Education2019-08-15T13:56:03-04:00

Education

Zoo Project Introduces Sixth Graders to Project-Based, Maker-Education Model

www.annrichardsschool.org

Women comprise half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. And, minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (ARS), an all-girls, college-preparatory public school, is determined to change the narrative. As the only 6th-12th grade school in the Austin Independent School District where STEM is a rule and not an exception for every student, ARS is preparing today’s female students to become tomorrow’s STEM leaders.

Through rigorous and cross-disciplinary STEM curriculum, ARS inspires girls to build solutions for the 21st century. The All Points North Foundation grant supports “Modeling the Zoo Project” where all sixth graders research and create enrichment solutions for rescue animals at the Austin Zoo. Students use the on-campus MakerSpace to develop their design and building skills using technology and power tools. The Zoo Project launches students into the project-based, Maker education model that is centered on collaborative, hands-on learning and is inherent throughout ARS.

ARS staff will also attend their first Project-Based Learning World Conference to learn and share best practices as they prepare curriculum and formalize the Maker model from idea generation through the final product. Throughout the year, an interactive display board will provide visual insights into the stages of the project, emphasizing “process over product.”

As a national leader and innovator in this space, ARS will incorporate teacher- and self-assessment of the process and growth in students’ 5Cs (collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and community) for further assessment and replication.
Photo Credit: Ann Richards School Foundation


Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative Prepares Next Generation of Inspired, Diverse Educational Leaders

www.breakthroughcollaborative.org

To address the urgent national need for a more diverse teaching force, Breakthrough Collaborative’s Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative provides aspiring educators with the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as classroom teachers. Each summer more than 1,000 of the nation’s brightest undergraduates participate in nine-week teaching residencies. The unique students-teaching-students model focuses not only on reversing summer slide and promoting student academic growth, but also developing Teaching Fellows professionally and supporting their leadership development for those returning to teach for multiple summers.

This second All Points North Foundation grant helps Breakthrough enhance curriculum for Teaching Fellows, particularly for the 25% who return. Once alumni, Teaching Fellows then have access to a robust online platform and a virtual community of news updates, career and professional development opportunities, and training.

The nation’s largest pre-professional teacher training program, Breakthrough has proven to be a powerful pipeline for the next generation of inspired, diverse educational leaders with many Teaching Fellow alumni recruited by the top teacher residencies and graduate schools across the country. Teaching Fellows are 63% people of color compared to 18% of teachers nationwide; 40% are first-generation college graduates and 27% are male. Additionally, a growing percentage of Teaching Fellows were once Breakthrough students themselves.

Emerging evidence suggests that a diverse teaching force, like the one that Breakthrough is intentionally building, has the promising potential to motivate underserved minority students to attain greater educational success. In 2018, Breakthrough’s students were 96% students of color and almost half of students lived in a home where English is not the primary language.

Grants from All Points North Foundation help Breakthrough support its students, teaching fellows, and instructional coaches in achieving their full potential as learners, teachers, leaders, and agents of change.

Photo Credit: Breakthrough Collaborative


Codes for Good Initiative Computes for Broward Middle Schools

www.browardedfoundation.org

Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Science Foundation predicting there will be one million more jobs than students entering the field by 2020.

Middle schoolers in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), however, have a jumpstart on becoming creators of technology and STEM career pathways, thanks to the District’s #BrowardCODES for social good initiative and its BURST (Broward Unifying Robotics, Science & Technology) program. This program provides a comprehensive middle grade curriculum addressing community problem solving using technology.

Spotlighted by the White House as a national model for expanding access to computer science in schools, more than 50,000 students have already been positively impacted by computer science at all BCPS K-12 schools. All Points North Foundation’s grant will see an additional 30 middle schools offering extracurricular opportunities to participate in #BrowardCODES for social good.

BCPS became the first school district in the nation to partner with Code.org to increase access to computer science courses, curriculum, and resources, inside and outside the classroom. Since then, BCPS has been named a regional partner with Code.org, which provides additional funds master teacher trainers and computer science-trained teachers and the application of design thinking. The #BrowardCODES initiative broadens participation by hosting Saturday Code Clubs reaching out to underserved communities, holding teacher workshops, interactive family CodeFests, and a culminating apps challenge showcase that attracts the enthusiastic participation of industry professionals.

Students not only experience computer science on a screen, but bring it to reality through robotics, drones, 3D design, and apps, emphasizing empathy to solve real-world community problems through intergenerational collaboration.

Photo Credit: Broward County Public Schools


Closing the Opportunity Gap Using Hands-On, Project-Based Learning Taught by Expert Mentors

www.citizenschools.org

Middle school is a critical developmental period and turning point in the lives of young students. For students at East Somerville Community School (ESCS), many of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Citizen Schools is intent on setting these Massachusetts young people on a positive trajectory forward.

The Boston-based nonprofit organization has brought both rigor and relevance in its partnership approach with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. By tapping the reservoir of resources in the community, Citizen Schools helps to catalyze student growth through comprehensive academic support, college and career readiness activities, and real-world apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships guided by local STEM professionals will help 150 6th and 7th grade students at ESCS master 21st century skills like collaboration, teamwork, and problem solving, through project-based, hands-on learning opportunities. Students who might otherwise have a limited understanding of available career pathways to become better prepared to thrive in the ‘innovation economy’.  For families, many of whom represent diverse cultures where English is a second language, Citizen Schools also serves as a welcoming access point and helps them navigate the school system. By semester’s end, educators, students, community and families come together for a public celebration where students teach back what they’ve learned in their apprenticeships at an event called WOW!

For 22 years, the Citizen Schools collaborative model has focused on the whole child, “educating children, strengthening communities” and instilling the belief that success is indeed attainable. At ESCS, Citizen Schools is closing the opportunity gap, and, with the support of corporate and community volunteers, is ensuring that students have the opportunity to dream big and envision their path to future success.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Citizen Schools

Aligning Teacher Instruction with NGSS to Ensure Student STEM Success

www.ecsonline.org

The next generation of middle school students have the opportunity to be true scientists, thanks to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS not only teaches science content but helps develop students’ knowledge while focusing on evidence-based explanations and application.

An innovative network of free public schools serving more than 1,200 students in South Los Angeles County, Environmental Charter Schools is equipping its teachers with training and resources to integrate NGSS into interdisciplinary, project-based, and environmentally-themed curriculum. At Environmental Charter Middle School – Inglewood (ECMS-I), 360 students in grades 6 to 8 regularly engage in interdisciplinary learning and use the environment to engage, connect, and discover what it means to become stewards of their communities. Their campus and curriculum reflect environmental sustainability at every turn.

Building Teacher Capacity for Next Generation Science Standards enlists a seasoned Science Instructional Coach (SIC) to train teachers in the new standards and identify helpful resources and professional development opportunities including STEM-focused conferences. Beyond that, the aim is to drive toward a three-dimensional instructional shift to disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to ensure student achievement. Outside the classroom, student interest in NGSS and STEM subjects is cultivated through STEM partnerships and school-based activities, such as the STEM Family Night and Earth Day event.

All Points North Foundation’s grant enables ECMS-I to not only transform its practice, based on innovative NGSS conceptual frameworks, deepen its understandings of science standards, and increase student science proficiency but inspire students to overcome community conditions and consider a STEM pathway for college and career.

Photo Credit: Environmental Charter Schools

Startup Tech Expansion Brings the Future of Work and the Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Classroom

www.nfte.com

In an innovation economy, there are no traditional pathways to success. That’s why the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is helping some 600 middle school students discover their own potential by activating the entrepreneurial mindset to help forge their own futures.

Startup Tech (SUT), a fast-growing program within the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway, provides youth from under-resourced communities with access to technology tools to create products and services they can turn into successful businesses. Students acquire STEM, business, presentation, and entrepreneurial skills through experiential, project-based learning – preparing them for lifelong success no matter what path they ultimately choose. Students are empowered to think and act like entrepreneurs, learning flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, innovation and creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and comfort with risk.

Essential to the success of SUT is intensive teacher training and ongoing professional development of 18 middle school teachers who will implement SUT in NYC, Dallas, Baltimore/Washington DC, and St. Louis.

SUT partners with volunteer entrepreneurs, tech industry experts and business people, bringing caring mentors and connectors to local industry. These business leaders and entrepreneurs usher real world experience into the classroom and help coach NFTE students as they explore computational thinking and MIT App Inventor, create their own viable business ideas, explore sustainable business models, and learn how to pitch their ideas to investors.

The culmination is regional yearend Startup Showcases, giving SUT students the opportunity to demonstrate their marketable digital solutions that address community problems, pitch their business concepts, and compete for seed funding.

Photo Credit: Carmen Garcia, Christopher Jones and Randy Deich


Digital Tools Power Student Learning, Teacher Practices, and Parental Engagement

www.powermylearning.org

Research shows that middle school can be a challenging time when students begin to falter in academic achievement. For high poverty schools, the challenge to produce successful learners is even more pronounced. Students struggle with mastering Common Core standards and STEM subjects, social and emotional learning, and the 21st century skills needed to succeed.

Through a multi-pronged approach to digital learning, PowerMyLearning – a nonprofit that leverages technology to strengthen learning relationships — is helping students in low-income communities, together with their teachers and families, harness innovation to improve educational outcomes.

All Points North grants will enable students in high-need middle schools in Los Angeles and San Jose to power their mastery of learning. PowerMyLearning’s three-pronged strategy relies on school-wide, comprehensive programs and services to help students increase their classroom effort and ownership over their learning; intensive coaching and professional development workshops for educators; and inclusive family workshops. Students, teachers and families will also access a free online education platform, PowerMyLearning Connect, focusing on STEM digital learning activities and Family Playlists. This will help engage parents and build confidence in helping their children learn at home and plan for the future. The playlists provide a new interactive homework experience that builds students’ social emotional skills and helps parents better understand their students as learners.

Through innovative programming that brings together each part of a school community, PowerMyLearning is accelerating teacher innovation and strengthening the home-school connection. In a recent national study, students at PowerMyLearning’s partner schools increased their math proficiency seven percentage points higher than students at comparable schools. Their unique school partnership model is proving its impact on high student achievement – while fostering noticeable professional growth in teachers and in families as supportive partners, a proven booster for academic success.

Photo Credit: PowerMyLearning, Inc.

Lights Out! Renew Our Schools Takes Energy Education and Conservation Action Competition Nationwide

www.conservationcenter.org/renew-our-schools

Since 2011, Renew Our Schools’ energy conservation programs have gotten Colorado schools all charged up. Now, Resource Central’s youth engagement initiative is spreading that passion to put conservation into action among middle schools across the country. The energy competition will target 30 underserved public middle schools, potentially reaching 18,000 students through the All Points North Foundation grant.

Schools typically reduce electricity usage by a full 10 to 20% during the competition period by utilizing real-time electricity monitors called eGauges to guide their efforts. Winning schools will receive energy efficiency prizes that will help them realize even greater energy savings and use that money saved to cover other school needs.

Through energy measurement tools such as light meters and thermometers that capture their school’s energy use, students can immediately see how their simple actions impact savings. These students reduce their electricity usage by behavioral means only: turning off lights, removing unnecessary appliances, setting computers to power save mode, adjusting building programming, to name a few.

Working with community mentors and energy experts who expose students to various sustainability careers, schools can earn points by completing energy-themed actions such as lesson plans, conducting a full-school audit, or touring local energy facilities. Teachers are trained and provided resources and tools needed to be confident and successful in their school’s implementation and student engagement.

The program has been so successful in Colorado that many school districts have been inspired to create their own sustainability programs once the competition ends. Now, the new nationwide expansion program will help not only continue the Colorado tradition of transforming the way energy education is taught but foster a new generation of energy leaders across the U.S..

Photo Credit: Resource Central: Renew Our Schools

Instructional Coaching and Technology Help Transform
Rural Schools in Colorado

www.teachunited.org

A bridge builder of the equity gap of rural and under-resourced schools, TeachUNITED believes firmly in the power of dedicated teachers to help transform the outcomes of rural schools, which serve over 20 percent of the nation’s youth yet often face challenges in finding and retaining teachers. At the root of this shortage are factors like geographic isolation, low salaries, lower enrollment leading to less per-pupil funding, and fewer professional development opportunities.

Working in partnership with schools like Platte Valley Middle School in Kersey, CO, TeachUNITED aims to improve teacher motivation, readiness and effectiveness, limiting teacher turnover and improving student educational outcomes and engagement. The All Points North Foundation grant will reach up to 10 middle grade teachers and 300 students from three schools in rural Northeastern and Southwestern Colorado where student engagement can be common challenges.

Collaborating with Centennial and San Juan BOCES, TeachUNITED identifies schools with a committed leader and passionate educators who serve as lead teachers/mentors and school change agents. Educators take part in the TeachUNITED training program to implement best practices in blended learning, math and literacy instruction, 21st century skills, and student engagement. When needed, schools are also offered tablet technology, a rolling case of 20 tablets. And when internet connectivity is a challenge, schools receive a micro-server that stores content including learning apps like Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and PHET Science Simulation.

The one-year intensive program ensures that partner schools in rural and under-resourced regions of Colorado receive support from teacher Coaches, a proven professional development curriculum, access to a peer network, and, when needed, a mobile tablet lab that helps to transform teaching and learning through personalized learning plans to maximize student academic growth. TeachUNITED points out that learning becomes purposeful, students become engaged, and classrooms become energized. The results speak volumes: an increase in assessment scores, engagement, and 21st-century skills.

Photo Credit: TeachUNITED

Education

Zoo Project Introduces Sixth Graders to Project-Based, Maker-Education Model

www.annrichardsschool.org

Women comprise half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. And, minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.

The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (ARS), an all-girls, college-preparatory public school, is determined to change the narrative. As the only 6th-12th grade school in the Austin Independent School District where STEM is a rule and not an exception for every student, ARS is preparing today’s female students to become tomorrow’s STEM leaders.

Through rigorous and cross-disciplinary STEM curriculum, ARS inspires girls to build solutions for the 21st century. The All Points North Foundation grant supports “Modeling the Zoo Project” where all sixth graders research and create enrichment solutions for rescue animals at the Austin Zoo. Students use the on-campus MakerSpace to develop their design and building skills using technology and power tools. The Zoo Project launches students into the project-based, Maker education model that is centered on collaborative, hands-on learning and is inherent throughout ARS.

ARS staff will also attend their first Project-Based Learning World Conference to learn and share best practices as they prepare curriculum and formalize the Maker model from idea generation through the final product. Throughout the year, an interactive display board will provide visual insights into the stages of the project, emphasizing “process over product.”

As a national leader and innovator in this space, ARS will incorporate teacher- and self-assessment of the process and growth in students’ 5Cs (collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking and community) for further assessment and replication.
Photo Credit: Ann Richards School Foundation


Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative Prepares Next Generation of Inspired, Diverse Educational Leaders

www.breakthroughcollaborative.org

To address the urgent national need for a more diverse teaching force, Breakthrough Collaborative’s Teaching Fellows Excellence Initiative provides aspiring educators with the opportunity to gain firsthand experience as classroom teachers. Each summer more than 1,000 of the nation’s brightest undergraduates participate in nine-week teaching residencies. The unique students-teaching-students model focuses not only on reversing summer slide and promoting student academic growth, but also developing Teaching Fellows professionally and supporting their leadership development for those returning to teach for multiple summers.

This second All Points North Foundation grant helps Breakthrough enhance curriculum for Teaching Fellows, particularly for the 25% who return. Once alumni, Teaching Fellows then have access to a robust online platform and a virtual community of news updates, career and professional development opportunities, and training.

The nation’s largest pre-professional teacher training program, Breakthrough has proven to be a powerful pipeline for the next generation of inspired, diverse educational leaders with many Teaching Fellow alumni recruited by the top teacher residencies and graduate schools across the country. Teaching Fellows are 63% people of color compared to 18% of teachers nationwide; 40% are first-generation college graduates and 27% are male. Additionally, a growing percentage of Teaching Fellows were once Breakthrough students themselves.

Emerging evidence suggests that a diverse teaching force, like the one that Breakthrough is intentionally building, has the promising potential to motivate underserved minority students to attain greater educational success. In 2018, Breakthrough’s students were 96% students of color and almost half of students lived in a home where English is not the primary language.

Grants from All Points North Foundation help Breakthrough support its students, teaching fellows, and instructional coaches in achieving their full potential as learners, teachers, leaders, and agents of change.

Photo Credit: Breakthrough Collaborative


Codes for Good Initiative Computes for Broward Middle Schools

www.browardedfoundation.org

Computer programming jobs are growing at twice the national average with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Science Foundation predicting there will be one million more jobs than students entering the field by 2020.

Middle schoolers in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), however, have a jumpstart on becoming creators of technology and STEM career pathways, thanks to the District’s #BrowardCODES for social good initiative and its BURST (Broward Unifying Robotics, Science & Technology) program. This program provides a comprehensive middle grade curriculum addressing community problem solving using technology.

Spotlighted by the White House as a national model for expanding access to computer science in schools, more than 50,000 students have already been positively impacted by computer science at all BCPS K-12 schools. All Points North Foundation’s grant will see an additional 30 middle schools offering extracurricular opportunities to participate in #BrowardCODES for social good.

BCPS became the first school district in the nation to partner with Code.org to increase access to computer science courses, curriculum, and resources, inside and outside the classroom. Since then, BCPS has been named a regional partner with Code.org, which provides additional funds master teacher trainers and computer science-trained teachers and the application of design thinking. The #BrowardCODES initiative broadens participation by hosting Saturday Code Clubs reaching out to underserved communities, holding teacher workshops, interactive family CodeFests, and a culminating apps challenge showcase that attracts the enthusiastic participation of industry professionals.

Students not only experience computer science on a screen, but bring it to reality through robotics, drones, 3D design, and apps, emphasizing empathy to solve real-world community problems through intergenerational collaboration.

Photo Credit: Broward County Public Schools


Closing the Opportunity Gap Using Hands-On, Project-Based Learning Taught by Expert Mentors

www.citizenschools.org

Middle school is a critical developmental period and turning point in the lives of young students. For students at East Somerville Community School (ESCS), many of whom come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, Citizen Schools is intent on setting these Massachusetts young people on a positive trajectory forward.

The Boston-based nonprofit organization has brought both rigor and relevance in its partnership approach with middle schools across the United States to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. By tapping the reservoir of resources in the community, Citizen Schools helps to catalyze student growth through comprehensive academic support, college and career readiness activities, and real-world apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships guided by local STEM professionals will help 150 6th and 7th grade students at ESCS master 21st century skills like collaboration, teamwork, and problem solving, through project-based, hands-on learning opportunities. Students who might otherwise have a limited understanding of available career pathways to become better prepared to thrive in the ‘innovation economy’.  For families, many of whom represent diverse cultures where English is a second language, Citizen Schools also serves as a welcoming access point and helps them navigate the school system. By semester’s end, educators, students, community and families come together for a public celebration where students teach back what they’ve learned in their apprenticeships at an event called WOW!

For 22 years, the Citizen Schools collaborative model has focused on the whole child, “educating children, strengthening communities” and instilling the belief that success is indeed attainable. At ESCS, Citizen Schools is closing the opportunity gap, and, with the support of corporate and community volunteers, is ensuring that students have the opportunity to dream big and envision their path to future success.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Citizen Schools

Aligning Teacher Instruction with NGSS to Ensure Student STEM Success

www.ecsonline.org

The next generation of middle school students have the opportunity to be true scientists, thanks to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS not only teaches science content but helps develop students’ knowledge while focusing on evidence-based explanations and application.

An innovative network of free public schools serving more than 1,200 students in South Los Angeles County, Environmental Charter Schools is equipping its teachers with training and resources to integrate NGSS into interdisciplinary, project-based, and environmentally-themed curriculum. At Environmental Charter Middle School – Inglewood (ECMS-I), 360 students in grades 6 to 8 regularly engage in interdisciplinary learning and use the environment to engage, connect, and discover what it means to become stewards of their communities. Their campus and curriculum reflect environmental sustainability at every turn.

Building Teacher Capacity for Next Generation Science Standards enlists a seasoned Science Instructional Coach (SIC) to train teachers in the new standards and identify helpful resources and professional development opportunities including STEM-focused conferences. Beyond that, the aim is to drive toward a three-dimensional instructional shift to disciplinary core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to ensure student achievement. Outside the classroom, student interest in NGSS and STEM subjects is cultivated through STEM partnerships and school-based activities, such as the STEM Family Night and Earth Day event.

All Points North Foundation’s grant enables ECMS-I to not only transform its practice, based on innovative NGSS conceptual frameworks, deepen its understandings of science standards, and increase student science proficiency but inspire students to overcome community conditions and consider a STEM pathway for college and career.

Photo Credit: Environmental Charter Schools

Startup Tech Expansion Brings the Future of Work and the Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Classroom

www.nfte.com

In an innovation economy, there are no traditional pathways to success. That’s why the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is helping some 600 middle school students discover their own potential by activating the entrepreneurial mindset to help forge their own futures.

Startup Tech (SUT), a fast-growing program within the NFTE Entrepreneurship Pathway, provides youth from under-resourced communities with access to technology tools to create products and services they can turn into successful businesses. Students acquire STEM, business, presentation, and entrepreneurial skills through experiential, project-based learning – preparing them for lifelong success no matter what path they ultimately choose. Students are empowered to think and act like entrepreneurs, learning flexibility and adaptability, communication and collaboration, innovation and creativity, critical thinking and problem solving, and comfort with risk.

Essential to the success of SUT is intensive teacher training and ongoing professional development of 18 middle school teachers who will implement SUT in NYC, Dallas, Baltimore/Washington DC, and St. Louis.

SUT partners with volunteer entrepreneurs, tech industry experts and business people, bringing caring mentors and connectors to local industry. These business leaders and entrepreneurs usher real world experience into the classroom and help coach NFTE students as they explore computational thinking and MIT App Inventor, create their own viable business ideas, explore sustainable business models, and learn how to pitch their ideas to investors.

The culmination is regional yearend Startup Showcases, giving SUT students the opportunity to demonstrate their marketable digital solutions that address community problems, pitch their business concepts, and compete for seed funding.

Photo Credit: Carmen Garcia, Christopher Jones and Randy Deich


Digital Tools Power Student Learning, Teacher Practices, and Parental Engagement

www.powermylearning.org

Research shows that middle school can be a challenging time when students begin to falter in academic achievement. For high poverty schools, the challenge to produce successful learners is even more pronounced. Students struggle with mastering Common Core standards and STEM subjects, social and emotional learning, and the 21st century skills needed to succeed.

Through a multi-pronged approach to digital learning, PowerMyLearning – a nonprofit that leverages technology to strengthen learning relationships — is helping students in low-income communities, together with their teachers and families, harness innovation to improve educational outcomes.

All Points North grants will enable students in high-need middle schools in Los Angeles and San Jose to power their mastery of learning. PowerMyLearning’s three-pronged strategy relies on school-wide, comprehensive programs and services to help students increase their classroom effort and ownership over their learning; intensive coaching and professional development workshops for educators; and inclusive family workshops. Students, teachers and families will also access a free online education platform, PowerMyLearning Connect, focusing on STEM digital learning activities and Family Playlists. This will help engage parents and build confidence in helping their children learn at home and plan for the future. The playlists provide a new interactive homework experience that builds students’ social emotional skills and helps parents better understand their students as learners.

Through innovative programming that brings together each part of a school community, PowerMyLearning is accelerating teacher innovation and strengthening the home-school connection. In a recent national study, students at PowerMyLearning’s partner schools increased their math proficiency seven percentage points higher than students at comparable schools. Their unique school partnership model is proving its impact on high student achievement – while fostering noticeable professional growth in teachers and in families as supportive partners, a proven booster for academic success.

Photo Credit: PowerMyLearning, Inc.

Instituto Nueva Escuela To Install Solar Plus Storage System to Ensure School Has Reliable Electricity

www.inepr.com

Following the devastation from Hurricane Maria, the non-profit Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE) did what community leaders do without hesitation – it began to rebuild to meet the needs of the schools and communities it serves. With a grant from All Points North Foundation, INE is working to provide reliable electricity to San Juan’s School Victor Parés Collazo and its 100 students (including its special needs youth), and their families, the majority of whom live under the poverty level.

Regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica and Puerto Rico, the hurricane also triggered the largest blackout in history. Although electricity has since been slowly restored, the grid supplying energy to the INE network of schools remains vulnerable. To avert another potential natural disaster in the future, INE began boldly developing a solar energy initiative for providing a more resilient energy system.

The solar plus storage system is designed to run the school’s critical loads such as lighting and refrigeration for over two hours in islanding mode. If the grid goes down, the school will continue to receive electricity. During the day, the school can run loads with a 30kW solar PV system while still being able to sufficiently recharge the batteries. The design allows for expandable storage should the school see a need for more autonomy in the future. The provision also enables the school to serve as a community center for distributing aid and providing shelter during future natural disasters. On top of its resiliency factor, the solar system is estimated to produce over 41,000 kWh annually of clean electricity.

While the disaster has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many, more than a year later INE is intent on ensuring its schools are equipped with a more resilient grid.  The catastrophic event has not dampened INE’s spirit as it remains focused on its primary mission of quality education and “to achieve peace in Puerto Rico through an excellent school for all.”

Photo Credit: Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE)

Lights Out! Renew Our Schools Takes Energy Education and Conservation Action Competition Nationwide

www.conservationcenter.org/renew-our-schools

Since 2011, Renew Our Schools’ energy conservation programs have gotten Colorado schools all charged up. Now, Resource Central’s youth engagement initiative is spreading that passion to put conservation into action among middle schools across the country. The energy competition will target 30 underserved public middle schools, potentially reaching 18,000 students through the All Points North Foundation grant.

Schools typically reduce electricity usage by a full 10 to 20% during the competition period by utilizing real-time electricity monitors called eGauges to guide their efforts. Winning schools will receive energy efficiency prizes that will help them realize even greater energy savings and use that money saved to cover other school needs.

Through energy measurement tools such as light meters and thermometers that capture their school’s energy use, students can immediately see how their simple actions impact savings. These students reduce their electricity usage by behavioral means only: turning off lights, removing unnecessary appliances, setting computers to power save mode, adjusting building programming, to name a few.

Working with community mentors and energy experts who expose students to various sustainability careers, schools can earn points by completing energy-themed actions such as lesson plans, conducting a full-school audit, or touring local energy facilities. Teachers are trained and provided resources and tools needed to be confident and successful in their school’s implementation and student engagement.

The program has been so successful in Colorado that many school districts have been inspired to create their own sustainability programs once the competition ends. Now, the new nationwide expansion program will help not only continue the Colorado tradition of transforming the way energy education is taught but foster a new generation of energy leaders across the U.S..

Photo Credit: Resource Central: Renew Our Schools

Instructional Coaching and Technology Help Transform
Rural Schools in Colorado

www.teachunited.org

A bridge builder of the equity gap of rural and under-resourced schools, TeachUNITED believes firmly in the power of dedicated teachers to help transform the outcomes of rural schools, which serve over 20 percent of the nation’s youth yet often face challenges in finding and retaining teachers. At the root of this shortage are factors like geographic isolation, low salaries, lower enrollment leading to less per-pupil funding, and fewer professional development opportunities.

Working in partnership with schools like Platte Valley Middle School in Kersey, CO, TeachUNITED aims to improve teacher motivation, readiness and effectiveness, limiting teacher turnover and improving student educational outcomes and engagement. The All Points North Foundation grant will reach up to 10 middle grade teachers and 300 students from three schools in rural Northeastern and Southwestern Colorado where student engagement can be common challenges.

Collaborating with Centennial and San Juan BOCES, TeachUNITED identifies schools with a committed leader and passionate educators who serve as lead teachers/mentors and school change agents. Educators take part in the TeachUNITED training program to implement best practices in blended learning, math and literacy instruction, 21st century skills, and student engagement. When needed, schools are also offered tablet technology, a rolling case of 20 tablets. And when internet connectivity is a challenge, schools receive a micro-server that stores content including learning apps like Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and PHET Science Simulation.

The one-year intensive program ensures that partner schools in rural and under-resourced regions of Colorado receive support from teacher Coaches, a proven professional development curriculum, access to a peer network, and, when needed, a mobile tablet lab that helps to transform teaching and learning through personalized learning plans to maximize student academic growth. TeachUNITED points out that learning becomes purposeful, students become engaged, and classrooms become energized. The results speak volumes: an increase in assessment scores, engagement, and 21st-century skills.

Photo Credit: TeachUNITED