Minnesota’s South Washington County (SoWashCo) Schools today announced a new partnership with Discovery Education supporting science education in K-8 classrooms across the district. Through this multi-year collaboration, educators and students in the district’s elementary and middle schools will return to the classroom this fall with access to award-winning digital resources supporting science instruction. These new resources will drive the development of students’ critical thinking skills and create opportunities for the study of scientific mysteries and the development of design solutions. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.
SoWashCo Schools is a suburban district located southeast of St. Paul and serves students across 16 elementary schools, 4 middle schools and three traditional high schools. The district spans 84 square miles and is located near 3M Global Headquarters, a long-time partner of Discovery Education.
Seeking a digital solution that would meet both the district’s goals for K-8 science education and align to the new Minnesota Science and Native American standards, SoWashCo Schools reviewed several viable options. Following careful review, SoWashCo Schools selected the following Discovery Education services for use across its elementary and middle schools:
The Discovery Education 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 educators an enhanced learning platform which facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any learning 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.
The K-12 learning platform is designed to work within the school systems’ existing infrastructure and workflows and provides safe, secure, simple access methods for educators and students. 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.
The Discovery Education Science Techbook series is a comprehensive, research-backed digital science solution for grades K-12. Used in classrooms across the United States and Canada and delivered through Discovery Education’s K-12 platform, the Science Techbook’s virtual and hands-on investigations, STEM activities, and wide variety of instructional supports enhance the delivery of impactful, blended instruction in person or at a distance.
An interdisciplinary K-8 resource, STEM Connect blends dynamic digital content with ready-to-use lessons and hands-on activities to enhance core curriculum and cultivate valuable design thinking skills that prepare students for the future. Built on the 4Cs framework and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, STEM Connect purposefully integrates across disciplines and provides all the necessary resources to introduce real-world challenges and design thinking skills to students.
Mystery Science, which joined the family of Discovery Education services in 2020 and recently won SIIA’s Best Science Instructional Solution CODiE award for Grades PK – 8, features ready-to-teach multimedia science and STEM lessons for K-5 students. Each lesson begins by posing a question commonly asked by young students, which is followed by a series of brief videos and prompts used to guide class discussion. Mystery Science lessons conclude with a hands-on activity incorporating basic supplies commonly found in a classroom or at home.
With Discovery Education Coding, elementary and middle school students are inspired to learn important coding concepts as they develop computational thinking skills through decomposition, logical reasoning, and problem solving. Based in part on the award-winning Discovery Education Coding service used by teachers across the United Kingdom, the U.S. version of Coding features a wide array of coding resources that help students take coding from concept to reality.
Coding for SoWashCo Schools is generously supported by 3M and its mission to help students take steps toward STEM careers. As a global science and technology company, 3M invests in organizations and programs that improve academic outcomes and provide transformational opportunities for students within their communities and around the globe.
Together, these resources provide district educators a suite of powerful tools with which they can build engaging, high-quality educational science experiences providing all learners the opportunity to see how things work – from ecosystems to human-designed machines – wherever learning is taking place.
“South Washington County Schools is committed to providing a world-class education that builds critical thinkers – those who will change the world by possessing not only a growth mindset, but the skills to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and problem solve through innovative thinking. This is science education at its finest,” said Tia Clasen, Director of Teaching and Learning—Secondary, at SoWashCo Schools. “We are thrilled to implement Discovery Education solutions over the next several years as part of delivering a top-notch education attuned to the local, and global, contexts.”
Discovery Education will also provide SoWashCo Schools’ educators dedicated professional learning to help teachers effectively use these resources in the coming school year and 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 will maximize the power of these resources, increase student engagement in learning, and support all learners’ continued academic development.
“I’d like to thank the SoWashCo educators who assisted in the review and adoption process,” said Arthur Williams, the district’s Director of Teaching and Learning—Elementary. “Their attention to detail and dedication to identifying the best digital resources for our students was unwavering, and I know they are excited to begin using these new tools in the classroom.
SoWashCo Schools educators now also enjoy access to the Discovery Education Community. A global network of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community 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 impressed by SoWashCo Schools’ commitment to science excellence for their students,” said Rebecca Osburn, Manager of Education Partnerships at Discovery Education. “This forward-thinking community is actively creating teaching and learning environments for the long-term success of their community, and we at Discovery Education are proud to be a part of that work.”
For more information about Discovery Education’s award-winning digital resources 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.