environment that helps them build the fluency and confidence to speak. Lessons are filled with real-world images and audio from native speakers that accelerate language acquisition. Additionally, the TruAccent speech engine compares voices to native speakers, gives immediate feedback on pronunciation, and helps refugees feel confident participating in real-world conversations. As part of the partnership, Rosetta Stone also provides HIAS employees with training on how to effectively administer language learning to users for maximum effectiveness. Additionally, HIAS and its affiliate network staff use Rosetta Stone to learn the native languages of the refugees they support, to better understand them and serve their needs. About Rosetta Stone Rosetta Stone is dedicated to changing people's lives through the power of language education. The company's innovative digital solutions drive positive learning outcomes for the inspired learner at home or in schools and workplaces around the world. Founded in 1992, Rosetta Stone uses advanced digital technology to help all types of learners read, write, and speak 25 languages. Rosetta Stone joined the IXL Learning family of brands in 2021. About HIAS HIAS is the international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in 16 countries. We advocate for the rights of all forcibly displaced people to rebuild their lives and seek to create a world in which they find welcome, safety, and opportunity.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Educators Share Positive Stories of Hybrid and Virtual Learning in the Ciena Solutions Challenge Roundtable

Ciena Solutions | August 26, 2021

As the new school year approaches, educators are looking for ways to encourage students to stay engaged with virtual and hybrid learning while helping them take ownership of their learning. Join the Ciena Solutions Challenge educator roundtable on Tuesday, August 31 to hear from teachers on how they encouraged students to stay engaged with virtual learning, built positive relationships with students, and helped them find an authentic purpose for learning through the Ciena Solutions Challenge. Educators from the United States and India will share stories of how they supported students in developing solutions for issues related to mental health, climate change and the environment, and community resource mapping. Click here for a summary of the projects students completed during the Ciena Solutions Challenge pilot. The Ciena Solutions Challenge is a design challenge inviting middle and high school students globally to design solutions that address the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals in their communities. Educators around the world may register now for the Challenge, and beginning on Wednesday, September 15, educators may apply for a $2,500 USD Sustainability Award to sustain and scale students' projects. Educators and students will also receive mentoring, professional learning, and showcase opportunities throughout the Challenge. Ciena's Digital Inclusion program aims to mobilize the company's global workforce, leverage its innovation leadership, and collaborate with customers, suppliers and other partners to bridge the digital divide. Ciena has committed to fund $10 million (USD) over a five-year period on programming that promotes digital inclusion through greater connectivity, access to technology and digital skilling, with a goal of expanding opportunities for 100,000 underserved students in our global communities. About Digital Promise Digital Promise is a nonprofit organization that builds powerful networks and takes on grand challenges by working at the intersection of researchers, entrepreneurs, and educators. Our vision is that all people, at every stage of their lives, have access to learning experiences that help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to thrive and continuously learn in an ever-changing world.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Teaching Strategies Launches First-of-its-Kind Coaching App to Support Teachers, Children Impacted by Trauma

Teaching Strategies | December 27, 2021

Teaching Strategies, the country's leading developer of early childhood curriculum, assessment, professional learning, and family engagement solutions, today announced the acquisition of Noni Educational Solutions, a trauma-focused edtech start-up that has developed a groundbreaking, app-based resource designed to support preschool-5th grade teachers working with children who have been impacted by trauma. The solution, called noni™ for Teachers, was developed in partnership with Adventist HealthCare The Lourie Center for Children's Social & Emotional Wellness, a pioneer in research on best practices for supporting children impacted by trauma and adverse childhood experiences. "Even prior to the pandemic, more than two-thirds of children had experienced at least one traumatic event by the age of 16," said Jimmy Venza, Ph.D., child psychologist and executive director of the Lourie Center. "In the aftermath of these past two years and the resulting stresses placed on families and children, that statistic is only likely to worsen." "Now more than ever, teachers need and deserve our support for trauma-informed instruction and coaching. We're excited to welcome Noni Educational Solutions to the Teaching Strategies family. noni™ for Teachers fills a gap not met by any other solution in the market and gives educators the tools and support they need to care for children impacted by trauma and help them regulate behavior so they can learn." Teaching Strategies CEO John Olsen noni™ for Teachers is an app-based digital coach and collection of classroom teaching resources that guide teachers through providing trauma-informed instruction. The app uses real-time responsive technology, serving up immediate guidance based on teacher input and giving teachers the ability to track and even predict child behaviors that stem from exposure to toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences. "We know from decades of research on working with young children who have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences that the teacher-child relationship can actually act as a buffer against the negative impact of trauma," said Kai-leé Berke, co-founder of Noni Educational Solutions and an author of many of Teaching Strategies' curriculum and assessment resources. "Having personally experienced traumatic circumstances as a young child, and eventually teaching and caring for young children who had also had exposure to adverse childhood experiences, I know firsthand what teachers face as students return to the traditional classroom. Addressing the lifelong mental and physical challenges that can result from trauma is essential to a student's success, and we must ensure our educators have the support to do so." The app also provides intervention and prevention plans, whole-class guidance, support for partnering with families of trauma-impacted children, built-in teacher professional development around trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and resources that address teachers' own self-care and mental wellness. The app and teaching resources will be available for immediate purchase by schools and programs. It seamlessly joins Teaching Strategies' family of solutions to support social-emotional learning in early childhood education including The Creative Curriculum®, Al's Pals™, GOLD®, ReadyRosie®, and professional development courses. About Teaching Strategies Driven by research that shows a child's first eight years form a critical foundation for success in school and in life, Teaching Strategies has been an advocate for the early education community for over 40 years. Today, Teaching Strategies connects teachers, children and families to inspired teaching and learning experiences, informative data, stronger family partnerships, and professional learning through the leading early learning platform and resources. Its products, including the most widely-used curriculum and assessment solutions The Creative Curriculum® and GOLD®, are found in over 270,000 classrooms and reach over 2 million children each year. To learn why thousands of early childhood programs and many states choose to partner with Teaching Strategies to help ensure children's success in school and in life. About Noni Educational Solutions Noni Educational Solutions is an education technology start-up that is developing support and resources for teachers and caregivers who have children in their classrooms who have been impacted by adverse childhood experiences. Their mission is to support teachers across the country in providing trauma-informed, relationship-based, responsive care to young children. Co-founded by Kai-leé Berke and Tia Disick, lifelong early education professionals, the company is focused on developing innovative ways to leverage the power of technology to support building the kind of safe, secure relationships between teachers and trauma-impacted young children that lay the foundation for successful content learning. About Adventist HealthCare's The Lourie Center for Children's Social & Emotional Wellness The Lourie Center is a private, non-profit agency with a mission to improve the social and emotional health of young children and their families through prevention, early intervention, education, research and training. It was founded in 1983 by the late Dr. Reginald S. Lourie, a world-wide leader in the fields of pediatric child psychiatry and infant mental health, and his renowned colleagues, including Dr. T. Berry Brazelton and Dr. Stanley Greenspan, as an outgrowth of their six-year clinical research project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Decades of extensive research confirm the impact of The Lourie Center's programs for trauma-impacted young children, including an 80% success rate in transitioning children to public school; academic and social gains; and reduced suspension and expulsion rates.

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