Kentucky School District Puts ESSER Funds to Work for Elementary Students Districtwide

Kentucky’s Bourbon County Schools (BCS) announced today it is putting the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) to work to create engaging science lessons in elementary classrooms districtwide. Using available ESSER funding, the district has launched a new partnership with Discovery Education, the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports instruction wherever it takes place. Through this new multi-year collaboration, educators in all three BCS elementary schools will soon integrate Discovery Education’s suite of innovative digital resources into instruction to create dynamic learning environments that more deeply engage students in science.  

BCS is located 18 miles northeast of Lexington in Kentucky’s “Horse Country”. Currently, the district is collaborating with the area Economic Development Authority to align career pathways with local industries and to develop students’ workforce skills, work ethic, and desire to choose a career within the community. To provide additional opportunities, students are offered co-operative education, internships, mentoring, and experience-based work. 

To support the district’s youngest learners as they develop both a love for learning and the foundational knowledge needed to explore future career pathways in the sciences, BCS sought a suite of digital resources that would drive deeper engagement in science instruction. These resources needed to be simple to use and accessible for all teachers and students, aligned to both state and national science standards, and easily integrated into the district’s robust science program which seeks to make all students successful.  

Following a careful review of potential solutions, BCS selected Discovery Education as their provider of dynamic digital resources. Among the resources coming to BCS elementary schools are:   

Discovery Education Science Techbooks. The Discovery Education Science Techbook series is a comprehensive, research-backed science solution for grades K-12. Used in classrooms across the United States, the Science Techbooks for elementary students drives engagement with exclusive, interactive digital content and companion printed resources. The virtual and hands-on investigations, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities, and instructional supports within Techbook enhance the delivery of impactful, blended instruction, in person or at a distance. Available with the Science Techbooksare coordinated teacher guides offering unit, concept, and lesson overviews, standards connections, and differentiation activities that inform instructional planning and guide three-dimensional learning. Teacher editions also provide flexible pacing options, embedded teacher notes, and pathways for learning that support diverse learners.  

Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform. Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education provides an enhanced learning platform that facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any environment. These resources, sourced from trusted partners, are aligned to state and national standards, and help educators bring the outside world into teaching and learning every day.  Through expanded, lasting partnerships with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever, integrating Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform into existing IT architecture is easier than ever.  

Mystery Science. Joining the family of Discovery Education services in 2020, Mystery Science is the winner of SIIA’s Best Science Instructional Solution CODiE award for Grades PK – 8 and provides K-5 educators simple to use, open-and-go, hands-on lessons that inspire students to love science. Each lesson begins by posing a question commonly asked by young students. Students then explore these questions through interactive videos featuring real-world visuals fostering a sense of wonder and actively supporting student engagement in the accompanying discussion prompts. Then, students participate in easy to prepare hands-on labs that use simple science supplies commonly found in classrooms or at home. Mystery Science contains everything teachers need to get students engaged in hands-on science and make that subject the best class of the day.  

“The Bourbon County Schools is putting existing ESSER funding to work building a robust science program where all students can be successful, teachers feel supported, learning targets can be exceeded, and students could begin their preparation for life beyond graduation,” said Laura Wilson, BCS’s Director of Elementary Continuous Improvement and Literacy Grant Manager and Coach. “This new partnership with Discovery Education will play a key role in that effort, and we look forward to this collaboration’s success.”  

In addition to digital resources, all elementary school teachers using Discovery Education services will receive dedicated professional development from Discovery Education’s team of professional learning experts.  These learning opportunities for teachers help school systems recognize the full return on their edtech investment. Through these interactive professional development sessions, participants will learn best practices for integrating their new digital resources into instruction. Effective professional development maximizes the power of these resources, increases student engagement in learning, and supports the continued academic development of all students. 

All BCS educators now also enjoy access to the Discovery Educator Network. A global network of education professionals, the Discovery Educator Network connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable idea sharing and inspiration.  

“Discovery Education is incredibly excited to launch this new partnership with the talented team at the Bourbon County Schools,” said Samantha Slater, Discovery Education’s National Partnerships Coordinator. “Their innovative use of ESSER funding to improve science education will no doubt become a template for other area schools.”  

For more information about Discovery Education’s award-winning digital resources—which can be purchased with federal stimulus funds—and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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