Discovery Education is Empowering Tennessee’s Shelby County Schools With Digital Content

Friday, December 7, 2018 - 7:04 pm

Tennessee’sShelby County Schools(SCS) today announced a new partnership withDiscovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.  This new collaboration combines dynamic digital resources and an innovative professional learning model to create a unique STEM education initiative that supports the twin goals of SCS’s 10-year strategic plan, Destination 2025.  Shelby County Schools is Tennessee’s largest public school district, serves over 100,000 students in more than 200 schools, and is among the 25 largest public school districts in the United States.

SCS’s new partnership with Discovery Education is specifically targeted at improving post-secondary readiness, developing teachers, leaders, and central office capacity, and expanding high-quality school options.  This will be achieved through the strategic integration of a variety of Discovery Education’s digital resources into classroom instruction at 20 schools serving students in grades K-12 across the district.  The schools participating in this initative were selected through a competitive application process and will be the first SCS schools to experience this innovative new STEM curriculum.This initiative officially kicked off this week during a series of special launch events hosted at three SCS schools across the district.

“SCS recently received the second highest rating on the Tennessee Department of Education’s 2018 Accountability Report, which is evidence of the hard work of our school leaders, teachers and students” ,” said SCS Chief of Schools Dr. Angela Whitelaw. “However, our team is in no way resting on its accomplishments and we are seeking new ways to accelerate our success. Our new STEM initiative, which will be powered by rich digital resources and professional learning opportunities from Discovery Education, is just the latest example of the innovative approach Shelby County Schools are taking to prepare all students for success beyond graduation.”

Educators and students at the 20 participating campuses now have access to a number of Discovery Education’s award-winning digital services, including Discovery Education Streaming Plus.  Acomprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas, Streaming Plus helps build students’ mastery in interpreting, understanding, and evaluating information.  Teacher resources include lesson plans, instructional strategies, and content collections organized around themes.  Students can access images, primary source documents, podcasts, oral interviews, books on tape, articles, and videos, as well as a collection of new STEM/STEAM resources designed to fuel a cultural shift in teaching and learning.

Discovery Education’s STEM Connect has also been introduced into K-8 classrooms at participating schools and serves as a key component in the district’s effort to build an engaging STEM curriculum.  A cutting-edge, web-based, interdisciplinary K-8 supplemental resource built on a 4Cs STEM skills framework, STEM Connect helps students develop the creative, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills they need for success beyond graduation. Featuring flexible, modular learning units, STEM Connect provides students an easy-to-follow educational experience that includes real-world challenges, career connections, and hands-on activities.

Discovery Education’s Science Techbookrounds out the state-of-the-art digital services now available to SCS teachers and students.  The Science Techbook series empowers educators to transform science instruction. Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate (5E) model, each Science Techbook includes rich, standards-aligned content such as video, audio, text, interactives with hands-on activities, and virtual labs that help educators differentiate instruction and provide a rich and engaging learning experience for students. Additional student features include bilingual text-to-speech and leveled reading tools and note-taking and highlighting capabilities.

To facilitate the integration of their new digital resources into classroom instruction, educators from the 20 SCS schools involved in this initiative will also participate in a three year professional development system from Discovery Education called STEMFormation.  Designed to build and sustain a culture of STEM teaching and learning, STEMFormation helps create a shared STEM vision, develops educators and administrators, cultivates inquiry-based, transdisciplinary instruction, and prepares our future workforce.