Unions demand 5% teacher pay increase

TES | September 13, 2019

A coalition of teacher trade unions has urged education secretary Gavin Williamson to almost double the government’s pay offer to their members.In a letter to him they have said the 2.75 per cent offered was inadequate and asked instead for 5 per cent. The letter has been signed by the general secretaries of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the NAHT headteachers' union, the NEU teaching union and Voice.They said that although the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) had recognised there were serious and deepening teacher recruitment and retention problems, the 2.75 per cent increase would be below both inflation and the rate of pay increases in the wider economy. The letter said the STRB had made a clear link between recruitment and retention problems and teacher pay, noting “evidence relating to pay shows teachers at all career stages lagging behind other graduate professions”.It said the STRB’s 2.75 per cent recommendation “must be seen in the context of the lengthy period of real-terms cuts in teachers’ pay and the worsening position against other graduate professions and other groups in the wider economy”.

Spotlight

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has evolved significantly in recent years, achieving unprecedented levels of mobility, capability, versatility and security. VDI has also become very popular in educational environments. Educational institutions value VDI for the cost-savings potential, but also for the rich user experience that VDI enables for teachers and students.However, the applications and technological tools integral to modern-day learning environments are becoming more graphics intensive. As a result, performance problems stemming from the use of graphics-intensive applications have become increasingly commonplace in educational environments. The typical approach of rendering graphics through the CPU diverts the VDI from enabling the top performance of the tools and applications upon which schools have come to depend. CPUs were not designed to process visual representations of objects efficiently.

Spotlight

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has evolved significantly in recent years, achieving unprecedented levels of mobility, capability, versatility and security. VDI has also become very popular in educational environments. Educational institutions value VDI for the cost-savings potential, but also for the rich user experience that VDI enables for teachers and students.However, the applications and technological tools integral to modern-day learning environments are becoming more graphics intensive. As a result, performance problems stemming from the use of graphics-intensive applications have become increasingly commonplace in educational environments. The typical approach of rendering graphics through the CPU diverts the VDI from enabling the top performance of the tools and applications upon which schools have come to depend. CPUs were not designed to process visual representations of objects efficiently.

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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

Meazure Learning Acquires Scranton’s Certification and Licensure Business

Meazure Learning | June 29, 2022

Meazure Learning, the industry leader in high-stakes online testing services for professional and higher education testing markets, announced today that it has acquired the Certification and Licensure business of Scantron Corporation. The test center network, associated assessment software, exam development, psychometric, and client services and solutions specialist teams are all included in the acquisition of the Certification and Licensure business. By enhancing its best-in-class remote proctoring with a scalable, worldwide test center network and increased exam production capabilities, the purchase enables Meazure Learning for continued expansion and expands its product line for the professional certification and licensing testing market. When test centers had to close as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Meazure Learning experienced a spike in demand for its industry-leading online proctoring platform. Program administrators aim to give test-takers the option of taking exams safely in distant locations or in a conventional testing facility today. The convenience and flexibility of a multi-modal distribution solution allows test-takers to take a test whenever and wherever they want. Meazure Learning is expanding its existing network of 300 test centers in Canada to over 1,600 test sites globally by incorporating Scantron's Certification and Licensure test center network in order to fulfill the growing market demand. The acquisition will boost Meazure Learning's exam development and psychometric capabilities in addition to extending its secure delivery options. More significantly, the combined experience of the two firms will give clients access to greater capacity, thought leadership, research, and new best practices. The exam creation and psychometric team will more than double in size. "The acquisition of Scantron's Certification and Licensure business aligns with Meazure Learning's purpose of helping move people forward in their educational and professional pursuits. The combination of our best-in-class remote proctoring platform and newly expanded global test center network provides our customers and partners with the flexibility, reach, and innovative technology to deliver an exceptional candidate experience and superior outcomes for test-takers." - Tim McClinton, CEO of Meazure Learning

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ONLINE EDUCATION

Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers offers free enrichment program

Verizon | July 07, 2022

Verizon Innovative Learning, the company’s signature education initiative focused on addressing barriers to digital inclusion for over a decade, is rebranding and expanding its free project-based enrichment program to Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers. Previously known as two separate programs, Young Men of Color and Young Rural Women, the new Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers program, in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), will offer a more inclusive learning environment while still providing middle school students in under-resourced communities with the opportunity to discover new problem-solving skills and gain exposure to career opportunities in STEM fields. Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers will continue to offer an engaging, hands-on experience developed to enrich learning through design thinking, 3D printing, augmented reality, social entrepreneurship and mentorship. Developed by Arizona State University's Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute, the program’s interactive curriculum centers around four educational tracks: immersive media, smart solutions, digital product innovations and artificial intelligence. The year-round program, which begins with a summer immersion experience and then hosts one STEM Enrichment day in the fall and spring for new and returning students, is held in partnership with a total of 44 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and community colleges across the country. “One of the core tenets of Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers is to expose students to emerging technologies and teach students to think broadly about how technology can make the world a better place. “Since the program launched in 2017, we’ve been able to reach thousands of students, not only through hands-on learning, but through mentorships that help to deepen their connection to STEM, as well as build their confidence and leadership skills outside of the classroom.” Alex Servello, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Verizon “Being a part of Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers gave me access to amazing technology, which allowed me to enhance my skills in STEM and build upon my innate design capabilities,” said Christopher, a 16-year-old student who previously participated in the program at Tuskegee University. “Through the program I also met great new friends and mentors and learned about the latest trends in technology. I enjoyed each day of the program and was always excited to see what new experiences we would engage in next.” Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, next-gen learning for all Students and teachers can also take advantage of Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, Verizon’s new, freely available open access education portal that scales the resources of Verizon Innovative Learning and its decade-long proven approach to integrating technology into the classroom. The portal enables any K-12 educator in the country to access innovative learning apps, professional development and tailored lesson plans to empower students to be social innovators and to create solutions using emerging tech. Citizen Verizon: Goal to 10 million youths with digital skills training These efforts are all part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement. Citizen Verizon empowers Verizon to deliver on its mission to move the world forward through action by expanding digital access and resources, protecting the climate, and ensuring people have the skills needed for jobs of the future. Through Citizen Verizon, and the key pillar of Digital Inclusion, the company's responsible business goals include providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030. To learn more about Verizon's digital inclusion efforts, visit CitizenVerizon.com. To sign up for Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers, visit https://naccemeets.nacce.com/vil/home. Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.

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