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Full STEAM Ahead: How Fort Mill Schools Instills Engagement and Passion

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Sometimes being on top isn’t enough.

In 2017, Fort Mill School District in South Carolina became the top-rated district in the state, garnering national acclaim for its students’ academic achievements, and being named to The College Board’s AP District Honor Roll. But the district’s leaders knew they could reach even greater heights. The challenge was – how can they get there?

When it underwent its AdvancED accreditation in 2017, the district had every right to expect great results. So when officials got the accreditation report back, they were surprised to find one small note of discord: Student engagement, while satisfactory, was lower than administrators wanted.

“It was not where we wanted to be as compared to our normally high achievement results,” says Marty McGinn, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and human resources.

At the time, district officials were in the process of reexamining their curriculum, mostly to make sure students were college and career ready according to the state’s Profile of the Graduate.

When officials considered the engagement of their students, as well as the recognition that various schools were offering different STEM activities, only one choice addressed all these issues. The choice—to increase offerings in STEAM topics—was quickly agreed upon. STEAM refers to the basic STEM topics, science, technology, engineering, and math, with the arts included.

But even administrators couldn’t have guessed how well the changes would be accepted both inside and outside their classrooms. In just the first year of the district’s shift in focus, the effort has been well received by students, the school board, and especially teachers.

“We had a lot of STEAM activities going on here and there,” says McGinn of the district’s 16 schools. “But we’re a growing district, and we needed something that could bring everyone to the table.”

BUILDING STEAM

After mapping where district leaders knew they needed to be, they had to decide how to get there, which meant weighing the options for programs to implement and who could help them through this transition. In April 2017, the leaders hosted a strategic planning session.

To provide some guidance, Fort Mill’s leaders invited Cindy Moss, vice president of global STEM initiatives at Discovery Education, to speak with school and district leaders, along with students. Moss envisioned a classroom ecosystem where all teachers and students were immersed in STEM.

“Schools need to provide experiences that allow students to become ‘glocal,’” said Moss. “They should walk outside their school to find local problems and be able to see how their local problems fit into the global scheme of things. Adults should stop just dispensing knowledge and allow students to solve real-world problems.”

Chad Allen, the district’s STEM coordinator, said Moss’ passion filled the room with energy. It became the ignition for their STEAM engine.

“After she spoke, our students said, ‘We need our teachers to teach like that,’” said Allen. “We did not expect that strong of a reaction from our students, but they were immediately engaged.”

MANAGING RAPID GROWTH

Fort Mill’s move to emphasize STEAM topics districtwide was initially complicated by the district’s tremendous growth. In just 15 years, the district, located in a town of 50 square miles, has grown from fewer than 6,000 students to more than 15,000. In that time, two new high schools were opened, and the district hired new teachers to compensate for the growth in student population.

Despite this growth spurt, these sudden changes haven’t had a negative impact on student achievement. Fort Mill remains the top-performing district in South Carolina, with a graduation rate of 94 percent—12 percentage points higher than the state average. Also, 85 percent of its graduates went on to a two- or four-year college, well above the state’s average rate of 71 percent.

But these changes did emphasize for district leaders the need for a unified curriculum, said McGinn. Redistricting has shuffled both students and teachers to different schools, so streamlining the curriculum made it easier for both groups to change addresses without losing ground.

“Our superintendent continues to say, ‘It doesn’t matter which school you go to in Fort Mill—they are all equally excellent,’” said McGinn.

SEEING STEAM IN ACTION

In order to better formulate their goals, Fort Mill officials visited Santa Rosa County District Schools in Florida to see how it integrates STEAM activities into its everyday education.

In recent years, Santa Rosa has emerged as an international leader in STEAM education. Its students have continued to show promise after embarking in 2015 on a five-year strategic partnership with Discovery Education called STEAM Innovate!, where educators receive intensive professional learning and job-embedded coaching. Santa Rosa’s classrooms have become STEAM-infused learning environments, with lessons that nurture student achievement and critical 21st-century learning skills.

“We were struck by the common language and the common vision,” McGinn says. “Everybody moves in the same direction, from the district office to the classroom. It inspired us.”

Now, Fort Mill was moving with purpose toward a STEAM model, but still had some hills to climb. Leaders knew that they would need a strong professional development basis from which to launch into STEAM, but the district’s central office is slim.

“We believe in funding our schools, but we simply don’t have the capacity to do something like districtwide PD all by ourselves. So we had to find a great solution,” said Allen.

BUILDING A CORPS OF TEACHER LEADERS

Fort Mill partnered with Discovery Education’s STEAM Leader Corps, a comprehensive program that helps scale digital and instructional leadership in school districts. Schools in Fort Mill were already using the company’s Science Techbook digital textbook, and it plans to expand into Discovery Education STEM Connect in the future.

The district’s partnership with Discovery Education has been powerful and unique, said Allen, adding that it was unlike any of his previous experiences with education service providers.

“Discovery Education’s people have been right alongside us every step of the way.

“They’ve invested themselves in the community, they talk to parents at PTO meetings, and they’re involved in planning and designing posters—it’s almost like they work for the district,” said Allen.

Through the Leader Corps, Fort Mill’s educators are being prepared for effective STEAM instruction and establishing a team of teacher leaders that will help drive systemwide change.

“Having a clear professional development structure for implementing STEAM is important to focus our efforts to achieve our goals,” said McGinn. “It also fosters communication and collaboration within and between our schools.”

Initially, the district sought volunteers to start, asking for eight teachers at its high schools and four at each middle and elementary school. McGinn wasn’t sure that many teachers would be interested, But the opposite proved true. More teachers applied than they could immediately use. While those not chosen were disappointed, the district has included them on trips to conferences and other schools to see STEAM activities in person to prime them for the future.

The training took a strategic approach, beginning with principals, says McGinn.

“Principal leadership is so vital. If the administration doesn’t understand what teachers need, such as time for planning and collaborating, it’s hard to support them,” she said.

Now, one year into the four-year STEAM Leader Corps program, teachers are beginning to showcase the effects of their training, said Allen.

He can tell teachers are embracing the new methods when he hears them discussing STEAM concepts in side conversations in the hallways. They’re also active on their own Twitter hashtag, #FM21STEAM where they regularly share their accomplishments.

“Some of those who came out of this process surprised us, and they’re surprising themselves,” he said. “These teachers are starting to demonstrate their skills as leaders. They’re stepping up and responding to the extra autonomy they’re being given.”

These teachers will lead model classrooms for others, organically growing the STEAM initiative internally throughout the district. And more leaders are being added each year.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but it’s exciting work,” McGinn said.

WHAT STEAM LOOKS LIKE IN FORT MILL SCHOOLS

Teachers are learning how to create project-based learning lessons that meet the district’s standards, she says. Once teachers immerse themselves in using units from STEM Connect, they will better understand how to create their own interactive units.

In classrooms throughout the district, a combination of project-based learning and student-centered teaching can be seen in full practice. In place of stand-and-deliver instruction, students are empowered to be at the core of their classrooms, leading their own explorations in learning.

“We’ve seen the level of student engagement increase in our schools. They’re doing more rigorous work, and there is more creativity on display,” said Allen. “We had 400 people show up for one of our student-led district art shows recently. That was huge for them.”

Also emerging are STEAM-based lessons grounded in real-world issues. Springfield Middle School students embarked on a service-based learning exercise recently while studying what life is like for those living in refugee camps. To provide context for the lesson, they left the classroom behind and went outdoors.

They crossed a river, and using the limited materials they’d carried with them, built their own tents and spent some time in the wilderness.

They experienced a small taste of the life of those without homes of their own. Beyond the hands-on learning experience, it’s an exercise in communicating the power of compassion, said Allen.

“The definition of caring comes from understanding someone else’s perspective. When you design solutions, you’re trying to think of how people will experience that,” said Allen.

“I think giving kids a firsthand account of life experiences really helps them understand what it is they’re learning.”

Another major shift is on the teacher’s side of things. They’re encouraged to experiment with new ideas in the classroom and not be afraid of failure.

“If something goes bad, or fails, it’s okay. We’re giving them the freedom to explore. It’s allowed us to open our minds and be more intuitive about how we teach our kids,” said Allen.

Discovery Education and Social Impact Partners Support Families with New No-Cost Resources to Ignite Student Interest in STEM

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Silver Spring, Md. (Thursday, September 16, 2021) — To accelerate student learning and ignite student curiosity in STEM, Discovery Education presents parents and guardians an array of no-cost dynamic digital resources. This selection of content, created in partnership with leading corporate and community partners, inspires families to learn together by exploring the world around them. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.

The following selection of new no-cost digital resources added to existing programs connect families to the wide world of STEM learning by bringing STEM learning home:

Science at Home with 3M
3M’s Science at Home video series is a collection of simple, watch-and-do science experiments that feature 3M scientists and special guests using common household items to make STEM learning as accessible as possible while also showing students that they can connect science to just about anything. Challenge kids to utilize everyday items to reinforce core scientific principles. From engineering with marshmallows to chemistry with baking soda, you can help inspire STEM solution seekers geared to change the world while also sharing a laugh.

In addition, the 3M and Discovery Education program – Young Scientist Lab – provides no-cost dynamic digital resources for students, teachers, and families to explore, transform, and innovate the world around them.

Hands-on STEM and Manufacturing Explorations with the STEM Careers Coalition
Calling all creators, doers, and makers to explore the world of STEM, modern manufacturing, and sustainability! From traveling the world to recycling water and cans, families can dive into these topics with K-12 activities, brainteasers, and career profiles from the STEM Careers Coalition. Inspire the next generation to embrace sustainability with exciting hands-on activities that spark student’s curiosity and help them understand how they can use their skills to protect our planet.

The STEM Careers Coalition is the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education. The STEM Careers Coalition’s mission is to empower educators to teach STEM effectively in the classroom, foster equity and access to quality education, and build the next generation of solution-seekers.

Exploring Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence with Mastercard
Explore cyber security in a new multi-part digital learning video series with accompanying activities designed to inspire girls to pursue STEM. Students travel to a high-tech cyber forensics lab and fusion center, where a diverse team of Mastercard cybersecurity experts investigate, safeguard, and innovate against threats like cyberattack and fraud.

With the goal of engaging five million girls by 2025, Girls4Tech™ is Mastercard’s signature science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program. Mastercard has partnered with Discovery Education to launch the latest phase of this award-winning, global initiative which provides middle and high school girls access to STEM resources and career exploration tools with an emphasis on payment technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity. Discover more at Girls4Tech™.

Unplugging STEM with TGR Foundation
From pancakes and color to lava lamps and mental wellness, the new STEM Unplugged Video Series from TGR EDU: Explore empowers students to find STEM in everyday activities and objects. Led by TGR Foundation facilitators, these engaging short videos encourage exploration and align to the array of professions and pathways in STEM.

TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity, and Discovery Education offer a digital professional learning series empowering educator agency with new strategies to support student’s success in school and beyond. The professional development series for educators from TGR EDU: Explore presents schools, particularly those from under-resourced communities, with the access and materials needed to transform STEM teaching.

Exploring Careers with Siemens
Careers in STEM are rapidly expanding and changing, and they provide exciting and fulfilling opportunities for tomorrow’s workforce. In the bite-sized Career Profiles from Siemens STEM Day, students discover that STEM careers are not one-size-fits-all: the paths to success look different, but everyone can discover a fulfilling career in STEM.

The Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education created Siemens STEM Day, a K-12 STEM program offering an extensive library of no-cost, standards-aligned activities that bring science, technology, engineering, and math to life inside and outside the classroom. These resources have been specifically designed to be easy to implement for educators, parents, Siemens employees, and community volunteers while remaining hands-on and engaging for students in all grades.

Discover Science with AstraZeneca
Get inspired in the comfort of home with new At-Home Experiments. Each experiment features a short video explaining the activity, as well as a detailed handout to be completed over multiple sessions. All students can enjoy becoming an at-home scientist in their own time while bringing the family together.

AstraZeneca, Learning Undefeated, and Discovery Education partnered to create Generation Health: How Science Powers Us, a dynamic middle school program that aims to make science personal through a focus on healthy living. This program provides hands-on, standards-aligned STEM learning activities during which students investigate both preventative measures and innovative solutions to key health concerns in the areas of oncology, cardiovascular, and respiratory.

Families, students, and educators can discover even more resources for any time learning on Discovery Education’s flexible K-12 learning platform. The STEM Careers channel inspires students to dream big by meeting current STEM professionals from industry-leading organizations. The Social Impact Partnerships channel offers up a diverse array of multimedia activities designed to spark curiosity and launch learning into the world.

“As I work with teachers to build out lesson plans, I always look for new and innovative ways to capture and maintain my students’ attention,” said Rita A. Mortenson, an Instructional Coach at Verona Area High School in the Verona Area School District. “The resources from Discovery Education and their partners give me a powerful tool that I can count on to engage our students as it shows them the world beyond the classroom.”

Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips can be found within the company’s recently enhanced K-12 learning platform on the Virtual Field Trips channel or in the Social Impact Partnerships channel. Every month, Discovery Education adds hundreds of new resources—from ready-to-use activities to immersive videos and Virtual Field Trips to podcasts and curated channels. Each resource is culturally authentic, reflects the diversity of today’s world, and includes embedded supports, like closed captioning, text-to-speech, and language translations.

“Learning with family is a tool for success. Parents and guardians can gather their students around the table to explore the wonderful world of STEM, all from the safety of home,” said Beth Meyer, Vice President of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “We’re excited to collaborate with our industry-leading partners to provide communities powerful experiences that help them dive into innovative ideas.”

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

Contacts
Grace Maliska | Discovery Education | gmaliska@discoveryed.com

Portsmouth Public Schools Becomes the Latest Virginia School System to Select Discovery Education to Support Student Academic Achievement

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SILVER SPRING, MD (Wednesday, September 8, 2021)Portsmouth Public Schools (PPS) today announced a new partnership with Discovery Education supporting the district’s five-year strategic plan, Expedition to 2025: Purpose. Promise. Success. Through this new collaboration, educators and students districtwide will receive access to a suite of Discovery Education’s award-winning digital learning resources. With these resources, district educators are empowered to promote educational excellence by engaging all students in meaningful learning experiences at home, in the classroom, or wherever instruction takes place. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.   

PPS is a thriving, urban school division serving more than 13,300 students. The district consists of three high schools, three middle schools, and 13 elementary schools, as well as preschool, alternative school, and adult education facilities. The district’s strategic planExpedition to 2025: Purpose. Promise. Success.is a multipronged approach that outlines five goals for PPS with specific objectives and action steps to ensure the school system meets those goals. To meet the plan’s first goal of providing all students educational opportunities ensuring high academic growth, the district sought a suite of dynamic digital resources capable of supporting instruction in the in person or remote environment. Following a review of potential solutions, PPS selected the Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience for use in all K-12 classrooms. Virginia Discovery Education Science Experience includes: 

The Discovery Education platform. 
Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education provides educators a recently enhanced learning platform that facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment.   

Discovery Education’s team continues adding, contextualizing, and organizing exciting new content and timely and relevant resources to the platform each month in response to current events and the ever-evolving needs of educators. These resources, sourced from trusted partners, are aligned to state and national standards, and help educators bring the outside world into teaching and learning every day.  

The K-12 learning platform is designed to work within school systems’ existing infrastructure and workflows and provides safe, secure, simple access methods for educators and students. Through expanded, lasting partnerships with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever, integrating Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform into existing IT architecture is easier than ever. 

Discovery Education Science Techbooks.
The Discovery Education Science Techbook series—which is currently used in classrooms across the United States and Canada—is a comprehensive, research-backed science solution for grades K-12. Delivered through Discovery Education’s K-12 platform, the Science Techbook series drives engagement with exclusive phenomena and interactive content. Virtual and hands-on investigations, STEM activities, and a variety of instructional supports enhance the delivery of impactful, blended instruction, in person or at a distance.  Digital teacher editions also provide flexible pacing options, embedded teacher notes, and Pathways for Learning to address diverse learners.  

The Virginia edition of the Discovery Education Science Textbook was approved for statewide use by the Virginia State Board of Education in September of 2020 and was recently selected for use by Virginia’s Chesapeake Public Schools in May of this year. 

“A high-quality education in the sciences helps students develop the important communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills that we know drive academic achievement,” said Laura Nelson, Portsmouth Public Schools’ Supervisor of Science K-12. “The addition of Discovery Education’s digital resources to our already powerful science curriculum helps our educators meet the needs of our current strategic plan as it simultaneously helps students build the skills needed for both K-12 and future success.” 

PPS teachers and students in grades K-5 will also receive access to Discovery Education Coding. With Discovery Education Coding, elementary and middle school students are inspired to learn important coding concepts as they develop computational thinking skills through decomposition, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Based in part on the award-winning Discovery Education Coding service used by teachers across the United Kingdom, the U.S. version of Coding features a wide array of coding resources that help students take coding from concept to reality. 

To help the school system recognize the full return on their edtech investment, Discovery Education will provide PPS educators dedicated professional learning. Through these interactive professional development sessions, participants will learn best practices for integrating their new digital resources into instruction. Effective professional development will maximize the power of these resources, increase student engagement in learning, and support students’ continued academic development. 

The district’s partnership with Discovery Education also provides all district teachers access to the Discovery Education Community. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration. 

“Portsmouth Public Schools have set out a comprehensive plan for meeting the evolving needs of their diverse student body and Discovery Education is excited to support this effort,” said Kelly Hoce, Discovery Education’s Senior Director of Education Partnerships. “We look forward to starting the year with the talented Portsmouth Public Schools team to integrate these new resources into instruction. 

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.   

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About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com. 

Contact
Stephen Wakefield 
Discovery Education
Phone: 202-316-6615
Email: swakefield@discoveryed.com 

Young Change Makers: Why and How Anika Chebrolu Is Helping To Change Our World

This Month at DE: September

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Inspire students to make a difference with new September content from Discovery Education! Whether surfing student-made documentaries or joining this month’s Virtual Field Trips, you’ll find the compelling resources you need to help all learners find their voice, learn from their peers, and create change in their communities.

1600 Sessions Podcast

Grades 6-12

Join the White House Historical Association to dig into the rich history behind the White House and the people who have contributed to its story. From its early construction to the Founding Fathers and the first protesters to picket its gates, learn more about one of our country’s most significant symbols and the movements and traditions that continue to shape our nation.

Learn More

BYkids

All Grade Levels

Hear the stories of young changemakers who shine light on significant aspects of their identities in the BYkids Channel. Learners will meet students from around the world as they provide insight on their racial and ethnic identities, country of origin, religious beliefs, abilities, and cultural affiliations. Best of all, each young activist films and directs their own documentary from a first-hand perspective.

Learn More

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

All Grade Levels

Get ready for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) and find resources to help you celebrate the identities, experiences, culture, and history of Latin Americans all year with the revamped Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Channel! Introduce students to Latin American leaders and changemakers, learn about Hispanic traditions and culture, and explore a collection of available Spanish resources.

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Curiosity and Your World

Grades 6-8, 9-12

Use this activity from our Social-Emotional Learning Coalition to help students build their capacity to connect to the world around them, ask questions to further their knowledge, and extend their understanding through utilizing their own communities. While the embedded activity challenges students to look closely at aspects or issues within their own community, the structure included can be used with a variety of texts, photographs, objects, or artwork.

Learn More

Make the most of September with timely content, tools, and events! View the latest updates and featured content in our This Month at DE Studio Board.

Go There Now Request a Demo

John Lewis on Rights and Justice and America

Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Watch this video on the National Archives Foundation’s conversation on rights and justices with former United States Congressman John Lewis. Teach students to stand up for what they believe in as Lewis reminds Americans to continue fighting for justice and democracy.

Learn More

September Virtual Field Trips

Grades 5, 6-8, 9-12

Join us live for one (or all) of five September Virtual Field Trips or watch them on-demand after their premieres! Explore our Virtual Field Trip page to learn more about each experience and the amazing partners who help create them. No matter which one you choose you’ll find more ways to elevate engagement with a companion guide packed with standards-aligned, hands-on learning activities.

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The Truth is Powerful

Grades 6-8, 9-12

Watch this video from Self-Evident Media as it examines the creation and weaponization of race and tells the story of Sojourner Truth, a self-emancipated enslaved woman who later became a traveling preacher. The program closely analyzes the different versions of her famous speech given at an 1851 feminist anti-slavery meeting and stresses the need for Black stories to be told through a firsthand lens.

Learn More

What is a Worry Habit?

Grades 3-5, 6-8

Watch a teen journalist interview psychologist and author Dr. Susan Heilter while reporting on the effects of the “worry habit,” a harmful habit which causes people from living in the moment. See how this loop of worry prevents people from making plans and leads to anxiety and stress before finding ways to break the cycle.

Learn More

Enjoy these new resources and be sure to join us here next month as we kick off our October theme: Culture & Celebrations!

September 2021 Partner Spotlight

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Each month we take time to showcase a few of the amazing partners that we work with to develop the high-quality content your students want and need. Take a moment to help us celebrate these partnerships, check out some of their new resources, and learn more about the incredible things they do!

And don’t forget to see out more content in our This Month at DE: September article.

BYkids

This compelling series gives today’s youth a stage to share their perspectives and lets students hear the stories of young changemakers who shine a light on significant aspects of their identities. Each activist films and directs their own documentary from a firsthand perspective, providing students with exclusive insight on racial and ethnic identities, country of origin, religious beliefs, abilities, and cultural affiliations.

See more in the new BYkids Channel.

Discover Financial Services

Commemorate National College Savings Month with Pathways to Financial Success in Schools. In partnership with Discover Financial Services, this comprehensive, unit-based financial literacy program is made up of videos, self-paced modules, and cross-curricular activities for middle and high school students. Family extensions are also available to keep the conversation going at home!

Browse the full collection today.

Eyewitness News: Teen Kids News

Check out this dynamic news program produced for young people, by young people. Teen reporters present news stories in a way that appeals to students and provides a unique perspective that’s currently unseen in the adult-dominated news and media.

Get started by teaching your class about “worry habits” or learning how “Bumblebees are Dying Because of Extreme Heat.”

Keep students going strong this September with timely content, tools, and events! View more featured content in our This Month at DE Studio Board.

Go There Now Request a Demo

Newsy

Stay informed on today’s most important topics and issues with straightforward, opinion-free news and documentaries. This trusted source for concise, unbiased video news and analysis helps students stay up to date on current events while documenting unique perspectives through detailed investigation and sincere conversation.

Catch up on current events now in the Newsy Channel.

Self-Evident Media

Made up of a community of American history educators, Self-Evident Media strives to support educators and students to think critically about the role of race and institutional racism throughout US history. Through highly engaging educational tools and resources, their goal is to help students honestly and rigorously study the history of race in America, better understand who we are as a country, and learn how to work together to build a more just society.

See more with these new resources:

Social-Emotional Learning Coalition

This partnership between DE, The Allstate Foundation, the National AfterSchool Association, Ask, Listen, Learn: A Program of Responsibility.org and leaders across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors is aimed at driving access and innovation in embedding SEL into students’ lives. Its first initiative: providing K-12 educators, students, families, and afterschool directors with an extensive library of digital resources to support the integration of SEL into core instruction and beyond.

Learn more and find resources for all grade levels in the Social-Emotional Learning Center.

We hope you and your students enjoy these new learning resources and be sure to join us here next month for more partner highlights.

Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 with a New Virtual Field Trip hosted by NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager from 9/11 Day and Discovery Education

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Silver Spring, Md. (Thursday, September 2, 2021) – To honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Discovery Education and the 9/11 Day nonprofit invite students to join the engaging new 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds virtual field trip (VFT). Premiering September 7th at 1 PM ET, the 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds VFT shows students how good deeds can honor the past and build a brighter tomorrow. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.

Developed for students born after September 11, 2001, this experience highlights ways people in the United States came together during and after the terrorist attacks. During this event, students will meet Jenna Bush Hager, co-host of NBC’s Today with Hoda & Jenna, in a town-hall-style session at the 9/11 Tribute Museum. Students will hear from their peers about the power of good deeds, as well as from other leaders. These leaders include Jay Winuk, a 9/11 family member of a first responder and co-founder of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (“9/11 Day”); Terri Tobin, the Chief of Interagency Operations for the New York City Police Department, who was injured in the line of duty on 9/11 and is also a 9/11 family member; and Hillary O’Neill, a college student who was born on September 11, 2001.

To learn more about this powerful event and to register, visit the 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds homepage here.

The 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds VFT builds upon 9/11 Day, a national observance that is now the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement and is one of only two days of service recognized under federal law. This year, the nonprofit hopes to inspire citizens everywhere to collectively perform millions of good deeds in honor of those who perished, were injured, and rose in service in the aftermath of the attacks. The partnership with Discovery Education adds a new and exciting dimension to the education resources currently available to teachers and students at www.911day.org.

“Students know and understand the power of collaboration,” said Jay Winuk co-founder & executive vice president of 9/11 Day. “From collaborating in school projects to connecting through virtual classes, togetherness is a defining factor of learning. We’re pleased to work with Discovery Education to help inspire a spirit of collaboration by discovering the compassion and unity that arose out of the tragic events of 9/11.” Winuk’s brother, Glenn Winuk, was an attorney and volunteer firefighter and EMT who died in the line of duty when the World Trade Center South Tower collapsed.

Accompanying digital materials created by Discovery Education’s expert curriculum and content designers help educators integrate the virtual experience into any lesson plan. Included in the resources is a collaborative activity encouraging civic engagement and self-reflection that demonstrates for students how to map out good deed goals. The partnership is also adding to the 9/11 Day collection of lesson plans that help students unlock the power a good deed can have to shape a better tomorrow.

20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds is part of a new series of virtual field trips welcoming students back to school. Every month, Discovery Education adds hundreds of new resources—from ready-to-use activities to immersive videos and Virtual Field Trips to podcasts and curated channels found in its recently enhanced K-12 platform. Each resource is culturally authentic, reflects the diversity of today’s world, and includes embedded supports, such as closed captioning, text-to-speech, and language translations. Discover resources for all grade levels at www.discoveryeducation.com.

“I can think of no better way to learn about and honor those affected by 9/11 than by focusing on the value of good deeds and diversity,” said Lori McFarling, President of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “We are proud to work with 9/11 Day to present this engaging virtual field trip to students across the United States.”

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the worldwide EdTech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading EdTech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

About 9/11 Day
9/11 Day is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that originated and annually organizes the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Since 2002, the organization has called for worldwide unity and works to rekindle the extraordinary spirit of togetherness and compassion shown in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to honor those lost and injured and those who rose in service. For more information about 9/11 Day and getting involved, visit www.911day.org.

Contacts
Grace Maliska | Discovery Education | gmaliska@discoveryed.com
Maria Furguson | 9/11 Day | maria.ferguson@911day.org

The Discovery Education K-12 Learning Platform Honored with a 2021 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence for Back to School

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Silver Spring, MD (Monday, August 30, 2021) — Discovery Education’s daily learning platform was recently honored with a 2021 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence: Back to School in the Secondary (6-12) category. Evaluated by a panel of tech-savvy educators, the new 2021 Back to School Awards showcase products and organizations promoting effective teaching and learning practices in the new school year. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.  

For over 40 years, the Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence have recognized exceptional products and services within education technology. For this new competition, Tech & Learning sought nominations for products that offer school leaders versatility, value, and solutions to specific problems as they support innovative, effective teaching and learning.  

Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education’s recently enhanced digital platform facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment.  

Discovery Education’s team continues adding, contextualizing, and organizing exciting new content and timely and relevant resources to the platform each month in response to current events and the ever-evolving needs of educators. These resources, sourced from trusted partners, are aligned to state and national standards, and help educators bring the outside world into teaching and learning every day.  

The K-12 learning platform is designed to work within a school systems’ existing infrastructure and workflows and provides safe, secure, simple access methods for educators and students. Expanded and lasting partnerships with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever make integrating Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform into existing IT architecture easier than ever. 

“As we head into another uncertain year in education, technology will continue to be one of the key drivers of innovation,” says Tech & Learning Group Publisher Christine Weiser. “Our judges chose the winning products recognized here for their versatility, compatibility, value, and ability to help schools solve challenges and support continuous instruction. Congratulations to all of our winners.”   

Educators using Discovery Education’s K-12 platform benefit from the support of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) Community. This global community of education professionals connects members in school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration. 

“Discovery Education is honored by the Tech & Learning’s Award of Excellence judges’ recognition of our flexible learning platform,” said Scott Kinney, Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Education. “Over the past year and a half, the Discovery Education team has worked to pair the amazing digital content educators and students know and love with powerful tools to make this platform an indispensable part of teaching and learning each day. This award is a powerful endorsement of the improvements we’ve made to our platform and will serve to motivate Discovery Education’s talented product development team as they seek new ways to support the continued academic growth of students everywhere.” 

To request a demonstration of Discovery Education’s daily learning platform and to learn more, visit DiscoveryEducation.com/features. For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education atwww.discoveryeducation.com. 

Contacts
Stephen Wakefield
Email: SWakefield@discoveryed.com
Phone: (202) 316-6615 

Grace Maliska
Email: GMaliska@discoveryed.com
Phone: (240) 839-4239 

Create & Collaborate with Engaging Activities in Studio

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Whether you’re new to DE or have been an avid user for years, there’s never been a better time to make Studio part of your daily lesson strategy.

You know those classic three-panel poster boards? Well, we’ve taken that concept and supercharged it with Studio, our flexible collaboration and presentation tool. Think of it as your new creative outlet for those activities you’ve always wanted to try.


Get started right away with one of our many Activity Templates based on our SOS Instructional Strategies—designed for educators, by educators—then build a Studio Board or Slideshow from there. These Activity Templates provide the perfect jumping-off point to quickly build and even help illuminate new ways to blend seemingly unrelated topics, like STEM and art or SEL and science.

If you’ve got a creative itch, design your own Studio Board or Slideshow built with your content of choice. Add headlines, text, buttons, DE resources, or upload your own digital content to create engaging daily lessons. Once you’re ready, assign your Board or Slideshow as a self-paced, individual assignment or share it and collaborate with students in real time. And don’t forget our embedded literacy support! Our integration with Microsoft’s Immersive Reader allows students to have text read aloud, translated, and to access a line focus tool for additional reading help.

Students also get a chance to shine by designing their own Boards or Slideshows. Let them play around in Studio and give them the opportunity to share and present their knowledge in creative ways using appropriate, DE-vetted resources or their own original, uploaded content.

Best of all, everyone can safely collaborate in real time right in Studio to encourage lively discussion and unleash creativity—no matter where the classroom is.

Learn more about how DE can serve as your daily learning platform. Check out our live and on-demand events or explore 30 Ways to DE!

Join an Event 30 Ways to DE

Engaging New Virtual Field Trips from Discovery Education and Partners Welcome Students and Teachers Back to School

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Silver Spring, Md. (Thursday, August 26, 2021) — To welcome K-12 students and teachers back to school, Discovery Education—the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place—and leading corporate and community partners proudly introduce four new engaging, no-cost virtual field trips (VFTs). Debuting this September, these unique VFTs connect classroom learning to the people, places, and ideas shaping the world we live in.

Discovery Education offers educators, students, and families hundreds of no-cost, on-demand VFTs that empower educators to provide all students with access to remarkable learning experiences without ever leaving their desks. Adding to the robust collection, the following virtual experiences—developed in conjunction with Discovery Education’s social impact partners—will be available this September:

20th Anniversary of 9/11: Paying Tribute Through Good Deeds Virtual Field Trip with 9/11 Day
Premiere: September 7th at 1 PM ET

Empower students to do good deeds by observing the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (“9/11 Day”). Designed for students born after September 11, 2001, this experience highlights the remarkable ways people throughout the United States came together, focusing on our common humanity in the aftermath of the attacks. Participants in this VFT directly affected by 9/11 discuss the event and its impact, the national and global unity that ensued, and the lessons learned which remain relevant today. This virtual field trip is appropriate for students in grades 6-12.

9/11 Day and Discovery Education joined together to create this virtual experience to provide educators, students, and families positive ways to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11, as well as those who served in response to the attacks.

Discover Your Happy: Happiness in Action Virtual Field Trip with LG
Premiere: September 16th at 1 PM ET

Addressing the important topic of mental health for youth across America, activate peer-learning by introducing students to other students bringing the Six Sustainable Happiness Skills to life by spreading happiness in local communities. Traveling the United States from the vantage point of a selfie video, students discover how science-based strategies can enhance mental wellness and how happiness changes the brain. This virtual field trip is appropriate for students in grades 7-12.

Discover Your Happy, a collaborative effort between Discovery Education and LG Electronics USA – and extension of LG’s award-winning social impact initiative, “Life’s Good: Experience Happiness” – provides educators, parents, and students with hands-on resources to help America’s youth tackle social-emotional issues through the practice of six foundational “happiness skills”: mindfulness, human connection, positive outlook, purpose, generosity, and gratitude.

Know More, Do More Virtual Field Trip with The Home Depot
Premiere: September 23rd at 1 PM ET

Empower students with greater appreciation for sustainability and conservation by discovering how materials impact our everyday lives. From meeting a forestry expert to a supply chain expert, students explore the actions they can take to build greater self-reliance and a healthier planet. This virtual field trip is appropriate for students in grades 6-12

The Home Depot and Discovery Education joined forces to help STEAM-power classrooms and homes across the country as students prepare for the careers of tomorrow through Science Fair Central. With 10 million students from grades K-12 participating in science fairs and STEAM events every year, Science Fair Central aims to give students the tools to take their projects to the next level.

Exploring Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence with Mastercard
Premiere: September 28th
Explore cyber security in a new multi-part digital learning video series and activities designed to inspire girls to pursue STEM. Students travel to a high-tech cyber forensics lab and fusion center, where a diverse team of MasterCard cybersecurity experts constantly investigates, safeguards, and innovates against threats like cyberattack and fraud. This virtual experience is appropriate for students in grades 5-9.

With the goal of providing five million girls with an engaging STEM education by 2025, Mastercard has partnered with Discovery Education to launch the latest phase of the award-winning, global Girls4Tech™ initiative. Girls4Tech is Mastercard’s signature science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program geared towards giving girls in middle and high school access to STEM resources and career exploration tools with an emphasis on payment technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cyber security.

Testing the Limits Virtual Field Trip with Boeing
Premiere: September 30th at 1 PM ET

Witness what goes on behind-the-scenes at Boeing to ensure safety and quality in all their programs while meeting engineers and seeing the labs where they test the limits of new aerospace ideas and materials. This virtual field trip is appropriate for students in grades 6-12.

Created in partnership with Boeing and Discovery Education, FUTURE U. provides educators with the no-cost tools they need to inspire their students to use creativity, collaboration, persistence, and problem-solving to change the world.

Each virtual experience features accompanying educator resources and student activities making it easy for teachers to incorporate rich media into the learning experiences they design and deliver every day. Learn more and register for the new virtual field trips and find all the resources here.

“As I work with teachers to build out lesson plans, I always look for new and innovative ways to capture and maintain our students’ attention,” said Rita A. Mortenson, an Instructional Coach at Verona Area High School in the Verona Area School District. “The VFTs from Discovery Education and their partners give me a powerful tool that I can count on to engage my students as it shows them the world beyond the classroom.”

Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips can be found within the company’s recently enhanced K-12 learning platform on the Virtual Field Trips channel or in the Corporate Education Partnerships channel. Every month, Discovery Education adds hundreds of new resources—from ready-to-use activities to immersive videos and Virtual Field Trips to podcasts and curated channels. Each resource is culturally authentic, reflects the diversity of today’s world, and includes embedded supports, like closed captioning, text-to-speech, and language translations.

“In today’s world, it is increasingly important to connect students to experiences that will help prepare them for life. As a new school year begins, we’re excited to collaborate with our industry-leading partners to provide students, educators, and families incredible digital experiences that help them explore the world and dive into innovative ideas, all from the safety of home or the classroom,” said Beth Meyer, Vice President of Social Impact at Discovery Education.

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. Through its award-winning multimedia content, instructional supports, and innovative classroom tools, Discovery Education helps educators deliver equitable learning experiences engaging all students and supporting higher academic achievement on a global scale. Discovery Education serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and trusted organizations to empower teachers with leading edtech solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

Contacts
Grace Maliska | Discovery Education | gmaliska@discoveryed.com

Quiz is More Than a 4-Letter Word

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Turn your classroom into a live game show with Quiz!

We’re not talking about the usual list of questions on a piece of paper. Our new Quiz features empower teachers to create engaging, get-those-wheels-turning quizzes that liven up the classroom and then take action where needed. Students can easily participate in any learning environment and teachers can track student progress in real time.

Standard Quiz

Use Standard Quiz to check for understanding and student readiness with a range of question formats—from polling to open-ended, multiple choice to image annotation or audio responses. There’s no shortage of ways to accurately measure progress! Assign these to students to create a self-paced assessment or launch them live. When live, students access through a code and teachers can guide students through the assessment while viewing results as they come in.

Video Quiz

With Video Quiz, you can choose a video from our treasury of high-quality content and embed questions directly on the viewing timeline. Just pause the video where you want to put a question then add a short-answer prompt or use the dropdown to change it to multiple choice or poll. This keeps students engaged in the video while continually keeping a pulse on their learning.

Ask Live Quiz

In the middle of a lesson and need to check for understanding? Ask Live Quiz lets you ask interactive questions live and share responses in-person or remotely to spark lively discussions and class participation. Students can respond on their own devices, giving you real-time data to inform your next steps.

Pro Tip! Launch an Exit Ticket from an Ask Live Quiz and have students respond with how they’re feeling about what they’ve learned so you can better prepare for the next lesson or provide extra practice for specific learners.

Real-Time Results

See how your students did by checking the Results Dashboard. Quiz results display in real time, by question and by student, so you can take timely action. Save time grading quizzes and instead focus on gauging participation, offering feedback, and identifying remediation needs to ensure student progress. You’ll find all the information you need, displayed the way you need it, to help guide your instruction the very next day.

Learn more about Quiz in the Help Center and try one out with your students this week! Not a current partner? Watch a virtual demo today to get started.

Learn more about how DE can serve as your daily learning platform. Check out our live and on-demand events or explore 30 Ways to DE!

Join an Event 30 Ways to DE