MDR EdScoops

The end of 2018 is fast approaching and then on to 2019.  There have been so many great announcements this year with all of you constantly striving to help improve all things relating to educators and the education industry.  We here at MDR are very much appreciative of all the great things you do and we hope this year has been successful for all of you!

Here’s what’s happening in this edition of the scoops


FETC Announces Nine Finalist Schools for 2019 STEM Excellence Awards Sponsored by State Farm
Three schools apiece at the elementary, middle and high school levels will present their innovative STEM approaches to conference attendees

FETC has announced the 2019 finalists for the STEM Excellence Awards sponsored by State Farm. There are nine total finalist schools, three apiece at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and one winner from each level will be announced at the 2019 conference in January. To reach this stage, schools were evaluated by a panel of expert judges based on the use of interdisciplinary curriculum, collaboration, design, problem-solving and the STEM experiences offered to students. “We’re excited to welcome all nine finalists to FETC in January to share their innovative, effective strategies with teachers and administrators from across the globe,” said Jennifer Womble, program chair of FETC. Read the full announcement >>

Classrooms Win First-Ever Powered Paper Airplane Challenge
Students used their creativity, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of aeronautics to create powered paper airplanes

To take traditional paper airplane lessons to new heights, students across the country participated in the first-ever POWERUP Toys Powered Paper Airplane Challenge. The Challenge required students to fold and test powered paper airplanes built from a simple sheet of paper and powered by a POWERUP 2.0 Free Flight motor, which helped them learn about aeronautics, engineering, physics, and design. The 2018 Powered Paper Airplane Challenge winners are:

  1. First Place – Mike Benson’s 6th Grade science class from Our Lady of Grace in Edina, Minn.
  2. Second Place – Suzanne Schedin’s 5th Grade class from Herold Pond Elementary School in Milford, N.H.
  3. Third Place – Wendy Holland’s 4th Grade science class from Boone Grove Elementary School in Boone Grove, Ind.

Epson Named a Finalist in the 2018 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence
Epson BrightLink Ultra Short-Throw Interactive Displays Transform Virtually Any Flat Surface in the Classroom into a Bright 100-Inch Interactive Learning Space

Epson has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 Tech & Learning Awards of Excellence. The BrightLink® ultra short-throw interactive display was one of 10 education technology products recognized specifically for their unique use in schools. An additional 20 products were finalists for their use in classrooms and districts. The winners will be announced at a special reception at TCEA 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. To view the entire list of this year’s finalists, visit  Read the full press release >>

Boxlight Announces New Head of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa

Leading provider of education technology, Boxlight announced the appointment of Matt Hunt as Head of Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Effective from 1st January 2019, he will be responsible for the strategic leadership of the sales department within the organisation. Hunt will contribute to the overall growth strategy, supporting the business to achieve further success across the EMEA markets.  Read the full announcement >>

CatchOn Named Finalist for Tech & Learning “Awards of Excellence”
Data Analytics Company Provides Education Leaders With Smarter Use of Data and Technology

CatchOn, a comprehensive data analytics tool that provides education administrative leaders a window into the efficacy of their technology investments and integration, has been named a finalist in Tech & Learnings “Awards of Excellence.” The annual contest selects education technology products that are improving teaching and learning in the classroom. Read the full announcement >>

Renaissance and MDR Earn Honorable Mention in PR Daily’s Content Marketing Awards

As the year comes to a close, we are thrilled to announce another award win with our client, Renaissance! MDR, together with Renaissance, was recently announced as Honorable Mention in the Sponsored Content category of the PR Daily’s 2018 Content Marketing Awards for a guest articles program published on the School Leaders Now online community for K-12 education leaders. Read more >>

Other Education Industry Updates

BBC Learning and Accelerate Learning Announce a Strategic Partnership to Bring World-Class Content to STEM Education
The awe-inspiring and award-winning BBC productions that excite audiences worldwide will now support STEM teaching in the classroom

Accelerate Learning, a global leader in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, announced a partnership with BBC Learning, a division of BBC Studios. The new partnership will result in the creation of the STEMscopes-BBC STEMedia Streaming Package, consisting of thousands of BBC videos, articles, photos, news and virtual reality segments that will be aligned to the award winning STEMscopes™ PreK-12 digital STEM curriculum. It will be available as an add-on to the STEMscopes program and available to K-12 schools and districts in Spring 2019. In addition, new instructional videos will be added to the existing digital STEM curriculum using BBC footage throughout 2020.  Read the full press release >>

National School Climate Center Releases Two New Reports to Support School Climate Improvement
Reports showcase best practices from school districts and insight from thought leaders

The National School Climate Center (NSCC) released two powerful reports that provide real-world examples from schools and insight from thought leaders to support and drive school climate improvements. The Lessons from the Field report showcases the school climate work being done in six school districts and shares their best practices to help other districts create safe, engaging school communities. The Connecting Communities of Courage report recaps a 2017 summit co-hosted by NSCC and Facebook for Education which brought together 170 education leaders for a discussion on school climate including safety, engagement and inclusion and it describes what schools can focus on to improve school climate. Both reports, as well as three related videos, are available at

Impero Software Launches New Tool to Protect School Networks from Internal Threats
With new Hacking and Cybercrime Keyword Library schools receive alerts if students type words that could indicate hacking attempts

Cybersecurity is a growing area of interest for school districts as they try to keep student information safe and protect their networks. To help districts detect threats from within, Impero Software, providers of remote monitoring and management software for education, has created a new keyword library specific to hacking and cybercrime.  Read the full press release >>

StudySync and The News Literacy Project Partner to Help Students Learn News Literacy Skills through SyncBlasts
News literacy experts will provide unbiased resources from multiple perspectives for cross-curricular, inquiry-based literacy assignments focused on social studies and science

StudySync® is partnering with The News Literacy Project (NLP), a non-profit organization that helps educate middle and high school students about how to separate fact from opinion in media reports. NLP will provide articles and video content for StudySync’s recently released product, SyncBlasts™. SyncBlasts offer reading and writing assignments that present social studies, science and current event topics relevant to students’ lives and their world.  Read the full press release >>

The Virtual High School’s Students Beat the National Averages for Advanced Placement® Pass Rates Once Again
For more than 10 years, VHS students have experienced a steady trend of surpassing the national averages for AP® exams

This year, more than 2.8 million students took at least one of the College Board’s Advanced Placement® (AP®) exams, hoping to get a score of three (the passing score) or more. Students from The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) have continued their more-than-a-decade-long streak of surpassing national AP® pass rate averages.  Read the full press release >>