News

Headlines

'Kids don't hate math; they hate being frustrated'

Helping Students Succeed at Math

Entering high school math can bring up anxiety for both the student and the parent. Algebra, geometry, trigonometry — the course titles are the same, but believe it or not, the way these classes are now taught in school can look a lot different from what you might remember. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself — and, more importantly, your student — for a successful school year:

The best way to support your student as he transitions to these upper-level math courses is to keep an open dialogue with him about it.

"When Common Core came in, it shifted the focus to include an understanding of everything," said Amy Lee Kinder, who has worked as a math specialist at the Bridgescape Academy in Humboldt Park. "It's more about the process to get there. That's very foreign to how people were taught in the past. It's more about investigative learning and students going through a scenario and understanding a concept completely." 

Kinder said students are now asked, "Why do you think that?" and, "Where does that come from?" They are required to explain how they came to the answer, instead of just spitting out a number.

A great way to prepare your student for the classroom is by asking the same types of questions at home.

"Question, question, question," Kinder said. "Stay involved, as hard as it may be. From the teacher's perspective, it takes a team of people to assist these kids, and support outside the classroom is huge."

If your student is nervous about a new math class, try building up his confidence by revisiting basic concepts, such as addition, subtraction and fractions.

"The issues kids face in algebra aren't necessarily about algebra, but a lack of understanding about what a fraction is — things that precede that higher-level class," said Mark Kriston, owner of two Mathnasium learning centers in Chicago.

It's always good to know when to ask for help. And with more difficult courses that build upon previous concepts, it's probably best for your student to get help sooner, rather than later, if he needs it.

"We don't get calls for tutoring until October or November," Reber said. "That's usually when they've had their first hard test."

But Kinder, who also works as a private math tutor, cautioned: "Once a kid gets behind, it's way harder for them to get caught up." She suggests going over the syllabus with your child as soon as school starts. She said students should be presented with a calendar of what's going to be expected of the class; some teachers will post this information online.

"The more proactive parents can be about getting involved, the better," she said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/parenting/sc-back-to-school-math-family-0830-20160824-story.html

READ MORE
Headlines

EdisonLearning Enhances Alternative and Virtual Education Solutions with Innovative Project-Based Learning Curriculum

Bridgescape Learning Providing a Path to Graduation

EdisonLearning, the leading international educational solutions provider, is enhancing its alternative and virtual education solutions with the addition of a new project-based learning curriculum.  This initiative is being advanced in partnership with Global Learning Models (GLM), and the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) – a regional educational service agency in Pennsylvania serving 24 member school districts.

With the 2016-17 school year, project-based learning curriculum, developed by Global Learning Models (GLM), will be incorporated with EdisonLearning’s eCourses and utilized throughout its partnership school network to help students capitalize on their own strengths, learning styles, and interests by applying them to coursework.

“This new project-based learning curriculum highlights our sincere belief that it is only through collaborative partnerships that we will advance the goals of education – specifically in raising academic achievement and preparing students for college and a career,” said Thom Jackson, EdisonLearning’s President and CEO.  “Both Global Learning Models and CAIU are among the most competent and committed working in education today, and we are proud to have them as our partners.”

In addition, EdisonLearning is re-establishing the original brand name to its alternative learning program that provides an effective and personalized educational option for those students who want to graduate from high school. Bridgescape Learning Academies have, since their inception in 2010, awarded 2,000 at-risk and dropped-out high school students their high school diplomas.

“With as many as one quarter of our students not finishing high school,” said Mr. Jackson, “Bridgescape Learning Academies continue to advance our belief that every student – given the right tools, support and environment – is capable of exceeding their expectations, and complete their high school education, giving them the ability to continue onto college, attend vocational school, or enter the workforce.”

As result of a 2011 strategic alliance with Magic Johnson Enterprises, Bridgescape Centers were re-branded as Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academies. “We are honored to have partnered with Mr. Earvin Johnson, who helped to increase public visibility of the Bridgescape program, and boost public awareness of the dropout crisis in our country,” said Mr. Jackson.

Bridgescape Learning Academies are designed for high school-age students who have already left school, or who are at risk of leaving, and want to earn a standard high school diploma. Unlike a traditional school setting, the Bridgescape program is a blend of one-on-one and group instruction, which will now be infused with the new project-based learning interactive offerings specifically tailored for each individual student.

Bridgescape Learning Academies in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Norfolk, Durham, and Bridgeton, NJ helped more than 2,200 high school dropouts and at risk students during the current school year complete their education, earn their diplomas, and prepare to enter college or receive the necessary credentials to get a job upon graduation.  New Bridgescape Learning Academies will be opening this year in Dayton, Ohio and Gary, Indiana.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of students, who enroll in Bridgescape, complete the program and earn their diploma - which is higher than the national graduation rate for all schools.

READ MORE
Headlines

Memorial Day 2016

Thom Jackson on the Significance of Memorial Day

The holiday we celebrate this coming Monday had its origin at a time when the United States was still very much a divided country.  In the aftermath of the Civil War, “Decoration Day”- as it was originally called - was observed in only the northern states. Union veterans’ organizations called for the decoration of only the graves of those who fought and died for the Union.  Not until after World War 1 was “Memorial Day” designated to honor Americans who died fighting in all of our wars.

Throughout the one hundred and fifty-one years since the United States was reunited into one common country, we have strived to eliminate any fragments of being separate and unequal in all aspects of American society.  During this time, there have been a number of seminal events that reshaped the social and political fabric of America.  Most are not as well-known today as they were at the time they occurred.  Many have not even been mentioned in history textbooks.  Yet, they were significant as to how they forced America to look at itself; and define freedom, equality, and our way of life.

One such event took place sixty-two years ago this month, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education ended legalized racial segregation in all American schools.  The impact of the following words – “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” - resonated far beyond the classroom as it provided impetus and momentum for the Civil Rights Movement, and the later passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In the ensuing years, our nation should be able to stand together proudly and marvel at all that has been accomplished to break down barriers to ensure that ALL our children have an opportunity to be participants in today's knowledge economy.  Yet in truth, the pages of history have been turned back, and what is old, is now new again.

In addition to voluminous studies and reports citing growing disparities in the achievement gap, school funding, and disciplinary actions relating to Black and minority students in comparison to their white peers – the following headline appeared last week in news outlets throughout the county:

“Judge orders Mississippi school district to desegregate, 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education.”

As an organization fully committed to improving the achievement outcomes of all students, we are all too aware that many public education systems around the country provide fewer resources to schools serving low-income and disadvantaged students.  We also know that strong preconceptions exist that due to some students’ socio-economic circumstances; it is assumed that they will not finish school, will not find a decent job, and will never go to college.

Our Vision and Mission is in many ways linked to the precepts established by Brown v Board of Education, as our work is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunities for all children.  So it is essential for all of us to understand that this commitment is not simply a collection of words for marketing purposes.  It is who we are, and what we stand for.  Therefore, even in the course of our hectic daily workplace activities, we cannot lose sight of the role we play in positively impacting the lives and futures of thousands of young people.

Consider as we honor and commemorate the more than 1.3 million Americans who paid the ultimate price fighting for our country; that there is no racial designation or income status noted on their grave markers.  At the moment they were giving the last full measure of devotion to their country – there was no “Separate” – there was no “Unequal” - just “Americans”.

Together, we are a piece of thread in the massive fabric which is America.  Let us do all we can to eliminate “Separate” and “Unequal” from the educational lexicon; and in doing so, honor those who gave their all to guarantee the founding principle of our nation that “All Men Are Created Equal”.

READ MORE
Headlines

EdisonLearning Children Come to Work

Take Your Child to Work Day

 

Children ranging in age from 1 to 15 came to work yesterday with their parents as part of EdisonLearning’s annual “Take Your Child to Work Day.”

In the Pittsburgh office: Carol Smialek was joined by Izabella; Mark MacWhinney by Julia; Ken Barth was joined by Juliette; and Michael Trosan was joined by Julia and Gianna.

In Jersey City: Archie Ford was joined by Kamari and Aurielle; Jacqueline Galvan was joined by Gerald and Elijah; Tanya Hooks by Taylor; and Nicole LaFortune by Sean.  And in the Knoxville office, Paula Asbury was joined by EJ.

In addition to spending a special day at their parents’ workplace, the children participated in various project activities – including a unique eCourse program, and had a Skype video conversation with Thom Jackson during the lunch break.

READ MORE
Headlines

CAIU Announces Blended Learning Grant Selectees

CAIU/EdisonLearning Grants

The Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) is pleased to announce the selection of five local schools to receive blended learning grants.

  • Oak Flat Elementary in the Big Spring School District;        
  • Hershey Elementary in the Derry Township School District
  • Lenkerville Elementary School  in the Millersburg Area School District       
  • Halifax Elementary School  in the Halifax Area School District       
  • Paxtonia Elementary  in the Central Dauphin School District                       

 The above schools will each receive a grant of $20,000 to plan for the implementation of blended learning practices in their schools. The term blended learning refers to teachers fusing the best of online learning practices with the best of traditional face-to-face teaching practices in the 21st century classroom.

“We are excited to be able to award these grants to these five schools,” said Brian Griffith, director of curriculum services at CAIU. “With this planning grant, each of these teams will research the latest in innovative teaching methods and begin planning for implementing them in their schools,” he said. “There are model schools throughout the country who have implemented such programs, and this grant will serve as a catalyst to spur such innovation here.” “These five schools will open their doors to other schools in our region to share what they’re doing.  So, our whole region will benefit,” Griffith added.

Pending the availability of funds, a second competition for an implementation grant will be conducted in the fall of 2016.  This competition will again be open to public elementary schools in the CAIU region to apply.

This second grant will support a school in actually implementing the new teaching and learning practices in its building. “These sizable grants are only possible with the help of our Partners of Education, led by EdisonLearning,” said Griffith. Thom Jackson, EdisonLearning’s President and CEO, said, “CAIU has been an innovator in helping to provide students with the tools they need to maximize their learning potential. As a partner of CAIU’s in online learning since 2009, EdisonLearning is pleased to offer financial support and technical expertise for this initiative – being fully aware that students throughout the region will benefit.”

CAIU is modeling the use of some blended learning practices in this grant process. Each district was invited to participate in both web-based and face-to-face meetings to learn more about the grants. CAIU staff members have also created online learning modules for building teams to learn more about the design attributes and various models that are being used across the country.

 

READ MORE