WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, LearnZillion announced the selection of 55 experienced teachers, out of nearly 500 applicants nationwide, who will make up the sixth Dream Team class. The work of this year's Dream Team will focus on helping states and school districts implement digital resources to meet their needs. In addition to their experience with digital curriculum, Dream Teamers were chosen for their humility, empathy as well as their abilities to listen and provide constructive feedback to improve teaching.
The Dream Team has been extensively trained through LearnZillion's coach and facilitator institutes. Working as coaches and facilitators, the Dream Team will help the growing number of school districts using digital curricula. Currently, over 60 percent of U.S. districts have a digital content and curriculum strategy, and a third have one under development.
"A growing number of states and districts are using, as well as producing, digital curricula. This hand-picked group of teachers will help education leaders figure out how to use these resources with the technology in place," said Eric Westendorf, CEO and co-founder of LearnZillion. "The work of this Dream Team will better public education by ensuring this new focus on digital curriculum results in engaging learning opportunities for students."
LearnZillion's Dream Team, working as coaches and facilitators, has already kicked off their 2016-17 school year in support of teachers in locations such as Tulsa, Oklahoma; Palm Springs, California; and Rockdale, Georgia; and will continue to serve districts nationwide throughout the school year. Dr. Andrea N. Lemon, a 13-year veteran teacher in Belmont, West Virginia, worked as a facilitator in Louisiana as well as Oklahoma this summer.
"Ever since I started creating content for LearnZillion's curriculum in 2013, I have been excited by opportunities to impact education outside of my own classroom," said Lemon. "The hands-on experiences I've already helped facilitate have led to incredibly rich discussions not only about the texts used in English language arts classes but also about the use of complex texts and best practices to ignite a passion for reading and learning in students. Watching teachers reignite their own passion is the best part of this work."
The application for the Dream Team was rigorous and involved several tasks. Even still, LearnZillion received nearly 500 applications. The result is a skilled cohort of educators – with over 820 years of combined classroom experience – who are extremely qualified and driven toward creating classroom environments that encourage collaboration, group interaction, exploratory questions and problem solving rooted in productive struggle.
"I had always wanted to be a teacher but found the realities to be much more challenging than I had anticipated," said Leah Weimerskirch, STEM Instructional Coach, Hartford, Connecticut. "In fact, I remained in education after finding a supportive group of educators through LearnZillion with whom I could work and collaborate. Now, I'm excited to be part of a team that will help create that support system for other teachers, to improve the experience for their students."
For many, LearnZillion's Dream Team is an opportunity for veteran teachers from any school – public, charter, private – nationwide to have impact beyond their classrooms. The Dream Team teachers can pursue this opportunity while continuing to teach in their own classroom – which 30 have elected to do.
LearnZillion combines the expertise of teachers with the power of technology to provide the curriculum and support needed to engage every student. Founded in 2011, LearnZillion initially grew out of the curriculum and practice developed during co-founder Eric Westendorf's tenure as the principal at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. One in three U.S. teachers use LearnZillion's teacher-created, standards-aligned, free digital math and English language arts curriculum. The resources offered by LearnZillion will evolve based on the needs of public schools. To learn more, visit www.learnzillion.com.
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