Should schools fill key roles with volunteers?

theguardian | January 22, 2019

News that an academy trust founded by the Conservative peer Lord James O’Shaughnessy is advertising for unpaid volunteers to fill key roles in its two primary schools was met with disbelief and dismay by teachers earlier this month. The Floreat Education Academies Trust is looking for full-time and part-time volunteers to fill the jobs of finance assistant, office administrator and personal assistant to the chief executive, Janet Hilary, who was paid £128,768 in 2018.“No, schools shouldn’t rely on volunteers – although with funding levels at an all-time low, I can understand why school leaders are having to make such difficult decisions. We are at a cliff edge. There are more than 300,000 additional pupils in the system since 2015, the education services grant for academies has been scrapped to the tune of £600m, and almost a third of local authority secondary schools are in deficit. Not to mention the increase in pensions and national insurance contributions.

Spotlight

Globalization has brought new ways of working, living, and therefore also studying. In 2017, according to the data of UNESCO (2019), there were over 5.3 million international students studying around the world, up from 2 million in 2000. As higher education institutions, we adapt academic systems to address the talent needs from the industry as well as the needs from cohorts of more nomadic students.

Spotlight

Globalization has brought new ways of working, living, and therefore also studying. In 2017, according to the data of UNESCO (2019), there were over 5.3 million international students studying around the world, up from 2 million in 2000. As higher education institutions, we adapt academic systems to address the talent needs from the industry as well as the needs from cohorts of more nomadic students.

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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

WorkRamp Launches "WorkRamp Content" to Help Businesses Build Impactful Learning Programs that Develop Employees and Unlock Exponential Growth

WorkRamp | September 29, 2022

WorkRamp, the All-in-One Learning Platform, today announced the release of WorkRamp Content, powered by one of the world's largest corporate education content hubs, Go1. WorkRamp Content is one of the most comprehensive content solutions for organizations that are invested in developing their people to unlock exponential growth.With this product, relevant industry- and role-based content can be curated to complement the organization's learning strategy, and businesses can leverage the power of prebuilt, proven content to build impactful programs that attract, develop, and retain talent and mitigate corporate risk by maintaining compliance. "Businesses need their workforces to be highly skilled if they are to stay competitive in today's market, and that means learning cannot stop,Those that really invest in making learning a growth engine for their organizations recognize that effective content is fundamental to this strategy. Now they can find not only flexible content creation and collaboration within WorkRamp's platform but also the most relevant expertise to uplevel their people." Ted Blosser, CEO and Co-Founder of WorkRamp With over 85,000 course resources from more than 250 providers in one learning center of excellence, WorkRamp Content provides exactly what employees want, in whichever format, length, and style are effective for them. The catalog of resources from the world's top providers such as EasyLlama, ej4, The Expert Academy, Mind Tools, Pluralsight, Sandler Training, Skillsoft, and Traliant empowers learning administrators to upskill their teams for more meaningful business contributions. They also have access to complimentary content recommendations and curation in partnership with Go1's team. Customers should expect learner engagement to increase sixfold once they leverage the ability to quickly provide employees with meaningful content within their learning platform. Businesses want their learners to be able to develop and apply their skills in the flow of work and in systems they recognize. Those that invest in WorkRamp to support their development strategy and growth can now really achieve this most effective approach to learning by accessing Go1's vast training and content libraries, said Marc Havercroft, President of Go1. With WorkRamp Content, customers are now able to draw on all levels of instructional design capability and better align their learning content strategy with an overall learning strategy. The All-in-One Learning Platform provides course authoring tools out of the box for building content just the way the business wants it, customizable course templates to set teams up with solid starting points, and now prebuilt, proven content that can be rapidly deployed for immediate business impact.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY, ONLINE EDUCATION

Google for Education Partners with Instructure to Simplify Integration and Extend Digital Classroom Capabilities

Instructure | September 22, 2022

Instructure, the maker of Elevate Data Sync, has entered into an agreement with their partner, Google, that bridges the integration gap for Google Classroom users with a robust and comprehensive solution. With the integration, educational institutions can now keep course data and rosters synchronized between their student information systems (SIS or MIS) and Google Classroom. This means that educators no longer must set up their courses manually or have students use a join code. Teachers can now simply click "accept" when their course is automatically created.Instructure, the maker of Elevate Data Sync, has entered into an agreement with their partner, Google, that bridges the integration gap for Google Classroom users with a robust and comprehensive solution. With the integration, educational institutions can now keep course data and rosters synchronized between their student information systems (SIS or MIS) and Google Classroom. This means that educators no longer must set up their courses manually or have students use a join code. Teachers can now simply click "accept" when their course is automatically created. Elevate Data Sync, Instructure's standards-based interoperability solution that enables secure sharing of student, staff and learning data, will create classes with all the right students ahead of the first day of school and keep them updated if a student changes classes. This automated and adaptable integration can hopefully save teachers, students and the professionals who support them significant amounts of time. Through our partnership with Elevate Data Sync by Instructure, we have added the ability to sync the rosters from your student information system to Classroom, so classes can be automatically created and updated, launching in 15 countries," said Alisa Sommer, head of edtech partnerships at Google. "Education data integration is a complex problem, so we wanted an enterprise-class partner with deep expertise and a cloud-based platform that supports multiple standards and integration methods. "This partnership with Google Classroom is an ideal example of how Instructure's Learning Platform empowers partners and institutions to innovate and integrate faster,We're proud to be able to work with Google to find a solution that makes the job of educators easier while maintaining the highest level of privacy and security for student data." Kevin Turco, vice president of product management at Instructure Schools with Google Workspace for Education Plus that are interested in trying out the integration can sign up for the beta and can find onboarding help on Instructure's Community page. Schools can request more information about Google Workspace for Education Plus if they don't have a subscription already. Once signed up for the beta, admins will be able to integrate class lists and timetables (rosters) directly with most major student information systems or can opt to connect using OneRoster or CSV files. The solution is available and localized in Australia, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. ABOUT INSTRUCTURE Instructure ( NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world.

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