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DeKalb County School System Partners with Discovery Education to ImproveStudent Achievement and Transition to Digital Curriculum

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Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education

Emily Embury, C. Blohm & Associates

–First district in Georgia to utilize digital CurriculumAlignment services from Discovery Education leading the way in the creationof dynamic digital learning environments–

Silver Spring, Md. (March 1, 2011) – Georgia’s DeKalbCounty School System (DCSS) is committed to improving the academicachievement of all students and leading the nationwide transition todigital curriculum. After implementing digital resources from Discovery Education, the district sought to make instructional time more effective throughdigital content curriculum alignment. In 2010, the DeKalb County SchoolSystem became the first district in Georgia to partner with DiscoveryEducation on cross-curricular alignment, which has led to improved studentachievement in science.

Over the past six years, the DeKalb County School System and DiscoveryEducation have partnered to improve student achievement, advanceprofessional development, and evolve curriculum to meet the needs of 21stCentury learners in a cost-effective way. Discovery Education is theleading provider of high-quality curriculum-based digital content andprofessional development resources. Available in more than half of U.S.schools, Discovery Education’s services support educators nationwide asthey transition to using dynamic digital media as their core instructionalresource.

The foundation of the partnership includes dynamic digital content fromDiscovery Education. In 2004, the school system began receiving Discovery Education streaming through astatewide partnership with Georgia Public Broadcasting. Aligned to Georgiastate standards, Discovery Education streaming is searchable bykeyword, content area and grade level. “I strongly believe that DiscoveryEducation gives children the ability to experience the world in new ways,or through multimedia when direct experiences are not always possible,”said Kelli Harris-Wright, Director, Department for Elementary Teaching andLearning for DeKalb County School System.

In the 2008-09 school year, the DeKalb County School System’s 83elementary schools received a subscription to Discovery Education Science. Empowering educators toquickly locate and employ a variety of dynamic multimedia resources toengage students in science, Discovery Education Science propels thedistrict’s science curriculum with standards-based virtual labs,simulations, video clips, and reading passages, and encourages studentexploration and stimulates critical thinking. In the first year, as aresult of engaging content and a sound professional development strategy,science test scores improved in grades 3, 4 and 5 between 2008 and 2009.

In order to maximize the impact of these two digital resources, theDeKalb County School System turned to curriculum alignment services fromDiscovery Education. The process involved mapping the English-LanguageArts curriculum guide to digital content found in Discovery Educationstreaming and Discovery Education Science. Linking theseresources allows district educators to reinforce science and literacyskills during standard English-Language Arts instruction time. DiscoveryEducation content is now embedded into the curriculum guides so teacherscan click and launch directly to optimal digital assets that are aligned toGeorgia’s standards as well as Common Core State Standards for classroomlessons.

“By aligning digital content to their curriculum, the DeKalb CountySchool System has become a national leader in creating 21st Century digitallearning environments,” said Coni Rechner, Discovery Education vicepresident. “Most important, their efforts have led to an improvement instudent academic achievement, which we all consider to be the truestmeasure of success.”

In addition to providing digital content and curriculum alignmentservices, Discovery Education implemented a professional developmentprogram that taught educators how to incorporate digital media intoeveryday teaching. “They learned how to create lesson plans, use Web 2.0tools, and that digital media in lesson planning and delivery is more thanjust videos,” said Harris-Wright. “Our partnership with DiscoveryEducation has supported our efforts to transition from static textbooks toa dynamic digital curriculum. The DeKalb County School System understandshow today’s students learn, and we are committed to creating engaginglearning environments that meet the needs of 21st Century learners.”

Discovery Education will continue to support educators in the DeKalbCounty School System with one of the nation’s largest professional learningcommunities, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). Through the DEN,educators have access to a wide range of technology training as well as aresource library of teacher-generated projects and tools.

To read the full case study on DCSS’s use of digital content andcurriculum alignment services, click here. For more information about Discovery Education, visit

About Discovery Education
Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) revolutionizedtelevision with Discovery Channel and is now transforming classroomsthrough Discovery Education. Powered by the number one nonfiction mediacompany in the world, Discovery Education combines scientifically proven,standards-based digital media and a dynamic user community in order toempower teachers to improve student achievement. Already, more than halfof all U.S. schools access Discovery Education digital services. Explorethe future of education at