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July 20, 2010

Table of Contents

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) Announces Release of the 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts
Discovery Education, 3M Announce Middle School Science Competition Student Semifinalists
Gaggle Releases New Online Tools for K-12 Students to Communicate Safely
SIIA 2010 Survey Finds U.S. Move Toward Vision for K-20 Education Remains a Work in Progress
MMIS Xtra News: Free July/August 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online
Follett Software Unveils Cognite, New Digital Learning Environment
Information Today Publishes Everyone Plays at the Library
Pearson to Sponsor Free Access for Educators on Ning
netTrekker Adds New Features to Search Tool
Lexia Learning Launches Lexia Reading Version 7.0
CTB/McGraw-Hill Releases Acuity PhD Professional Development Library
Epson, Discovery Education Partner on Interactive Learning Courses
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Partners on Measures of Effective Teaching Project

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) Announces Release of the 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has announced the release of the 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts. The map demonstrates how the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation) can be fused within arts curriculum.

The map was formally released at a Capitol Hill Briefing by representatives from P21, the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, the Educational Theatre Association, the National Art Education Association, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the National Dance Association, and the National Dance Education Organization. It provides educator-created examples of how art subjects (dance, music, theatre, and visual and media arts) can be fused with skills to create engaging learning experiences that promote 21st century knowledge and skill acquisition.

In addition to aligning teaching and learning to the demands of today's world, the map cites specific student outcomes and provides project examples for grades four, eight and 12.

For example, at the fourth-grade level, students could be asked to perform and record the same story three times; once with words only, once with physical movement only, and once with both. They then review the different performances and reflect in group discussions and individual writing about how the presentations and story changed and whether or not one version communicated more effectively than another and why. Through this project, students engage in a creative assignment that requires them to build a diverse set of communication skills.

At the eighth-grade level, students could be asked to examine how composers, artists, choreographers, and playwrights use the arts to communicate particular ideas, themes, or concepts and to evoke particular emotions or feelings. They then would develop multimedia presentations illustrating how such communication occurs through each of the arts disciplines.

In twelfth grade, students could be asked to view and discuss single or multiple works of art created by themselves and their peers. Students would be required to use mutually agreed upon criteria (elements and principals of art and design, subject matter, technique, style, etc.) to describe, analyze, interpret, and make informed judgments about the art works.

The 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts is the fifth in a series of core content maps designed for educators, administrators and policy-makers. All of the Partnership's resources are freely available at

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

21st Century Skills Leadership States include Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Member organizations include: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple, ASCD, Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Crayola, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell, Inc., EF Education, Education Networks of America, Educational Testing Service, Gale, Cengage Learning, Hewlett Packard, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel Corporation, JA Worldwide, K12, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LEGO Group, Lenovo, Learning Point Associates, Leadership and Learning Center, McGraw-Hill, Measured Progress, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, National Academy Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, netTrekker, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, Quarasan!, Scholastic Education, Sesame Workshop, Sun Microsystems, Inc., The Walt Disney Company, and Verizon. Organizations or states interested in joining the Partnership may contact

Source: The Partnership for 21st Century Skills,

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Discovery Education, 3M Announce Middle School Science Competition Student Semifinalists

Discovery Education and 3M have announced the top 47 middle school students from across the country as semifinalists in the 12th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

The semifinalists were selected based on their science communication skills exhibited in a short video explaining the science behind issues millions of Americans face in everyday life, including preventing the spread of germs, ensuring food safety and sun protection. All video entries were evaluated by a panel of judges and assessed on creativity, persuasiveness, classroom suitability and overall presentation -- not on video production skills.

Each semifinalist will receive $250 and a prize package including a plaque honoring their science teacher or mentor. Judges will announce the top ten finalists in August, each of whom will be awarded an all-expenses paid trip to New York City to compete in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge finals on October 5, 2010. The winner will receive $50,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds ($25,000 cash value), the title of "America's Top Young Scientist" and a trip to St. Paul, Minnesota to work alongside 3M's top scientists and visit the 3M Innovation Center.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge targets students in the middle school years, when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade, and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. For more information on the challenge, including the full list of 47 semifinalists, their hometowns and ages, go to

Source: Discovery Education,

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Gaggle Releases New Online Tools for K-12 Students to Communicate Safely

Online communications provider Gaggle has announced a collection of new online collaboration tools for K-12 teachers and students. Gaggle's online learning tools bring students' and teachers' most wanted Web 2.0 abilities to their classrooms in a safe and secure online social learning environment made specifically for K-12, according to the announcement. The new Gaggle Apps tools are designed to help schools safely incorporate real-world innovations in communication such as social networking and YouTube videos into education. The tools help schools meet technology standards such as ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) without compromising security. Gaggle also gives teachers and schools comprehensive behind-the-scenes control while promoting student communication and collaboration. 

With new online tools that incorporate Gaggle's safety screening, students can now safely go online to blog, chat, text, share and store digital documents, post messages, create profiles and view YouTube videos, the announcement states. Another optional layer of security is a 24-hour per day Human Monitoring System that puts monitoring of blocked messages and activities in Gaggle's hands.

The new tools and features include the following:

Gaggle now features a new user interface: With MyGaggle widgets, users can drag and drop to customize the look, content, and tools on their personal interface.

Gaggle's Online Digital Lockers help schools go green and save money on costly digital storage and paper. The digital lockers also protect school networks from viruses as all files are scanned on both the upload and download.

Teachers can implement new Homework Drop Boxes, for students to turn in homework online.  

Gaggle SMS Texting provides safe teacher-to-student mobile texting, with all incoming and outgoing text messages filtered and logged through Gaggle. Users register their mobile phone number to their Gaggle account, so texting occurs without sharing private phone numbers. Individual numbers are protected with only Gaggle's number displayed.

Gaggle Office provides filtered online Zoho Docs and Spreadsheets that enable multi-user collaboration in word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets.

The Gaggle Social Learning Wall is similar to a social networking experience, providing profile-based connections with sharing of content, text, and communication. Schools control who can access the walls, and can create groups for classes, teams, clubs, or student support groups.

A Gaggle Integrated Calendar provides users with individual and shared calendars integrated with Gaggle's email and Homework Drop Boxes.

Two new tools give Gaggle users handheld mobility. Gaggle Safe iTouch provides safe text, filtered web browsing, calendar and email for the iPhone and iTouch, integrated with the Gaggle Web desktop. Gaggle Mobile offers a version of Gaggle's desktop web applications such as email, blogs and message boards that can be accessed with mobile phones.

Gaggle Tube provides access for schools to the rich educational resources on YouTube even while direct access to is blocked. All YouTube access is logged, filtered, and monitored by Gaggle and can be controlled at the teacher and student level. Teachers can start class discussions with YouTube videos and engage students the way they prefer to learn. Students can use approved videos in blogs, presentations and other online collaborations.

Updated Message Boards, Gaggle Blogs, and live Chat Rooms let students communicate and express themselves. Message Boards support curriculum and extend learning with ongoing classroom discussions. Blogs provide a place where students can share their thoughts, ideas, and creativity in a secure environment. Teacher blogs can be shared with parents for easy home-school communication. Chats offer live communication for discussions during classes or after school. Teachers can create rooms restricted to specific students and classes, with all of Gaggle's filtering in place.

Gaggle Apps are available now and tightly integrated into the complete Gaggle system. Gaggle offers a comprehensive suite of social and collaborative learning tools and professional development packages. Social and collaborative tools suites are offered in both site and sliding scale subscriber-based programs with subscriber-based packages averaging $4 per user annually.

For information and ordering, visit Gaggle at

Source: Gaggle.Net, Inc.,

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SIIA 2010 Survey Finds U.S. Move Toward Vision for K-20 Education Remains a Work in Progress

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has released the findings of its third annual national survey used to measure U.S. educational institutions' progress toward achieving the organization's Vision K-20. The survey was developed to help educators and administrators individually benchmark their institutional progress in using technology to provide 21st century tools, anytime/anywhere access, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support. The aggregated results also provide a picture of our nation's progress as a whole.

SIIA's Vision for K-20 Education initiative was developed to help ensure that all students have access to a technology-enabled teaching and learning environment capable of preparing them to compete globally and lead the world in innovation. A successful pilot survey was initiated in 2008, with follow-up surveys conducted in 2009 and 2010, to support the initiative.

The Top 2010 Survey Finding:

While the nation's educational system improved on 4 out of 5 measures of progress compared to 2009, the average increase in overall scores was less than 1 percent year-over-year. Education institutions are still only 62 percent of the way toward achieving SIIA's Vision K-20 benchmarks.

Other key findings include the following:

- The two benchmarks with the highest level of achievement were:

Security tools to protect student data and privacy (84 percent)

The availability of high-speed broadband access for robust communication, administrative and instructional needs (84 percent).

- Larger institutions tend to have higher scores on all measures than smaller institutions. There are no systematic differences by type of setting (i.e., location).

- Postsecondary institutions lead the K-12 sector in overall average measures of progress, scoring higher than K-12 on 18 of the 20 responses.

- In general, benchmarks with lower scores in prior years showed the greatest gains in 2010.

The Vision K-20 Survey request was distributed to educators and administrators with the help of many partner organizations, including CoSN, Curriki, edWeb, iNACOL, JDL Horizons, The League for Innovation, Learning Times, Project Tomorrow, SIFA, WeAreTeachers, and WeTheTeachers. SIIA also recognizes the following media support from Big Deal Book, Campus Technology, eCampus News, eSchool News, T.H.E. Journal, Today's Catholic Teacher Magazine, and Tech & Learning.

The report on the 2010 Vision K-20 Survey is available at Other Vision K-20 resources are available at

Source: Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA),

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MMIS Xtra News: Free July/August 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Content Now Available Online

Content from the July/August 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools is now available at our website. There is free full text access to all the July/August 2010 reviews, the In the Spotlight story, and the cover story, E Is for Explosion: E-Readers, Etextbooks, Econtent, Elearning, E-Everything.

Check out the full July/August 2010 table of contents HERE, including the additional features and columns, available in synopsized form. If you're a subscriber to the print publication, you'll be receiving your issue soon! If not, well, SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Later this month, once all the issue articles have been processed electronically, you can access any of them in Full Text, Text+Graphics, or Page Image PDF format from the July/August 2010 table of contents. They'll be available on a pay-to-view basis via Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral, powered by ProQuest. Check back soon.

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Follett Software Unveils Cognite, New Digital Learning Environment

Follett Software Company has announced the release of the Cognite digital learning environment.  Cognite integrates discovery tools, retrieval, collaboration and communication with the goal of creating a vibrant experience where K-12 students excel.

Cognite is designed to help organize the K-12 classroom by giving teachers the opportunity to spend more quality time with their students. The product will serve as a key liaison in helping teachers develop and disseminate lesson plans, create assignments, grade projects and communicate with parents and students from anywhere at any time. It offers parents an easy-to-access place where they can stay informed about their child's progress in real time with information on assignments, grades and class activities.

According to the announcement, as a discovery tool Cognite helps students:

Find and use educational materials at any time of the day, from the classroom or at home

Collaborate easily with teachers and each other, promoting idea sharing

Get excited about learning in an interactive, user-friendly environment

Develop 21st century learning skills, including critical thinking, research and problem solving abilities

For more information about Cognite, visit, where a video - Cognite: Your Digital Learning Environment - is available for viewing.

The Cognite launch coincides with Follett Software's 25th anniversary, and the introduction of a redesigned website - plus a new brand initiative that identifies Follett as a "digitally powered integrated educational technology company."

Source: Follett Software Company,

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Information Today Publishes Everyone Plays at the Library

Information Today, Inc. (ITI) has announced the publication of Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages, by Dr. Scott Nicholson. The publisher launched the title with a book signing at the 2010 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Washington Convention Center this month.

In Everyone Plays at the Library, Scott Nicholson-educator, librarian, game designer, host of the "Board Games with Scott" video series, and founder of the Library Game Lab of Syracuse-shows how gaming programs can be successfully implemented in school, academic, and public libraries, covering all types of games for all age groups.

The content Nicholson presents in the book is geared to support gaming in libraries of all types. Readers will discover how to determine user needs, achieve library goals, gain stakeholder approval, reach out to users, build an affordable collection of great games, assess program effectiveness, bring all ages together, and create the type of memorable experience that gets users talking and keeps them coming back for more.

"Scott Nicholson's SNAKS model, combined with the wealth of expertise and insider knowledge he provides, will help any library build a solid foundation for gaming services that align with the library's mission and provide the best possible experience for patrons," according to Jenny Levine of the Shifted Librarian. "Everyone Plays at the Library is the single most important starting point for any library that wants to start or expand a gaming program."

Sari Feldman, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, described the book as "a roadmap for developing top-notch gaming programs," while Paul Waelchli, Book Review Editor for the International Journal of Gaming & Computer Mediated Simulations, said "[Nicholson] takes library gaming from a fun event and transforms it into a thoughtful and sustainable experience."

Dr. Scott Nicholson, MLIS, is an associate professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, where he runs the Library Game Lab of Syracuse. Before getting his PhD in Information Studies at the University of North Texas, he was a librarian at Texas Christian University. He started the Games and Gaming Members Initiative Group for the American Library Association in 2008, gives workshops around the world about gaming in libraries, and has written many articles on gaming in libraries, most of which can be found at the Library Game Lab's blog (

Everyone Plays at the Library: Creating Great Gaming Experiences for All Ages (248 pp/softbound/$39.50/ISBN 978-1-57387-398-7) is published by Information Today, Inc. (ITI). It is available in bookstores and direct from the publisher by calling (800) 300-9868; faxing (609) 654-4309; emailing; or visiting

Source: Information Today, Inc.,

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Pearson to Sponsor Free Access for Educators on Ning

Education services and technology company Pearson has announced that, as Ning transitions to its new offerings and pricing model in July, its education networks will be able to stay online - free - thanks to a Pearson sponsorship. currently hosts 6,500 K-12 and 2,100 higher ed social networks.  They run the gamut from Ning Networks designed for novice teachers, or for teachers of specific subject areas, to individual school and alumni networks and those where teachers offer help to students outside of the classroom, just to name a few.

For example, Silvia Knittel created the Prime Sheet Network as a place for juniors and seniors in high school to interact on their fine arts writing assignments.  In addition to feedback from the teacher and access to homework assignments, professional writers regularly sign-in to provide real-world mentorship and advice to the students.

"Using Ning in my writing classroom has changed my teaching more than any single thing I have ever done," said Knittel. "I am so thankful to Ning and Pearson for creating this educational tool and allowing educators to continue to have free access to our network.  It's a fantastic teaching resource."

Under the Pearson sponsorship of Ning's education networks, existing participants will have the opportunity to opt-in to the program and maintain seamless uninterrupted access for everyone to their networks; new education networks joining will also be able to enjoy Ning's robust features free of charge.  For more information or to opt-in, please visit :

Source: Pearson,

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netTrekker Adds New Features to Search Tool

netTrekker has announced it is adding new features to its search tool that provide a more personalized and productive search experience, and facilitate educator collaboration to share resources and best practices.

netTrekker provides students and teachers with over 300,000 safe, educator-reviewed digital resources that are aligned to standards and span the entire K-12 curriculum. With Universal Design for Learning and a variety of unique features designed to support personalized instruction, netTrekker enables teachers to support students' individual needs and help them succeed, the announcement states. The new version of the search tool, now named "netTrekker Search," features a sleeker, user-defined interface. Separate interfaces for teachers and students, and a series of customization options, enable users to personalize their home pages and search results based on their unique needs and preferences. In addition, new search features, such as sorting by key education factors and shortcuts to refine search results, streamline the search process to help users find appropriate, relevant content quickly.

With the additional features available in netTrekker Search, educators can collaborate with peers across the United States and around the world to discover new ways to engage students and improve learning. Teachers and students can vote on resources by indicating whether they like or dislike a resource, and sort their search results to find resources recommended most by their peers.

From the My Community area on the home page, educators can now easily connect with other educators to share integration tips, teaching best practices, and other topics of interest in netTrekker Village, the company's online learning community. For example, while searching for science activities for her fifth-grade students, an educator identifies a virtual lab resource she'd like to use in her classroom, but wants to know how other educators have incorporated it into a lesson. The educator can post a question in the netTrekker Village community forums, or search previous discussions, to get feedback from her professional learning network. netTrekker also offers professional development and training opportunities through on-site workshops, webinars and online courses.

netTrekker Search will be available in August 2010. Current customers will be upgraded automatically for free. For more information about netTrekker Search, visit

Source: netTrekker,

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Lexia Learning Launches Lexia Reading Version 7.0

Lexia Learning has launched Lexia Reading Version 7.0. Unveiled at the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Denver, this advanced version of Lexia's software features new progress monitoring tools that will give educators longitudinal, standards-based data on students' mastery of reading skills. This approach to instruction and assessment marks an industry transition from criterion-based reports to the use of a national data set that draws comparisons among students under a common set of benchmarks.

These new reports will provide ongoing progress monitoring data that will guide educators in making decisions around intensity and duration of instruction/intervention within a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Developed over a three-year period, Lexia Reading Version 7.0 will dramatically reduce the need for traditional testing, the announcement states.

Lexia Reading Version 7.0 is SIF certified and is among a small group of reading software products that can be deployed throughout the district in a seamless manner. This allows administrators to more effectively leverage Lexia Reading's robust performance data across the district.

Lexia Reading offers age-appropriate support for critical reading skills development for all students in grades pre-K-4, as well as for students in grades 4-12 needing to accelerate their reading skills progress. The automatically differentiated content assignments include more than 900 activities. Each of the age-appropriate, skill-specific activities conforms to federal guidelines and focuses on the five major areas of reading instruction. Students using the Web-based program work independently as the software automatically detects when additional practice is needed; advancing students to the next level when skills have been mastered. The enhanced reporting and management in Lexia Reading quickly identifies students at risk for reading failure and highlights specific skill deficits. Teachers and administrators alike will benefit from the software's improved ability to aggregate student performance data and display progress reports in reading from individual students to entire districts.

For more information about Lexia Reading, visit

Source: Lexia Learning,

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CTB/McGraw-Hill Releases Acuity PhD Professional Development Library

CTB/McGraw-Hill has announced the release of Acuity PhD, a new on-demand professional development library to support the company's Acuity InFormative Assessment solution. Developed by educators, for educators, Acuity PhD is an collection of online professional development courses for teachers, assessment coordinators, and administrators.

By leveraging technology to make professional learning more accessible and efficient, Acuity PhD provides a more flexible and convenient way to conduct training, the announcement states. Courses focus on using Acuity assessment results to deliver targeted instruction and improve student achievement. Available 24/7, Acuity PhD features one- to two-hour courses targeted to specific educator roles. With Acuity PhD, educators can monitor their own understanding of Acuity, and learn how to use Acuity data to accurately inform instruction and decision making.

Acuity PhD is based on best practices from educators. Video content is based on current industry research, and provides a convenient means for educators to get answers to assessment questions immediately.

Features of Acuity PhD include:

  • A high-quality professional development program, written by educators, for educators
  • Engaging video and detailed tracking and performance reporting for at-a-glance self-assessment
  • Web-based, all-inclusive site license provides unlimited, anytime/anywhere access
  • Flexible levels of training for different roles

For more information, visit

Source: CTB/McGraw-Hill,

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Epson, Discovery Education Partner on Interactive Learning Courses

Epson America has announced it has partnered with Discovery Education to provide interactive learning courses for teachers, educators, and administrators that take advantage of Epson's latest technology, the BrightLink 450Wi interactive projector. These courses will demonstrate instructional strategies and techniques for using the new BrightLink 450Wi interactive projector with interactive presentation tools, Google tools, Web 2.0 applications, and Discovery Education's digital content.

Discovery Education offers digital resources to schools with the goal of empowering educators, engaging students, and ultimately improving student academic achievement. Available in June, Discovery Education will add four additional professional development courses to their repertoire focused on training teachers how to effectively use and integrate the Epson BrightLink 450Wi into their classrooms instruction. These courses include:

-          BrightLink and Web 2.0 applications

-          BrightLink and Discovery Education digital content

-          BrightLink and interactive presentation tools

-          BrightLink and Google tools

The Epson BrightLink 450Wi is an intelligent, interactive projector that allows educators to turn any standard whiteboard or smooth wall into an interactive learning area. This classroom tool delivers a cost-effective solution for educators to easily integrate interactive capabilities and eliminates the need to purchase and install dedicated interactive whiteboards (IWB), the announcement states.

The BrightLink 450Wi features 2,500 lumens color light output and 2,500 lumens white light output1 and helps advance the classroom with networkability, wireless features and advanced connectivity. It also delivers WXGA resolution (16:10 aspect ratio) for full compatibility with widescreen notebooks and movie content, and can meet space needs by projecting images from 55-inches diagonal to up to 96-inches diagonal (WXGA) and up to 85-inches diagonal (XGA).

Visit for more information.

Source: Epson America, Inc.,

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National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Partners on Measures of Effective Teaching Project

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) -- the independent organization that provides National Board Certification for U.S. teachers -- has announced its participation in the Measures of Effective Teaching project, a national effort to help educators and policymakers identify and support good teaching. As part of its involvement, NBPTS will utilize its widely respected National Board Standards and assessment processes to confidentially evaluate videos of classroom instruction -- one of six types of data being collected by researchers for the project. A $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund the NBPTS work.

NBPTS-trained evaluators will score a sample of teacher videos from participating districts and classrooms using the National Board's observational rubrics for English-Language Arts and mathematics instruction.

In addition, with the grant from the Gates Foundation, NBPTS will design and implement a three-year study to evaluate the efficacy of Take One!, a professional development program administered by NBPTS, as a whole-school approach to improve teacher effectiveness in low-performing schools.  

Take One! seeks to improve teaching practice by developing learning communities organized around the National Board Standards and linking effective instruction to student learning. The program can be used by any educator as a stand-alone professional development tool or by licensed teachers as an initial step in becoming candidates for National Board Certification.

For more information about NBPTS and National Board Certification, visit

For more information about the Measures of Effective Teaching project, visit

Source: The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards,

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