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June 09, 2015

Table of Contents

Free Resources: Discovery Education to Host Global Virtual Field Trip to Commemorate Magna Carta Anniversary
K'NEX Launches Nationwide Search for Talented Kid-Builders
Belk, Discovery Education, ISTE Announce Grand Prize Winners of the Belk Service Learning Challenge
Blackbaud Releases eBook to Help K-12 Schools Improve Fundraising

Free Resources: Discovery Education to Host Global Virtual Field Trip to Commemorate Magna Carta Anniversary

On Monday, June 15 at 9:30 AM EST, Discovery Education will host a live, global virtual field trip from The National Archives in London to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. The sealing of Magna Carta, also known as “The Great Charter,” was a revolutionary moment in world history 800 years ago. Open to classrooms worldwide, this one-of-a-kind virtual experience will focus on the importance and history of Magna Carta.

During this virtual field trip, participating students and educators will have the unique opportunity to see Magna Carta documents held in both The National Archives in London and The National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. Hosted by broadcaster and author Dan Snow and TV and radio presenter Diane Louise Jordan, this 30-minute broadcast will be streamed live from London and explore the history of Magna Carta, as well as its effect on human rights development in the subsequent centuries. Students will also visit the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where they will see one of four surviving originals of the 1297 Magna Carta and hear from Curator Alice Kamps as she discusses the significance that Magna Carta has had on the history of the United States.

Magna Carta subjected the king to the rule of law and enshrined core principles of modern liberty and democracy. The charter failed to resolve conflict between King John and his barons, but following John’s death the charter was reissued in 1216 and 1217 in the name of his infant son, Henry III. By 1225, Henry ruled in his own right. He reissued Magna Carta as a personal commitment to rule in accordance with its principles. The 1225 reissue became the definitive text of Magna Carta. The charter is written in Latin and is authenticated by Henry’s Great Seal.

The broadcast will be streamed live on Discovery Education’s website, where classrooms can register at no cost by visiting An archive of the event will be available for viewing a few days following the event.

Source: Discovery Education,

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K'NEX Launches Nationwide Search for Talented Kid-Builders

K'NEX has announced its 16th annual K’NEXpert Search, launching June 8, 2015. The nationwide K’NEXpert Search challenges young builders to design and submit a creative, original model made entirely from K’NEX parts that will be judged on criteria such as originality, creativity, and complexity of the model, given the age category of the entrant.

The contest will have 4 Grand Prize Winners, one from each of the four different age group categories. Age groups include: 5-6 years old; 7-8 years old; 9-11 years old; and 12-14 years old. The four imaginative Grand Prize Winners will each receive a prize package valued at approximately $1000.

This year, Grand Prize Winners will receive a K’NEXpert prize package, which includes, among other things: $1,000 K’NEX credit code good toward a shopping spree at, K’NEX T-shirt, $50 birthday surprise, a personal photo gallery on, 25% discount on all K’NEX sets and parts valid throughout 2016, and an invitation to tour the K’NEX corporate headquarters to meet the designers and learn how K’NEX is made. An additional eight Finalists will each receive, among other things, a $250 K'NEX credit code good toward a shopping spree at, and a K’NEX t-shirt.

The K’NEXpert Search runs through August 28, 2015, with winners announced in October. Children can enter using the online registration form found on the K’NEX website, Submissions must include up to 3 photos of the creation, and a short video or one-page summary describing how the child came up with the idea, how long the design took to build, and how many K’NEX pieces were used. For more information, view the Official Rules at

A panel of judges comprised of K’NEX employees will select the Semi-Finalists from each age category; and then the Annual K’NEXpert winners will be determined by an online vote on The online voting will begin on October 19, 2015 and continue through October 26, 2015.

Source: K’NEX,

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Belk, Discovery Education, ISTE Announce Grand Prize Winners of the Belk Service Learning Challenge

Belk, Discovery Education, and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) have announced the winners of the third annual Belk Service Learning Challenge. Designed to support educators, and based on research that students who participate in service learning initiatives demonstrate improved problem-solving skills and increased interest in academics, the challenge encouraged middle school students to help improve their communities through undertaking a service-learning project of their choice.

The Belk Service Learning Challenge invited students to work in teams of up to four classmates with the support and guidance of a teacher/mentor to identify an issue in their local community and design an action plan to implement a solution. The three grand prize winning teams will each receive $2,000 per student team member and a $2,000 teacher award. The grand prize winners include:

* Team: “Prosthetic Kids” from District 5 of Lexington & Richland Counties’ CrossRoads Middle School

Location: Columbia, SC

Project Description: Students used 3D printers to create prosthetic hands for children in need, and hosted a school-wide Hand-A-Thon event to assemble more than 20 additional prosthetic hands.

* Team: “Dead Run Stream Cleanup” from Baltimore County Public Schools’ Southwest Academy Magnet School

Location: Baltimore, MD

Project Description: Students researched pollution levels of Baltimore’s Dead Run stream, and created an action plan to revitalize the stream by removing all trash and pollutants, preventing runoff, and balancing the water’s pH and oxygen levels.

* Team: “Saving Sidewalks” from Buncombe County Schools’ A.C. Reynolds Middle School

Location: Asheville, NC

Project Description: Students designed an action plan to gain approval from the City of Asheville to build new sidewalks in downtown neighborhoods with busy roads to help protect pedestrians, and keep their community members safe.

Created solely to support these students through every step of the Challenge, the online destination equips 6th-8th grade educators with free, standards-based service-learning curriculum, including lesson plans and multimedia tools that reinforce the importance of social responsibility and volunteerism to societies and economics. This year’s Challenge was open to students in grades 6-8 who reside in one of the 16 states where Belk has a presence – including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information on the Belk Service Learning Challenge or to view the free classroom resources, please visit

Source: Discovery Education,

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Blackbaud Releases eBook to Help K-12 Schools Improve Fundraising

Blackbaud, Inc. has released a complimentary eBook outlining best practices for increasing a private school’s fundraising efforts by 20 percent or more.

Written by Joe Garecht, founder of The Fundraising Authority, “How to Increase Your School’s Fundraising by 20% or More: A Step-by-Step Plan” provides private schools with a step-by-step guide to help school officials better identify, approach and ask donors to contribute to the school’s fundraising campaigns. Fundraising programs are a necessary component to a school’s mission and its success, and often help fund many programs and resources schools use yearly, as well as promote engagement with local community members and reconnect alumni.

Garetch outlines several statistics about fundraising, including the fact that event sponsors make up more than 60 percent of the revenue from most fundraising events, and the more money an event raises, the higher the percentage that comes through sponsorships. In addition, Garetch reveals that direct mail still works, and thousands of schools still make 30 percent or more of their fundraising income through the mail, while countless others use the mail as one of several methods that raise their budget each year.

Private school officials who download the book will have access to templates and resources to implement and improve existing fundraising procedures, including insights into how to motivate donors, build fundraising committees and identify additional giving opportunities, the eBook provides to tools to help schools increase funding.

Download the full eBook at

Source: Blackbaud,

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