Studies Weekly Wishes You Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from the Studies Weekly family! As we wrap up 2017 and go into the new year, we wanted to give a shout out to the great teachers who make our work possible. None of us could do this without you, and we are so grateful. We have had a great year and are looking forward to the great things that await in 2018.

After some feedback from some of our valued customers, we have decided to update this blog each month with a look at the month ahead and a summary of the months behind. To that end, here is our recap for the fourth quarter of 2017 and a few highlights.

Nice to Meet You!

The Studies Weekly team at the NCSS2017 conference.

Over the past couple of months, we have gotten to know a lot more of the educators who are using our products. We loved getting to know many of you better at the NCSS 2017 conference we attended.

Also, a great big “thank you!” to all who were able to attend the Veterans Day Video Assembly with your classes and interact with us on social media. Just a note, you can view this and related videos here. We are looking forward to keeping in touch with more of you going forward.

Studies Weekly on the Road

We had some of our representatives travel to California to meet with current and prospective customers. Any time we get to go out and interact with you is a good time for us. If you are interested in meeting one of our representatives face to face, let us know! We are fortunate to be able to have some visits already scheduled with districts in the following states in January:

  • January 3-5, 2018: Alabama 
  • January 8-12, 2018: California and Kansas
  • January 16-19, 2018: Ohio and Indiana
  • January 22-26, 2018: California
  • January 23-26, 2018: California

Representative Demos and Presentations

In addition to these dates, we will also be in Orange County, California at the Instructional Materials Adoption Fair. We also have representatives presenting at the Santa Barbara County Education Office History/Social Science Publishers on January 30 and 31, and look forward to meeting many of you there!

Meeting an Award-Winning Teacher

Cathlina Marston, a teacher in Glendora, California, has been using Studies Weekly publications in her classroom for 15 years. She’s been teaching for 30 years and we’re happy to be a great resource for her. Marston won the California Outstanding Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year Award, and we got to go meet and talk with her. She showed us how she’s using Studies Weekly in her classes and what she loves about it. If you missed that video, make sure to watch it now:

Official Statewide Adoptions

We celebrated official adoptions in California and in Florida towards the end of this year,  which we are extremely excited about. We are now on the approved vendor lists in these two sunny states. This affords us even more opportunities to get to know many more of you dedicated teachers.

Meet Our President and CEO

I was happy this past month to be able to talk and have a Diet Coke or two with our president and CEO, Ed Rickers. Ed is tirelessly dedicated to his work in education and to your students. You can read about that conversation and get to know Ed a little better here.

Ed has an unmatched passion for education and student engagement. It is of course an honor for all of us here at Studies Weekly to know and work with him.

Let Us Hear from You

If you have any questions or feedback for us, please let us know. We truly enjoy getting to know our teachers, and look forward to learning from and about you. Keep tagging us in your social media posts so we can see what you’re doing! And as always, feel free to reach out to us anytime!

Increase Parent Involvement with Our Parent Accounts

increase parent involvement with parent accounts at studies weekly First off, it was so great to see so many of you at NCSS 2017 this year! We also got to engage with a lot of you during our virtual Veterans Day Assembly event. It is always a great pleasure for us to talk to you and find out more about what you’re looking for in your classrooms. These conversations help us build and develop useful tools like the Parent Accounts we’re going over in today’s blog. This tool will increase parent involvement when used properly.

As a teacher, you know that parent involvement is one of the key indicators in the value of your students’ education. You also know firsthand that your students’ parents can either be your greatest allies or the most difficult hurdles in your teaching.

After several years of experience with our online tool, and after feedback from some of our favorite educators, we added the awesome Parent Accounts feature. The ability to create Parent Accounts is one of the greatest tools that we have available to you and your students’ parents. This tool allows parents to closely monitor how their kids are doing and how they’re using Studies Weekly online resources.

Here are 6 things you should know about Parent Accounts. These factors will help you increase parent involvement in your classroom, and give everyone a better education experience.

1. We Created It for Teachers Like You!

Colby Cook, User Experience Designer at Studies Weekly, implemented the Parent Accounts feature towards the end of August 2017. We had received some feedback from teachers who wanted to increase their level of engagement with their students’ parents. The result was a dynamic Parents Account portal.

2. You Might Already Have It!

Parent Accounts are available to all of our customers as part of your existing Studies Weekly subscriptions. Many educators are unaware that the online component is built in as part of their print subscription. If you are a subscriber to our print publications, you already have access to these tools, and you might as well use them!

3. You Can Talk to Parents with It

One of the trickiest parts of teaching is trying to ensure that information conveyed to students makes it home. With Parent Accounts, you add parents to your students’ accounts and communicate with the entire class or with specific parents. You can send weekly reminders to your students’ parents about tests coming up, reading assignments, and more.

4. Parents Can See What Kids Are Doing

Parent Accounts give parents the option to see what their students are doing within the Studies Weekly tool. With the Parents Account portal, parents can track their child’s account to see how they did on assessments, rewards accumulation, and view notes and highlights in their reading.

5. It Keeps Student Information Safe

We live in a digital age and sensitive information is shot across the internet every second. Therefore, the privacy and security of our data and certainly our children’s data is paramount. Rest assured that with the Parents Accounts, your students’ information is private. No one has access to your child’s information but you and their parents.

As the teacher, you send invitations to parents’ verified email addresses to register for a Parent Account. Parents will enter a unique code for their child. The two-step verification ensures that no student data is transferred outside the teacher-parent relationship.

6. It Increases Parent Involvement

The best way to increase parent involvement is to get students and their parents talking about school and online activities. Encourage parents and students to use and talk about the online Parent Accounts. We designed this tool to promote dialogue, increase parent involvement, and provide a more robust student experience.

If your school is already using Studies Weekly printed publications, setting up Parent Accounts for your classroom is free and easy. Give us a call or schedule a complimentary webinar for step-by-step instructions for adding parents to your student accounts.

If you are a parent of a child who uses Studies Weekly at school, talk to your child’s teacher about logging into your new Parent Account today!

Award Winning Social Studies Teacher Uses Studies Weekly

Award winning social studies teacher Cathy Marston talks about what she likes about Studies Weekly publications.
Award winning social studies teacher Cathy Marston talks about what she likes about Studies Weekly publications.

Cathlina Marston is a fourth grade teacher in Glendora, California. A veteran teacher of 30 years, Marston has been using Studies Weekly in her classroom for the last 15 years. In 2016, Marston won the California Elementary Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award!

Highlight Video

We are so proud to have educational trailblazers like Cathlina Marston as part of the Studies Weekly family. Be sure to watch the short video at the bottom of this post that showcases Cathy and what she and some of her students say about our publications.

Award Nomination Requirements

Nominees for this award must be able to demonstrate exceptional abilities in seven specific categories. Among other things, these categories include effective development and creative use of instructional materials. We know from seeing her in action that she has used Studies Weekly specifically in this way. You can see examples of this in the video below as well.

Marston has also excelled at utilizing innovative and verified effective instructional strategies and techniques, another nomination criterion. In order to be nominated, teachers must also foster a spirit of inquiry with their students, a value that we at Studies Weekly appreciate and know that Marston has done well over her decades of experience.

Helping California Teachers

Studies Weekly makes it easier for teachers throughout the country to do both of these things. With the recent adoption of our publications in the State of California, we are excited to continue providing teachers with greater opportunities to make education more engaging for students.

 

Employee Profile: Ed Rickers, Company CEO

Before taking command of the Studies Weekly ship, Ed was heavily entrenched in sales as a door to door salesman. Studies Weekly began as a project with its first operations in his garage in the late 90s.

Now, two decades later and fueled by Diet Coke and immense passion, Ed has grown his garage project into a successful multimillion dollar company (and we work in a building now, please don’t worry about us).

When I first stepped into Ed’s office, he asked me why I think his office is the biggest one. In my head, I thought, “Because you’re the most important person here?” but I knew Ed wouldn’t say that. He laughed a little and said, “They give it to the person with the most room for improvement.” Because that’s the kind of guy Ed is. Humility is his trademark and every step of the way there is always something that can be done better, and there is always, always room for a higher, loftier goal.

From Humble Beginnings to Company CEO

Ed started out as a door to door salesman in college and realized after he graduated that his part-time summer sales job was far outpacing his full-time job. So he graduated, quit his full-time job, and was a professional door-to-door salesman for over a decade. There was no way he could have known 20 years later that he would be a company CEO of his own making, running a million dollar education empire, and that he would have such an immense passion for aiding in children’s learning.

From a tiny garage to a beautiful building at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Studies Weekly has undergone changes more than just in size, although our physical growth is impressive. Studies Weekly began as a print product in just Utah and Texas. It has grown to be officially adopted by 7 states, and 1 in 7 students in the U.S. use Studies Weekly every day.

Our publications are not just in print anymore, either. Millions of students across the country at many types of schools are using the Studies Weekly online component. In addition to the online learning tool, we have nearly 4,000 original videos on virtually every imaginable topic.

A Friendly and Passionate Heart

As Ed and I talked about where he wants to go with his company and about the things that he most wants his team members to learn, it struck me profoundly how much he cares. That may be just the quality that is most impressive about Ed Rickers. It would be difficult to find someone who cares a fraction as much about their company as he does.

And it’s not just about the job for him. It’s not only about career growth. If you happen to cross paths with Ed during the work day, expect him to spend some real time with you. One thing he loves about what he does here is spending time with people around the company. He likes to hear about what they’re doing, how they feel, and what’s going on in their lives. In a company of over 100 people, making each one feel noticed is no easy feat. But he pulls it off.

 

I love having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference for so many kids. When you can make a product and publish it, and see millions of kids benefitting from it, that’s really satisfying.

Ed Rickers, President and CEO

Studies Weekly

Career Advice

Ed’s advice to anyone interested in a career at Studies Weekly (and why wouldn’t you be?) is to get to know the product. Go out into the warehouse and talk to the people working there. Read the product. Ask the graphic designers and illustrators what they’re working on. Go and watch some of the videos that our robust video department has created. Ed encourages all of his team members to do this, to ultimately “be a product of the product.”

Global-Sized Goals

Ed Rickers’s father-in-law, Paul Thompson, published the first Studies Weekly publication in 1984. Thompson produced the first issue after realizing there was no adequate textbook available to teach his fourth grade class. With the same will and determination that Ed has now, he set up Studies Weekly as a family business. As company CEO, Ed expanded Studies Weekly to Florida, Arizona, and  gradually began building other state-specific publications.

Find out what your real purpose is and do it. Everyone’s purpose is different. People find meaning and purpose in lots of different ways. However you do it, do it. Whatever your meaning is, your purpose in life, just follow it. Put it into action and operationalize it. For me, it’s all about making a difference through education.

Ed Rickers

In case you wondered, Ed’s ambition is not restricted to the United States. He’s not the type to ground himself in his too-large office waiting to improve. Oh, no. Ed dreams of an international product provided at low- or no-cost to developing countries all over the world. And nobody here doubts that he can do it. Ed Rickers makes it clear: with a big heart, bright mind, and a lifelong passion, there is no end to what you can do.