Start-up Process

CyberLearning STEM+ Academy Directors’ Guide

This guide is written for NEF STEM+ Academy Directors, although superintendents, principals, teachers, and other school personnel may find it useful as well. For new directors, it should help you get started, and for all directors, it will outline your ongoing activities, tasks, and responsibilities throughout the year. There are four core software packages that are used in our academies:
K-8 Pearson SuccessMaker [ELA & Math]
7-12 Pearson GradPoint [Math, Science, Social Studies, Languages, electives, AP courses, SAT Prep]
6-8 Digital Literacy [IC3/GS3 Standards]
9-12 + Teachers & Parents Skillsoft  [IT, Business, Desktop, Soft Skills]

Qualifications of a Good Academy Director

A Good Academy director should have the following qualities:
  1. Very familiar with the school, teachers, and students
  2. Good communicator and motivator
  3. Strong tech skills, or, a highly involved assistant with strong tech skills

Academy Director Responsibilities

The academy director is the most important part of the system. Beyond the modest stipend that the NEF provides to each director, we encourage each school district to provide their director with appropriate release time to complete these important additional duties. Responsibilities listed below are sorted into two primary categories: before the school year starts and during the school year.
1. Before School Begins
There are a number of items that need to be addressed prior to the start of the school year. Beyond the responsibilities of the academy director, additional steps will be completed by the STEM+ support team.
Academy Director (with input from other school staff)
– Establish contractual agreement with Dr Kuttan & NEF
– Establish number of software licenses (Pearson, P/T Academy, Digital Literacy)
– Introductory conference call with STEM+ National Director & Support Team
– Set number of anticipated students, sorted by school, grade, and teacher
– Provide a school calendar, including end-of-quarter and vacation dates
– Send schedule of anticipated software usage to STEM+ Support Team
– Contact information for your school, and school personnel
– Provide a high resolution school logo for your Leaderboard to STEM+ Support Team
– Choose Leaderboard style and number needed
– Establish incentives with consultation from teachers
– Submit incentives budget (to be approved by STEM+ Academy National Director)
– Establish number of teachers to be trained
– Set a training date with Pearson, as appropriate
– Establish follow-up training dates, as appropriate
STEM+ Support Team at SUNY Potsdam
– Work with Pearson to activate licenses. A confirmation e-mail from Pearson will be sent to directors once licenses have been activated.
– Create and mail motivational Leaderboards. This usually takes about 1 week from the time of the order.
– Setup Parent/Teacher and Digital Literacy academies. Academy Directors will receive an e-mail from the SUNY Potsdam STEM+ Support Team with login information needed to manage and create new users.
2. After School Begins
Once the school year begins, the academy director has a number of ongoing responsibilities, which can be divided into the following categories:
1) Managing Incentives
– Install Leaderboards at your school
– Ensure that student growth is tracked on Leaderboards
– Send pictures of in-use boards to SUNY Potsdam team
– Continue to re-establish incentives with ongoing consultation with teachers and students
– Purchase/allocate incentives
– Distribute incentives based on performance (randomized and/or guaranteed incentives)
– Establish dates for award ceremonies/events (lunch ceremonies acceptable)
2) Monitoring Student Performance
It is important that on a regular basis you monitor the teachers and students in your academy, to ensure:
– Appropriate number of students are participating
– Appropriate time is spent in the system for students. This is especially important when getting students through the initial placement (IP), which may take up to 3 hours or more to complete.
– Appropriate growth shown based on time spent
– One-on-one interventions with struggling students are made when needed
3) Maintain Parent/Teacher and Digital Literacy Academies