K-12 Dealmaking: Catapult Wins Federal Spec. Ed. Contract; New Zealand Ministry Chooses Edsby

Associate Editor

In recent dealmaking news, Catapult Learning was awarded a contract to provide professional learning for special education teachers within the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity. Edsby, a digital learning and data platform for K-12, was chosen by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to build a data platform for 2,500 schools. And Aperture Education, which produces social-emotional learning assessments, is partnering with Dovetail Learning, which supports schools and SEL teams.

Department of Defense Education Activity selects Catapult Learning to deliver special education services. Catapult Learningwhich provides special education, instructional intervention, behavioral health and professional development solutions, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The purpose is to provide professional learning for special education teachers. The professional development will concentrate on the use of Dynamic Learning Maps Essential Elements (DLM/EE) standards for teaching K-12 students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

DoDEA is a federally operated pre-K-12 school system responsible for 164 schools in 11 countries, seven states, Guam and Puerto Rico. It serves more than 71,000 children of active duty military and DoD civilian families.

Building on the existing relationship between Catapult Learning and the DoDEA, the program will consist of a series of workshops, starting this October, delivered virtually for educators in Europe, the Pacific and the Americas. The sessions are designed to support teachers’ efforts to successfully integrate research-based practices into daily instruction.

“Designing rigorous, high-quality learning experiences for students with severe cognitive disabilities poses unique challenges for teachers,” said Jeffrey Cohen, CEO of Catapult Learning, in the announcement of the contract. “Our team of experts has a proven track record of understanding the specific needs of these students and training teachers on how to positively impact their education and quality of life.”

The program is slated for implementation in three phases: years one and two will focus on mathematics, while years three and four will highlight literacy. The fifth year will emphasize science and social studies. The curriculum has a spiral structure to cover all subjects in each year of the program to deepen understanding across critical content areas.

Under the new contract, Catapult Learning will provide virtual coaching sessions for DoDEA’s estimated 137 special education teachers. Additionally, teachers from around the world will be able to communicate with one another and share their experiences and expertise through an online community Catapult will adapt to DoDEA’s learning management system, Schoology. Other resources, such as access to websites, research articles, videos and more will be included.

Previously, Catapult Learning secured a contract with DoDEA to deliver professional development for K-12 teachers, focused on literacy. That program provides learning on standards-based, data-informed instruction that the company says is proven to lead students to successful transitions to college and career.

The New Zealand Ministry of Education chooses Edsby. After two years of competitive evaluations, the New Zealand Ministry of Education awarded Edsby a contract to build and run the country’s Te Rito National Learner Repository and Data Exchange, formerly the Student Information Sharing Initiative (SISI) according to a company announcement.

The multi-year project will focus on providing a continuity of learning for New Zealand’s 800,000 students by consolidating critical information to ensure it is available to teachers when a student arrives in a new school.

Te Rito is also focused on reducing the administrative burden on teachers and schools associated with current duplicated systems, while also improving the quality and timeliness of data provided to the Ministry of Education and other agencies.

It’s also intended to aid educators in tailoring support for learners to ensure all communities receive equal chances for success, including transient children, Māori, Pacific peoples and children with special needs. Te Rito will continue to be co-designed with local stakeholders through its development and delivery.

More information about this deal is available in EdWeek Market Brief’s The Inside Story: How an Ed-Tech Company Won a Nationwide Contract in New Zealand.

Aperture Education partners with Dovetail Learning: To help Dovetail Learning’s customers determine students’ SEL needs and target instruction, the company is recommending Aperture Education’s DESSA/SEL assessment to its customers. The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment, known as the DESSA, is designed to help schools measure the social-emotional competence of students to idenitfy their SEL strengths, as well as areas where they may need additional support. DESSA is expected to help Dovetail Learning’s customers measure the effectiveness of their SEL implementations.

“Our goal at Aperture Education is to provide schools with the data they need so that they can go beyond teaching students social-emotional learning skills and actually ensure that they have acquired these critical skills,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education, in an announcement. “Dovetail Learning’s comprehensive SEL consulting model complements our work in education so this partnership was a natural fit.”

Dovetail Learning said it supports hundreds of schools and SEL teams who are trying to support students within a multi-tiered system of support.

“We couldn’t be happier to partner with Aperture Education to offer the DESSA to our partner schools so that we can both better serve the students and educators who do the work every day,” said Bryan Clement, director of programs and partnerships at Dovetail Learning.

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