February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Summer School for Educators; PEN Awards Shortlist; Follett’s 4,500 New EBooks | News Bites


In early July, Discovery Education and 3M announced the top ten finalists in the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Each finalist will to work directly with a 3M Scientist during a unique summer mentorship program, where they will be challenged to create an invention that solves a problem in society. Finalists will receive $1,000 and be awarded a trip to 3M headquarters to participate in the final competition. The winner will receive $25,000, a student adventure trip to a destination (such as Costa Rica), and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”

Also in July, Lerner Publishing Group announced the Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Scholarship, a grant for students attending Hamline University’s low-residency MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. The $5,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a new or current student in the program who shows exceptional promise as a writer of color.


In mid-June, PEN American Center announced the shortlists for its Literary Awards. PEN celebrated the awards judges at a gathering at Housing Works Bookstore Café in SoHo (New York City), and also named Ron Childress the winner of the biannual PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for his unpublished novel And West Is West. The PEN/Bellwether Prize, founded and funded by novelist Barbara Kingsolver, celebrates an emerging voice whose work addresses issues of social justice. Childress will receive $25,000 and a publishing contract with Algonquin Books. Winners of the awards will be announced on July 30 and honored at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on September 29 in New York City.

EH140626-McGraw-Hill_Follett-eBookEbooks and E-Libraries

This past June, McGraw-Hill Professional announced a partnership with Follett to further expand availability of its ebook collection to K-12 school library customers globally. With an expected launch date of early 2015, the publisher of educational and professional content will begin offering more than 4,500 new and backlist ebooks, available to lend on multiple devices.

Upgrades, Launches, and partnerships

Starting in June, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access is helping students stay engaged over the summer with a collection of self-directed, project-based learning activities through its Smithsonian Quests program. Smithsonian Quests motivate young people with personal coaching from the Smithsonian and reward their achievements with digital badges. Learn more about the program here. In addition to Smithsonian Quests, a comprehensive archive from the Smithsonian Online Education Conferences Series is now available for replay.

In late June, Discovery Education announced the launch of its Discovery Educator Network (DEN) Summer School.  Beginning August 1, the month-long program will provide educators with new tactics and strategies for transforming teaching and learning with digital content and educational technologies.

Sesame Street Big BirdSesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the Sesame Street series, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund announced a partnership to create a digital platform for early learning family engagement. In collaboration with the National Head Start Association, the organizations will  develop resources for low-income communities to link families’ experiences in the classroom with parent-child learning interactions at home. The new initiative was announced by Secretary Hillary Clinton as a featured Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action during the CGI America 2014 meeting in Denver.

SAFARI Montage announced a new partnership with Knovation at this year’s annual ISTE conference that will provide SAFARI Montage and netTrekker co-customers with Federated Search access to over 360,000 educator-curated, standards-aligned digital learning resources through the SAFARI Montage Learning Object Repository. SAFARI Montage users will also have the ability to save netTrekker search results, including website thumbnails and grade ranges, in SAFARI Montage CreationStation™ for easy future access via their playlists and lessons.

In early June, the Kids In Need Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free school supplies to economically disadvantaged school children and underfunded teachers, announced  a partnership with Energizer to provide 6,100 students nationwide with school supplies for a year. With a $50,000 grant from Energizer, the Kids In Need Foundation will be able to procure more than 200,000 school supplies including: crayons, pencils, erasers, pocket folders, glue sticks, and more.

In early July, Texas’ Burkburnett Independent School District  announced a deepening of its nine-year partnership with Discovery Education. The district is expanding access to Discovery Education’s digital content for all students in the coming school year. In addition, the school system is embarking on a new comprehensive professional development program supporting teacher-leaders as they serve as change agents powering the district’s digital transition.