MAD-news for June: Here to do better.

Hi Guest,

The last few weeks have caused us all to rethink our roles in a society where we have the injustices, the unrest, the discrimination, and the upheaval that we have in the US today.

We know we must do better. At MAD-learn, we have always valued diversity in our small but mighty team. We have always empowered every voice on our team to contribute to our collective well-being and gain from our collective success. We continue to empower underserved students and to help their teachers do better for them. But that is not enough.

Today, we are announcing a dollar for dollar match for all funds spent on MAD-learn by Title 1 schools. These additional funds will be used to increase access and opportunity for students who can benefit most from learning entrepreneurial skills and the design thinking process through our program. In light of the continuing hard work that needs to be done to advocate for and build a more equitable and just society for all of us, we hope this is one step in the right direction.

Alefiya Master

Founder & CEO

Student CREATE Even Through Changing Times

During these last months, schools have been thrown into re-inventing their program delivery. The new approach to virtual summer camps is just starting up. MAD-camps have barely begun (only one, so far), yet over 500 apps have been created and worked on just since the middle of March! We are so proud to be able to offer teachers and students such quality learning experiences during these challenging times, and we are looking forward to both the upcoming virtual camps and the coming school year (even though we don’t know what that will look like yet). We applaud the teachers and administrators who have recognized the value of making such a strong and accessible tool available, and we have enjoyed seeing the work that students have produced. Check out the MAD-store app to see the latest additions from students who followed through with the full publishing process!

Reminder About PD Funding Sources from ISTE

ISTE has released information on new funding for professional development. “As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many educators are looking for opportunities to sharpen their online teaching skills. The good news is there’s still plenty of time for teachers to get the PD they need to be ready to meet the challenges ahead.”

Applying for grants and scholarships

Several education organizations like the Association of American Educators Foundation, the National Education Association and your state or district education foundation offer grants and scholarships that often cover professional development.

Tapping CARES Act funds

The CARES Act reserves $30 billion for education stabilization funds, including $13.5 billion specifically for K-12. Districts can use that money to develop educators’ skills to design online learning opportunities for all students.

Using ESSA and IDEA funds

Keep in mind that these federal dollars may be used for PD. To find out how, check out the ISTE guide “Using ESSA to Fund Edtech,” which illustrates how technology can support many of the allowable uses of ESSA Title IV-A funds. The U.S. Department of Education’s 2017 Dear Colleague Letter provides additional guidance on ESSA and IDEA.

Spending 2019-20 budget dollars

Don’t leave money on the table! While nearly all school districts are facing tough cuts for the 2020-21 school year, many still have funds sitting in district PD budgets for the current year. This is money that educators can use to register for PD this summer.

Become The Captain of your Virtual Classroom!

Teacher extraordinaire and popular speaker Kevin Honeycutt gave a stirring presentation to over 500 attendees during his “Becoming the Captain of Your Virtual Classroom” session, as part of Palm Beach County (FL) Educational Technology’s Virtual Summit. Kevin invited us to join him to talk about how valuable MAD-learn has been to his work. Alefiya shared how the program works and Kevin spoke to the practical applications he has witnessed, firsthand. The chat sidebar was blowing up, as many participants noted what a great tool this would be to engage students, its relevant and unique approach, and how excited they were to have a closer look. Watch his awesome session here.
Next up is “Pop in PL”, created by Cobb County’s (GA) STEM department to provide a “series of live and asynchronous content” and tells participants “There are no rules, learn what you want, when you want.” Teachers and administrators will get a chance to explore the platform and curriculum resources with a hands-on experience. Having already spent valuable time with several Cobb County teachers, we are excited to be part of this event!

MAD-teacher of the Month

Monica Ralph is totally devoted to her students and wants her colleagues to have the best resources possible. She serves as an Intervention Specialist, 8th Grade English and Language Arts, Math, and US History teacher at Summit Academy of Lorain, OH. One would think that those would be plenty of hats for one educator to wear. One would also think that just trying to keep up with the changes that schools like hers have faced would be enough to keep any teacher busy. However, Monica is not an average teacher. After being introduced to MAD-learn, she decided that she would build an app for her school to use. The app, called “ThisIsSummit”, includes sections for all middle and upper school teachers as well as resources staff. She involved each member in creating custom looks and desired functions for their individual sections, building over 120 screens of content! We look forward to seeing how the school benefits from the work that Monica has done, and we are proud to have partnered with her!

…checking out the new curricular resources, including all new slide deck and video tutorials! Everything has been updated to reflect the MAD-learn Platform’s new look and enhanced functionality!

MAD-news is a monthly newsletter from MAD-learn® 
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