Author: Laurie Motyka

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE via Weld North March 9, 2016 WELD NORTH ACQUIRES PERFORMANCE MATTERS; MERGES COMPANY WITH TRUENORTHLOGIC Combination Creates Industry’s First SaaS Platform That Integrates Professional Growth and Student Assessment Tools with Powerful Educational Analytics Capabilities Enables School Districts to Meaningfully Evaluate the Impact of Professional Development and Educator Effectiveness on Student Learning NEW YORK –  Weld North Holdings LLC, a leading education investment company led by former Kaplan CEO Jonathan Grayer, announced today their continued expansion in the big data and educational analytics technology market with the acquisition of Performance Matters, a leader in student assessment systems and analytics. As part of this transaction, Performance Matters will merge with Truenorthlogic, the leader in educator professional growth solutions acquired by Weld North in April, 2014. The combination creates the first company with educator evaluation and professional development data; student achievement data; and powerful analytics capability to better understand the drivers of student outcomes. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “The recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act makes it imperative that state and local educational leaders understand what is working and what is not. In that effort, we believe that Districts will increasingly use the analysis of all kinds of data to improve student outcomes,” said Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Weld North. “We understand this goal and know how to unlock the value of big data and critical analysis in an increasingly digital education landscape. With this merger, for the first time ever,...

The current crisis in adolescent literacy is well documented. There is a significant disparity between the education our students receive and the demands of life in the 21st century. Traditionally, education aims to raise standards by any means, but we are coming to see that preparing students for tests and preparing them for life beyond school are very different goals....

One of the most significant challenges and opportunities we face is how to best to prepare our students for a rapidly changing technology driven, globalized world. To do so, we need to broaden our view of student achievement to include greater emphasis on the higher order skills necessary for developing global citizens who are ready for the world beyond school. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) with the focus on career and college readiness, address this need for increased rigor by significantly raising expectations for students....

At the start of the school year the media usually raises the issue about the increasing number of students who are failing to learn to read. The interesting thing is, there is no evidence that standards of achievement in reading are declining. In fact, the evidence shows that there has been a steady increase in fourth grade reading levels since 1988, but “the current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining levels of literacy.” (National Research Council 1998) This has huge implications for us in our teaching. We need to think carefully about how we are going to equip our students with the strategies to deal with the rapidly changing world of print. Our students will need to have strategies to deal with the: Volume of print and the need to be able to read selectively to negotiate this Range and complexity of print, including electronic sources, and the need to be able to read in many ways Availability of information from a wide range of sources and the need to be critical readers Focusing on questioning as a comprehension strategy is one way we can help our students become critical and strategic readers. Questions and making sense of the world. From a very young age, children actively strive to make sense of their world through constant questioning. The ability to ask questions comes naturally for young children, such as these questions from a group of five-year-olds watching a fly: “How do flies...

By the time young children enter school they are already well along the pathway to becoming literate. From birth children are learning how to learn: they respond to their environment and the reactions of others. This making sense of experience is an ongoing, recursive process. We have known for a long time that “reading and writing float on a sea of talk” (Britton 1970). It is through talking about events as they happen and discussing their ideas that children construct knowledge and acquire the language to make sense of their experiences....

Leading instructional leaders: Reflections from a former NYC principal By: Josh Klaris, Director of School Leadership, Generation Ready As hints of spring hit the air in what has been a very long winter on the East Coast, things are buzzing for instructional leaders throughout New York City. With the introduction of the proposed new teacher evaluation system and the inaugural administration of PARCC assessments, our Leading Learning services could not have been launched at a better time. Taking the lead are instructional leaders from 54 (and growing by the day) NYC Department of Education schools that have invested in their own learning, lighting the fire in their bellies to enhance their personal and professional skills in order to improve their schools As an ex-NYC principal myself, I have to wonder what is taking so long for many of our districts to realize the necessity of investing in our school leaders. If we don’t provide the learning environments for leaders to tackle the challenges they face, defeat and burnout are inevitable. To address the gaps in traditional leadership programs, which generally lack sufficient support to fully improve school leadership practices, our Leading Learning services combine theory and practice—fusing traditional workshop professional development days with innovative techniques and job-embedded support. I’ve been humbled, at times frustrated, and mostly invigorated as a facilitator of this work. I’ve heard leaders lament about the dearth of professional learning opportunities that they’ve had over the past few years; ones that truly focus on their needs and...

Learning from a Comprehensive Approach to Adolescent Literacy Cal Hastings, Generation Ready's Senior Director of Adolescent Literacy, reflects on a comprehensive approach that he spearheaded to improve the literacy results of approximately 90 New York City middle grades schools in his white paper: Learning from a Comprehensive Approach to Adolescent Literacy. As the former head of the Middle School Quality Initiative, Cal was tasked to plan and implement a large-scale initiative to support schools with high need populations in meeting the challenge to build the reading skills of their students to ensure high school, college and career success. In this white paper, you will learn the statistics showing the significant difference that still remains between the academic knowledge and skills required to graduate, and those necessary for postsecondary success, as well as learn about one possible solution to improve these outcomes. ...

Partner School, P.S. 105, The Blythebourne School, Celebrates Chinese New Year February 13, 2015 As Chinese New Year approaches next week, P.S. 105 - The Blythebourne School, celebrated early. As one of the largest elementary schools in Brooklyn, NY, P.S. 105 has a population of 1,800 students. 93% of the student population is Chinese, with 4% Hispanic, 1% white, and 2% multi-racial students. 57% of P.S. 105's students are English Language Learners. Principal Johanna Castronovo, longtime supporter of Generation Ready, put together this assembly so that students had the opportunity to get in front of their peers, parents and community and shine all while learning about the Chinese culture. Generation Ready has been working with P.S. 105 for years, providing Math and Literacy services to continue to enhance teacher effectiveness and student achievement. In fact, data from the most recent 2014 ELA and Math state tests show that P.S. 105 have significantly increased their scores compared to district, borough, and city comparisons. Generation Ready was excited to be there during P.S. 105's Chinese New Year celebrations, and Local News 12 was also at the event. Check out their coverage! ...

The most powerful way to raise student achievement is through professional learning. Research shows that effective collaborative professional learning for teachers is what distinguishes high performing schools from lower performing schools. That’s the belief underlying a new partnership that is designed to ensure students graduate from high school with the literacy skills necessary to succeed in college and their careers....

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