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Cisco Foundation

Supporting technology-based education initiatives that increase equitable access, engagement, and success for all students

Cisco Foundation makes social investments in areas where their technology and people can make the biggest impact — education, economic empowerment, critical human needs, and Climate and Sustainability. Their commitment harnesses the power of technology solutions to effectively eliminate barriers for underserved students on a global scale. Cisco Foundation’s partnership with New Teacher Center started in 2010, investing in technology improvements for measuring programmatic impact and in-kind donations to transform NTC’s infrastructure to scale its work nationally.

For Cisco Foundation, building an inclusive future for students via technology extends beyond equipment. Education-based technology solutions target systemic issues limiting students’ access such as social, economic, political, geographical, gender, and more. The ability to access a well-trained teacher drives much of NTC’s partnership with Cisco Foundation. Classrooms, schools, and districts are challenged to support systemically underserved communities and students — that’s where NTC’s capacity-building coaching model comes in. The ability to empower educators and build student-teacher trust is a critical, evidence-based approach to creating high-quality academic and empathic outcomes for kids. Cisco and the Cisco Foundation has consistently been on the leading edge of technology in supporting this effort, enabling innovative solutions while consistently reinvesting in strong frameworks that support efforts in the field. The build out and evolution of NTC’s online platform (now known as Kiano) enables educators to receive technical and resource support — resulting in over 14 million “coaching interaction minutes” and 180,000 tools accessed last year alone.

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“We’re living through an unprecedented time with the pandemic shining a light on barriers to access education for students and communities. The challenges for educators in meeting them are significant around the world,” said Kyle Thornton, education portfolio manager for Cisco Foundation. “The core of our partnership with NTC enables teachers through technology-supported interventions to provide students, improved access to trained teachers who provide the instructional support and the social-emotional support students need.”

He shares that creating conditions for cohesive school cultures is dependent on people, pedagogy, and technology. Cisco and the Cisco Foundation’s support for NTC’s anti-bias coaching work (Responsive Relationships) with teachers — with pilots happening in schools in Dubuque, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois — leveraged how to optimize communications, facilitation, and data capture to give wraparound services to practitioners. “Evidence-based approaches for finding and developing [a] common ground and improving core relationships between students and teachers contributes substantially to an optimal learning environment for students,” said Thornton. He expressed that “it’s exciting to see how New Teacher Center is innovating within professional learning for educators in consideration of consumer trends in technology in use today.”

Since launching two years ago, the coaching model and teaching practices behind Responsive Relationship has impacted over 10,000 students and reached over 140 teachers and coaches. In the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, the program should impact another 6,600 students, reaching more than 80 teachers and coaches. NTC aims to promote this training to more teachers on a variety of delivery platforms that will serve students nationally by respecting diversity, learner variability, and creating a strong sense of belonging — key elements for engaging in meaningful academic work in the classroom.

“The core of our partnership with NTC enables teachers through technology-supported interventions to improve students access to trained teachers who provide the instructional support and the social-emotional support students need.”

Cisco and the Cisco Foundation’s support continues to look forward, providing $250,000 in May 2021 to continue NTC’s Responsive Relationship program in the 2021-2022 school year while expanding the content to emerging technological, self-paced, direct-to-educator offerings in the next year.

“In response to both the opportunities and challenges facing education we need to prepare educators and teachers to be successful in today’s environment to help improve attendance, behavior and the course outcomes for students nationally,” said Thornton. “We’re so excited and grateful that New Teacher Center is innovating to provide services in coaching and curriculum and other media resources that can help teachers in this difficult intersection of teaching, meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of students, and attain the instructional goals of the district.”

NTC is grateful for our partnership with Cisco and the Cisco Foundation and is focused on extending educators’ access to evidence-based, high-quality coaching support with ease to disrupt systemic inequities.

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