Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Educational Funding & Grants Support

Spectrum Industries works closely with educators and school administration and understands that purchasing equipment and material for education is getting harder because of the crunch on budgets and school spending. That is why we have dedicated a Web page dedicated to Funding & Grants Support for educational purposes.

There you find a growing list of possible sources for getting the funds for educational needs from classroom materials, books, AV equipment, software, programs and yes, even for furnishing your classroom. As the page grows, more information will be added to aid in you in your search for funding and information to help you write a grant.

So take a look below for some soon-to-end opportunities and then check out Spectrum’s Funding & Grants Support Web page for some more opportunities to get the funding you need.

Short Deadline

May 27 - AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant: Teacher must be an AIAA Educator Associate (Dues: $0) Can receive $200 per time and up to $1,000 in a year for K-12 teacher who develops or applies science, mathematics, and technology in your curriculum. Ongoing, must be submitted 1 month before evaluation dates of January, March, June and September

May 31 – Captain Planet Foundation Grant: supports environmental projects that give children and young adults 6-18 the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities in their local community, education and ongoing projects. grants are limited to $2,500.

June 01 - NEA Foundation – Nickelodeon Big Help Grants: dedicated to the development and implementation of ideas, techniques, and approaches for addressing four key concerns – environmental awareness, health and wellness, students’ right to a quality public education, and active community involvement for K-8 public school educators

For June

June 15 - Gale/Library Media Connections TEAMS Award: for K-12 public and private schools that recognizes and encourages the critical collaboration between the teacher and media specialist to promote learning, increase student achievement and develop 21st century skills with a $2,500 cash award, approximately $500 in Gale products, a subscription and publications

June 15 – The LLCF Library Gr ant Program: for purchasing books published for PK-8 grades. Public libraries, school libraries, and non-traditional libraries operated by 501(c)(3) agencies are eligible. The Foundation provides grants to libraries or organizations that serve economically or socially at-risk children, have limited book budgets, and demonstrate real need. Grants for 2011 will range from $500 to $3000 and are specifically for book purchases, and cannot be used for administrative or operational uses

June 30 – Charles Lifitte Foundation Grants: recipients must be a certified 501(c)(3) organization that aid students with learning disabilities, target At-risk Populations And Integrate All Learners, provide Equal Access, offer Quality Programming Using Innovative Methods, apply Data-driven Approaches, educate The Whole Child

June 30 – RGK Foundation Grants: programs that focus on formal K-12 education (particularly mathematics, science and reading), teacher development, literacy, and higher education. nonprofit organizations Ongoing, an electronic letter of inquiry must be submitted and accepted inquiries will be invited to submit an application packet which will be reviewed at one of the Grants Committee meetings held in March, June, September and December

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Standardized Testing Advantage: Spectrum's Flex Insight

Leaders of the nation's largest teachers union, the National Education Association, recently issued a policy statement endorsing standardized testing. While NEA leadership doesn’t want standardized testing to be the sole indicator of a teacher’s ability, this statement represents a significant shift in the NEA’s philosophy of excluding such tests for teacher evaluation.

Education reformers say that the tests help provide accountability, but opposition states that placing high importance on periodic testing creates stressful environments for both students and teachers. Although the NEA union still has to vote the statement into an official platform, it appears the tide is changing for standardized testing. Could the inclusion of standardized testing change the makeup of our classrooms of the future? It very well could be, and Spectrum Industries has experience in working with customers on a solution for effective standardized testing.Many school districts across the country have taken a proactive stance on standardized testing while many others are apprehensive of the possible stressful environment that critics say it creates. Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida is one such entity to have already invested in a “High Stakes” standardized testing system. In each of the district’s 220 schools, there is at least one classroom that is set up for computer-based testing. Spectrum designed an advanced workstation that seamlessly transitioned from lecture classroom to computer lab for an advantageous environment in computer-based testing. This workstation eventually became the basis for the Flex Insight desk.

How can the Flex Insight increase the effectiveness of computer-based testing?

Moving students to a computer lab for such testing removes them from their typical test-taking environment – out of their comfort zone. Teachers can attempt to properly instruct the students on the best approach to taking the test, but with monitors sitting in front of them, students simply don’t absorb such instruction well. And when test time comes, students are ill-prepared to perform to their highest capabilities. Especially when testing is in the High Stakes category, students and teachers cannot afford to have an environment that lends itself to test anxiety.

The solution? With monitor, keyboard, and mouse tucked inside the desk, the Flex Insight provides a classic classroom environment and even has 19” of available space for taking notes. In this Flex Insight configuration, teachers can instruct students on the test they are about to take without interference from technology. When it is time for testing, a monitor easily rises with a built-in assist system. And when the test is completed, all computer accessories easily descend back into the desk.Regardless of personal stance, standardized computer testing is building momentum and test results will have significant impact on students, teachers, and schools. In this environment, the Flex Insight will be an essential tool for computer testing systems. And since the Flex Insight is designed with value pricing as a priority, its potential to classrooms of the future is huge.

References
http://www.nea.org/home/44111.htm
http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110512/us_yblog_thelookout/after-endorsing-obama-teachers-union-says-yes-to-test-based-evaluations#mwpphu-container

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

If you haven’t shown your appreciation to your local teachers during National Teacher’s Appreciation week, there’s still a little time left! Our teachers face an incredible amount of challenges in their line of work. Certainly the most publicized lately has been school budgets – will they have the funds they need to best prepare our kids? But let’s not forget the other issues that teachers face: defiant students, difficult parents, administrative politics, and the very under-publicized exposure to colds and other ailments in a normal classroom!

This is quite a profession that our teachers have taken on – they deserve some love here and there. Our children have an ever-increasing amount of obstacles to overcome nowadays, and our teachers play such a major part in making them feel special enough that they can overcome future hurdles. So give our teachers the support they need to make all our kids truly feel special – send a card, tell them “Thank You”, or give them a hug. Or maybe even the traditional apple. Anything you do will go a long way!From all of us at Spectrum Industries, you have our enduring and everlasting support.