How Does ESSA Support School Climate?

Posted on Oct 29, 2018

ESSA and School Climate

We can all think back to a moment in time during our K-12 schooling when we felt safe or unsafe, and respected and encouraged (or not) by an adult. We can think of the friends and peers we had that might have grown up in difficult houses, and how they were affected academically, socially, and emotionally. We can think of that one kid in our class that without fail, was constantly picked-on or the kid that seemed to have it all together: academically and socially. We can also remember what it felt like going to school every day.

These images and experiences – whether good or bad – stick with us for life. These same experiences often shape our development, perceptions, education, reasoning, critical problem-solving skills, future goals, and more, as we go through school and life.

As teachers, administrators, counselors, and really any adult working in a school...

Why We Do What We Do!

Posted on Sep 18, 2018

Odysseyware Instructional Design Framework for Learning

Last month I was invited to be the Keynote Speaker for the Wisconsin eSchool Network teachers at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. I started out consulting with their amazing Director of Professional Learning and Support, Sami Forster, discussing the keynote topic. After more discussion, telling Sami about my current project on our instructional design, she asked me not-just-to keynote, but to lead in the full professional learning day.

It was an honor to collaborate with such amazing educators who use multiple models of instruction: face-to-face, blended, and virtual. Our focus for the day was empowering the teacher-as-decision-maker in the instructional process, ensuring that we address unique student needs to support the whole learner . Our title was "Why We Do What We Do!" This "we" in our title doesn't just mean educators; it includes Odysseyware, our...

Supporting the Whole Learner with the Learner Dashboard

Posted on Aug 29, 2018

Learner Dashboard Odysseyware - Whole Learner

As teachers, we want our students invested in their learning just as much as we are invested in their success.

Odysseyware® is excited to add another layer of whole learner support through the inclusion of the Learner Dashboard – designed to invite student agency and accountability for learning! In addition to the Educator Dashboard, the Learner Dashboard is another example of how Odysseyware embraces the philosophy of the whole learner, through its suite of solutions that include Odysseyware online learning courses, ClassPace™ Blended Learning , BASE Education for Social Emotional Learning , targeted Individualized learning Plans aligned to NWEA™ MAP® Growth® assessment results and other tools and resources offered as part of our Well-Rounded Curriculum .

So many of the characteristics that we often correlate with student success (not just grades on high stakes tests...

Giving Schools A Flexible Credit Recovery Option

Posted on Jul 5, 2018

Credit Recovery for Graduation

Graduating from high school provides students with many benefits beyond accepting a diploma. Students who graduate will have a sense of accomplishment, higher wages, better job opportunities, and the ability to go to college if they decide they want to.

Let’s help all students graduate!

Students may fail a course or not complete one for a variety of reasons, but putting in place a flexible dropout prevention strategy to reach your at-risk or struggling students is what’s important. When students are offered a credit recovery option, they can catch up to their peers (and often graduate on schedule) and feel more empowered and confident!

Offering a credit recovery option to students can help schools and districts increase graduation rates, adhere to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) graduation requirements , decrease dropout rates , and even...

Odysseyware®, NWEA®, and Personalized Learning – Oh My!

Posted on Jun 28, 2018

Odysseyware Always Improving

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Our Always Improving series provides insight to our ongoing commitment to Odysseyware® educators and our learners, to demonstrate our dedication to providing innovative, up-to-date, and relevant curriculum and learning opportunities for students, and support tools for students, teachers, and schools alike. We are committed to keeping our curriculum and instructional technology ‘refreshed’ for today’s schools in a dynamic digital environment.

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Ask not what you can do for your data, but what your data can do for you!

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but the point is that there'...

College & Career Readiness: Connecting School to Work

Posted on Jun 19, 2018

College and Career Readiness

Why do I have to learn this?”

I can’t possibly be the only teacher that heard this question on a weekly basis, can I?

Much like how I felt with having to sit through some of my classes wondering how I might need this in the future, our students often have a hard time connecting school to career or college direction. We all want to live in the present and the future is sometimes just too foggy to deal with it.

Preparing our students for college and career is more than just a phrase we use in education.

It’s a pathway and an action we take as teachers. It’s a commitment to our students that we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we prepare and motivate our students the best we can before they leave high school – regardless of the paths they choose to take.

Preparing our students is also the action we...

Understand the Balancing Act Between New State and Federal Indicators

Posted on Jun 10, 2018

ESSA Indicators

As we continue to dive into the ESSA discussion, we might all agree that the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be complex. There are many facets to the new[ish] federal law that allow states to dictate more of their accountability than under the previous No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. ESSA provides states with broad discretion in establishing their own terms regarding accountability for how their schools spend federal funds. Despite this surprising level of autonomy, ESSA does require states to establish their federal accountabilities along similar parameters.

For example, each state must determine how they will meet the same four or more Implementation Indicators ( or benchmarks by which they will be held accountable in demonstrating student achievement). The first four are generally the same for each state and the 5 th or more give more...