The Need for Diversity in Creating Educational Content

Studies Weekly DiversityDiscovering new perspectives, new voices and new sources is one of the most fascinating things about studying history.

For many of us who attended school in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, we learned history from a very Euro-centric white male perspective. With current societal trends that push for authenticity across the whole of society, and technology that enables easy access to millions of primary sources, we now are able to re-examine history from fresh perspectives, diverse voices and multiple sources.

Because our nation’s schools are becoming more racially diverse than ever, this focus on historical diversity is vital to our nation’s students. It gives learners — regardless of ancestry, race, gender and sexual orientation — connections to viewpoints previously silenced.

Instead of viewing just one or two strands running along the walls of history, we now have a beautiful tapestry of interwoven threads that intersect and converge to create a more comprehensive canvas of individuals in our collective past.

Diversity and the tapestry of historyHere at Studies Weekly, we want students to question, analyze and learn from a variety of experiences. As our Guiding Principles state, we “strive for diversity and equity in terms of race, people with disabilities, age groups, sexual and gender identities when significant to the context, family structures, religious and political views, and socio-economic status” — both in the representation of historical figures, and within our company.

“One of the challenges we have is our publications are for a very diverse readership — they are different in every which way you can think of. And sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. That is why I thought it was beneficial to add another layer of support for our students,” said Kim Mogilevsky, chief product officer.

This is the reason our Studies Weekly Diversity Board, installed in 2018, is so crucial to our future success. The cumulative experience of this 12-member board provides a tapestry of global perspectives.

Our board members bring many non-white points of view to the table, including:

  •  African American
  •  Latino
  •  Muslim
  •  American Indian
  •  Jewish
  •  Christian
  •  Immigrant
  •  Natural Born
  •  LGBTQ+
  •  English Language Learners
  •  Conservative
  •  Liberal

Additionally, the board includes those with differing levels of education and roles, from classroom teachers to district leaders, and university professors to government workers.

“No one person can possibly fully comprehend the lens through which other people see the world,” explained Loki Mulholland, founding member of the Diversity Board, Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Studies Weekly video manager and speaker on race relations in America. “Each person on the board comes with vast academic and life experience and an astute understanding of the issues related to that experience.”

This group has been helping us with the monumental task of reviewing and updating older content. They also review all new and updated products.

“We’re trying to give students the facts of history, and allow them to form their own assessments on how society is evolving. The more points of view and eyes on the language that is used to educate, the better,” said John McCurdy, CEO.

The Diversity Board ensures we are speaking to students from a more broader view. And they are all focused on the same thing we are — the best content for students.

“What I like about them is they are all passionate about what they do. We’re all united in our mission to make a better product for students,” Mogilevsky said. “Our readership sees themselves reflected in our publications.”

Mulholland, author, activist and the son of Civil Rights icon, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, agreed.

“We want our students to understand the world they live in, one that is becoming smaller and even more interconnected,” he said. “We want a curriculum that matches these students.”

 

Not only does this approach create content that truly reflects the varied lives and perspectives of the students who read them, but it is statistically better for all involved.

According to a 2017 study by the McKinsey Global Institute, gender-diverse companies are more likely to perform 21% better financially than non-gender-diverse companies. Even better, the study found that ethnically-diverse companies are more likely to financially perform 33% better.

Our desire is that our Diversity Board and our company focus on diversity in history will translate into greater educational success and performance for our students.

To learn more about our Social Studies, Science and Civil Rights publications, visit our online store.

Tennessee adopts Studies Weekly K-5 Social Studies

We’ve been adopted!

The dedicated team at Studies Weekly is excited to continue sharing our interactive and rigorously standards-based Social Studies programs with more states. Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Education, recently adopted our Social Studies K-5 program statewide for a five-year term.

“As a publisher, we look forward to providing our state-adopted K-5 Social Studies programs to districts and schools for the next five years. We share a common goal with the DOE to lift and inspire students to a brighter future,” said Sheldon Savage, national adoption director for Studies Weekly.

What does this mean for Tennessee educators?

With just one student edition per week and minimal preparation, the Studies Weekly Social Studies curriculum covers 100% of the Tennessee State Social Studies Standards and Social Studies Practices over the course of a school year. Plus, our curriculum also covers many of the Tennessee State English Language Arts Standards including: non-fiction reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and technology use.

Realistically, teachers can use the Studies Weekly Social Studies program in their Language Arts block. Using a balanced literacy approach saves valuable planning and instruction time.

The content of Studies Weekly includes vivid illustrations and colorful maps along with primary source pictures and documents that engage students. The print edition is completely consumable. We wholeheartedly encourage teachers and students to write, highlight and draw all over each magazine or newspaper. And don’t forget the scissors – students can cut out images and texts to create social studies and language arts projects.

Request a FREE sample of the TN publications.

Because today’s students are digital natives, we also offer our curriculum on a robust online platform that captures students’ imagination through primary source videos and other media.

What students will get:
  • Weekly print magazines/newspapers that feature primary source photos and documents, and engaging articles with eye-catching illustrations
  • Access to an online platform highlighting thousands of primary source and related media, including photos, paintings, audio and video clips – with leveled questions for related media
  • Virtual field trips to historical sites in Tennessee and the U.S.
  • Audio reader recorded by real people, to better serve English language learners
  • An avatar world and reward system that allows students to earn points and build their own virtual world
What teachers will get:
  • Year-at-a-glance curriculum map as part of the Teacher Resource, with correlations to TN Social Studies Standards at point of use
  • Content researched, developed, written and edited by educators
  • Lesson plans and suggestions
  • Multiple research-backed reading, listening and learning strategies
  • Differentiated instruction for lower or below-level learners, ELL, and Gifted/Talented
  • Integrated extension activities
  • Customizable summative assessments easily recorded and monitored online
  • Professional development on demand online

All these tools and resources are available through each teacher account on studiesweekly.com/online, and include the ability to easily communicate with students and parents.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to store.studiesweekly.com to get started!

American Indian or Native American?

There is much debate and strong feelings within our nation that are connected to how to identify various groups. At Studies Weekly, we are working diligently to create and nurture an inclusive environment.

Using the Term ‘American Indian’

To ensure that we write about indigenous people using language that will not be considered offensive, we consulted several sources. First, we conferred with the two tribal members on our Diversity Board. They informed us that they like to be referred to as ‘American Indians.’ The Grammarist states that term ‘American Indian’ is more appropriate and claims that the expression, ‘Native American,’ has fallen out of popularity. In the Native Times and Native Sun News, tribal journalists state that the term ‘Native American’ was thrust upon them by a white activist and does not reflect their desires. Whenever possible, they like to be identified by tribe. For generalized references, they prefer to be called ‘American Indian.’

Russell Means, a Lakota activist and a founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), stated, “At an international conference of Indians from the Americas held in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations in 1977, we unanimously decided we would go under the term, ‘American Indian.’ We were enslaved as American Indians, we were colonized as American Indians and we will gain our freedom as American Indians.”

A More Prestigious Status

Part of our rationale is also to be in alignment with the federal government of the United States of America. To be officially recognized by the federal government, the tribe has to have a political relationship with the U.S. government. When a tribe has that legal status, then they are known as an American Indian tribe with the power to self-govern as a separate nation. If the tribe is not federally recognized, then they are only known as Native American. In summation, all American tribal members can be called Native Americans, but it is a higher and more prestigious status to be called an American Indian.

For more information about our curriculum, visit our website.

Newly Formed Diversity Board

We have implemented a new Diversity Board to our product development team. We organized the board to integrate and maintain cultural competence within our curriculum materials.

The Board Members

Studies Weekly is one of only a handful of educational companies to incorporate a Diversity Board onto its team. “Our diversity board helps us to ensure that our new content is culturally inclusive, sensitive and reflects our readership,” said Chief Product Officer, Kim Mogilevsky.

The Diversity Board is made up of educators and advocates who have served in various capacities working with nonprofit organizations, school district diversity and equity departments and the White House. Each member brings a wide variety of expertise and experience in multicultural education and plays a crucial role in providing social and cultural awareness.

Our Purpose & Goals

America’s students are at the heart of why we have a Diversity Board. “Our new curriculum is focused on increasing students’ on-task behavior and their willingness to engage with relevant-to-them content, which we believe will boost reading levels and test scores,” said Mogilevsky. “We love our students and in an ever-diversifying country we need to provide them with the best educational materials they can possibly receive.”

A recent report by the Century Foundation confirms our thinking. Having multiple vantage points helps students think critically and “develop greater tolerance for different ways of understanding issues.” Furthermore, the study found that such an exposure created “positive academic outcomes.”

The board aims to maintain diversity and equity in terms of race, people with disabilities, age groups, sexual and gender identities, family structures, religious and political views and socio-economic status. We believe in constantly improving and reviewing our publications so that the content reflects the varied lives and perspectives of the students who read them.

To learn more about our Diversity Board members visit www.studiesweekly.com/diversity-board

Appointment of New CEO: John McCurdy

John McCurdy has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer effective May 1, 2018. McCurdy succeeds Studies Weekly’s previous CEO, Ed Rickers, who announced his desire to step down and retire after almost 20 years of continuous service to the company.

“My role is to continue to safeguard the vision of Studies Weekly and, when the timing is right, unveil more of that vision. There’s definitely a lot more to do,” said former CEO, Ed Rickers.

Rickers has all confidence in McCurdy and his vision for Studies Weekly. “I’ve observed John’s successful career since 1996. We have so much in common in the way we think and believe. Some people are wordsmiths, John is a ‘people smither’ and I think he’s part Jedi. As Yoda would say, ‘Understand the Studies Weekly vision to make a difference for students, he does.’” Studies weekly's new CEO, John McCurdy.

McCurdy has spent the last 29 years in the technology industry with roles spanning from Area Sales Representative to Sr. Vice President of Worldwide Sales. He comes experienced in team development,  strategy, operations and channel programs. John has worked with some of the largest companies in the world in their selection and implementation of technology solutions to increase productivity in computer security, along with mobile and wireless application connectivity. McCurdy now joins Studies Weekly after playing a consultative role with the company.

“The educational process has always been a passion of mine,” said McCurdy. “A long time ago, I learned that what many call entertainment, also serves as education in disguise. If students aren’t learning the way we teach, then we must adjust and teach the way they learn. In today’s world of amazing innovations, the educational process may be evolving, but the fundamentals of connecting with the student remain the same. When the educational process is entertaining, the pace at which the student learns increases.”

McCurdy graduated from Brigham Young University in Business Management with an emphasis in Finance and Marketing. He and his wife, Deborah, are the parents of five children and grandparents of three.

State Standards are Covered with Studies Weekly

At Studies Weekly, we often tout the phrase that our product is created “by teachers, for teachers.” Specifically, this means that our staff consists of veteran teachers who know what is important to you as a teacher. This includes strict compliance with state standards.

Process Ensures Standards Compliance

Each of our publications goes through a rigorous process to ensure compliance with the unique standards for your state. Recent statewide adoptions in recent months by California and Florida have proven that our publications can stand up to rigorous standards to teach your students social studies and the English Language Arts concurrently.

State Standards for Social Studies and ELA

In many schools across the country, social studies is, unfortunately, becoming a dying subject. On the other hand, English Language Arts (ELA) is still alive and well. Studies Weekly materials include many ELA standards. We designed them this way to ensure a robust and well-rounded ELA and social studies education for your students. Studies Weekly is a social studies curriculum that we designed to be taught during the literacy block.

Start Your Free Trial

Click here to start your free trial of Studies Weekly online products to see how we stack up to your state standards. You can also order a free sample of our print versions here.

 

February 2018 Wrap-up and Look Ahead

It’s been a great month here at Studies Weekly. With our amazing social studies materials hot off the presses, we are getting ready to ship these out to teachers all over the country. We couldn’t do what we do without all of you, and we are deeply appreciative. We wanted to start off this month with a recap of what’s been going on as well as give you a look ahead of what we’ll be up to this spring.

Changes to Our Website

To start off, we enjoyed some fun victories this month. The Teacher Accounts side of our website underwent some changes that rolled out on February 2. As a Studies Weekly subscriber to our print social studies materials, you already have access to our online component as well. If you are using Studies Weekly online (and you should!), you probably noticed the following updates:

  1. Autosave Function on Assessments (reviewed here);
  2. Student Gradebook and More Comprehensive Reports (reviewed here); and
  3. Teacher Professional Development Usability Updates (discussed here).

Award-Winning Social Studies Materials

We are proud to officially be an award-winning publication now!
We are proud to officially be an award-winning publication now!

Another major victory we’ve been celebrating involves an award we received from Textbook and Academic Authors Association Studies Weekly social studies materials were named 2018’s Most Promising Textbook and we are thrilled about it. Read up about the award on our recent blog post, or in case you missed it, you can download the TAA press release announcement here.

Assembly with Harriet Tubman

Some of our staff was able to visit a couple of classrooms that are using Studies Weekly successfully. We were able to watch a unique presentation by Harriet Tubman herself, and got it all on video. Click here to see the exclusive video on our YouTube channel.

Regional Manager Visits

Some of our regional managers were able to attend publishers fairs in February as well. These were great opportunities for us to get out and talk to some of our customers. We really enjoyed getting to know some of you and featuring some of our products. If you are interested in meeting with one of our regional managers when they’re in your area, please check out our calendar by clicking here.

Upcoming Education Conference

One of our teachers won an Echo Dot at NCSS 2017 and some of our social studies materials to boot - you could be a lucky winner in Boston!
One of our teachers won an Echo Dot at NCSS 2017 – you could be a lucky winner this year in Boston!

Coming up this month, we will be attending ASCD Empower18 in Boston, MA. If you’ll be there too, we would love to meet you. Stop by our booth and say hi when you have the time. We had a blast at last year’s NCSS 2017 Conference, Just like last time, we will again be giving away a lot of swag and some great prizes. Stop by and try your luck at winning a tablet, Studies Weekly swag, and more! We will also have samples of our award-winning social studies materials, so check them out.

Order a Sample or Free Trial

In the meantime, you don’t have to attend a conference to have access to our awesome publication, free newsletters and lesson plans, and thousands of original, exclusive videos. Start your free 30 Day Trial or stop by our online shop for a free sample of Studies Weekly!

 

 

 

Our Award-Winning Classroom Resources

Most Promising New Textbook Award Winner - Studies Weekly brings award-winning classroom resources to your classes!For over 30 years, Studies Weekly has been working hard to create and produce valuable classroom products for teachers like you to use in your classrooms. We are now beyond excited to announce that we will now be bringing you award-winning classroom resources.

Most Promising New Textbook Award

Mississippi Studies Weekly has been awarded a 2018 Most Promising New Textbook Award by the Textbook and Academic Authors Association (TAA). We are thrilled to add “award-winning” to our curriculum vitae so to speak.

The winners were announced on Thursday, February 22, 2018 on the TAA Blog, Abstract, and on TAA’s social media pages. You can also download a copy of TAA’s press release on the awards.

Ceremony and Reception

The TAA Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held in June in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We’ll be getting our black tie attire ready for the event. Thank you, TAA, for this amazing honor and opportunity. We are especially grateful to teachers and students in Mississippi and nationwide for their hard work. You are largely what has made Studies Weekly a huge success. We could never have done it without your support.

Mississippi Studies Weekly is an innovative, age-appropriate publication that brings history and social science to life for its audience in a way traditional textbooks may not be able to do. It is a very well-designed, visually appealing and interesting weekly learning tool for 4th graders in the Magnolia State.

Official Adoptions

Towards the end of 2017, Studies Weekly was officially adopted in Florida and California, which is where award-winning teacher Cathy Marston uses and loves Studies Weekly. We are now in one-third of classrooms nationwide, and this recent award is icing on the cake.

Find Out More

To find out more about Studies Weekly and our newly award-winning classroom resources, visit our online shop. We have resources and curriculum specific to your state that aligns with state standards. Not ready to buy yet? Order a 30-day free trial and see why our publications are in one-third of elementary school classrooms in the United States!

This is what award-winning classroom resources look like!

Improved Student Gradebook and Online Student Reporting

As we mentioned last week, we have made some notable changes to how our online tools function. We made online student reporting easier, added functions that made testing students simpler, and redesigned our professional development site for better usability. As of February 1, 2018, the following elements on our site were updated:

  • Autosave Function on Assessments (click link for our recent blog on this)
  • Student Gradebook and More Comprehensive Reports
  • Professional Development Usability Updates

As a teacher, you know how important accurate reporting is. You also know how important it is for your students’ parents to be able to see how their kids are doing. With our new and improved student gradebook and reporting tools, you can do the following:

  • See a clearer picture of student progress.
  • Measure the engagement of your students with our online tools.
  • Share your students’ progress with their parents.
  • See student engagement with online tools skyrocket!

Clearer Picture of Student Progress

When you select your class on the right hand side of your screen, you will see your list of students like usual. Just click on the Reports link in the top right corner to access the reports for your class:

Alternatively, you can access all of your reports for all of your classes by clicking on the Reports tab at the top of any page once you have logged into your Studies Weekly online teacher account:

For your reports, you have two tabs at the top: 1) SLI (Student Learning Index) Report; and 2) Utilization Report. You have the option to export student report data to Excel in CSV format or view in browser by selecting Search. Either view of the report will give you a clear picture of what your students are working on and how they’re progressing.

Measure Your Students’ Engagement

With the new online student reporting tools we have available,  you can see all of the students’ activities in each of your classes on one screen . This tool will give you a snapshot of which of your students are participating heavily and which ones might need a little more encouragement.

With this tool, teachers also have the ability to view from their own computer screens which test questions their students might be struggling with, and which answers they might have just skipped over.

Share Student Progress with Parents

One of the great joys of teaching is meeting parents. With the new online student reporting tools, you can export student data to Excel and share with parents individually. For a student who is struggling, seeing a snapshot of student engagement may be just what their parents need.

Online Student Reporting for More Engagement

These updates were rolled out and improved on over years of dedicated teaching experience. Many of our staff are former educators who have put a lot of thought and significant input into these tools. We do this to make sure they are useful teacher tools and valuable parent tools as well.

As students engage with our online tool, their engagement and interest in learning will increase. Our hope is that the online gradebook and online student reporting features will make teaching easier. We hope to see you online soon!

Autosave Function for Online K-6 Testing Available

At Studies Weekly, we get a lot of feedback from you, our valued customers. The other day, one of our teachers reached out on Facebook to ask whether the autosave function would be available soon for online K-6 testing. We want that teacher to know — like we want all of you to know — that we’ve been listening.

As a direct result of your feedback, we have begun to roll out a few notable changes that might interest you. By February 1, 2018, we will have updated the following elements on our site:

  • Autosave Function on Assessments
  • Student Gradebook and More Comprehensive Reports
  • Professional Development Usability Updates

Over the next few weeks, we will have more video tutorials available to help you navigate these changes. In the meantime, we will be providing a brief explanation here on our blog. For this week, we’ll briefly go over the new autosave function on assessments when going through our online K-6 testing.

Autosave Function

For students, the assessment screen will look the same. All of your students should be familiar with logging in to their student accounts by now. However, if you have not set up student accounts, visit this blog for a brief rundown of what to expect and some short instructions for getting it setup for your class.

You know the value of this update if you’ve had students taking an assessment when the power or internet goes out. Now, the system will autosave assessments upon event. In other words, the system will autosave responses every time a student types text in a field or selects an answer.

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Please note that we will have the Autosave feature available with the next update on February 1, 2018.

As always, if you have any questions or feature requests, know that we’re listening. We want to hear from you. Go ahead and leave us a comment below, reach out on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), or give us a call at (866) 311-8734.