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New App Makes it Easier to Raise Funds for Your School

But while schools themselves have many ways to fundraise and advocate for expanded federal, state and local budgets, it's parents who increasingly find themselves turning to innovative programs like Box Tops for Education to raise money for things like classroom supplies, technology, field trips and playground equipment. In fact, since its inception in 1996 -when only a select few General Mills cereals were part of a test launch - Box Tops for Education has raised more than $913 million for 70,000-plus schools just by paying 10 cents for every clip submitted from what's now a long list of participating food and household products.

Even better, a new app has simplified the entire process.

No longer do parents, teachers and other community members have to cut out and then physically drop off dozens, or even hundreds, of Box Tops clips at their local school. Instead, they're now able to use the Box Tops for Education app - downloadable for free via iTunes App Store and Google Play - to scan their receipts from any retailer right on their smartphones.

The app automatically recognizes participating products, and funds are instantly added to your chosen school's earnings online. Twice each year, schools receive a check from Box Tops for Education to buy whatever they need.

"When Box Tops for Education began 23 years ago, clipping and mailing Box Tops was the best way for us to run the program," said Erin Anderson, Box Tops for Education's platform manager. "But over the years, technology has advanced at incredible rates, opening up all kinds of new opportunities. By going digital, we will be able to create efficiencies in our fulfillment processes, better understand the health of the program, show supporters their contributions in real time, and attract more brands to participate."

Convenience aside, shoppers using the app have two big advantages:

* The ability to see for themselves, right on the app, how their shopping habits directly impact their schools.

* A chance to win one of five $20,000 makeovers for their school by scanning receipts containing at least one participating product between now and November 15, 2019.

Receipts must be scanned within 14 days of purchase. And as the program fully transitions to a digital format, traditional Box Top clips found on packaging will still be accepted until they expire.

And, yes, "double dipping" is allowed. Meaning, for a limited time only during the packaging transition, savvy shoppers can earn double the cash by submitting traditional Box Top clips to their school's coordinator and also scanning receipts containing participating items through the app. Those without smartphones are encouraged to give their receipts to a friend, neighbor or family member to be scanned on their behalf.

For more information, or to see a full list of participating products, visit

Pop Quiz: Name the Six Types of K-12 Schools

You'd almost certainly identify traditional public school, the most common K-12 education choice. More than 85 percent of students attend traditional public schools, which are free to attend. In some states, you can choose traditional public schools outside of your zone or even your district.

Public charter schools are also available to an increasing number of students across the U.S. Available in more than 40 states, these tuition-free public schools are unique because they have extra freedom to innovate.

Have you heard of a public magnet school? These public, district-run schools teach all subjects through the lenses of a particular track or "magnet." For example, the magnet could be health sciences or performance arts.

You've also likely heard of private schools, which charge tuition and offer learning environments that may pass on a particular faith tradition or provide a unique curriculum or focus. There are more scholarship options for private education today than ever before.

There are also full-time, tuition-free online schools in many states. These flexible, technology-based schools offer a blend of online coursework and in-person activities.

Finally, don't forget homeschooling. Families who choose to educate their children in the home can access a broad variety of in-person and web-based resources to support them in their work.

Of course, there aren't just six options. Each type of learning environment overflows with customizable options: No two public schools are exactly alike, just as no two families homeschool quite the same way.

Having these choices makes a world of difference to families, allowing them to look for a school that matches their child's unique interests and skills. During National School Choice Week, we invite families across the country to discover their options - and find learning environments where their children will thrive. You can learn more at


Andrew Campanella is president of National School Choice Week and the author of The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child.

Choosing Schools - All Kids Learn Differently

The real impact of school choice is what gives the Week such energy. A learning environment can change a life, sometimes unexpectedly. Remember the Dr. Seuss story featuring a character who, until he actually tries it, insists a dish of green eggs and ham is not for him? As President of National School Choice Week, I have the joy each month of hearing students, parents, and educators around the country share their own "green eggs and ham" moments.

A teacher who was ready to leave the education field - until she overcame her skepticism about teaching in a virtual school. A mom who never dreamed she'd homeschool - until her son's medical needs led her to discover its benefits. A student who felt out of place in his previous school, but is now happy and thriving in a different traditional public school.

That's the power of school choice. All children learn differently and families' needs vary. In the midst of healthy differences and human change, choice empowers families to access the learning environments that work for them now.

School choice recognizes that parents are best positioned to know their child's passion for botany, reading struggles, or penchant for drawing quirky cartoons. And those same parents are best qualified to choose their children's learning environments.

National School Choice Week celebrates traditional public, public charter, magnet, private, online, and home education. We celebrate and support families, too, whichever type of school they choose. That's because when families and schools bring their gifts together, students succeed.

All children deserve to close their school books at the end of each week inspired and equipped to give back. So, if you love your school, celebrate it during School Choice Week! If you're searching for a school, be willing to try something new to find the right fit. You might have a green-eggs- and-ham moment, when your child's frustration with learning turns into an excited "I do love it!"

For more information, visit


Andrew Campanella is president of National School Choice Week and the author of The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child.


School Choice Combines Nature And Nuture for Success

On one hand, school choice recognizes that children are different by nature; they have varying personalities, strengths, and ways of learning. Children's natural differences are one reason we need a variety of schools. While a one-size-fits-all education can't meet the diverse needs of every single child, school choice can allow parents to look for the school best tailored to their child's unique needs.

School choice also recognizes that the learning environment itself can impact a child's success and happiness. Maybe, as an adult, you've felt the difference between a workplace environment that challenges, supports, and stimulates you, and one that drains you and stunts your growth. Kids spend nearly as much time at school as adults spend at a job, and that environment has a profound impact.

Some children are easily inspired by the sheer discovery involved in math, science, and reading. Others find the subjects lackluster on their own and aren't inspired until their life is touched by the example of a fantastic teacher or the uniqueness of a hands-on learning experience.

Every child is different. Moms and dads are experts on their children's needs, interests, and uniqueness - and moms and dads are best qualified to determine the learning environments that will inspire their daughters and sons.

Parents, it's not too soon to think about where your child will thrive in the 2020-2021 school year. If your school works well for your child, share that success with others this National School Choice Week (Jan 26-Feb 1). It might encourage a parent who is struggling to find the right fit for his or her child. If you're interested in switching schools, start researching your options right away at

The more we encourage diverse, innovative learning environments and support families in finding the best fit, the more our children will be inspired to succeed and be happy.


Andrew Campanella is president of National School Choice Week and the author of The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child.

Foundation Funds School Supplies for Military Families

In 2019, families in the United States spent approximately $700 per child on school supplies for the school year, according to the National Retail Federation. The combination of backpacks, clothes, notebooks, and lunchboxes adds up, and many schools also ask parents to contribute as much as $100 per family to help cover the costs of classroom materials. Many military families find themselves hard-pressed to purchase school supplies on top of other child-care costs and household needs.

Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization that has been supporting strong, stable military families since 2002, has taken on the challenge of getting military kids classroom-ready through its annual Back-to-School Brigade program, established in 2008.

This year, Hunt Heroes Foundation (HHF), a nonprofit organization founded by Hunt Military Communities (HMC), the nation's largest military housing owner, has announced its support of Operation Homefront and its Back-to-School Brigade. HHF will be delivering 1,850 backpacks filled with school supplies to HMC communities in the continental United States in advance of the 2020 school year.

"Operation Homefront is proud that Hunt Military Communities is helping bring our Back-to-School Brigade program to military families in their communities," says Robin Miller, senior director of Operation Homefront.

"With their support, we are able to distribute backpacks filled with school supplies to those who have given so much on behalf of all Americans and ensure that their children have the tools for a successful start to the school year," Ms. Miller emphasizes.

The event aims to ease some of the financial burdens of back-to-school costs for military families, and the backpacks are tailored to all ages and grade levels.

"We are honored to partner with Operation Homefront on an initiative that will support military families during this uniquely challenging back-to-school season," says John Ehle, president of Hunt Military Communities.

"It is our goal to make the process as seamless as possible for parents, and make sure that their children are prepared to start the new school year, whether virtually or in-person."

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Back-to-School Brigade will be adjusted to adhere to federal, state, and local COVID-19 guidelines with features such as a drive-through format.

For more information or to support these organizations, visit and


Digital Resources to Play a Big Role in Education this Fall

However, school systems across the country are rising to the challenge and staying connected to their students with dynamic digital resources, such as those from Discovery Education.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, school systems across the country have invested in digital services like Discovery Education Experience because they support students' education at home, in the classroom or wherever learning is taking place.

Experience - Discovery Education's flexible K-12 learning platform - connects educators to a vast collection of compelling high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. Together, these resources give educators everything they need to facilitate instruction in any learning environment and create lasting educational impact.

"Discovery Education is committed to keeping students and teachers connected to learning at home or in school," says Scott Kinney, Discovery Education's president of K-12 Education.

"To accomplish that, we partner with school systems to provide students and teachers the digital resources - such as Discovery Education Experienc - they need for success during this school year and beyond."

In addition, to providing school systems digital resources Discovery Education provides teachers the professional development they need to use new technologies and maximize their school district's technology investment.

Discovery Education has a long history as a global leader in digital curricula that align with the current standards for K-12 education, and their products include digital textbooks, multimedia resources, and professional learning for educators.

Visit for more information about the company's resources, and visit to determine whether your local school district is making Discovery Education materials available to their students for the upcoming school year.


New Data: AP CSP Course is Diversifying Computer Science Pipeline

Now, there is encouraging news about efforts to prepare more students --and a more diverse set of students -- for the next generation of computer science jobs. According to new College Board data, students from the class of 2019 who took Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) were three times more likely to declare a computer science major in college, compared to similar students who did not take AP CSP. Differences are similarly large for female, Black, Hispanic, and first-generation college students.

New research out today is good news for business leaders looking to hire the next generation of computer science workers. Students from the class of 2019 who took Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles were three times more likely to declare a computer science major in college, according to College Board data.

AP Computer Science Principles, or AP CSP, was designed by the College Board four years ago to change the invitation to computer science and address a shortage of young women and students of color entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), long dominated by young white and Asian men.

"Four years ago, we set out to change the invitation to computer science education," says College Board Global Policy Chief Stefanie Sanford. "This new research provides compelling evidence that AP CSP is doing exactly that."

"We are inspired to see how this course is playing a role in students' high school and college careers just four years after its launch. States, schools, and educators providing access to AP CSP are ensuring a more representative body of students will become our next generation of computer scientists, engineers, and technology leaders."

College freshmen who declare a computer science major take a critical step toward receiving the second-highest-paid college degree in the nation, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $88,240 in May 2019. And yet, a analysis of 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds women represent just 24 percent of the 5 million people in computing occupations, while 15 percent are Black or Hispanic.

The College Board study also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) -- a more computer-programming-focused course -- compared to similar students who did not take CSP. Black students who take AP CSP are three times more likely to also take AP CSA. Notably, that's virtually the same share as Asian CSP students, who have long led AP CSA participation.

Business leaders such as Shanika Hope, head of the U.S. division of Amazon Future Engineer, are enthusiastic about AP Computer Science Principles and its future economic impact. "At Amazon, we know a high-quality computer science education is key to helping students build their best and brightest future, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities. We're excited that today's research shows further evidence that courses like AP CSP -- which we provide for thousands of our Amazon Future Engineer schools across the U.S. -- are preparing a more diverse group of students to enter the 21st century workforce."

The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course debut, and participation is on the rise. Still, not all students have access to high-quality computer science education. Currently, less than half of the nation's high schools teach foundational computer science. States are working to broaden participation in computer science by passing policies to make computer science a fundamental part of the K-technology12 education system. Students interested in AP CSP can learn more at


Innovative Education Program Offsets Preschool Enrollment Drop

These children, who are not attending preschool, will enter kindergarten next year without the benefits of a formal education experience and lacking the foundational skills that promote success in school. In Texas, for example, data show that pre-kindergarten enrollment is down by 8 to 12 percent, according to an October 5, 2020, article in the Dallas Morning News. It's a trend in many school districts around the country. An Education Week Research Center survey of nearly 500 district leaders and principals found more than half are seeing a decline in kindergarten enrollment.

The changing school environment has led to a re-assessment of how to provide essential early childhood education.

Learning Without Tears, an EdTech company that has provided pre-K writing and educational materials to parents and teachers for more than 30 years, has developed "Get Set for School" (GSS), an award-winning complete pre-kindergarten curriculum, to meet the needs of preschoolers in home-based, hybrid, and in-school learning environments.

The dual language English-Spanish program is designed to help preschool-aged children reach their important early learning milestones, while keeping them engaged and having fun. The program combines purposeful play, multimodal-multisensory activities, and digital apps and teaching tools.

"Pre-K should be fun and joyful while full of learning that results in children feeling confident about themselves and their abilities," says Dr. Elizabeth DeWitt, an early childhood expert at the center of GSS.

Get Set for School stands out from other preschool programs in part because it is truly age-appropriate, says Dr. DeWitt. "GSS is unique because we go beyond other Pre-K curricula with our research-based focus on the fine motor development of young children," she explains.

"The children build and form letters based on the development of writing strokes and use a different manipulative daily while learning each letter as they progress from building to writing before they are expected or asked to write on paper." Readiness & Writing, an element of GSS, addresses any weakness in writing letters and numbers, alphabet knowledge, as well as connecting printed numbers to quantities.

In addition, the program's interactive Sound Around Letters app allows children to identify, match, and say capital and lowercase letters and receive instant feedback to promote progress and boost confidence. Multi-modality resources allow children with different learning styles to use an engaging animated touch screen to learn number and letter formations.

"We are more committed than ever to ensuring that children are learning whether they are in the classroom or at home," Dr. DeWitt emphasizes. "To equip and support parents and teachers, we have added more videos and distance learning resources to assist with using our unique and exclusive materials in any setting.

Visit for more information about Get Set for School and Readiness & Writing.

Search Beyond the Headlines to Find What’s Right for Your Child

(Carrie Goux, EVP, GreatSchools) - Looking for good news about the state of your child’s education? It’s hard to find these days, but parents need hope now more than ever. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released new data showing that two decades of progress in math and reading were erased. Two decades.     

Families need to know how schools are addressing this lost learning and preparing students for the future. They need good information and ways to support their child because they are not giving up the front-row seat to their child’s education that came with the pandemic.     Data offer an important way for families to understand how schools are supporting students. For over 20 years, has translated education data into actionable information for parents nationwide. We collect and analyze data from every state department of education and the federal government to support parents pursuing a great education for their child, schools striving for excellence, and communities working to diminish inequities in education.     

Parents often ask us what to look for in a school and how to know if it’s the right one for their child. Since no two children (or schools) are alike, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. When looking at data and information, there’s hope and opportunity that can point you in directions you may not have seen before. For example:     

1. College preparedness: For 5 years, GreatSchools has celebrated schools with the College Success Award recognizing public high schools that excel at preparing students for college. With this data-driven award, we have been able to connect high school and college success to award high schools doing a great job at preparing all students to walk out the door on graduation day ready to take on higher learning. This year, we are celebrating 1,742 high schools from 25 states -- each of which earn a special badge on their GreatSchools profile to easily identify winning schools.     

2. Advanced course offerings: Access to advanced academic courses in high school provide an opportunity for students to earn free college credits while gaining exposure to the intense academics they will experience in college. Parents can now view Advanced Placement (AP) course lists on school profiles and, in turn, support their child to take advantage of this rigorous academic program.     

3. Community perspectives: Who better to tell you about a school than your fellow community members with firsthand experience? The Community Reviews section of our school profiles allows parents and community members to share their school experiences regarding school safety, learning, social-emotional well-being and more. This is an excellent way for families to see how a school has supported students like their own.     

These are just a few of the ways GreatSchools is providing parents a richer picture of school quality. As parents evaluate what they’ve learned through pandemic learning -- what does (and does not) work best for their child -- these new data can highlight schools likely to meet their child’s needs.     

Learn more at

Goux is the executive vice president of strategy and external affairs at GreatSchools.

3 Reasons To Share Your School Experience with Others

(NewsUSA) - (NewsUSA) - By Carrie Goux For NewsUSA, With the final bell of the 2021-2022 school year fast approaching, now is the time for families to reflect upon their child's year. Whether it be the formation of new friendships, celebrating academic breakthroughs, or navigating the emotions of another pandemic year, no two families' experiences are the same.

That's why, the nation's leading provider of school information for K-12 families, wants to make sure your experience is captured -- in your own words. In only a few minutes, parents can leave an anonymous review on their school's GreatSchools profile to share their thoughts on family engagement, teachers, learning, physical and emotional safety, and more!

We know that parents wear many hats, and finding even just a few extra moments in the day can be challenging. But sharing your school experience matters, and can really make a difference for others in your community. Here's why:

1. Helps fellow parents

When you write a review of your child's school, you're offering other parents something that numbers alone can't provide: your personal experience as a member of a community. When Ronnie Hines, a Black mother in Los Angeles, was searching for a middle school for her daughter in a community where few others looked like her, she wanted to find a school climate that would be welcoming. Reading reviews from parents of shared identities helped Ronnie visualize what peer-to-peer and parent-to-staff interactions might be like at different schools, and whether those environments would help her daughter succeed.

2. Elevates your voice

Your experience can be powerful -- if given the right opportunity to share it. Leaving a review provides a platform to share your thoughts with the K-12 schools, K-12, in a respectful way. Does the school's curriculum affirm your child's culture and identity? Are your child's special education needs being met? Are you a military family that has attended many different schools across the country? Your unique story could be the catalyst for improvements that will benefit other students for years to come.

3. Fosters trust between home and school

Principals and administrators use their profiles to share details about their school culture, programs, and policies. The reviews section is an important part of the overall story of the school, offering a safe, trusted way for parents to anonymously share feedback with the school. Whether it's highlighting an experience with caring, hard-working teachers or providing honest feedback that will help make the school better for all children, reviews foster a deeper home-school connection as leaders can incorporate key learnings into their school celebrations and improvement plans.

According to the National PTA and Learning Heroes, 67 percent of parents feel more connected to their child's day-to-day education than ever before. Now is the perfect time to leverage that connection and share your experience with others in your community. We've compiled some of our best tips to support you in writing a review that is honest, transparent, and thorough. Make your voice heard today!


Carrie Goux is the Executive Vice President, Strategy and External Affairs at


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