Source: THE Journal
The district was facing the potential of up to 200-300 new students each year and was discussing moving students in grade 6 to the middle schools owing to increased preschool enrollment. The district turned to GuideK12 for help with the realignment.
“We looked at many tools, but were impressed by GuideK12′s ease of use and the fact that it is a Web-based platform. Two years ago we created boundaries for a new building. I wish we had GuideK12 at that time,” said Pat Stewart, director of student services at Warren County Public Schools, in a prepared statement. “With GuideK12, I can select an area on the district map to create various scenarios in seconds. In the past, we hand drew maps and it took hours to accurately count the kids on each street. With GuideK12 I have a picture of the area and the impact of each proposal instantly.”
GuideK12 allows users to layer data sets in an effort to create a more detailed picture. Warren County PS was “able to add layers showing railroad tracks and the river — both of which flow directly throughout the entire school district and county — allowing administrators the capability to keep student safety a number one priority by being aware of local roadways,” according to a news release.
“I can now take the elementary boundaries and layer them over the top of the middle and high school boundaries,” added Stewart, “to better understand the transportation dynamics of the school feeder patterns.”
Source: EdTech Digest
A Common Core aligned curriculum that incorporates song, video and games, Learning Upgrade’s engaging, web-based lessons bring every student up to grade level in math and English for grades K-8.
Teachers are integrating Learning Upgrade lessons into blended-learning environments as well as whole-class interactive lessons covering each Common Core standard, and one-on-one lessons giving each student an individualized path to proficiency. The platform offers lessons created specifically to incorporate a classroom interactive whiteboard or projector.
As students complete a course, comprising 60 lessons, the platform prompts them to repeat low-scoring lessons until they have mastered each Common Core standard for the grade level they are currently working at. Review for previous grade standards are built in as well. Teachers have the ability to track student progress by standard, allowing him or her to quickly assess each student’s individual progress and ensure mastery. It has incorporated song, video and games in each of its lessons to address various learning styles to ensure every student reaches grade level proficiency, is ready for year-end tests within one school year, and has fun doing it.
The program has proven effective in reaching students with special needs, English Language Learners, as well as students with socio-economic issues. The unique, highly motivating format of music and games that reward students and provide gold certificates for completion has delivered school wide gains in these subgroups. Their web site offers schools 20 completely free student licenses, as well as complimentary site-wide summer school licenses, allowing teachers to quickly and easily enroll students and start using the lessons in their classes. Visit: www.learningupgrade.com.
Source: Twin Cities Business
The selection of the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs Of The Year for the Upper Midwest began, as always, with hundreds of suggestions, which in turn led to dozens of nominations. The panel of judges conducted interviews, narrowing the field to 25 finalist companies. From this group, the judges chose nine winning companies and their leaders.
The 2014 Entrepreneurs Of the Year were honored June 11 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. They are now candidates for the national Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, which will take place in November in Palm Springs, Calif. And regardless of the outcome this fall, we can certainly say that all of the regional finalists have built winning companies.
See what TCB Mag had to say about Capstone below. For a full list of Entrepreneur of the Year winners, please visit tcbmag.com.
In 2008, Robert “Bob” Coughlan needed some innovation. His educational book company, which had been running so smoothly for nearly two decades, had suddenly hit a wall.
When Coughlan and his brother Jim, fourth-generation members of an entrepreneurial Mankato family, purchased Capstone in December 1989, it specialized in books for boys in third through fifth grades who had trouble reading, or simply didn’t like it. Bob Coughlan had children about that age, and the company’s mission appealed to him. He expanded Capstone’s offerings to pre-K through upper middle school, and to girls as well as boys. He also stretched its market from school libraries to books used in classrooms.
In the first 10 years of Coughlan’s ownership, Capstone went from 48 to 2,500 titles, and the growth continued from there. Then the Great Recession hit. “Our revenue was coming from one market, the U.S. library market,” Capstone CEO Tom Ahern recalls. “Even six and a half years ago, it didn’t take a genius to say that is not in and of itself a growth market opportunity. So what we had to do is look at this vast amount of content we were developing, and had developed, and figure out innovative ways to get it into digital format to try to reach kids wherever they are. We couldn’t rely on the fact that all these kids were going to make it to their library to get access to our content.”
Ahern joined Capstone at the tail end of 2007. A 20-year veteran in the education technology realm, with a career stop in San Francisco, Ahern joined Bloomington-based Plato Learning (now Edmentum) in 1999, then got involved with an Eden Prairie analytical-software startup called SwiftKnowledge, which was sold in 2012.
“I said to the brothers, ‘I know digital, I don’t know print,’ ” Ahern recalls. “And they said, ‘We have a lot of people who know print, we don’t have anybody that knows digital.’ So that started the marriage.”
Ahern was charged with getting Capstone back into growth mode. “In some ways, it was like we were Blockbuster: We had great content but an archaic way that people had to get it,” he says. “We had to be Blockbuster that turned itself into Netflix.”
The strategy that Ahern and Bob Coughlan devised was to expand Capstone from simply a book publisher and printer to a multi-platform educational company. In 2010, Capstone started myON, a digital publishing division that converts print books into interactive e-books. In addition to text, myON’s “enhanced digital books” include several features, including recorded audio, quizzes and an embedded dictionary.
“We’ve wrapped [the myON Reader] around two things: assessment, so we know what reading level the kid is at; and then, like Netflix, we will go through and do an interest inventory,” Ahern says. “The system then reaches in online and puts on their dashboard the 10 to 12 books that are of their interest and at the appropriate reading challenge level.”
According to Ahern, more than 3.5 million students have used the myON platform. Capstone has lured about 50 other publishers to myON’s online library, including Sports Illustrated, Disney and Little, Brown.
Among the students using myON are those attending Lakeville Area Public Schools. Trish Harvey, the school district’s digital learning coordinator, notes that myON “aligns well with our vision of personalized learning .
. . . Their teachers can monitor their progress, their parents can monitor their progress.” District superintendent Lisa Snyder praises Capstone’s customer support, noting that company reps “asked us what we’d like to see, what would make the product stronger.”
Thanks largely to myON, “our digital business [in 2014] will be almost as big as the business was in total when I got here,” Ahern says. That said, “we will be close to 35 percent business digital,” he adds, noting that “the forecasters of print’s demise were a bit premature. We have seen significant growth in e-book sales, but people are still buying print.”
Ahern is CEO, running Capstone day to day. But Bob Coughlan remains out front.
“Bob has created a culture of risk-taking, stretching oneself constantly,” Ahern says. “That’s a great culture to work in every day.”
James Patterson is offering special access to his new book, Treasure Hunters, to all students using myON. The unprecedented partnership between the two literacy advocates looks to increase student engagement and reading over the summer break and beyond.
Patterson, creator of readkiddoread.com, is a long-standing supporter of children’s literacy and the importance of reading in a child’s development. The first in a new series of books, Treasure Hunters, tells the adventures of the Kidd family as they embark on a quest for treasure. The exciting adventure series is jam-packed with action, humor and heart and is recommended for students in grades 3-7.
To further encourage students to read, Patterson filmed a public service announcement, will be featured on Education Talk Radio for a 30-minute segment and will partner with myON in inviting students, teachers and parents to participate in myON’s first national book talk on September 15th. If the readers have questions for the author, they can submit them in the “Write a Review” section after finishing the book. Some of those questions will be shared during the national book talk.
“We are thrilled that our more than 4M readers will now have access to books from James Patterson; it is our highest priority to provide each of them with books that not only challenge but entertain them as well,” said Todd Brekhus, President of myON. “We are honored to partner with Patterson to encourage students and families to read together over the summer.”
Treasure Hunters is just one of more than 7,000 titles kids can enjoy anytime and anywhere on the award-winning digital literacy platform. For more information, please visit www.myON.com.
Source: eSchool News
I was walking down the halls of our school recently when a little girl approached me. “Mrs. Rogers, what do I have to do to get into your classroom?”
Her comment made me laugh. This particular girl was a straight-A student, and I’m the Title 1 teacher for at-risk students. I was thrilled that she thought of my class as a fun, exciting place (and it is!).
This interaction confirmed just how important it is to create a positive, welcoming environment for every child, even the ones others identify as “troublemakers” or “bad students.”
It starts the moment a student walks in my classroom door. “I am SO glad you’re here! I know you’re having some trouble with fractions, but you are a smart kid, and we’re going to have so much fun today.”
Once we’re off on the right foot, students often start with a simpler lesson they have already learned. The benefits here are two-fold – students can build their confidence by showing off a little bit, and I can identify holes in their thinking that may be causing them problems on more difficult lessons.
To connect with a generation of digital natives, I’ve found an online curriculum that uses catchy songs and videos to help students remember their math and reading lessons. They get so much more out of it than a “boring” lecture.
My one-on-one time with students also allows us to target exactly what they’re struggling with. If their teacher has told me they are having a hard time with fractions or short vowels, I can pull the corresponding lesson up on our whiteboard and work directly with the student until they reach that breakthrough moment.
Until a student has scored 96 percent or higher on a particular lesson’s assessment, we won’t move on to the next one. This guarantees that the learning has really stuck in their minds, and they aren’t just parroting back the right answers.
Even if we repeat a lesson five or six times, there’s one sentence that’s always off-limits in my classroom: “I can’t.” If a student is feeling like they will never understand a particular lesson, I’ll look them right in the eyes and say, “You know, school is not easy for everyone, but you are patient and you are a hard worker. I think someday you could even be a great teacher!”
Their eyes get as big as saucers when they hear that. Right now, they can’t see past the frustrating problem in front of them, but to think that someday they might know enough to be a teacher?
To them, it seems almost unbelievable. But now that I’ve worked in this school for a while, the reasons to believe it are appearing before their eyes. This year, two of my former students are student teaching in our school!
There’s no greater reward than to see my students return to their hometown to pass their knowledge on to a new generation of learners.
I have full faith that they will be phenomenal teachers because they have already learned the most important lesson of all, and it’s one I remind myself of every morning before opening the classroom door:
Some students may stretch your patience, but they all have potential.
Paula Rogers is the Title 1 reading and math specialist for Langdon Area Schools in Langdon, N.D. She has taught in North Dakota for 37 years. The online curriculum she mentions throughout her post is Learning Upgrade, a collection of song- and video-based reading and math lessons designed for compatibility with Common Core standards.
Administrators use GuideK12, geovisual analytics to make informed boundary changes
With the potential of adding as many as 200-300 students per year and discussion about moving 6th graders to the middle school due to an increase in pre-school enrollment, Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) in Bowling Green, Kentucky saw a need to change district alignments to effectively accommodate the rise in schools’ student populations. After extensive research, WCPS determined that the geovisual analytics software, GuideK12, would best assist them with the district realignment.
Their plan is to realign and redistribute the grade levels at all the district’s middle schools to include the sixth grade. The GuideK12 platform gives the administrators the ability to make data driven decisions expeditiously. With an importance placed upon capacity and demographics impact, the Student Services department was able to visualize all corresponding statistics to make the most informed decisions for the betterment of their student bodies.
“We looked at many tools, but were impressed by GuideK12’s ease of use and the fact that it is a web- based platform. Two years ago we created boundaries for a new building. I wish we had GuideK12 at that time,” said Pat Stewart, Director of Student Services. “With GuideK12, I can select an area on the district map to create various scenarios in seconds. In the past, we hand drew maps and it took hours to accurately count the kids on each street. With GuideK12 I have a picture of the area and the impact of each proposal instantly.”
One of the more unique abilities of the GuideK12 analytical software is the ability to layer several data sets over one another, creating a richer and more detailed picture to help in the decision making process. The district was even able to add layers showing railroad tracks and the river – both of which flow directly throughout the entire school district and county – allowing administrators the capability to keep student safety a number one priority by being aware of local roadways.
“I can now take the elementary boundaries and layer them over the top of the middle and high school boundaries,” continued Stewart, “to better understand the transportation dynamics of the school feeder patterns.”
Geovisual analytics is new software technology that visualizes student and county data on an interactive map so it is easily actionable. Districts experiencing changes need tools to support data driven planning. GuideK12 helps a district make more proactive, effective and accurate decisions around school choice, boundary changes, resource planning, emergency preparedness and student performance.
“We know the team at Warren County Public Schools has much broader plans for all the applications within the district using GuideK12,” said Chuck Amos, CEO of GuideK12. “And we are thrilled to continue to work with them to achieve their goals.”
Te Grotenhuis to continue in her role as president of Odysseyware
Glynlyon Incorporated, a leader in providing educational opportunities and online curriculum for a diverse mix of PreK-12 students, has appointed Beth Te Grotenhuis as chief executive officer of Glynlyon and president of wholly owned subsidiary Odysseyware.
Formally Glynlyon’s chief operating officer and president, Ms. Te Grotenhuis has nearly three decades of successful leadership experience in the education and software industries. Under her leadership, Odysseyware has become one of the K-12 education industry’s most comprehensive online & blended learning curriculums.
“It’s with great enthusiasm I turn over the CEO reins to my trusted colleague and good friend, Beth Te Grotenhuis,” said Robert Campbell, founder and out-going CEO of Glynlyon. “I’m very excited about the energy, thoughtfulness and strategic plan Beth has constructed through collaboration and hard work, and I have the utmost confidence that she will continue to build upon Glynlyon’s tradition of product leadership and excellence.”
Ms. Te Grotenhuis recently led the development and execution of the largest new product release in Odysseyware’s history and was instrumental in the development of Odysseyware’s industry-leading online Career Technical Education courses.
“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to lead such a talented and dedicated group of professionals at Glynlyon,” said Ms. Te Grotenhuis. “Since joining Glynlyon, I have shared the company’s mission to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children and to be the best education partner in the industry. I am more committed than ever to that vision. With the continued support and efforts of the entire Glynlyon team, I am confident our best years are ahead of us.”
For more about Glynlyon, please visit them online here.
For more about Odysseyware, please visit them online here.
Reading Platform Listed Among 34 Products Chosen by a Panel of Educators during the Country’s Largest K-12 Ed Tech Trade Show
Tech & Learning, a leading publication for K-12 EdTech leaders, has named myON among the 34 product winners in its inaugural ISTE Best of Show Awards. The online, personalized literacy platform was chosen by an anonymous panel of educators who scoured the exhibit hall floor during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Atlanta.
Products were submitted by exhibitors at the annual conference, which took place June 29-July 1. The judges rated their impressions on a sliding scale, evaluating areas such as quality and effectiveness, ease of use and creative use of technology, then met to decide on which technologies could have the most impact in the classroom and deserved to be named Best of Show. Winning products ranged from student engagement software and Chromebooks, to charging carts and emergency alert systems. View the whole list of winners at techlearning.com.
“It is a tremendous honor to see myON recognized as one of Tech & Learning’s standout products at ISTE,” said Todd Brekhus, president of myON. “Over the years, our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to deliver the most engaging, personalized literacy platform available to schools. We are proud of the work we do and to be recognized among the many other amazing ed-tech innovations on display at the conference is a testament to myON’s unique ability to impact the manner in which children learn.”
“The most asked question at every ISTE is, ‘Did you see anything cool?’” says Kevin Hogan, Content Director for Tech & Learning Media Group. “We took this question to some of our most trusted advisors and they ran with it. They tromped the show floor to find the latest and greatest for all of our readers who couldn’t be in Atlanta.”
myON, a business unit of Capstone is a personalized digital literacy platform that creates collaborative learning opportunities. myON expands the classroom for teachers and students by providing unlimited access to the largest collection of more than 7,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time assessments and close reading tools. myON empowers students and teachers with real-time, actionable data—number and type of books opened and read, time spent reading, results of regular benchmark assessments, and more—based on embedded Lexile® assessments that measure student reading growth. With myON, every student experiences the benefits of personalized literacy instruction.
For more information, please visit www.myON.com.
About NewBay Media
NewBay Media is positioned at the center of the world’s most dynamic industries—Music, AV/Pro Audio, Consumer Electronics/Gaming, Video & Broadcast, and Education. We connect and inform millions of constituents in these industries through our award-winning content, integrated media capabilities, and high-profile network-building and informative events. NewBay proudly serves some of the broadest BtoB professional and music enthusiast communities in the world through over 60 print and digital publications, 100 integrated web and mobile applications, 75 conferences and conventions, custom marketing services and e-commerce capabilities.
Find out more at www.newbaymedia.com.
EdTech media veteran joins leading Public Relations firm for the Education Marketplace
PR with Panache! (PRP), an award winning Minnesota-based PR firm focused on the education marketplace is pleased to announce the addition of EdTech media veteran Bryce Wilson. Bryce ‘s expertise adds to an already well-balanced and experienced team of modern-day storytellers for education.
With a degree in public relations, experience in digital/social-media marketing for education, and a background in media sales in both the higher education and K-12 markets, Bryce’s skill set will be invaluable to the PRP client family. Having spent the last two years working with the team at T.H.E. Journal (1105 Media), Wilson brings with him a unique perspective on visibility in the K-12 education industry.
PRP’s team of modern-day storytellers helps innovators; entrepreneurs and thought leaders working in education build their brand awareness through strong public relations campaigns. PRP works with a broad range of clients that are looking to strategically and effectively communicate their story to the education marketplace.
“PR with Panache! is thrilled to welcome Bryce to our team. It was important for us to find someone with experience in and knowledge of the K-12 marketplace,” said Sue Hanson, founder and managing partner at PR with Panache! “His experience, mainly in education media, strengthens our ability to tell the stories of our clients – be they small or large, new or classic. Bryce’s insider knowledge positions PRP to further deliver on our clients’ desire to gain more exposure, maximize reach, and amplify brand recognition.”
“What attracted me to PR with Panache! was their mission and the team. PRP has built an incredible reputation for themselves within the education space,” said Bryce. “My time at THE Journal will allow me to bring another unique perspective to the PR with Panache! client family. I have always had a passion for education, and very much look forward to the opportunity to improve the academic landscape through multiple mediums and strategies. I’m very excited to join PRP’s storytelling team.”
PRP’s staff has been sharing the stories of clients, in one form or another, for more than 20 years. They have solidified their reputation through their successful tactics uniquely aligned with each of their clients’ needs, personality and imagination.
To learn more about PR with Panache! and how they might tell your story, visit www.prwithpanache.com.
Pioneering EdTech Product Chosen by a Panel of Educators during the Country’s Largest K-12 Ed Tech Trade Show
Tech & Learning, a leading publication for K-12 education technology leaders, last week named Nervanix among 34 product winners in its inaugural ISTE Best of Show Awards. The innovator in “Attention Adaptivity” was chosen by an anonymous panel of educator judges who scoured the exhibit hall floor during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Atlanta.
Winning products ranged from student engagement software and Chromebooks, to charging carts and emergency alert systems. Over 70 products were submitted by exhibitors at the annual conference, which took place June 29-July 1. The judges rated their impressions on a sliding scale, evaluating areas such as quality and effectiveness, ease of use and creative use of technology, then met to decide on which technologies could have the most impact in the classroom and deserved to be named Best of Show. View the whole list of winners here.
“We are so very honored to be recognized as one of the top products featured at ISTE,” said Adam L. Hall, founder of Nervanix. “Not only is ISTE one of the most widely known conferences in our industry, but Tech & Learning is one of the leading publications as well. This is a testament to our product, our team and our vision. We believe that every student deserves to be taught in a manner that best suits that individual, and Nervanix Clarity is paving the way toward that reality.”
“The most asked question at every ISTE is, ‘Did you see anything cool?’,” says Kevin Hogan, Content Director for Tech & Learning Media Group. “We took this question to some of our most trusted advisors and they ran with it. They tromped the show floor to find the latest and greatest for all of our readers who couldn’t be in Atlanta.”
Please join us in congratulating the winners. They will be featured in the August issue of Tech & Learning.