"The last thing some of us want to do in the summer is take a class but the reality is summer is the perfect time to take advantage of great learnings and have enough time to put those learnings into practice in your planning for next school year," writes Dr. Kecia Ray. Her tips for summertime enrichment include joining or starting a book club and participating in an educator workshop at a local or national park.
Oakland Undivided was launched at the beginning of the pandemic with the mission of ensuring every public school student had three things: a computer, internet connection, and tech support available at their home. "You really need all three to say that you've served that family equitably," says Susan Beltz, chief technology officer at Oakland USD. Thanks to Oakland Undivided, more than 25,000 laptops have been purchased along with 10,000 hotspots. Now, 98 percent of Oakland's low-income students have a computer, access to the internet, and culturally competent tech support.
Prodigy is a math-focused blended learning tool that connects in-class and at-home learning for a hybrid system. The game-based program uses a role-playing adventure to engage students in math-focused activities. As students learn and understand the math, they can progress through the game and improve their learning. Teachers can select from a variety of curricular standards when setting up a class. They can even select specific skills for certain students as needed.
More than $500 million in student loan debt for students who attended ITT Technical Institute has been wiped out by the US Education Department, affecting about 18,000 people. The for-profit chain college chain closed in 2016 amid accusations that it wasn't delivering on its promises to students.
Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow students who are living in the country without legal permission to pay in-state tuition rates if they have graduated from a Massachusetts high school or passed an equivalency test. However, they would not be eligible for state financial assistance.
State higher-education associations are fighting efforts to ban the practice of withholding transcripts for unpaid bills, a practice that affects as many as 6.6 million students nationwide. Students say they need transcripts to get jobs to pay off their debts, while schools say without the practice they would have to require payment in full upfront.
Three historically Black colleges and universities have been chosen for an initiative to teach students about private equity or alternative-credit investing careers. The $90 million initiative is funded by Oaktree Capital Management, Ares Management and Apollo Global Management, which set up a nonprofit to administer the program.
Recruiting and retaining good teachers is a challenge for every district. A recent RAND survey found that 44% of teachers who left the profession voluntarily during COVID left because of the pandemic. Matt Spets, assistant superintendent in the D.C. Everest Area School District in Wisconsin, says that his district has committed to better benefits, including paid time off and a microcredentialing-based salary schedule that rewards teachers who learn new skills. “By moving to more of a private sector model in giving teachers a voice in how they spend their time off, we honor, energize, and retain them,” he says.
Combining different data sets can tell a more complete story about each student, says Jeremy Davis, the district’s assistant superintendent of innovation and instructional support. “We're looking at gathering up just all this data, to be able to then pick apart all these different areas, to make sure what we're doing as a district is working for kids,” he says. Gathering data in one place might sound easy but it’s a complex undertaking. Various apps and education tools have programs that are incompatible, and even the terminology is inconsistent.
Epic! is a digital library and e-reader for books and videos for children, more of which are added weekly. It is designed specifically for teachers with the ability to assign books to individual students or class groups. With integration for the likes of Google Classroom, this is a very easy-to-use platform. Crucially, Epic! also allows teachers and parents to track the progress of children with their book reading. Many popular authors and books are available, all in digital format, with built-in dictionary to help students learn as they read.
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