Guest Blogger Wendy Weisbart Talks About Her Attendance at The Beyond School Hours, Foundations INC Conference

In true style the Beyond School Hours, Foundations INC Conference was great!  Even the ice storm of 2014 didn’t stop them.  This conference is one of the best offered in the realm of Out of School Time Programming.  The entire Foundations team is always professional and extremely welcoming!!!

Take away #1- Working with positive individuals in the field of education truly impacts how our students perform. Quality programming and how that programming is being delivered is important.

This conference starts off with an opening welcome reception that sets a high standard. The reception provides everyone with networking opportunities, superb appetizers, live entertainment and a packed dance floor.  Foundations is known to have surprise guests pop in throughout the event- last year they left us all smiling with the wonderful appearance and wisdom of Maya Angelou and this year they left us all boogieing down with Chubby Checker.  He not only performed for us, but he got many statewide education administrators up on stage with him.  Way to go!!!!

When the keynote speaker was unable to attend due to the weather the Foundations group didn’t bat an eye.  We were honored to hear Kim Bearden.  As a lifelong educator and a representative of an educational company it is very refreshing to hear real stories about real people that are making positive differences in students’ lives daily.

Throughout the entire conference there were many powerful breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics from Common Core to STEM, Technology to School Day Connections and everything in between.  LTS Education/ STRIDE Academy was proudly mentioned in multiple sessions when quality programming was being discussed.

Take away #2- Stepping outside of your comfort box when it comes to new educational experiences is a must.  This will help address a variety of learning styles.

During the exhibitors breakout times it was nice to visit with the wide range of individuals that attend this conference.  Many stakeholders were in attendance from front line workers to superintendents.  I spoke with professionals from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands to Ohio and Alaska.

Take away #3- It is very exciting to see how Out of School Time programming has and IS making a difference.

LTS is happy to be part of a group of professionals that put kids first and our always willing to grow.

LTS to Be Gold Sponsor at AYP Chapter 25 Spring Conference 2014

AYP 2014

We are excited to announce that LTS will be a Gold Sponsor at the Association of YMCA Professionals “AYP” Chapter 25 Spring Conference, May 14-16, in Richmond, Virginia.

Our own Jan Patterson will be representing LTS Education Systems and Stride Academy, and she will be giving away a Chromebook! (What an awesome prize!)

As we prepare for the AYP Chapter 25 Spring Conference, we thought it would be fun to have our representatives Jan Patterson and Wendy Weisbart share some first hand experiences from a couple of conferences they recently attended.

Jan attended the 2014 NAA Conference in New York City. Here’s what she tells us:

“The 2014 NAA Conference in New York City was an exciting experience to say the least! From the taxi ride from the airport to the lights of Time Square, it seemed that the After School Community was soaking up the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. These professionals made their way through the vendor booths to look at new products and get creative ideas on engaging the young people they serve back home.

I especially enjoy visiting with the after school site coordinators and staff because they typically take time to tell you about their program’s needs and stories of success. STRIDE Academy is such a perfect fit to help these organizations serve kids and youth, it’s an easy conversation to have. From our discussions this year, it was clear that there were two things about STRIDE that our visitors really valued—ENGAGEMENT for the kids, and DATA for their funder(s).

As always, the NAA Conference is a great one to attend and the location this year made it even more exciting!

Jan Patterson
Region President, Central”

It sounds like you had a great time and represented LTS and STRIDE well, Jan! Tomorrow, we will hear from Regional President of the West, and guest blogger, Wendy Weisbart about her experience at the Foundations Beyond School Hours Conference in Atlanta. Until then, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

One Day Away From the Weekend!

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Need a little boost of motivation to get you through this Friday? This story has us beyond inspired! Here’s the scoop—Rashad is an eager, imaginative fourth grader. At times, he is difficult to motivate for school. His school Principal says of him, “He shows up in my office for getting into things more than he should, but he is a great kid.” Like many of today’s students, he needs new and engaging learning activities to hold his interest.

The above was true of Rashad six months ago, but in this short period of time using Stride Academy, the number of words he reads per minute has gone from ninety-six to one hundred and thirty! Along with this, he’s improved by three grade levels in specific skills. Way to go Rashad!

Rashad and his peers are responding to digital game-based learning programs like Stride Academy to the extent that they are learning on their own time. 81% of Rashad’s time spent playing Stride Academy games takes place after school. He plays the games at home, his cousin’s house, and the public library- wherever he can log onto the Internet. Because it’s as much fun as playing a video game, Rashad wants to play as often as he can.

One of Rashad’s teachers, Amanda Johnson, says “Friendly competition among classmates is a motivator for my students. Rashad and his classmates all want first turn on the computers, so they can answer questions correctly and unlock game time to compete for the highest score.”

If you have a success story, we would love to hear from you! You can share your story now on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ltseducationsystems. Happy Friday, everyone!

6 Tips to Keep Spring Test Prep Targeted and Fun

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With Spring Testing quickly approaching, the upcoming weeks are critical for getting students prepared. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and check out our six tips to keep Spring Testing Prep targeted and fun, using Stride Academy!

Tip #1: Stay Positive!
Testing isn’t exactly all about what you know. Self-esteem is actually a very big part of the testing procedure. It is important to encourage students and to let each of them know that they can be successful on exams. Be sure they know that you are there to help them prepare, and urge them to come to you with any testing questions or concerns.

Tip #2: Prepare Early and Sufficiently.
As we all know, nothing boosts confidence like knowing you have prepared yourself sufficiently. Remind students that the earlier they get started practicing (and the more they practice), the better they will feel going into testing days. Since Stride Academy is available anytime, they can practice whenever they like!

Tip #3: Make it Fun!
Both students and teachers can find themselves experiencing anxiety related to exams. Keep things light and fun by using Stride Academy for test practice! Start an automated Stride Academy Contest so your students will be compelled to practice more skills in order to compete with their peers for the high score!

Tip #4: Be Strategic.
Plan a practice test for your students using Quiz Builder, so you can assess skill weaknesses while there’s still time to address them. With Quiz Builder immediate score reports, there’s no reason you should have to guess where you need to focus instruction during the remaining weeks before testing. Quiz once, and then quiz again — and remember, teachers can now share quizzes with other classes.

Tip #5: Make a Test Run.
Time your practice test in Quiz Builder, so students get used to having a set time frame to work within. Anticipating the clock can be a major hindrance to test takers who are not accustomed to having to work efficiently.

Tip #6: Get Parents on Board!
Send home a letter to remind parents that high stakes testing is coming up. Include a Stride Academy Student Progress Report to show them the areas of weakness that still need some attention for their child. Help them understand that using Stride Academy from home after school can make a big impact on their test scores and their overall success this year — which is also an indication of how they will start out next school year. Don’t forget we have handy take-home sheets for parents available at www.LTSed.com/support!

If you have tips for high-stakes testing prep, we’d love to hear from you! Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ltseducationsystems or on Twitter @LTS_Education.

A 30 Minute Webinar You Don’t Want to Miss- Making Sense of Your Stride Academy Data

LTS LauraYou spoke, and we listened. According to our recent customer survey, you aren’t the only one who could benefit from a little expert guidance on reading your Stride Academy reports. We know that making sense of all that data can be overwhelming! That’s why on Wednesday, March 12th at 3:00 pm CST* our Director of Customer Support, Laura LeNoir, will be hosting a thirty minute webinar to help you get down to business when it comes to reading data reports. Find out how to save time by analyzing the most important data for your classroom goals and how to immediately put that data to work in the classroom. Signing up is easy! All you need to do is complete this registration form and an LTS representative will email you with instructions for accessing the webinar. Oh, and don’t forget to invite your friends! They’ll be glad you did!

Wicked Winter Weather Keeping Your Child From Class? Stride Academy Available 24/7– Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Shine!

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If you have found yourself frustrated with the amount of time your child is spending out of class due to the recent winter weather threats, know that you are not alone. In an effort to avoid another disastrous event like that of January 28th that left hundreds of children and educators stranded at school for days, many schools have made the decision to close their doors until weather conditions improve.

One parent posted to Facebook, “Does anyone remember when our kids’ last full week of school was?” With so many recent “snow days,” a lot of parents and school administrators feel that they are at the mercy of the weather when it comes to their children’s education. In response to this, we would like to remind everyone that Stride Academy is still accessible 24/7– rain, sleet, snow, or shine! If your students have Internet at home, they can login anytime to practice skills and play awesome games. You can even assign “extra credit work” in Stride Academy by publishing a “Snow Day Quiz” in Quiz Builder for them!

Head over to Stride Academy now to access these programs and progress your child’s learning in an exciting way that will eliminate the boredom they may be experiencing while stuck inside today!

Stride Academy Spotlight: E.R. Dickson Elementary, Mobile, AL

download (4)E.R. Dickson Elementary in Mobile County Public Schools (Alabama) wins our Stride Academy Spotlight today! Go Tigers!

Kaaryn LiCalsi, Technology Support Teacher, reports… “We had great success with our Stride Academy after hours campaign. Every classroom (43 classes) had close to 75% of their students using Stride Academy over the holidays.

Our Before and After School program, Tiger Care, is also now participating, and we are seeing great growth in our students.”

Nice work!

The teachers at E.R. Dickson love the Quiz Builder tool and the ability to give tokens for exceptional work! The kids love getting extra tokens!

Student Trey W. said, “I love Stride because I forget that I am learning!”

Have a Stride Academy Success Story to share from your school or organization? Contact Amy Frith at afrith@LTSed.com.

Not Just More “School After School”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Wisconsin Rapids have been using Stride Academy to make their kids’ days a LOT more fun. When students arrive at the Clubs after school, the last thing they want is more SCHOOL!  Instead, they can look forward to Stride Academy games, which effectively disguise learning!

We love this testimonial from Executive Director Robert Wefel:

“The beauty of [the program] is that it’s fun with learning. It’s not more ‘school after school.’ They’re taking principles and concepts that we can reinforce at the end of a school day without it looking like learning.”
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The local news featured Boys & Girls Club members playing Stride Academy on their new iPads and talked about the value of Stride Academy to the staff and teachers:

“We can pre-program Stride for each individual student’s needs, so that the things they do in Stride will all be directed at math, or fractions or reading comprehension… And so you can see how they progress in their learning cycles,” said Wefel.

Have a local news story to share with the Stride Academy team? Contact Amy Frith, Marketing Director, at afrith@LTSed.com.