Back Office Business

Back Office Business

INDIANA CHOOSES CANVAS

More than 70 K–12 districts in Indiana have signed on with Instructure (instructure.com) in the last five months. Indiana now has 80 school districts using the Canvas learning management system. “Canvas has really put simplicity back in education by streamlining every step of the learning process on its platform,” says Donald Chase, director of technology at Southwest Allen County Schools. “It’s important for us to integrate technology in a way that enhances, and doesn’t disrupt, the learning experience, and our teachers and students have responded positively to Canvas.” With its modern functionality and user-friendly design, Canvas makes it easy for teachers to create digital assignments, to communicate with students and parents through group messaging, and even to live-stream lectures.

GROWING DISTRICT CHOOSES CONTROLLER-LESS NETWORKING

Lamar County (MS) School District, the state’s fastest-growing district, needed to provide reliable wireless connectivity to all schools. It selected Aerohive’s (aerohive.com) controller-less networking solutions to provide resilient wifi access to 10,000 students and 1,300 faculty members across 15 schools. With Aerohive, the district can now support its 1:1 initiative. “When you make a significant technology investment, it removes a lot of pressure from the IT team when you have a solution partner that is responsive and engaged,” says Ross Randall, director of technology. “As one of the first Aerohive customers to use 802.11ac access points, we took on some risk, but the rewards have been outstanding and far outweighed any hiccups we encountered.”

NC GOES DIGITAL

North Carolina’s Rowan-Salisbury School System expanded its partnership with Discovery Education (discoveryeducation.com) in support of its transition to digital learning environments. In the latest phase, the district purchased Math Techbook for its middle and high schools, as well as the award-winning Science Techbook for high-school science instruction. Both products are aligned to standards and include robust professional development. “Discovery Education’s dynamic digital resources and professional development are helping our teachers change the culture of instruction and are ensuring our students are fully engaged, thinking critically, and collaborating with other students to apply real-world meaning to their learning,” says Dr. Lynn Moody, superintendent.

SCHOOLS PERSONALIZE WITH LMS

Seven districts recently adopted Schoology’s (schoology.com) learning management system because it allows teachers to personalize education, increases collaboration among faculty, and connects students and educators outside of the classroom. The districts are Seattle (WA) Public Schools, Boulder Valley (CO) School District, West Aurora (IL) School District 129, Bristol Tennessee City Schools, Princeton (NJ) Day School, New Legacy Charter High School in Aurora, Colorado, and Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. In addition to connecting a class or district’s digital solutions under a single platform, Schoology enables its network of educators and administrators to share curriculum, resources, best practices, and personal experiences to create better educational outcomes. For students, this collaboration extends to their coursework, classroom and beyond.

WI-FI ON THE GO

Miami-Dade County (FL) Public Schools, the country’s fourth largest school district, purchased the newest offering from Kajeet (kajeet.net)—the Kajeet SmartBus solution—for its WiFi-on-the-Go program. “Advanced technology has made Internet connectivity in the classroom fundamental to teaching and learning,” says Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “But connectivity in non-traditional spaces is becoming increasingly relevant. Our students will benefit from WiFi-on-the-Go, transforming school buses into vehicles for learning and expanding opportunities to learn before and beyond the bell.” With Kajeet SmartBus, districts can purchase data in bulk from their choice of the two leading 4G LTE wireless broadband networks in the nation. The data pool is placed in the account and available for use across all buses. Data does not expire and rolls forward each month.

FILTERING COMPANY OFFERS TX DISCOUNTS

The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) awarded a Cooperative Contract to ContentKeeper (contentkeeper.com), a Web filtering and reporting company. Through this new partnership, Texas K–12 districts can purchase ContentKeeper products at a discounted price and will save time by issuing purchase orders directly to DIR vendors, as the DIR contracts have already completed the procurement process. That means districts can quickly implement ContentKeeper Mobile to keep students safe when using any mobile device both on and off campus. With ContentKeeper, districts can manage learning on devices in 1:1 and BYOD programs, and if a student goes astray districts have the data needed to get the student back on task.

NC AND AZ BLEND THEIR LEARNING

Two large districts recently selected Edgenuity (edgenuity.com) for their primary online and blended learning solution: Charlotte-Mecklenberg (NC) Schools (CMS) and Phoenix Union (AZ) High School District. At Charlotte-Mecklenberg, Edgenuity will provide access to its full curriculum and offer blended learning, instructional services, initial credit, and credit recovery to the district’s 78 secondary schools. “CMS has always been a leader in online learning and we believe that all students should have access to the best education available anywhere,” says Hope Kohl, director of virtual learning and media services for the district. “Working with Edgenuity, we know that we will be maximizing the impact of our online and blended learning program and we look forward to seeing significant improvement in student performance this year.” At Phoenix Union, Edgenuity will provide access to its full curriculum and offer blended learning and blended learning services to the district’s 16 schools and 27,000 students. “Phoenix Union chose Edgenuity because we needed a comprehensive online and blended learning solution to provide extended learning opportunities for our students,” says Seth Beute, facilitator, virtual instruction. “Edgenuity’s blended learning offering truly met our district’s goal of increasing choices for student success and providing teachers with a variety of methods of instructional delivery and support.”

MATH/ELA PROGRAM ALIGNS WITH 3 NEW STATES

Triumph Learning (triumphlearning.com) unveiled new versions of Waggle to align with learning standards in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The three state-specific versions help students master math and ELA skills while educators monitor real-time progress. “We researched for months looking for a product that closely aligned with the format of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA),” says Angela Whiddon, principal of W.E. Cherry Elementary in Clay County, FL. “We were at the point of giving up when we found Waggle. It is exactly what we needed to provide our students with daily practice and exposure to the format of the FSA.” All practice skills for math and ELA instruction are correlated to each state’s standards. The New York and Florida versions help students in grades 2–8 master math and ELA skills, while the Pennsylvania version covers grades 3–8. Teachers can assign lessons to students online within Waggle or use Coach print resources in their classrooms.

ONE-TAP EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS

St. Charles Parish (LA) Public Schools are now using SchoolDude’s mobile safety platform, CrisisManager (schooldude.com). The mobile app details instructions for emergency response scenarios so parents will have immediate access to the district’s parent/guardian emergency guide. The customized app offers one-tap emergency calling and the most up-to-date building maps, emergency exits, and lockdown locations. “As a school district known for its cutting-edge approach to technology, it was critical for us to get important safety information into our parents’ hands on their mobile devices,” says Felecia Gomez-Walker, superintendent. “We will continue to enhance our safety plans and their accessibility to ensure a safe, positive school experience.”