Drug Enforcement Administration and Discovery Education Announce New Resources

Discovery Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are now offering educators new digital resources to address the dangers of counterfeit drugs. The new array of science-based lesson plan and videos equip students in grades 9–12 with an understanding of what counterfeit drugs are and why they are so harmful to individuals and communities.

The resources join other powerful anti-drug resources available through Operation Prevention, a collaboration between DEA and Discovery Education. Designed to help prevent substance misuse in schools nationwide, Operation Prevention educates students about the science behind addiction, and its impact on the brain and body. The latest content also supports the One Pill Can Kill initiative from DEA, which raises awareness about fake pills that are falsely marketed as legitimate prescription pills.

Research by UCLA Health shows that in 2020, the teen death rate due to drug overdose doubled and grew by another 20% in 2021. The sharp increase is, in part, attributed to teens purchasing via distributors on social media platforms what they believe to be prescription drugs but instead are counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl. DEA reports that in 2022 more than 9.5 million fake pills were seized, more than the previous two years combined.

The new lessons now available, which include a detailed accompanying educator guide, explore the importance of community connections in counteracting the rising trend of counterfeit drug use. During the lesson, students will consider how an individual’s decisions can impact an entire community, investigate real-world data, and learn how to create an effective community awareness campaign. In addition, the resources, which include a four-part video series, show students the consequences of counterfeit drugs on people and communities through insights from diverse subject matter experts, including leaders from Native communities. These resources complement Operation Prevention’s “Good Medicine Bundle,” which was created with the assistance of the National Indian Education Association. A set of hands-on, standards-aligned resources for elementary and middle school students, the Good Medicine Bundle addresses the nation’s opioid crisis through a culturally responsive lens and encourages resiliency through a Native approach to balance and wellness.

“Native communities still experience the impact of historical traumas and are disproportionately impacted by substance misuse. These lessons are critical for all students as a response to the crises in our nation,” said Diana Cournoyer, Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association (NIEA).

“Education and intervention at a young age are critical to preventing substance misuse and misunderstandings,” said Amy Nakamoto, General Manager of Social Impact at Discovery Education. “Educators play a critical role in students’ lives, and we are proud to partner with the DEA to equip high school teachers across the United States with new, high-quality resources to help overcome the counterfeit drug crisis facing our teens.”

Learn more about the new counterfeit drug educational resources and Operation Prevention at OperationPrevention.com and on the Discovery Education K-12 learning platform.

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

NASA Launches Power to Explore Challenge

3,2, 1…lift off! NASA officially launches its second Power to Explore Student Challenge, calling on K-12 students in the United States to learn about Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS), and then design a new RPS-powered space mission that would energize their space exploration dreams. RPS is a type of nuclear “battery” that, for over 60 years, has enabled many spacecraft to explore some of the harshest, darkest environments and the farthest reaches of our solar system.

The Power to Explore Student Challenge is part of NASA’s efforts to engage students in space exploration and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Radioisotope Power Systems have enabled some of the most exciting science,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “They make it possible to explore the extreme environments of our solar system that cannot be reached by any other technology. I cannot wait to see what RPS-powered missions the students plan for the future of space exploration.”

Entries are due by January 17, 2023 and will be judged in three grade-level categories: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Student entries, which are limited to 200 words, should address the mission destination and goals and describe a unique “power,” or quality, the student has that can help the mission.

The grand prize winner from each grade category (3 winners total) will receive a trip for two to NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland to learn about the people and technologies that power NASA missions. All participants will receive a digital certificate and an invitation to a virtual event with NASA experts where students will learn what powers the NASA workforce to dream big and explore. Fifteen national semifinalists in each grade category (45 semifinalists total) will receive a NASA RPS Prize Pack, and three national finalists in each grade category (9 finalists total) will receive a virtual session with a NASA RPS expert.

Judges Needed

NASA and Future Engineers are seeking volunteers to help judge the thousands of contest entries anticipated to be submitted from around the country. U.S. residents over 18 years old who are interested in offering approximately three hours of their time to review submissions should register to be a judge at: https://www.futureengineers.org/registration/judge/powertoexplore

For more information and challenge details, please visit RPS Power to Explore Challenge.

About the ChallengeThe challenge is funded by the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s RPS Program Office and managed and administered by Future Engineers under the direction of the NASA Tournament Lab, a part of the Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing Program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

VHS Learning Students Achieve Course Pass Rate of 91%

While many schools and families worry about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning, students who enroll in high-quality, teacher-led online classes with VHS Learning continue to show consistent progress. During the 2021-2022 academic year, students taking VHS Learning online courses had an average course pass rate of 91%. This average pass rate has remained consistent at 91% over the last three years.

Students who took VHS Learning summer school courses for credit recovery achieved success as well. In 2022, those students who previously failed a course and retook it with VHS Learning summer school had an average pass rate of 75%.

In the 26 years that VHS Learning has been providing supplemental online high school classes, it has earned a reputation for its high standard of educational quality, which keeps schools and students coming back. In 2021-2022, VHS Learning had 18,899 course enrollments by students from more than 600 partner schools. Last year, 88% of schools previously utilizing the program continued their participation in the 2021-2022 school year. Further, 90% of administrators and 90% of site coordinators who manage the VHS Learning program at their school said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their school’s VHS Learning experience.

“Students who take VHS Learning courses gain access to the courses they need and the flexibility they want, all within a high quality, collaborative learning environment,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “High student success rates — particularly in light of all of the challenges schools have faced during the pandemic — demonstrate the effectiveness of our online program and the quality and dedication of our teachers.”

VHS Learning partners with schools and districts to help them enhance their course offerings, and also works directly with parents and students who want to enroll in classes individually. With more than 300 unique online courses, including 26 Advanced Placement® (AP) courses, the program is used by schools to give students additional course and scheduling choices.

About VHS Learning

VHS Learning is a nonprofit organization with over 26 years of experience providing world-class online programs to students and schools everywhere. Offering more than 300 unique online courses for high school credit, including 26 AP® courses, credit recovery, and enrichment courses, VHS Learning is accredited by Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), and Cognia. Courses are approved for initial eligibility by NCAA. For more information about VHS Learning please visit https://www.vhslearning.org/ and follow on Twitter at @VHSLearning.

Intelitek Opens the First of 20 STEAM centers in the Republic of Ghana

In partnership with the Ghanaian Ministry of Education and Israeli government, Intelitek and its parent company, Robogroup T.E.K. Ltd., have opened the first of 20 planned STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Mathematics) centers in the Republic of Ghana. Located at the Accra High Senior High School, the new center is part of the ministry’s initiative to increase student interest and instructional quality around STEAM. Students ages 6-14 will be trained to use advanced STEAM technology in a modern interactive learning environment.

The Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education held a commissioning ceremony for the Accra High STEAM Centre in November. Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education, commended all involved for their commitment to the project and called the center a testimony of the government’s commitment to STEAM education.

“We can become a developed nation,” Dr. Adutwum said, “but it is going to emanate from how well we focus ourselves, how we remain determined and focused in the midst of challenges and say to ourselves we can.”

Yoram Doitch, GM of RoboGroup also spoke at the commissioning ceremony. “Early in 2019, The Honorable Minister of Education Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum shared his vision to introduce science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education to all students, educators and education leaders across Ghana in order to inspire, explore, and develop their skills and, most importantly, to allow them to fulfill their potential,” said Doitch. “These students will be the leaders of Ghana in the future and our mission is to provide them with all the tools they need to take Ghana into a greater and better future.”

The construction of the Accra High STEAM Center and the future 19 centers is a collaboration Ghana’s Ministry of Education and Robogroup T.E.K. Ltd., a global enterprise specializing in robotics, motion control, and technology education. Intelitek, the educational division of Robogroup T.E.K. Ltd., develops, manufactures, and markets training products and e-learning systems.

Each center will have a team of 10 instructors in addition to a manager and an administrative team. Each age group will feature an annual curriculum for each age group, ensuring that cognitive and motor skills are developed as students work through activities that stimulate creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities.

Intelitek has conducted similar projects in other parts of Africa as well as in Asia and South America.

“The STEAM approach helps students to understand that the world is interdisciplinary and that every product they see is the result of thought, knowledge, skill and teamwork,” said Graham Celine, VP, Business Development of Intelitek. “To succeed in our rapidly-changing world, students need to learn to think for themselves, to continually acquire new knowledge, and to work as a team. We’re extremely proud to be helping Ghana to provide the type of study environments that help students gain those skills.”

About Intelitek

Intelitek is at the forefront of training for Industry 4.0, the internet revolution in manufacturing. For four decades, the company’s innovative learning solutions have provided learners across the globe with the competencies needed for in-demand careers in production. Driven by its pedagogic commitment to students’ career readiness and lifelong learning skills, the company develops state-of-the-art tools and technologies for engineering, manufacturing, automation, and robotics technologies. These technologies, along with Intelitek’s programs, empower instructors and inspire students to pursue careers in cutting-edge businesses. For more information go to: www.intelitek.com

Presence Adds Scheduling Capabilities to its Modern Therapy Platform

Kanga’s expanded scheduling makes it easier for clinicians to manage their workload

Presence, the leading provider of online therapy solutions for children with diverse needs, has added enhanced scheduling features to Kanga, its all-in-one therapy platform, to make it easier for clinicians to see and manage their workload. Built-in scheduling helps clinicians ensure they are delivering the required amount of service minutes to a student at the specific interval and frequency spelled out in their IEP and furthers the Presence commitment to provide an all-in-one therapy platform for clinicians.

“At Presence, we support clinicians in providing meaningful therapy experiences,” said Kate Eberle Walker, CEO of Presence. “Our innovative tools are designed to streamline therapy planning and documentation so that clinicians can focus on the work they love, spending time face to face with the children who need them.”

Kanga helps schools, districts, independent practitioners, and agencies reimagine the work of their clinicians. With Kanga, clinicians have access to award-winning technology to provide engaging, best-in-class, and personalized therapy to each student, either onsite or remotely.

In addition to the platform’s multitude of resources, documentation, caseload and goal management, the new scheduling features offer clinicians:

  • A weekly view of calendar events/appointments
  • A monthly, daily, and list view of calendar events/appointments
  • The ability to create, edit, and delete recurring events
  • Automatic syncing from clinician’s calendar to the student’s profile

With the new scheduling features, clinicians can easily see available time slots and group students of similar ability in the same time slot. Clinicians will also be able to easily schedule all of the pre-work that goes into reporting, such as IEP due dates and Triennial Evaluations.

“The new scheduling enhancements in Kanga allow clinicians to more efficiently manage their day, week, and month so that they can stay on top of deadlines and ensure they are meeting service minutes,” said Hannah Werner, Kanga Clinical Lead, MA, CCC-SLP at Presence. “I really love the integration between the scheduling tool and student profiles; it allows clinicians to enter information just once while still capturing valuable data in all the places it needs to live.”

The new scheduling features are available on the free version of the platform for clinicians interested in exploring how they can incorporate technology into their therapy planning, documentation, and delivery. Clinicians can register through Presence’s website.

To learn more about Kanga by Presence, visit www.presencelearning.com/platform.

About Presence

Presence is the leading provider of online therapy solutions for children with diverse needs. At the heart of the company is a purpose-built therapy platform, designed by clinicians for clinicians, that allows school teams to serve children both in and out of school. It also allows schools to extend their teams with a highly skilled, licensed clinician from Presence’s national network of more than 2,000 speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and behavioral and mental health professionals. To date, Presence has delivered more than 5 million therapy sessions to schools and districts in every region of the U.S.

Presence is supported by Spectrum Equity, TPG’s The Rise Fund, Bain Capital Double Impact, and Catalyst Investors. For more information, visit www.presencelearning.com.


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