CE Credits Online wishes all of our district and university partners and our present and past participants a Happy New Year! We say goodbye to 2016 and hello 2017. I think we can all agree that 2017 is likely to be filled with changes, but we can count on the fact that we will continue to face many of the same challenges educators, schools and districts have been facing for a long time. Teaching an ever-more-diverse student population is a huge task.

Students have always been diverse—each has always had his and her own talents and challenges. However, classrooms today have many more English language learners than before, from countries around the world. And for the first time, over 51% of our students qualify for reduced or free lunches. Many of the parents of our students are struggling as well, and some have many problems that greatly impact their children—our students. These children come to school unprepared in many ways to fully take advantage of their educational opportunities. Many have a lot on their minds and carry a number of burdens, which interferes with their educational process. Social media plays a role in the alienation and ability to bully, often anonymously, beginning at earlier and earlier ages. The challenge to educators to create safe, nurturing and highly educational environments that meet the needs of each and every student is immense, and frankly, daunting.

No matter what changes take place at the federal level or even at any state and local level, these facts will remain the same. Culture always changes and our students reflect these changes. Our classrooms and teaching must adapt if we are to reach and teach our students. This is true in every profession, but none more so than in the teaching profession. Our students are living in a more technologically sophisticated environment than any of us experienced. Their future will require skills and abilities that are not yet even known. They must be more adaptable and flexible than previous generations, even our own. We are charged with giving them the best tools we have, the best information they will need and, most of all, imbue them with optimism and hope that they can succeed and create fulfilling, meaningful and rewarding lives for themselves.

Sixteen years ago CE Credits Online created an online classroom to deliver university-accredited courses that would immediately impact teacher effectiveness and the classroom environment. As one of the very first providers of online education and training, and the only provider with an asynchronous classroom where teachers could start whenever they wanted and work at their own pace, we believed educators would be more likely to learn and retain skills and information if they had control over when they acquired those skills and information. We also believed ongoing feedback throughout a course was imperative in the learning process, as it is in any learning process. From the very beginning, all our courses were accredited (eligible for graduate-level credits) from regionally-accredited universities, and none of our courses has ever been denied or removed from our university partners’ catalogues. We were the first and only outside provider of professional learning in Los Angeles Unified School District and eligible for Salary Points, and remained so for many years. The quality and rigor of our courses was unmatched. The same was true for New York City public schools, where our courses are still offered for P credits. We are a posted resource on many school district sites, and our courses are constantly vetted by our district and university partners as well as our participants. Today, there are many online professional development providers. We thank all of you who have supported us in the past and continue to do so. Most of you take more than one course from us once you take one. Thank you. We intend to continue to provide you with the best and most useful courses we can to assist you in your tremendous task of educating our future citizens and our children. We wish you a Happy New Year, and look forward to seeing many of you in our classrooms.