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Sylvan Learning and Cornerstone Address K-12 Learning Loss with Virtual Tutoring

Julie Brandt

Executive Director of the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation

If anything was clear from 2020, innovation and adaptability are the foundations of a sustainable and thriving community. While I am relieved to know COVID-19 vaccinations are underway, the long-term effects of this pandemic are still unknown. How will global health be managed moving forward? When will our economy recover from closures and unemployment? And, one area I’m particularly concerned about, when will all children return to in-person learning, and how will the cumulative hours spent learning at home impact their future?

Fortunately, I do believe this move to remote K-12 learning is only temporary. But what keeps me up at night is the potential long-term effects that this disruption will have on our students—particularly those more vulnerable to disruption. According to STAR Assessment results of 5.3 million students, schools reported lower rates of achievement in the areas of math and reading in 2020. And based on student assessments conducted in January 2019 and during the initial months of the pandemic in 2020, Sylvan Learning confirmed that students’ grades 3-8 are roughly three months behind in skill knowledge. And as John Bielinski, senior director of research & development at FastBridge, noted, "the data shows that we’ve reached a critical point. If we don’t place greater emphasis on remedying losses now, achievement gaps are likely to widen later."

Parents Can’t Do It Alone

Last Spring, when schools first closed their doors, a wave of panic rushed over many parents. How would they ensure their children properly finish up their school year from home? How would they keep an eye on their kids while juggling their own remote work situations? Like many parents, I came to terms with the fact that my kids weren’t going back to school anytime soon and got creative with their learning setup. I turned my dining room into a classroom. I got my kids computers, chairs, and headphones, and I buckled up for a few more months of balancing being a parent, a teacher, and a full-time executive director running the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation.

I'm certainly not alone. One of our incredible Cornerstone employees, Payal Shah, Director of Content Strategy and Operations at Cornerstone, who is working remotely with her husband and school-aged daughter while also completing an eMBA, candidly shared her experience:

"Both my husband and I find ourselves wearing multiple hats—employee, parent, teacher, student, cook, cleaner, son, daughter. On any given day, we are hosting virtual meetings and working on deliverables while answering all clarifying questions and assisting our second-grade daughter to the best of our ability during her asynchronous study time. We would love to spend our afternoons teaching our daughter math and reading books, but with so many demands, it’s not always possible to give her the one-on-one educational support she requires right now."

For all parents, keeping your kids on task during the school day while managing your own work obligations feels nearly impossible, even for those lucky enough to have flexible schedules and generous vacation time.

Partnering with Sylvan Learning

We at Cornerstone have taken this issue to heart. Late last year, we kicked off a collaboration with one of our long-time customers, Sylvan Learning, a leading provider of personalized tutoring for students in grades K-12. Together, we created a program called Always Learning @Home to provide discounted tutoring to the school-aged children of our employees. The tutoring sessions are held virtually and consist of one-on-one lessons with certified tutors with an emphasis on math skills and reading comprehension.

This is more than just a timely perk for our employees. This type of supplemental educational support is an important tool for minimizing education loss and achievement gaps as a result of the pandemic. In fact, according to an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden proposing a solution for healing the massive learning losses of our students in math and reading, the Center for Research and Reform at Johns Hopkins University revealed new research suggesting the most effective strategy for struggling students is one-to-one tutoring.

Based on the initial rollout, the program has been well-received by Cornerstone employees across the U.S. Over 100 tutoring sessions have been completed to-date, and that number is expected to grow as students return to classes in the new year. Payal, who I mentioned above, was one of the first to join the program, elaborated on her experience:

"When we found a tutor that could understand my child’s needs, pace and interest, I could see the immediate benefit of this program. In addition to providing helpful resources for me and my husband to review with our daughter, the tutor we are working with makes the sessions engaging using creative learning techniques to teach math. Never before have I seen my daughter so excited to learn math, especially in a virtual setting. To witness my child’s academic confidence levels rise during a challenging time is one of the most valuable benefits I could imagine."

Additionally, I was particularly warmed by the responses we heard from employees without school-aged children. They expressed deep appreciation for this benefit from Cornerstone and even offered to further support their colleagues with kids.

Building on the early success of this program, I'm thrilled to share that we are now able to offer Always Learning @Home to our U.S. customers and their employees as well. This means thousands of families around the nation will have the same opportunity to support their children in the coming weeks.

Putting Our People First

Amidst changing circumstances, it’s critical for organizations to re-assess the needs of their people and implement policies and programs that truly put people first. Rooted in the concept of unlocking potential, Cornerstone continues to work towards making learning more accessible through its technology solutions, work with non-profits, and unique people-first policies. Through Always Learning @Home, Cornerstone is not only investing in the wellbeing and success of its people, but is also extending this investment in education to the next generation.

To learn more about the Always Learning @Home program, click here.

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Знайти ресурси, які пов'язані з реагуванням на кризу, що розгортається в Україні, та ситуацію з біженцями у цьому регіоні, українською мовою. {Accedi alle risorse in ucraino per supportare la crisi e i profughi in Ucraina} Найти ресурсы на русском языке, связанные с реагированием на разворачивающийся кризис в Украине и ситуацию с беженцами в этом регионе. {Accedi alle risorse in russo per supportare la crisi e i profughi in Ucraina} Znajdź materiały w języku polskim, aby odpowiedzieć na rozwijający się kryzys na Ukrainie i problem uchodźców w regionie. {Accedi alle risorse in polacco per supportare la crisi e i profughi in Ucraina} La salute mentale, sia delle persone colpite dalla crisi umanitaria sia di quelle che lavorano per fornire aiuto e supporto, è importante. Chi vive una crisi spesso deve affrontare traumi, stress e lutti. Non solo; spesso deve affrontare trasferimenti, la perdita della casa e dei propri averi, l’incertezza per il futuro. Tutti questi fattori possono avere un effetto sulla salute mentale. Allo stesso tempo, coloro impegnati negli aiuti umanitari spesso devono lavorare per molte ore ininterrottamente in condizioni difficili e pericolose. Sono testimoni di sofferenze e di morte e a loro volta rischiano di essere sopraffatti dalla crisi. Per entrambi i gruppi, è importante fare qualcosa per conservare il loro benessere mentale. Oltre ai profughi e ai soccorritori c’è un terzo gruppo di persone la cui salute mentale spesso non viene considerata. Molti dipendenti di Cornerstone ospitano profughi nelle proprie case e da loro abbiamo capito che chi ospita offre molto più di cibo e riparo. Le famiglie ospitanti si occupano di persone che sono state sradicate dalle loro vite per approdare in un paese in cui non conoscono nessuno e di cui non parlano la lingua. Stress, ansia e depressione possono svilupparsi anche nelle famiglie che offrono ospitalità. Molte aziende e comunità si sono mobilitate per supportare i milioni di persone colpite dalla guerra in Ucraina. Cornerstone e la sua Fondazione hanno sviluppato una serie di video brevi sul tema del benessere mentale per aiutare profughi, famiglie ospitanti e le comunità a rischio in Ucraina e nei paesi vicini.Sviluppati in collaborazione con The KonTerra Group, i video sono disponibili in inglese, ucraino, polacco e russo e coprono i seguenti argomenti: Affrontare il lutto e la perdita: inglese, polacco, ucraino, Russian Conservare il benessere durante l’evacuazione: inglese, polacco, Ukrainian, Russian Comprendere e gestire il trauma vicario: inglese, polacco, ucraino, Russian 10 consigli per supportare lo staff dopo eventi traumatici: inglese, polacco, ucraino, Russian Cos’è il counseling e come può aiutarmi?: inglese, polacco, ucraino, russo Come restare calmi durante un’emergenza: inglese, polacco, ucraino, russo La Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation da dieci anni offre formazione online gratuita ai professionisti dello sviluppo e degli aiuti umanitari in tutto il mondo attraverso la piattaforma online aperta Con la creazione di questi nuovi video, la nostra fondazione vuole fornire supporto a tutte le persone impegnate negli aiuti umanitari, nonché ai profughi e alle famiglie che li ospitano. Per ulteriori informazioni su DisasterReady e per trovare ulteriori risorse formative gratuite online dedicate al personale impegnato negli aiuti umanitari, potete visitare i nostri siti in inglese, polacco, russo, ucraino, arabo, francese, or spagnolo.

Cornerstone Partners With Microsoft to Bring Learning into the Flow of Work

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Cornerstone Partners With Microsoft to Bring Learning into the Flow of Work

Making time for learning during a busy workday is challenging. According to a recent survey, a majority of employees reported thattime is the biggest barrier to their development. But over the course of the pandemic, and even in the years before, we’ve seen how quickly business needs—and therefore, the needs for employee skills—change. Learning is more important than ever and needs to be delivered in new ways that drive accessibility and information retention. To help companies remain truly adaptable and nimble, they need to integrate learning into the flow of work. It’s why Cornerstone and Microsoft are partnering to make learning in the flow of work possible and support employees’ growing learning needs. Both of Cornerstone’s LMS platforms (Cornerstone Learning and Saba Cloud) will be integrated into Microsoft Viva—Microsoft’s new Employee Experience Platform (EXP)—to make it easy for employees to discover, share and engage with learning content without having to switch back and forth between solutions. "Cornerstone is bringing great value to organizations by integrating its solutions within Microsoft Teams, right where employees are working every day," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, COO, Experiences + Devices at Microsoft Corp. "The new Microsoft Viva empowers employees to make learning and development a natural and intuitive part of their daily work." How Cornerstone Powers Learning in the Flow of Work on the Microsoft Employee Experience Platform Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced through Teams, Microsoft Viva seamlessly helps your organization build human connection, foster growth and wellbeing, and drive peak business performance. And now that experience encompasses learning, including the integration with Cornerstone. Incorporating learning opportunities from Cornerstone’s LMS offerings into Microsoft Viva Learning makes it easy not only to access learning, but also integrate it into the flow of work. Employees using Teams can seek out, share and/or assign learning content based on their current needs. For example, if an employee is struggling with their workload, a manager could engage in a real-time 1:1 conversation and based on that discussion, serve up training on time management or organization skills. This way, in addition to providing real-time coaching and feedback, the manager is also able to give their employee development resources in a timely and relevant manner. In another instance, an employee that’s familiar with HTML but hasn’t used the skill for a while might find a quick refresher course—rather than spending time and energy re-learning through trial-and-error. For more on the power of this partnership, watch this video announcing Microsoft Viva Learning Removing Barriers to Learning Cornerstone and Microsoft’s collaboration will help remove barriers to learning and empower organizations and their employees to grow and adapt for the future. Our learning solutions contain training to meet employee needs across on-demand learning, compliance and career development. Through this partnership and through Microsoft, employees will soon have the ability to access learning where they are, when they need it, to power stronger individual and company performance. As a leader and pioneer in learning, we’ve accumulated the largest pool of learning data and insights in the world over the course of our 20 years in business. We are thrilled to share that experience, expertise and passion with Teams and its users. Read the full announcement to learn more about Cornerstone’s partnership with Microsoft.

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