Bringing Technology to the Head of the Class
Evidence suggests that traditional teaching methods are more effective when paired with interactive technologies. Through a $2.1 million, three-year grant awarded in 2012, Janus is enabling Denver Public Schools to create a unique learning environment in select classrooms that combine conventional teaching with cutting-edge technologies in what are called Janus Blended Learning Labs Sites.
This innovative new grant extends Janus' ongoing partnership with Denver Public Schools. The partnership began in 2008, when the Janus Foundation awarded the school district $3 million to support their groundbreaking work centered around Teacher Effectiveness. The primary initiative created through the partnership was The Denver Teacher Residency, a program that has become a model for public schools nationwide in the areas of attracting, retaining and developing the best teacher talent. Now in its fifth year, the program is successful and self-sustaining, enabling Denver Public Schools and Janus to broaden their partnership focus to new teaching modalities.
With the new grant contributed by the Janus Foundation, the district has built out a dedicated Blended Learning Team and is investing in instructional software, hardware, IT systems, data measurement platforms, professional development, and staffing for the Janus Blended Learning Labs Sites. We believe that by putting technology into the hands of highly skilled teachers, we can help students improve their academic performance, learn to mastery and give Denver's youth the chance to reach their fullest potential as they become valuable contributors to our workforce and to the global economy.
Focusing on the Financial Literacy of Young People
Janus has long championed the benefits of a good education and continues to build upon its history of supporting education initiatives and investing in the future of our youth. There has never been a greater need for financial education – at work, in schools, in the community and in the home. One of the strongest programs available to students to help them improve their financial literacy is the Young Americans Center for Financial Education. This organization provides unique financial education activities that resonate with young people and help prepare them for success in our global economy.
Through Janus’ support of Young AmeriTowne, an award-winning educational program, 4th and 5th grade teachers are provided with tools to teach students about business, the economy and free enterprise in an innovative and hands-on environment. Classroom work includes modules in a variety of key subjects: investing, economics, math, civics and English language arts. The program also promotes career exploration and fosters self-esteem. During the 2012-2013 school year, 21,928 students benefited from visiting Young AmeriTowne, and each year more than 235 schools in Colorado participate.
As a culmination of their classroom studies, students visit the Young Americans Center to work in Young AmeriTowne, a 5,000 square foot mini-town. The students become citizens, taking on jobs like mayor, accountant, doctor, service technician and more. With its emphasis on financial self-sufficiency, life skills and work skills, Janus is proud to partner with Young AmeriTowne in delivering an innovative and holistic learning experience. To see Young AmeriTowne in action, click here.
Getting Smart Through Art
The arts are an important part of a well-rounded education. To provide Colorado's students with an opportunity to increase their exposure to and knowledge of art, Janus and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival education department invite them to participate in the Janus Student Art Buying Program. Through this experiential art education program, Janus brings art and art education directly into classrooms, where students collectively use an in-class study guide to explore the concepts of art as a business and as a reflection of culture. Then they take their knowledge to the street by attending the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and purchasing art for permanent installation in their school through a budget provided by Janus.
Driving the Desire to Read
With Janus' support, the Denver Public Library is driving literacy into many of Denver's underserved neighborhoods. The Library's two Janus Reading Rocket Bookmobiles spark an early interest in books that rewards children at school and in life. Visiting 25 schools and 18 community centers each week, the Reading Rockets help provide access to children and families who might otherwise miss out on the critical benefits of reading often and reading early.
Further demonstrating Janus' commitment to Literacy, the firm recently launched its Janus Literacy Champions Program. Knowing that reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a crucial marker in a child's educational development, Janus' program is designed to help struggling students early enough to ensure they do not fall behind. Each week Janus employees spend 30 minutes with a Denver Public Schools first grade student, tutoring them online through reading exercises and giving them the extra help and attention they need to be better readers, better communicators and successful in school and in life.
As of March 31, the Reading Rockets have traveled 2,717 miles this year!
Launching Lifelong Learners: Reading Rocket Bookmobiles
The earlier children begin to love reading, the better they'll do in school. Janus and The Denver Public Library accelerate students' love of reading and give them more access to books by driving literacy (literally!) into their neighborhoods via two "Reading Rocket" bookmobiles. The Reading Rockets visit 26 schools and 21 community centers every week.