How do students use their flex time? The survey results might surprise you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Have you heard of Response to Intervention (RTI) or maybe Multiple Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). How about the term 'flex block'? Many schools have implemented what's called a 'flex block' into their schedule, to make time in the school day for interventions, extra help, and more. But is this time just useful for students who are struggling, or who neen targeted interventions? Can an argument be made that flex blocks are useful for all students?

Why EdTech Co-Design with Educators Leads to Success

Friday, December 30, 2016
People collaborating at table

All too often, integrating tech into schools is left for the very end of the process. A tech company puts out some new tool and from there schools are expected to figure out how to implement them. It’s not that the edtech company isn’t trying to solve a real problem, because it very well might be. It’s that a finished tool isn’t flexible.

When teachers are part of the design process, the end result is a tool that really works. It will reflect that it wasn’t just built with teachers in mind – it was designed with them as part of the process. How will that be evident?

The Road to High School Dropout Starts in Middle School

Monday, November 7, 2016

In the Bronx, a 6th grade girl named Omarin finds her life falling apart. She and her mother are evicted from their apartment. Omarina and her father, who left the family when she was young, are about to be reunited when he dies of a stroke. As her mother is frequently gone and they have no place to live, she's being shuffled around to various relatives. It's no suprpise, that amidst all this emotional turmoil and instability, her grades and attendance at school begin to suffer.

You may recognize this scenario. After watching Frontline's, 'The Education of Omarina', we couldn't help thinking about the implications of her story, and what a big issue this really is. So many children in schools around the country have homes that are falling apart. And their educators never know. Kids spend the majority of their day in the classroom, and don't have an adult in the building who really understands their situation. Not that it's really a teacher's fault -- with classes full of students and a slew of daily responsibilities, most teachers simply don't have the time. Meanwhile, students may find it nearly impossible to get to school, and/or lose interest. The end result? Many students just drop out.

How a Daily Flexible Block Helps Personalize Learning for Secondary Students

Monday, September 26, 2016
Student in library

Secondary students face a unique set of challenges. In middle school, it’s the rough transition from the comfort of elementary school to high school. For high-schoolers, as they near closer and closer to graduation, its “What am I going to do with my life?” Secondary students need help through all of these transitions, they need support and they need to have adults in the school building they can count on.

Most educators are familiar with the concept of advisory – a time period set aside in the school day where a group of students is assigned to meet with a teacher. Advisory is an excellent tool to help students with many of the challenges mentioned above. A flex block similarly occurs on a daily basis, and encourages student-teacher relationships. But how does it differ?

Students Talk Back to School: What are YOU Excited About?

Monday, August 29, 2016
Smiling girl throwing leaves in the air

It's that time of year!

We recently published a post about some back to school anxieties, and how teachers can help calm students nerves and them back in to the school year swing. But it’s not all bad! Lots of students are excited to head back to school. We’ve interviewed a few and asked them “What are you excited about?”

We got answers from 7 different students, ages 9-16, about to head into the new school year. Some were just about bursting with excitement; others, a little apprehensive, until they remembered a specific class or subject that they were excited to explore. So, here are their responses!

5 Reasons Your School Should Have a Flex Block

Monday, August 22, 2016
Student taking a photo in a library

A 'flex block' is a flexible time period set aside in the school day that gives students time for extra help or enrichment opportunities. In addition to helping students catch up or meet competencies, it allows them to pursue topics and activities that interest them. Why should your school consider adding a flex block to its schedule?

There are so many reasons! But in this post we’ll look at 5 ways adding a flex block can have academic benefits for your staff and students.

Back To School: How Can You Get Students Engaged at the Start of the School Year?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Do your remember the back to school jitters as a kid? Wondering what the new school year will bring, what your new classes and teachers will be like. Will you still have your friends? And depending on how much you liked school, it might have been a time that brought on a lot of anxiety.

Now, if you’re a teacher, you might have different back to school fears. What new standards will you have to meet? What will your new students be like? How can you start off the new school year on a positive foot, and help your students to ease into their schedule as well?

Personalized Learning and Skilled Trades in the 21st Century

Friday, July 8, 2016

          In a highly tech-driven world, much emphasis is put on preparing students with job skills that will enable them to be adaptable and innovative, specifically in tech, math, and science fields. And looking forward in the 21st century, these job skills will certainly be necessary, as the pace of technological advancements continues to accelerate.

And this is a good thing -- but are we leaving something out?  Is there too much focus on pursuing a four-year degree or tech-centered career? What about skilled trades? The truth is, skilled trades jobs are in high demand. And as the skilled trades workforce is getting older and retiring, there are jobs that need to be filled.

What We Learned -- A Recap of SES16

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Our first ever conference has come and gone – and it was a fantastic experience! We met many inspirational teachers and school leaders from all over New England. Our presenters worked hard, and had so much to share! We were honored to have them come speak, and to host all of the educators who traveled to attend.

Let’s look at a recap of the presentations, and some of the highlights.