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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Greg Cunningham

Resources for the Virtual Classroom from JFYNet

by Greg Cunningham, Learning Specialist

An online toolbox for teachers

When I entered a classroom (when that was still possible), students would often greet me as “the test prep guy.” They may, in fact, have been working to pass the next standardized test on the schedule. But I knew, and the teacher knew, that they were building crucial skills necessary for success in subsequent grades, in college, and in the workforce. In order to build those necessary skills, JFY Learning Specialists provide a myriad of resources to support teachers in their efforts to support their students.

The JFY website contains multiple videos and blog posts that explain what students should expect from specific standardized tests. Students often know the required information and have the necessary skills to succeed, but are thrown off by the structure of the assessment or the wording of questions. If they know what to expect and how to navigate the format smoothly, they have a much better chance of using their knowledge effectively to achieve the highest possible score on the assessment.

In order to tap this resource, students must first log in to JFY’s software. To facilitate this step, we provide short videos with login instructions on the website for both returning students and first-timers. Whether using remote, hybrid or in-person models, a teacher cannot help each student in the class at the same time when they forget the process for logging in. Students have access to these training videos to help themselves log in and use their time on actual skill-building activities rather than struggling to engage with the software.

JFY’s software focuses on math and ELA, the foundational skills. But science teachers and social science teachers also need resources to engage students and enrich learning. When the shutdown happened in March, our Specialists immediately began vetting and compiling free resources and software to help science and social science teachers actively engage students remotely. This rapid response to the needs of teachers has been the foundation of JFY’s services. We quickly assess needs and provide prompt and effective solutions.

The Coronavirus has created some of the most challenging circumstances ever faced by teachers and students. While we cannot make the virus go away, we can help schools, teachers, students and parents adjust to the “new normal” by providing timely and effective solutions to the issues surrounding online learning. Nothing will ever replace a teacher in the classroom with students. The resources JFY provides ensure that teachers have the tools to make their virtual classrooms as exciting as their imaginations can conjure. Those tools will transition back to the physical classroom. The toolbox will not be very heavy.


To learn more about JFYNet’s Connected Learning Solutions click on the button below:JFYNet Connected Learning


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Strategies and Resources for special education students

by Greg Cunningham, JFYNet Learning Specialist

Effective Connected Learning tools for special education students

Two groups of students have been especially hard hit by the shutdown: English Learners and special education students with IEPs or 504 plans. These are some of the most educationally vulnerable groups in our schools. Special attention needs to be paid to them in order to help them keep up with current studies and simultaneously catch up on previously learned material that may have been lost during the shutdown. JFYNet’s online reading program helps teachers provide effective accommodations for Special Education students and strategies for EL students whether in the classroom or working remotely.

When students first log in to our program, they take an assessment called the Level Set that measures their current Lexile score. (The Lexile is a standard national measurement of reading skill.) This measurement makes it possible for all students to read the same material, but each at his or her individual level of difficulty. This system allows a whole class to have a “mentor” text: a text that students and teachers can use for multiple purposes, which is differentiated to individual skill levels. The program automatically parses out and tiers the text by student reading level, relieving the teacher of that painstaking task.

When students log in to their assignments they see their target vocabulary. They can listen to it, repeat it, and hear the part of speech. They can also see and hear it used in a sentence. This multi-modal presentation helps them process new vocabulary by both seeing and hearing it. Teachers can then use it in an original sentence, or have students do a think-pair-share with the word. This is a standard strategy for EL students. The program also provides opportunities for students to build familiarity with new words through activities such as word search.

The program will read to students. Reading aloud is an indirect vocabulary development tool. For students who have learning disabilities in reading, this technique can be particularly helpful. Sentences are parsed out with yellow highlights. Each individual word is then highlighted in blue as it is spoken. Students can re-listen to a sentence or paragraph as many times as necessary. This feature allows students to continually revisit the text to process it.

After students read a text, they can highlight specific passages and annotate the selection. They can copy their work and bring it over into a reading-response. This helps them develop their comprehension strategies, and also helps them use a text thoughtfully to respond to a question.

Students can work in partner pairs to develop their own text-dependent questions based on Bloom’s taxonomy. Teachers can assign text-dependent questions for students to develop based on their WIDA level. In addition, the JFYNet program contains a wide array of graphic organizers for teachers to use with EL students or students with Special Education accommodations from a 504 plan or an IEP.

All students will need extra support coming into this academic year, but English Learners and special needs students will need more tools and support in order to realize necessary achievement. No matter what skills students need to master during this upcoming academic year, the tools in our ELA program will help all students find success, especially those who require targeted support.


This video illustrates just how effective and beneficial the program is for students.


To learn more about JFYNet’s Connected Learning Solutions click on the button below:JFYNet Connected Learning


HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

Dr. James Weaver of NFHS, Importance of Extracurricular Student Activities, AUGUST 2020 Podcast

Dr. James Weaver, Director of Performing Arts and Sports

AUGUST 2020 PODCAST – This podcast features Dr. James Weaver, the director of performing arts and sports of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Federation is the national leader and advocate for high school athletics, as well as fine and performing arts programs. Dr. Weaver has been the director of performing arts and sports for the past four years. In this interview, he discusses the importance of extracurricular activities for students, his own involvement in high school and college activities, how organizations are navigating during the Covid-19 era, and the groundbreaking preliminary results from a study of aerosol spread during performing arts activities.

Online Reading Program: IEP/504 Accommodations & Support in Class & Remotely

SPECIAL ED: Individualized Education Program with JFYNet

by Greg Cunningham, Learning Specialist

The Boston Public Schools announced Friday that they will open the school year with all-remote instruction. With that announcement, all the largest districts in the state, and 30% of all districts, have opted for a fully remote opening. Most other districts have chosen hybrid. Both models rely on online instruction. Meeting the needs of all students with online instruction will be a challenge across the board, but especially for students with special needs.

ELA Hybrid Learning model

Support for Teachers and Students

by Greg Cunningham, Learning Specialist

In the traditional classroom, ELA teachers know that students will be in front of them every day. But this fall, many teachers will be using either a remote or a hybrid learning model. Students may fluctuate between learning remotely and learning in the classroom. No matter how skillful, teachers cannot be in two places at the same time.

JFYNet provides ELA software which enables teachers to move fluidly between classroom and home without leaving students stalled and frustrated. Our software can address students’ questions and allow them to work more independently in class and remotely. No software can replace the need for a teacher, but our fully functional software can help students progress independently and take some of the pressure for immediate response away from the teacher.

Math Hybrid Learning Model with JFYNetWorks

Support for Teachers and Students

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In the fall, many math teachers will be using a hybrid or remote learning model, with some students at home and some in the classroom. Teachers cannot be in two places at the same time. If students are working from home, they may need help while the teacher’s attention is focused elsewhere.

In Using math software provided by JFYNet, teachers can move smoothly between models to address students’ questions and give them immediate support to work more independently whether in class or working remotely. Software certainly does not replace the need for a teacher. What it does is give teachers tools to identify and respond to students’ needs quickly and efficiently, no matter where they are. Actually, it does enable teachers to be in multiple places at the same time.


More VIDEOS ON-DEMAND found here.


HOW ARE WE DOING? In our pursuit to serve up content that matters to you, we ask that you take a couple of minutes to let us know how we’re doing? Please click here to be navigated to our JFYNet Satisfaction Survey. Thank you!

Kingsman Academy, JFY Partner School presents in DC

JFYNet Partner School takes their rebuild process to DC

JUNE 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast features excerpts from a presentation by Kingsman Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC, a JFYNet partner school. The presentation to the DC Public Charter School Board took place on June 20th, and describes the process begun shortly after the school’s opening in 2015. The Kingsman staff and administration realized that their operational plan was not serving the needs of their student population as they had thought it would and spent the next few years redesigning the school from the ground up. The current move to competency- based learning is the final step of their rebuilding process.

JFYNet reflects on new normal

JFYNet Remote Learning Specialists mull over the New Normal

by Greg, Eileen, Cathie and Joan

Greg Cunningham

On March 16th, the world stopped. Or so it seemed. Restaurants closed, office workers were told to work from home, and going to the grocery store felt like a sequel to The Hunger Games. (I distinctly remember a woman in the deli yelling “I volunteer as tribute” when her number was called.) We were all instructed to stay home where we quickly discovered that Zoom was not just the name of a vintage PBS TV show.

Sheltered English Immersion (SEI)

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In this tutorial, we review how our reading program can help teachers of EL students implement effective SEI strategies in the classroom or remotely. Software provided by JFYNetWorks integrates seamlessly whether students are working remotely, in person in the classroom, or in a hybrid learning model shifting between remote and classroom.

Summer Study will Give You a Jump On the Fall

A Fall Payoff with Summer Study

Summer is usually a time for students to relax and hang with friends. But a little bit of study this summer will lead to big payoffs in the fall. All students already enrolled in JFYNet software may continue using the software all summer, and new students are invited to enroll. This video provides online options and suggestions for summer study, and information as to why, due to the Covid-19 school shutdown, summer study is more important now than ever.