Pearson 'Academies' Bring Online Professional Development to Smaller Districts


Pearson this week launched a new online teacher professional development service. Dubbed Pearson Professional Growth Academies, the service is designed to bring instructional content from accredited universities to smaller districts by providing courses that don't require minimum enrollment.

Professional Development
PPGA comprises individual Academies spotlighting topics that that Pearson cited as being critical to smaller districts. These include:

  • Teacher Induction Academy, which is aimed at first-year teachers, covering classroom management, parent and student communication, organization, and assessment strategies;
  • Elementary Reading Academy, which focuses on research-based instructional strategies for assessment and building student literacy skills;
  • Middle-Level Reading Academy, which focuses on building literacy skills across the curriculum; and
  • ELL Instruction Academy, which focuses on building achievement for ELL students.

Each Academy includes 21 weeks of graduate-level instructional content and facilitation through accredited universities; an Action Research Project, which is designed to address needs of the specific district; and eight weeks of support following the completion of each academy.

Pearson said cohorts for summer 2008 and the 2008-2009 school year are forming now. Further information can be found at the Academies site here.

Learning Tools
In other fairly recent Pearson news, the company announced that 17 new districts have signed on for their education technology products. In Minnesota, Dunwoody Academy High School and Robbinsdale Cooper High School have deployed WriteToLearn, a Web-based writing and reading comprehension tool. It's being used to help improve achievement on the new Minnesota writing assessment.

Over in Illinois, 15 districts have signed on to use enVisionMATH, a math curriculum targeted specifically toward elementary students that debuted back in January of this year.

According to Pearson, enVisionMATH is aimed at students who "are growing up in a digital world of iPods, the Internet, instant messaging, and computer games, but, until now,... have all been 'powering down' when they enter the classroom." Authored by Randy Charles, former vice president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the program provides personalized instruction using graphics, animations, and interactive learning tools to provide math education for a wide range of students, including special needs and ELL students.

Illinois' Decatur Public Schools #61 piloted enVisionMATH with more than more than 6,000 elementary students.

"By learning with enVisionMATH, I think our students' scores will go up and they will be better able to compete in the world economy," said Jewel Grady, elementary math resources specialist for the district. "Best of all, I think they will develop a love of math."

Other school and school districts in Illinois that will be using the software include:

  • Carnegie Elementary School
  • Elwood Community Consolidated School District
  • Fairview South School District #72
  • Genoa-Kingston Community Unit School District #424
  • Herscher School District #2
  • Indian Springs School District #109
  • Marsh Elementary School
  • Meridian Community Unit School District #223
  • Midwest Central Unit School District #191
  • Mokena School District #159
  • Plainfield Community Consolidated School District #202
  • Rockton School District #140
  • Sandwich Community Unit School District #430
  • West Chicago Elementary School District #33.

Further information about enVisionMATH can be found here.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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