State law takes aim at cyberbullying
A new Pennsylvania law focused on cyberbullying comes with $2,500 fine and possible jail time for offenders.
Flocabulary debuts student assessments, reporting tools
Flocabulary has launched a new suite of features to help teachers, schools and districts assess student knowledge and diagnose needs for differentiation and intervention.
In addition to the educational hip-hop videos and interactive activities, each instructional unit now features an auto-graded formative assessment for students. Updated features include a new dashboard for teachers to assign units and analyze student results to inform their instruction.
"Our goal with these new features is to allow our customers to use the platform to not only demonstrate student achievement but also to diagnose knowledge gaps and differentiate instruction," said Flocabulary co-founder and CEO Alex Rappaport.
Using the program’s new features, teachers will have the ability to create classes or student groups on their user dashboards and assign Flocabulary instructional units to students directly. The dashboard features a series of reports that allow teachers to review quiz results at the individual student level and at the classroom level, and make data-informed decisions about planning further instruction. The assessment and reporting features are available to all schools and districts that subscribe to Flocabulary’s online program.
“The enhanced teacher dashboard affords teachers the ability to not only differentiate their instruction, but also to better monitor student progress,” said Carl Bucciantini, technology integrator at Auburn School Department in Auburn, Maine. “With the increased reliance on data being used to inform instruction, these tools are a great addition to any teacher's toolbox.”
“With more data in our system to drive student results reporting, we wanted to be on the forefront of student privacy and security,” says Flocabulary Product Director Aliza Aufrichtig. "Flocabulary has set the bar for engaging curricular content and now we’re in a position to lead the industry in the right direction when it comes to respecting the sanctity of student data.”
How to prepare your school for the Internet of Things onslaught
A checklist for IT as everything from watches to thermostats goes online.
New high school focuses on leadership and career readiness
Michigan students looking for flexible learning opportunities will soon be able to earn their high school diploma online while developing into agents of change in their local communities.
Through diverse community and business partnerships, the Heroic Leadership Academy in Flint, Mich., will combine comprehensive supports in education and leadership training for at-risk students.
The academy, which will open with the 2015-16 school year, is designed to help students ages 15-19 harness their existing qualities and become perpetuators of change in their communities, or heroic leaders.
GEARup2LEAD, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering leadership in local communities, established the academy with education support from Graduation Alliance, which offers career planning and alternative education to help students prepare for employment opportunities.
The academy will take a multifaceted approach to leadership training, with students gaining diverse experiences as both mentees and mentors. Each student will be matched with mentors from local universities, as well as community mentors from nearby businesses and organizations who will assist in personalized career readiness.
Concurrently, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills, serving as mentors and positive role models for at-risk children at the Whaley Children’s Center.
“We want our students to feel what it’s like to be a heroic leader,” said Adam Hartley, executive director of GEARup2LEAD. “Our core mission is to help students achieve a high school diploma and draw out the best characteristics that are already within them, ultimately benefiting our communities and state.”
Students from around the state are eligible to enroll in the program through Michigan’s Schools of Choice program. After students complete all state and local graduation requirements through the program, they will receive a high school diploma from Swartz Creek Community Schools. Enrolled students will earn their high school credits through Graduation Alliance’s nationally accredited online curriculum. In addition to offering more than 200 courses, Graduation Alliance provides a 360-degree, localized support network that helps students overcome past educational and social-emotional challenges.
Texas districts enlist Skyward for data integration
Two Texas institutions, Mesquite Independent School District and Village Tech Schools, have enlisted Skyward, a K-12 school administrative software provider, to unify school management and data processes.
Both districts identified customer service as the primary factor in selecting Skyward, along with student data security, parent engagement and ease-of-use for teachers.
A large suburban school district located just east of Dallas, Mesquite ISD selected the Student Management Suite from Skyward to answer its data integration needs. Mesquite ISD searched for a management system that stressed data accuracy and security for its 40,000 students, while also providing a user-friendly platform with cost-cutting data storage capabilities.
Village Tech Schools, an open-enrollment charter school in its third year, selected the Skyward Student Management and School Business Suites. Skyward will partner with the school to streamline digital scheduling, as students are allowed to move freely between classes. Village Tech Schools is looking forward to Family Access for parent communication, Gradebook to simplify the grading process and the Business Suite to manage operations.
"We need a solution that meets our short-term and long-term needs," said Jeremy Jameson, chief technology officer at Village Tech Schools. "Skyward brings everything under one roof; it's a one-stop shop for grading, scheduling, communicating with parents and managing business operations such as payroll and inventory. Having the option to bring the student and business systems together will help our district move forward, so we don't have to constantly keep cross-referencing data."
Mesquite ISD will implement the Skyward Student Management Suite in fall of 2016, while Village Tech Schools implemented the Student Management Suite last spring and is currently implementing the School Business Suite.