Pupils with special educational needs to stage funding protests

theguardian | May 28, 2019

Thousands of families with children who have special educational needs and disabilities (Send) are to stage protests across England over funding cuts they say have left many pupils without adequate support and unable to attend school.Parents, disabled children and their supporters will march in more than 25 locations on Thursday, including London, Bristol, Birmingham, Widnes, Worthing, Stevenage, Leamington Spa, Matlock, Colchester and Dorchester. It is part of a campaign by families whose struggle to secure the support their children need to access education has pushed the issue of Send funding up the political agenda before the government’s forthcoming spending review.Among the protesters will be Emma Parker, a primary school teacher from Durham whose 13-year-old son, James, will hand in a petition to Downing Street calling on the government to end what campaigners say is a national crisis in Send funding and delivery.

Spotlight

There are currently close to 14,000 public school districts across the United States. More than 3.5 million educators work within the schools in those districts. Factor in early childhood, higher education, private and Catholic schools, and other institutions, and those numbers only grow.

Spotlight

There are currently close to 14,000 public school districts across the United States. More than 3.5 million educators work within the schools in those districts. Factor in early childhood, higher education, private and Catholic schools, and other institutions, and those numbers only grow.

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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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CORPORATE LEARNING SYSTEMS

ACI Learning Named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies in 2022

ACI Learning, | August 20, 2022

ACI Learning, a leading provider of audit, cybersecurity and IT certification and professional development training that empowers individuals to start and advance their careers, is proud to be ranked among the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list. Since 2018, ACI Learning has increased the company headcount to 300+ employees globally, and achieved 345% revenue growth. ACI Learning’s unique training and SaaS platform supports professionals and enterprises along the full career lifecycle by leveraging deep domain content through multi-modal delivery, providing high value for must-have audit, Cybersecurity and IT training. Whether someone is looking to make a career change, prepare for a certification exam, advance in their career, or provide comprehensive training for their team, ACI Learning’s training and SaaS platform covers the latest technologies, trends and real-world applications needed to grow and succeed. “The ACI Learning team is incredibly proud to be included on the Inc. 5000 list. Our continued growth is a direct reflection of our team’s dedication to providing engaging and relevant training content for enterprise and channel partners as well as our users. We aim to support professionals at any point in their IT career,. “Every day, we set out to ‘do well by doing good’, and I look forward to bringing this mantra to life as ACI Learning continues to grow and lead the IT certification and online training market for audit, IT and cybersecurity learners.” Brett Shively, CEO, ACI Learning Over the last 12 months, ACI Learning has been engaged with the community through speaking at industry events such as the 2022 RSA Conference and the 2022 Learning Technologies Conference, supporting U.S. veterans through financial contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project as well as joining the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program as a participant, and will soon be launching over 30 free hours of hands-on learning to help close the digital skills gap. Most recently, ACI Learning announced that Practice Labs has achieved the milestone of helping one million learners start or improve their IT career. In addition to ACI Learning’s recognition on the Inc. 5000 list, ITProTV, ACI Learning’s ‘binge-worthy’ video training, certification prep and virtual lab experience, recently won multiple industry awards. ITProTV was recognized by the 2022 Cyber Defense Magazine Global InfoSec Awards as a Market Leader in the Cybersecurity Training category, and Next Gen in the Security Training category. Additionally, ITProTV’s impressive library of courses with over 6,000 hours of up-to-date content earned a spot on the Training Industry Awards’ 2022 Company Watch List for Online Learning Libraries. About ACI Learning ACI Learning trains professionals and leaders in Cybersecurity, Audit, and Information Technology. Whether they’re starting their career, mastering their profession, or developing their team, ACI Learning is with them every step of the way. ACI Learning believes that training is not a transaction, but an ongoing essential of life-long learning and career growth. The company helps professionals choose which learning path suits them best, delivers personalized training in the way they want it, and helps them to find the right career opportunity.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Connected Nation launches Digital Literacy program in collaboration with AT&T

Connected Nation | September 27, 2022

Connected Nation (CN) today announced the launch of a Digital Literacy and Learning program in collaboration with AT&T. The program, which is part of AT&T's national digital literacy initiative to help narrow the Digital Divide, will offer in-person and virtual digital literacy training workshops in underserved areas across the country where training is needed most for the digital empowerment of residents. CN will partner with local community organizations in each area to host training workshops from September 2022 through March 2023. In addition, CN will lead virtual and in-person workshops for military families at its Digital Works office in Fort Campbell, Kentucky"Digital literacy has long been part of Connected Nation's mission ensuring that every person is able to use technology meaningfully is absolutely essential in today's digital economy, said Heather Gate, Executive Vice President of Digital Inclusion. This program provides us the opportunity to meet people where they are in their digital skills level, confidence with embracing technology, and interest in enhancing their skills as new technology adopters. There is no better way to do this than by collaborating with trusted partners to bring much-needed training to local communities across the country. We are excited to get started. To launch this program, CN staff is reaching out to communities that previously participated in the nonprofit's technology planning process and identified digital literacy as a need. "Offering a tangible skill like digital literacy training to communities that Connected Nation works with allows us to model closing the Digital Divide in a real way," said Pamela Waggoner, Broadband Solutions Manager. The amount of federal and state funding earmarked for broadband initiatives continues to grow. More communities than ever have access to these funds, and can use them to bring programs like this one to their residents. "In recent months, there has been a considerable emphasis and focus on the large investments being made by federal and state governments to support the buildout of very high-speed networks across our communities.We also need to prepare these communities with the tools and training necessary to take advantage of these capabilities to help improve their lives. This initiative will be a significant factor in addressing that need." Dan Manning, CN Broadband Solutions Manager About Connected Nation Connected Nation celebrated 20 years of service in 2021. The national nonprofit's mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

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