Online Education

Class Technologies Launches Class Cares To Support Students In Need

Class Technologies Inc., the company enhancing virtual and hybrid classrooms by adding teaching and learning tools to Zoom, has launched Class Cares to support students and communities in need.

"Class was founded from a desire to help people," said Michael Chasen, education software pioneer and Class co-founder and CEO. "Class Cares is a long term initiative that takes our team's desire to help and puts it into action through volunteering, donations, and partnerships to help students in need. We're committed to helping people in need around the world."

As part of the initial Class Cares initiative, DC-based Class employees volunteered to pack hundreds of backpacks full of needed school supplies. Helping students go back to school, Class Cares is providing:

200+ backpacks filled by Class team members and brimming with supplies benefiting DC Public Schools (DCPS) students in southeast Washington, D.C.

150+ backpacks provided through a partnership with Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) to students at the American Indian Academy Charter School in Denver, Colorado.

"These backpacks carry with them our belief that education is the key to a better future," said Natlee Green, Vice President of People at Class. "It is fitting that our first initiative helps kids right here in our hometown in Washington, D.C., where 25% of people live below poverty. At least 1 in 5 children in the US who live below the federal defined poverty line cannot afford back to school supplies. Class is here to help."

Class Cares is a long-term corporate social responsibility program that aims to address education and community needs around the world. The company is committed to planning and participating in ongoing future Class Cares initiatives. The next project is planned for October, when Class Cares will partner with  Habitat for Humanity to build a home to commemorate World Habitat Day.

About Class Technologies Inc.
Class is software developed by Class Technologies Inc., a company founded by education software pioneer Michael Chasen. Class adds teaching and learning tools to Zoom and makes the virtual classroom feel like a real classroom. It helps teachers take attendance, hand out assignments, give a quiz or test, grade work, proctor exams, talk one-on-one with a student, and more. Class is headquartered in Washington, DC with staff around the world.

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Corporate Education and Training, Online Education

Academic Partnerships Completes Acquisition of Wiley University Services

PR Newswire | January 02, 2024

Academic Partnerships (AP), a company that assists primarily regional public universities in expanding access and impact by supporting their online programs, today announced that it has successfully completed its acquisition of Wiley University Services, a line of business previously owned by Wiley (NYSE: WLY). The combined company will support over 125 colleges and universities in 40 U.S. states and internationally. "AP is in the business of transforming lives through education, and the acquisition of Wiley University Services better enables us to do just that," said Fernando Bleichmar, Chief Executive Officer of AP. "This is an exciting day as we combine our talent, capabilities, and resources to more effectively meet the growing demand for high-quality, affordable online degree programs and ensure our university partners and their students thrive." AP primarily assists regional public universities with launching and maintaining their online programs. It is committed to expanding access to high-quality, high-return on investment, affordable, and workforce-relevant online education, especially for working and adult students. Wiley University Services works with institutions to deliver career-connected education programs aimed at helping students achieve their goals. With the completion of the acquisition, the combined company will provide universities with a best-in-class partner to support them in delivering programs online so more students can access affordable education, improve their careers, and meet employer and community needs. The combined company will deliver new strategic benefits to university partners and their students, including: Additional resources to support and scale high-demand, affordable online degree programs in critical areas like nursing, teaching, business, technology, and public administration for both regional public and private nonprofit universities; Enhanced infrastructure and technology to serve a diverse student population, including working adults, through graduation; Improved opportunities across the university partner network; and Advanced technology and enhanced support services based on best practices from a combined company.

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Education Technology, Talent Development, Online Education

Bridge2Rwanda Extends Partnership with IXL to Support Students Developing English Language Skills

PR Newswire | January 30, 2024

IXL, the personalized learning platform used by 15 million students worldwide, has announced an extension of its partnership with Bridge2Rwanda (B2R), a nonprofit dedicated to creating global education opportunities for high-achieving African students. B2R educators will continue leveraging IXL's award-winning platform to deliver targeted English language arts (ELA) instruction, helping learners build and master literacy skills essential for securing university scholarships. In total, B2R has used IXL to support 500 students across eight different training programs since the partnership began. Despite encouraging improvements in literacy rates, limited access to resources and a nascent reading culture pose significant challenges to educational achievement in Rwanda. Recognizing the pivotal role education plays in enhancing socioeconomic outcomes, Bridge2Rwanda was established in 2007 to empower Rwandan high school students with high-quality reading and writing opportunities. B2R's ultimate goal is to build a thriving community of well-educated African leaders who will accelerate their nations' growth and improve the lives of others. B2R began using IXL Language Arts in 2019 to support the English language development of 30 high-achieving scholars from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Burundi. In 2020, the nonprofit relied on IXL's all-inclusive platform to ensure that its English language learners (ELLs) developed essential ELA skills during distance learning. After two years of an impactful partnership, B2R made IXL an integral component of its new intensive English training and college preparatory program, Isomo Academy. The inaugural class of 120 Isomo Academy scholars quickly embraced IXL's tailored support, built-in instructional resources, and engaging learning opportunities. During the first week of Isomo Academy's eight-week training program, educators use IXL's adaptive assessment, the Real-Time Diagnostic, to pinpoint each student's English proficiency level, helping them understand individual strengths and areas for improvement. Based on these insights, the diagnostic then generates personalized skill recommendations to challenge and support learners at the right level. Additionally, B2R educators use the diagnostic to track student growth each week to ensure that students are progressing and mastering essential ELA concepts. Bridge2Rwanda educators also rely on IXL's comprehensive curriculum to help students build the skills that they need to become strong communicators. Each day at Isomo Academy, students take writing and reading classes that are paired with intensive language and communication seminars. Additionally, students work on IXL skills that align with their classroom lessons. The combined approach allows educators to engage students at their individual levels, assign homework, and differentiate learning beyond the school day. "IXL bursts bottlenecks for Bridge2Rwanda scholars by eliminating language barriers," said Luke Dreiling, Lead English Teacher, Bridge2Rwanda. "This enables them to excel in their studies, advance their careers, and contribute significantly to the growth of African communities." "Bridge2Rwanda's dedication to expanding educational opportunities for young African students is commendable. We are excited to continue equipping even more bright and ambitious learners with the tools they need to confidently pursue their dreams on a global scale," said Paul Mishkin, CEO of IXL Learning. "At IXL, we are committed to leveraging education as an instrument of empowerment to break down language barriers and ensure all students have the opportunity to thrive." IXL's impact on English language learners IXL Language Arts gives teachers a systematic way to troubleshoot each student's unique reading and writing roadblocks, and put them on the path to success: Among schools with a high percentage of ELLs, research demonstrates that those using IXL outperformed non-IXL schools on Smarter Balanced Assessments in ELA by as much as seven percentile points. IXL's comprehensive curriculum provides more than 2,400 adaptive skills that span early literacy, reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and advanced concepts, such as persuasive writing. Each IXL skill is adaptive, ensuring that ELLs feel confident that they are perfectly challenged and supported at the right level when developing fluency. IXL's adaptive assessment, the Real-Time Diagnostic, pinpoints students' grade-level proficiency in key ELA strands, and generates targeted next steps to help students grow from where they are. As English language learners progress, these personalized recommendations stay up-to-date, ensuring that they always have a clear path toward mastering ELA concepts. As students learn and practice, IXL provides in-the-moment support and resources for self-remediation. For example, video tutorials guide learners through the building blocks of reading, writing, and grammar to provide additional support during learning and independent practice. If a student answers a problem incorrectly, IXL provides a step-by-step explanation of the right answer so that students can learn from their mistake and solidify their knowledge of that skill. Educators also rely on insights from IXL Analytics to track student progress, monitor readiness for exams, and differentiate instruction to fill knowledge gaps. Up-to-date reports help teachers uncover areas of challenge for each student and identify patterns in mistakes in order to provide targeted reteaching.

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Online Education, Continuing Education

W. P. Carey School of Business, Televerde Foundation expand prison education program

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

The ASU W. P. Carey School of Business and Televerde Foundation have worked alongside community partners to offer a unique PATHS program for women as they transition out of prison. PATHS, an acronym for Prepare, Achieve, and Transform for Healthy Success, teaches skills in personal wellness, workplace readiness, employment strategies, mentoring, financial literacy, and lifelong learning. The program begins while the women are still incarcerated and continues through their reentry and transition back into society. "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the ASU W. P. Carey School of Business, further empowering women through education," said Michelle Cirocco, executive director of Televerde Foundation. "Our PATHS program goes beyond just providing skills; it's about transforming lives. This expansion marks a significant step toward reducing recidivism and opening new opportunities for women from all walks of life to rewrite their narratives. It also underscores our belief in education as a crucial driver of personal growth and societal advancement. We are committed to helping these women become positive role models in their communities and building a brighter, more secure future for themselves and their families." Julia LaRosa, clinical associate professor, and Kostas Voutsas, assistant teaching professor, from the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, are two members of the W. P. Carey community who teach in the program. They focus on workplace readiness skills through college-level business fundamentals, business communication, and professional development courses. As of fall 2023, women who complete the Career PATHS coursework earning a C or better have the opportunity to turn their completed work into college credit through ASU's Universal Learner program. The associated fees are currently covered by Televerde Foundation, with future iterations also being funded by the generosity of donors through the ASU Foundation. "Turning time in prison into a college education experience is truly inspiring," says Voutsas, who teaches the Effective Communication for Career Success class. "It is a practical course that empowers students to communicate as leaders, embrace diversity and inclusion, build positive relationships, and maximize efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. It explores both verbal and nonverbal communication, cross-cultural communication, customer service, the writing process, writing mechanics, interviewing and resume techniques, as well as delivering presentations with confidence." Since the program's inception in 2020, the results have been truly remarkable. Of the 161 students who have completed the program, the recidivism rate is zero compared with the expected 40% to 60% rate. According to the Televerde Foundation, graduates' salaries are also 61% to 75% higher than their less prepared counterparts. While the quantitative outcomes are extraordinary, the qualitative impacts are equally important. Mary Montemorra, a PATHS graduate, explains, "Televerde Foundation and PATHS have given me the ability to fit into a community that once felt so far away. Remember, being sent to prison means the society you once were part of decided to remove you from its communities physically. PATHS gave that community back to me." One benefit of the Universal Learner program is the connection it helps non-traditional students form with ASU. "At W. P. Carey, we are prioritizing access in the communities we serve," says Raghu Santanam, senior associate dean for Executive Education, Corporate Partnerships, and Lifelong Learning. "Connecting PATHS to ASU as a for-credit course legitimizes the hard work these women are undertaking and makes it easier for them to transition into college in the future." Higher education is indeed more within reach for individuals involved in the justice system. As of July 1, 2023, the FAFSA Simplification Act provisions make PELL grants available to all qualified incarcerated people to further pursue post-secondary education through approved Prison Education Programs (PEPs). "A mere vision has blossomed into a sustainable program," says LaRosa. PATHS is "dedicated to aiding incarcerated women in reshaping the course of their lives and those of their families. Witnessing the transformative impact of a college education unfolding within our community is truly remarkable and the high point of my career."

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Education Technology, Online Education

Stiegler EdTech Announces Grant from Live Oak Bank to Expand its Newly Launched Varsity Esports & STEM League to Eastern NC

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Stiegler EdTech announced today that its latest Charlotte-based technology workforce program Varsity Esports & STEM League (VESL) is expanding to Eastern NC thanks to the leadership and continued support of Live Oak Bank and its philanthropic commitment to education and workforce development. "We are thrilled to support the continued expansion of VESL across North Carolina," said Kate Groat, Live Oak Bank's Director of Corporate Philanthropy. "This program provides students with workforce-ready skills while keeping them engaged in learning. We are proud to empower youth in our community to further their education and career potential." VESL aims to teach valuable coding and technology skills to meet the talent needs of the tech industry in North Carolina. All North Carolina high school students are eligible to participate in VESL where they will be given the opportunity to learn critical STEM skills while participating in Esports & STEM competitions through their schools. Thanks to the grant funding from Live Oak, more students in Eastern NC will be able to gain access to scholarships, earn needs-based aid, and support additional financial incentives and opportunities to pursue higher education and technology careers. "This partnership offers our community a competitive advantage both in terms of the impact VESL will make directly with New Hanover County students as well as the long-term confidence it will provide employers who invest in North Carolina that there will indeed be great technology talent to hire locally moving forward," adds Luke Waddell, Wilmington City Council Member. "Live Oak Bank's commitment to the region through programs like VESL is an exciting investment in the next generation of tech talent in Eastern NC." The funding supports events such as regional tournaments, including one planned in Wilmington this winter, following the success of a state-wide championship tournament held in Charlotte last year, which brought together thousands of students and fans. "Americans are underskilled and employers have to be a part of the solution," says Tariq Bokhari, Charlotte City Council Member and Chairman of Stiegler EdTech. "Vital funding like Live Oak's grant gives us the ability to empower young minds to learn highly sought after skills and think innovatively about real-world problems that directly impact our future. This means better students, better outcomes, and more opportunities for our next generation."

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