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February e-ClassNotes


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F E B R U A R Y   2  0  1  5

New Report Looks at Promising Practices in Formative Assessment, Features Classroom, Inc.

Researchers, game developers, and educators are increasingly examining how games can be ideal vehicles for formative assessment. The latest report from the A-GAMES Project, a collaboration between NYU and the University of Michigan, includes case studies on various game features that support best assessment practices. The Sports Network-2, our free literacy learning game designed to 8th grade standards, was one of the games studied in this report. The study is gaining attention from various outlets including The Journal and eSchool NewsRead more.

NY1 Highlights Our Partnership with Our Lady of Mount Carmel St. Benedicta

We ventured to the Staten Island school with Kate Niehaus, one of our long-time generous donors, to witness the direct impact of her family’s philanthropy. The all-news cable station featured the site visit, which includes terrific interviews with students using our programs.

(Check out the creative thank you note to Classroom, Inc. and the Niehaus Family from the students.)

Meet Our New Board Member

We spent a few minutes getting to know Michael McCormick, partner at Gilder, Gagnon, Howe & Co., LLC and Classroom, Inc.’s new board member.

Why are you involved in educational causes? My wife and I decided to create a foundation that was dedicated to creating incremental benefits to children that would have the potential to significantly impact their lives. As we researched numerous causes, we frequently came back to education. There is a huge and widening gap in the educational development of our children today. Social factors, economics, and faith all play a role in how children learn and grow. If our foundation’s goal is to create the opportunity to steer a child in a positive direction, I am not sure you can find a better area of focus than working to improve the educational process.

What do you believe are the most pressing issues in education that we face today? There are so many and I imagine many people would agree that it cuts across a wide spectrum of issues. Given the current environment, I do believe there is one area to focus on that would have the largest impact on students. It is my belief at the basic core we need to strengthen resources for teachers so they actually have time to teach and focus on student development. When exceptional teachers have the proper tools and resources, they have a better chance to connect with their students. That connection has the potential to make a significant impact on a child’s development. If this occurs not only will it drive scholastic performance but also it will set a path for these students to grow into solid individuals.

As we look to the future, how do you think Classroom, Inc. is uniquely situated to address these pressing issues? Classroom, Inc. is building resources to support teachers and educate children with an engaging game platform. Often these teachers are working in chronically under-funded and under-resourced areas. Classroom, Inc. programs were developed to help even the odds. These tools empower teachers, not only to raise the core learning levels of their students, but also to introduce educators to opportunities their current environment doesn’t offer. Classroom, Inc.’s new development platform has the ability to distribute its curriculum online. The platform—combined with the incredible and dedicated team—positions Classroom, Inc. for success in driving academic improvement and self-development on a broad scale. I am excited and fortunate to be involved in such a terrific cause.

Do You Know About This (Amazing!) Scholarship?

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced its Young Scholars Program earlier this month. The five-year scholarship is available for 7th graders from low- to moderate-income families who stand out because of their high academic ability and achievement. Deadline to apply is April 14, 2015.

And the Oscar Goes To….

If you think the Academy competition is fierce, you should check out the educational technology industry! The edtech scene is a busy one these days. Education Dive created a list of the top eight tools—including After the Storm: The Daily Byte—to watch in 2015 to make sure these products get on the radars of busy leaders and educators. We’re in impressive company too, just check it out for yourself.

What we're reading

Check out the full list of news, blogs, and reports that caught our eye this month in our February RoundUP.

Schott Foundation Report on Black Boys and Public Education: “Black Lives Matter” a new report from the Schott Foundation takes a 50-state look at how well public education is serving black males. One stat that can be juxtaposed against new data this month shows that in 2013 the grad rate for black males was 59%, compared to 80% overall.

Is Your First Grader College Ready, New York Times: An article causing a stir this month examines the growing push among parents, educators, and other leaders to create a college-going culture. Some say we’re robbing kids of their childhood by pushing the issue at such a young age.
How to Make Blended Learning Work, edSurge: A director from Aspire Public Schools, a high-performing charter network, talks about the lessons the network has learned over the years of implementing blended learning programs. In the post is a link to a new book that serves as a handbook for schools to share in the promising practices.

We’re making our plans for various events over the next couple months. Want to meet up with us?

Email: CInewsletter@classroominc.org

Tweet at us: @ClassroomInc

edSurge Tech for Schools Summit:Baltimore, MD, Feb. 28
SXSWedu:Austin, TX, March 9-12
Teaching & Learning:Washington, DC, March 13-14
Sandbox Summit:Cambridge, MA, March 23-24