Virtual School Meanderings

September 26, 2016

23 September 2016: Google Alert – LRN

The corporate alert for K12, Inc. from this past Friday…


As-it-happens update ⋅ September 23, 2016

K12 Raised to “Buy” at Zacks (LRN)

Zacks upgraded shares of K12 (NYSE:LRN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday morning, AnalystRatings …
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As-it-happens update ⋅ September 23, 2016
K12 Cut to Hold at Zacks (LRN)

Zacks lowered shares of K12 (NYSE:LRN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Sunday, Market Beat Ratings reports. According to …
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September 25, 2016

ProctorFree’s Spotlight On Accreditation And Innovation In Online Learning

From Friday’s inbox…

What We’re Reading This Week
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Spotlight On Accreditation and Innovation in Online Learning

The ProctorFree team loves reading and sharing interesting and thought-provoking articles about higher education and edtech, and we know that you do too. Here are the articles we most enjoyed reading and sharing this week.

How Community Colleges Can Combine Digital innovation and Human Connection – EdSurge

Community colleges face complex challenges in their often-divergent missions and roles. Unfortunately, solutions are brought to the table that do not improve the learning experience of students. EdSurge discusses how digital innovation is a solution that improves student engagement and learning. Digital innovation enables the monitoring of homework and evaluations that students perceive as less judgmental and provides a frequent feedback loop between faculty and learners.

Digital Badges and Academic Transformation – Educause Review

With lower costs and greater access, digital badges are on track to outpace traditional degree programs. Educause Review highlights the recent UPCEA report on alternative credentials that we wrote about in a previous blog post. Illinois State University Honors Program and Oregon Tech online are trailblazing in setting an example for why higher education institutions, and in turn employers, should value digital badges.

Online Professional Development Supports Classroom Management, Ed Tech – Insights

Educators can take professional development courses online thanks to the increasing number of professional learning online options to choose from. In a survey of 538 educators, nearly 60% of participants said they have taken some form of an online professional development course. Before the option of online learning, educators cited that a lack of time produced a barrier in their professional learning development. Online learning has removed that barrier for many educators.

Tougher Scrutiny for Colleges With Low Graduation Rates –Inside Higher Ed

Members of the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions will now be going the extra mile to ensure that higher education institutions are doing all they can to enable their students to graduate with a quality degree. Accrediting agencies will ask institutions with below-average graduation rates to account for how they intend on improving graduation numbers.

Check back next week for more of what we’re reading about in higher education and online learning. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook (links) to have daily access to higher education and edtech news.

Read more of Our Favorite Reads of the Week in your inbox next week.
Can’t wait until next week? Check out more of our blog posts!
Interested in writing a guest post for us?  Please email us.
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Worth A Read

A regular Sunday…

Worth A Read

Massachusetts Charter Schools and Their Problems With ‘Attrition’

Posted: 21 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Mark Weber looks at lifting the charter school cap in Massachusetts and high school attrition. “Is it really worth expanding charters and risking further injury to BPS when the charter sector appears, at least at the high school level, to rely so heavily on cohort attrition?”

‘Class sizes in Michigan, the quiet crisis,’ policy brief and online comparison tool

Posted: 20 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

New research from the Education Policy Initiative at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy found that many Michigan K-12 students experience very large core classes—with 40 or more students—but that some students are at greater risk. The policy brief, ‘Class Size in Michigan: Investigating the Risk of Being in Very Large Classes,’ was authored by Brian Jacob, Rene Crespin, CJ Libassi, and Susan Dynarski. “Black students, students attending schools in cities, and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at their schools face a disproportionate risk of being in a class of 40 or more. These disparities are particularly troubling because numerous studies have confirmed the negative impact of large classes on test scores and adult outcomes such as college degree completion.”

EdNext Podcast: Should Massachusetts Allow More Charter Schools?

Posted: 20 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Marty West, EdNext editor-in-chief, talks with Sarah Cohodes, Teachers College, and Susan Dynarski, University of Michigan. The podcast includes discussion of a recent policy piece by Cohodes and Dynarski, which advanced that Massachusetts’ charter school cap “holds back disadvantaged students.”

Racism, Xenophobia, and the Election

Posted: 20 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

The editors of Rethinking Schools discuss how teachers and students are discussing the 2016 presidential campaign. “We need to seize on teachable moments to address racism and white supremacy during this election cycle and, after that, continue and increase our efforts. From the dinner table to the classroom, from staff meetings to school boards, educators need to find ways to put the issue of race and racism front and center and keep it there.”

Opinion: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the Classroom

Posted: 20 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Mark Weber discusses the impact of classroom temperature on schools, teachers, and students. “Overheated classrooms are yet another sign of how politicians really value teachers. Sure, they’re happy to tell us we’re important, but when it comes time to make certain we have decent working conditions — and students have decent learning conditions — too many are back in their air-conditioned offices, making excuses for not raising the revenues needed to upgrade our schools.”

Report: Teacher Shortage Crisis Can Be Averted by Keeping Educators in the Profession

Posted: 18 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Cindy Long discusses new research from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) that addresses the causes and consequences of teacher shortages. “Reducing attrition would actually make a greater difference in balancing supply and demand than any other intervention, the researchers found. In fact, reducing attrition by half could virtually eliminate shortages.”

School reform: What went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future

Posted: 18 Sep 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Bill Mathis and Tina Trujillo share their new book, ‘Learning from the Federal Market-Based Reforms,’ on the Answer Sheet blog. “If we were serious about improving education and truly guaranteeing that all children were successful, we would have to do things differently than we did under NCLB. To figure out how things should be changed, we called on a collection of the nation’s most eminent scholars to address what went wrong, what went right, and what we should do in the future.”

EBSCO Alerts

ebscoFirst, I did receive the alert for virtual school, but there were no relevant items.

Next, the alert for cyber school.

1. TI- Founder of Pa. Online School Admits to Federal Tax Fraud.
JN- Education Week
PD- 8/31/2016, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p5-5
PG- 1/8p
DT- 20160831
PT- Article
AB- The article reports that Nicholas Trombetta, founder of the online public school Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, has pled guilty to tax fraud.
DE- TAX evasion
SU- PENNSYLVANIA Cyber Charter School (Midland, Pa.)
FT- 37
IS- 02774232
AN- 118031264

Finally, the alert for K-12 online learning.

1. TI- Blended 2.0 shifts learning.
AU- Daddona, Patricia
JN- District Administration
PD- Sep2016, Vol. 52 Issue 9, p57-60
PG- 4p
IL- 5 Color Photographs
DT- 20160901
PT- Article
AB- The article discusses the utilization of the blended learning 2.0 in the tech-infused teaching model, which offered personalization with the Common Core standards and more authentic activities in the classroom. Several statements from various persons has been include such as Susan Patrick of International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Anthony Kim of Education Elements, and school superintendent Julie Morrow.
DE- EDUCATIONAL technology
DE- DISTANCE education
DE- SCHOOL districts
IC- 923110 Administration of Education Programs
IC- 611699 All Other Miscellaneous Schools and Instruction
IC- 611110 Elementary and Secondary Schools
PE- KIM, Anthony, 1985-
IS- 15375749
AN- 117975490

September 24, 2016

Speak Up News – Welcome Back To School!

Also from Friday’s inbox…

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Speak Up News – Welcome back to school!

Welcome back to school! With Speak Up 2016 less than one month away, now is the perfect time to get ready and start promoting this year’s survey to your school(s)! We are excited to share a variety of tools with you in order to help you do so – including webinars, tips from previous participants, sample promotional materials, and more.

We look forward to working with you in this fall!

Quick links:

Speak Up 2016: Speak Up 2016: Sign up to take part in our annual survey from October 12 – December 16, 2016. Get FREE data for your school/district!
Promotional materials: Start promoting the survey to your school(s) by downloading our materials.
Speak Up Introduction & Tips Webinars: Get ready for this year’s survey through two of our introduction webinars.
Speak Up Loud and Clear: Congratulations to our Speak Up 2015 top participating schools and districts!
What’s your Speak Up story? Share your Speak Up survey experiences with us!
Speak Up at AASL: Heading to this year’s AASL Gaming Conference? Don’t miss Julie Evans as the keynote speaker!
Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series: Don’t miss Julie’s second webinar with Blackboard’s fall series!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Twitter, and our Blog.


There is still time to register for Speak Up 2016!

Surveys run from October 12 – December 16, 2016

Is your school or district’s main contact information up-to-date? Register your school or district for the 2016 surveys at Remember, registration and participation is FREE! Contribute to our national research project and inform your work at the same time!

Registration also includes access to free promotional materials and helpfulwebinars in the beginning of the school year.

If you are a returning school or district contact, you can automatically register for Speak Up 2016 by logging in with last year’s contact information. Click here to visit the administrator log in page.


Speak Up 2016 promotional materials are now available!

With Speak Up 2016 less than one month away, now is the perfect time to start promoting the survey to your school(s!) Click here to download promotional flyers, emails, tweets, and more! We also have our welcome packet available, which is great to have on hand in case you need information about Speak Up on the go. Feel free to change any of our text to better fit your needs as well!


Speak Up 2016: Introduction & Tips

Speak Up is less than a month away! Join Julie Evans (and some special guests) for a webinar for anyone new to Speak Up, anyone still considering getting involved and anyone who just needs a refresher ahead of this fall’s surveys.

Julie will cover the following topics:
* Overview of Speak Up 2016
* What’s new for 2016
* Why schools and districts participate
* How to get started
* How to promote and boost participation
* How schools will access data
* And, more!

Join us on Tuesday, September 27th at 3pm ET/12pm PT OR on Thursday October 6th at 1pm ET/10am PT.

We’ll be live and we welcome your questions during the webinar!

SULC schools

Congratulations to our Speak Up 2015 top participating schools and districts!

Speak Up Loud and Clear

Last year, more than 505,000 students, parents, educators and members of the community from more than 7,800 schools nationwide participated in Speak Up 2015. Out of those schools, we have selected a group of more than 200 schools to be recognized for their dedication to incorporating stakeholder voices, promotion of the survey project and use of data. Many of these schools exceeded 80% student participation, allowing for an extremely rich dataset for schools to use in their own local planning and research.

Based upon total participation and demonstrated commitment to engaging their stakeholders in local decisions on education issues, five school districts were recognized as Speak Up Loud and Clear Top Districts for this year:

▪ Klein ISD (TX)
▪ Baltimore County Public Schools (MD)
▪ Brevard County School District (FL)
▪ Weslaco ISD (TX)
▪ El Paso ISD (TX)

Click here to view this year’s recognized participants. Congratulations again to our Speak Up Loud and Clear schools and districts!


Why participate in Speak Up?

Here’s what superintendents told us:

This summer, we recognized 20 school districts and their superintendents for their exceptional participation in the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.

As you prepare for Speak Up 2016, we wanted to share some of what they told us about why they participate! Visit our blog to read our full list of quotes.

“East Noble School Corporation continues to find the Speak Up Survey to be a valuable tool used to measure our progress with technology use, instructional integration, and overall effectiveness. Having the ability to annually match stakeholder perception to district perception creates an invaluable reality check that leads to instructional growth and improved outcomes.” – Ann Linson, East Noble School Corporation, Indiana

Share your story!

We want to know why you Speak Up! Share your Speak Up story with us about how you use the data, how you’ve promoted the survey, why others should participate, and whatever else you would like to share. Click here to visit our testimonials page.

GAME web-badge learn

Speak Up at the AASL Gaming Conference

Don’t miss Julie Evans’ keynote session!

Friday, September 23
Attention AASL members! Are you at this year’s AASL Gaming As Meaningful Education Conference in Rochester, NY from September 23-24? If so, don’t miss Julie Evans’ keynote session about harnessing the power of digital learning with gaming, featuring our Speak Up data on games and digital content.

GAME Infographic Poster

Our friends at AASL have created an infographic for the conference, featuring Speak Up gaming data from throughout the years! Click here to download the infographic.

For more on gaming data, download our Speak Up 2015 report, From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education, here.


Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series

Our friends at Blackboard are hosting their Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series this fall, featuring an upcoming webinar with Julie Evans! Check it out below:

Survey Reveals the Impact of Digital Tools on K-12 Communications

September 29, 2pm EST
In this webinar, Dr. Julie Evans will share the results from Project Tomorrow’s first ever Speak Up survey of K-12 communications officers. Findings reveal emerging digital tools, those tools’ perceived value, and their tangible results on engagement. Additional parent research on communication preferences and expectations will also be shared.


Thank you for your interest and continued support of Speak Up! Be sure to stay updated on all things Speak Up by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our Blog.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at or via phone at (949) 609-4660 ext. 12.

Many thanks to our sponsors and partners for the support of Speak Up: Apex Learning, Blackboard, Inc., BrainPOP, CDW, DreamBox Learning, Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Scholastic Education, American Association of School Administrators, CETPA, Consortium for School Networking, CUE, Digital Learning Day, ICE (Indiana Connected Educators), iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National School Public Relations Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Secondary School Principals Association, NCCE (Northwest Council for Computer Education), NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology Association), State Education Technology Directors’ Association and TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association).

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