How can school, district leaders help students learn to read?

Educationdive | January 07, 2019

Poverty alone cannot account for the fact that 32% of 4th-graders and 24% of 8th-graders nationally can’t read at a basic level, and less than 40% are at least proficient in reading — and those data points are drawing questions around whether reading instruction methods are a large part of the problem, NPR reports.Many teachers have little training in reading instruction or have been incorrectly taught that reading is a natural process, with little background on the science or research behind literacy learning. As school and district leaders assume the responsibility for providing that instruction to teachers, reading scores can improve.After a school district in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hired an educational consultant to provide science-based reading instruction training to its early elementary school teachers, reading scores improved, and 84% of kindergartners met or exceeded the benchmark score in 2018.Providing students with a proper foundation in reading was the main goal of public education and remains one of the most important goals today. When students learn to read well in early elementary schools, reading scores not only improve, but students will likely perform better in other subjects because they have a clearer understanding of texts and can work more independently. That improvement will carry over into later grades as well as better preparing students for the future.

Spotlight

Personalized, competency-based learning allows students to engage deeply with what they’re learning, and for Strom Thurmond High School Principal Josh Black, it’s a critical step in preparing his graduates for an uncertain future.

Spotlight

Personalized, competency-based learning allows students to engage deeply with what they’re learning, and for Strom Thurmond High School Principal Josh Black, it’s a critical step in preparing his graduates for an uncertain future.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Texthelp Releases U.S. Data Highlighting State of Learning for Students with Dyslexia

Texthelp | August 18, 2022

Today, Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and digital learning tools for education, released new survey results on the current state of teaching and learning for students with dyslexia. The survey, concluding in March 2022, reflects insights from more than 3,000 school staff representing thousands of schools across the country. The goal was to identify common problems in student teaching and learning that could be addressed, and to help build better, more inclusive learning environments. According to nearly half of the teachers surveyed, assistive technology is one of the top approaches that helps students with dyslexia, along with reading and phonemic awareness instruction. With one billion people globally living with a non-visible disability, such as dyslexia, it is critical that all students have the tools they need to understand and learn. How students digest information and communicate their knowledge looks different for everyone. More inclusive approaches to learning, such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), are the future of education. "I have severe dyslexia and looking back, I could have benefited from having early access to assistive technology that was designed for people just like me," said Sierra Goodfellow, a current student. "Instead, I endured many barriers and obstacles while learning. It wasn't until much later that I finally found an assistive technology tool that understood me. I had thought something was wrong with me when really I needed a tool that was made for someone who thinks differently." "It would be extremely valuable for students like Sierra and teachers of students with dyslexia if the right accommodations were always available from the start, Texthelp. "All students should have a choice in how they learn. For Sierra, that was being able to understand the text by listening to it being read aloud." Martin McKay, Founder and CEO, Texthelp. More than 52 percent of teachers surveyed find 'a lot of value' in providing students with dyslexia access to assistive technology tools. However, more than 54 percent of the respondents said their district will only provide accommodations to students who show a need. Providing tools to only those students who 'show' signs of their disability or disclose their learning challenges leaves out many students who are either undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or are afraid to disclose their diagnosis to indicate the support that they need."It is critical that all school districts provide assistive technology tools to every student, whether or not they are neurodivergent, neurotypical, or physically disabled," said McKay. "Providing tools for all students can bolster inclusivity in the classroom and welcomes all types of learners. Students should be attuned to how they learn best. Thoughtful, inclusive practices in the classroom make learning easier and more enjoyable for everyone." Additional findings from the survey include: 52% find assistive technology tools to be highly valuable for students with dyslexia Assistive technology tools can benefit all students, especially those with hidden disabilities, such as dyslexia. Providing assistive technology tools with various capabilities that are designed using UDL principles is most effective in supporting student success. Most districts provide free tools, such as built-in tools (71.73%) and free accessibility apps (54.87%), to students as a source of reading/writing accommodations Free tools and built-in tools aren't accessible everywhere throughout a students' education journey. When using these tools, students are limited in where they can utilize their accommodations. Oftentimes, users cannot access these tools when taking tests or searching online, which can create more barriers than solutions. Respondents felt that the best ways to make assistive technology more impactful for students with dyslexia are: Having the ability to identify student needs and match those with appropriate digital learning tools (55.51%) Having teachers embrace assistive technology in the classroom (52.10%) More training for staff (50.55%) About Texthelp Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company helping people all over the world to understand and to be understood. It has led the way in creating innovative technology for the education and workplace sectors for the last three decades.Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. With over 50 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, Equatio®, WriQ®, OrbitNote®, ReachDeck® and FluencyTutor® which work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite, enabling them to be integrated quickly into any classroom or workplace with ease.In 2021, Texthelp acquired the Lingit Group, Wizkids and Don Johnston Inc. By combining capabilities and knowledge across the group, Texthelp can now provide a whole suite of literacy and numeracy support to a greater number of end-users across more geographies.

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ONLINE EDUCATION

One League Connects the World's Gifted Changemakers to World-Class Education and Opportunity

One League | September 05, 2022

One League, a new global education institution connecting the world's promising changemakers to best-in-class education and opportunity, today announced its launch.One League offers an Ivy League quality graduate-level education, via globally accessible live, synchronous online classes, with curriculum curated and licensed from Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, in collaboration with Harvard Business Publishing, MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), and Stanford Online. The organization offers a two-year Master of Business Administration (MBA), along with a MicroMasters® in Statistics and Data Science from MITx, and a Certificate of Achievement in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Stanford Online. One League fellows are championed by the organization's extensive coalition of industry executives and leaders and receive guidance, support, and access to opportunities to seek venture funding to propel world-changing ideas. One League's inaugural class of 60 fellows has received a 100% tuition-free scholarship covering all expenses of the program, as well as a monthly technology access stipend. The fellows represent over 30 countries including Afghanistan, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Uganda, and the United States. The cohort includes a Forbes 30 Under 30 Awardee, a Presidential Award Winner, a Human Rights Fellow, a Global Prize Winner to Combat Energy Poverty, and a Top 100 Women in Technology Awardee. Fellows are working on audacious projects such as realizing energy equity across Africa, creating agents of change in Southeast Asia, and building technology incubators in the Middle East. The class includes survivors of war, first generation college graduates, refugees, ethnic and cultural minorities, and sole breadwinners for their families living under the poverty line. One League is founded by Umaimah Mendhro, an accomplished Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Harvard Business School alum. Mendhro grew up in rural Pakistan and lived in exile in Saudi Arabia, with limited access to formal education for much of her life. Mendhro went on to attend two Ivy League institutions, Cornell University and Harvard Business School, where she was amongst the top 5% in her graduating class. She applied her education to build a multi-million-dollar e-commerce brand, VIDA. One League fulfills Mendhro's lifelong mission to empower changemakers and unlock human potential around the world. "Our mission is to democratize access to privilege and opportunity. One League's Inaugural Class has the ambition, grit, and potential to become future leaders in their countries, build economic engines in their regions, and ultimately help raise nations out of poverty, if only given a seat at the table.Our inaugural class represents the millions of gifted individuals who acutely experience the vast global challenges our world faces today. They each have the empathy and capability to build the critical solutions our world demands, given the opportunity." Umaimah Mendhro, Founder and President of One League All One League classes are conducted in real time via online sessions. Fellows join from their respective countries to learn from award-winning faculty. The MBA program is led by a set of distinguished One League faculty, who have taught at top-tier institutions, authored award-winning books and published articles, and are dedicated to the rigor of One League's world-class learning opportunities. Distinguished One League faculty that will teach the Harvard Business School curriculum using the HBS case study method, includes Dr. Rob Austin, Dr. June Cotte, Dr. Noel Maurer, Dr. Partha Mohanram, Dr. Gautam Mukunda, and Dr. J. Peter Scoblic. "Harvard Business Publishing is pleased to support One League in their mission of democratizing access to world-class management education. The delivery of the core curriculum through the case method pioneered at Harvard Business School is evident of One League's commitment to rigor and high-quality learning experiences that should be accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their means," said Ellen Desmarais, Senior Vice President of Higher Education at Harvard Business Publishing. "We're thrilled One League joined the MIT IDSS Alliance to expand our joint mission to provide top-notch online learning with hands-on group interaction. We strongly share One League's commitment to providing high-quality education regardless of financial circumstances," said Professor Devavrat Shah, Faculty Director, MITx MicroMasters® program in Statistics and Data Science. "Our collaboration with One League and other institutions opens the door for more students, regardless of means, to develop an innovation and entrepreneurial mindset, learning from leading faculty at Stanford and from industry experts to solve real-world challenges and create lasting positive impact," said Carissa Little, Associate Dean, Global and Online Education, at the Stanford School of Engineering, and Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Professional Development, which manages Stanford Online. One League is providing access to the knowledge, networking and opportunity that are hallmarks of top-tier educational institutions. One League has created a Global Mentorship Board that connects each fellow with an accomplished industry leader for the duration of their two-year program, as well as for two years after graduation. Mentorship Board members are alumni of Harvard, Stanford, and MIT and include over 50 industry leaders and executives from business, technology, finance, healthcare, education, social impact, strategy consulting, and venture backgrounds. They include Bobby Barnes, John Coleman, Dalia Rahman, Ajay Sudan, Aduke Thelwell, and Board Chair Esther (Hsu) Wang. One League is a Public Benefit Corporation, is funded by a $1 million restricted grant Mendhro directed from her e-commerce company VIDA, which was initially backed by Google Ventures, Y Combinator, and other investors About One League: One League is a new global education institution that is connecting the world's gifted, underserved changemakers to world-class education and opportunity, irrespective of financial means. The organization collaborates with highly select top-ranking universities to offer life-changing education, via live synchronous sessions, led by world-renowned faculty members. Each One League fellow is championed by the organization's extensive coalition of industry executives and leaders, and receives access to competitive opportunities for recruitment and to seek venture funding to propel world-changing ideas.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Flywire Announces Acquisition of Cohort Go to Accelerate Growth with International Education Agents

Flywire | July 14, 2022

Today, Flywire Corporation , a global payments enablement and software company, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Cohort Go, an international education payments provider that brings additional students, agents and essential student services to Flywire. The acquisition will build on Flywire’s existing education business to accelerate the growth of its agent focus and team, deepen its commitment to product and payment innovation, and further invest in Asia-Pacific (APAC), a key geographic focus for Flywire. Cohort Go’s core focus is on providing international students with the ability to make cross-border tuition payments through international agents. Cohort Go’s agent platform is expected to bolster Flywire’s existing agent solutions to deliver even greater value to educational institutions, agents, and students. Additionally, with partner relationships in almost 40 geographies, Cohort Go’s global footprint and penetration in APAC and Latin America also present new growth and expansion opportunities for Flywire. “Recruiting agencies play a critical role in the international student journey by assisting students in finding placements in higher educational and other institutions. “Cohort Go has been prominent in this space, with a network of over 1,000 agent partnerships, including some of the most prestigious student recruitment agencies in the world.” Mike Massaro, CEO of Flywire Massaro continued: “As we continue to invest in our Flywire Advantage – the combination of our next-gen payments platform, proprietary global payment network and industry-specific software – we seek opportunities to embed deeper into the workflows of our clients, agents and payers, with the goal of driving more value for them. Cohort Go’s successful agent platform, global footprint and adjacent services complement our existing capabilities and will help us power the higher education ecosystem into the future.” Growth in international student recruitment indicates strong secular trend Recent research suggests that the international education industry is poised for significant growth. According to new data from the market intelligence firm HolonIQ, 8 million international students will be enrolled with foreign higher education institutions by 2030 – 3 million more than were abroad in 2019 – and that their total spending will amount to more than double what it was before the pandemic. As the demand for higher education accelerates, education agents are expected to play a critical role in international recruitment. Estimates from the international education consultancy, ICEF, suggest that more than 1 million students are placed through agents around the world, and rising. According to a 2021 report from the American International Recruitment Council and the National Association for College Admission Counseling, nearly half (49%) of U.S. colleges who responded were partnered with education agents, which is up from 36% of U.S. in 2017-2018. Agent growth is also on the rise in other popular higher education destination markets like Canada, whose international student population has grown sixfold over the past two decades. Cohort Go was founded in 2012 by industry experts Mark Fletcher and Paul Jones, who combined their respective expertise in banking and commercial software to enable students to pay for their international education using their local currency, saving on fees and transfer rates. Grounded in their aligned vision to deliver value to the broader education ecosystems, the founders continually sought ways to work with education agents, institutions and students alike, and evolved their single solution into an online platform that offers a tailored experience, with capabilities to reduce costs, increase choice and improve productivity. Today, Cohort Go partners with more than 1,000 agents globally. Students from more than 180 countries have leveraged Cohort Go, which services more than 60 currencies with local specialists all over the world. The integration of Cohort Go into Flywire’s existing agent platform will enable Flywire to provide even more value to agents, payers, and educational institutions. Combination of software and payments powers future vertical ecosystems Cohort Go’s strong regional focus in APAC, global agent relationships, and its existing payment infrastructure will help Flywire bolster its global payment network. Cohort Go’s relationships with payment partners all over the world will add to Flywire’s network of partners, further supporting Flywire’s clients and payers across all vertical industries. Additionally, the acquisition of Cohort Go also enhances Flywire’s ability to accelerate Flywire’s roadmap to enable a broader suite of financial services targeted to international students and other payers. Already, Cohort Go is improving the way students pay for and save on health insurance, which augments Flywire’s focus on adding more value through its payer services. “Working with our clients on delivering high-stakes, high-value tuition payments, we’ve continued to discover pain points in the education ecosystem that we believe we’re uniquely positioned to solve,” Massaro continued. “Cohort Go gives us an opportunity to accelerate the investment we have been making to further extend our value proposition to international students. With our Flywire Advantage, we can apply our existing framework of using software to drive value in payments to solve very specific use cases.” Complements strong organic growth The acquisition of Cohort Go is a continuation of Flywire’s long-term plan to supplement its strong organic growth and continually expand across all business lines. The acquisition is expected to be modestly accretive to revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. More details will be shared on the upcoming earnings call scheduled for August 9, 2022. About Flywire Flywire is a global payments enablement and software company. We combine our proprietary global payments network, next-gen payments platform and vertical-specific software to deliver the most important and complex payments for our clients and their customers. Flywire leverages its vertical-specific software and payments technology to deeply embed within the existing A/R workflows for its clients across the education, healthcare and travel vertical markets, as well as in key B2B industries. Flywire also integrates with leading ERP systems, such as NetSuite, so organizations can optimize the payment experience for their customers while eliminating operational challenges.

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