Moving Forward

For the past three days we met as a team to discuss and strategize the future direction of the DEN.  Our goal has always been to connect teachers to their most valuable resource – each other.  In the past year and a half, the DEN has connected thousands of teachers from all over the world to each other, and the community has become more than any of us could have ever imagined.  Through these connections, educators have been able to collaborate on cutting-edge projects, share resources, learn new teaching strategies and build lasting friendships.  These powerful connections allowed the DEN to define itself around the passions, beliefs, ideals and personalities of all of its members.  These connections will never go away. 

We have read all of your comments on the blogs and discussion boards.  These, as well as countless emails and phone calls, have been invaluable in helping us shape the plan for DEN moving forward.  Your individual comments and thoughts forge the collective voice of the DEN and that voice has been heard. 

We can still provide a level of support and leadership, but the DEN is your community.  It always has been.  It always will be.  Ultimately, the future of the DEN will become what the thousands of committed, passionate educators determine.  Given that fact, we have developed a plan to help support the DEN as it continues to grow and thrive in the coming year.  The plan includes:

  • In-person Events:  We will continue to host events that bring Discovery Educators together, face-to-face.  As you told us, there are many things that make the DEN different, even unique.  Of these, in-person events are essential.  For example, we are excited about the pre-conference sessions planned in conjunction with this year’s FETC and PETE&C.
  • Regional Institutes:  We will again host a series of summer regional institutes throughout the country as part of our commitment to keep STAR Discovery Educators personally connected.
  • Professional Development:  We will continue to organize online professional development opportunities like our Ed Tech Connect series.
  • Blogs:  We will continue to inform, educate and connect our members through our blogs.  We are reorganizing the structure of the blogs to enable STAR Discovery Educators to take control of their state blogs.
  • Discovery Special Events:  We will continue to partner with Discovery networks (e.g., Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids) to provide unique learning opportunities for students and teachers.
  • Local Support:  We will continue to support local events by providing training kits and professional development resources to STAR Discovery Educators.
  • Classroom Connections:  We will sponsor a variety of collaborative projects for STAR Discovery Educators and their students. 
  • Special Discounts:  We will continue to work with our partners (e.g., InFocus, eInstruction) to provide exclusive offers to STAR Discovery Educators.
  • DEN Website:  We will enhance the DEN website to support greater communication and collaboration between Discovery Educators.

We look forward to working with you as the DEN moves into the new year.  As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback. 


Betsy, Coni, Hall, Jannita, Lance, Scott and Steve


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  1. Melanie said:

    Thanks for the update. I know this is really hard on the seven of you and I have every confidence that you will continue to lead with the resources you are given. I do appreciate that as well as seeing that you are going to offer some access to and ideas for many of the things that have helped make school more exciting and beneficial for our kids. Although we may not agree with some of the decisions that are out of your control I am glad to see that you all continue to lead and help us provide new ways to enhance our teaching and help our students reach their potential in this technological world.

  2. Teryl Magee said:

    Betsy, Coni, Hall, Jannita, Lance, Scott and Steve,

    Thanks so much for the update! I know this has been a trying time for all of you! Know that there are a lot of us out there who are excited to see what the DEN has in store for us in the upcoming year! I think most of us were worried about the person-to-person contact that we have enjoyed at pre-conference sessions, and I am glad to see that they are still going to happen! Thank you for all that you hvae done over the past year and a half and especially over past week!

    Teryl Mage

  3. RJ Stangherlin said:

    We all appreciate the update. I have always felt so privileged to be a DEN member, and I always believed I was one of the very lucky ones. Throughout my association with DEN, I got to meet the best of the best–all of you–and came to know you from conferences–Denver, PETE&C, NECC. I still smile when I remember Lance arriving with balloons. I thought, “what a neat way to be welcomed into DEN.” Little did I know I was a scholarship recipient. Coni took me to dinner and I sat in on a meeting of the executives. I felt so out of place, but Coni said that as a DEN member, I was a part of their team. Jannita and I bonded instantly. I can still remember raucous laughter and a podcast that wasn’t cast. Maybe a good thing. Scott and I go so far back; he was our IU Director and I could not imagine it surviving after he left for Discovery. Hall is a DEN institution; I can tell you I worked very hard to make Lance the winner in the East-West contest with Jannita. Lance did win the “Hall Davidson” award after all. Betsy spent a day with us at school, watching our Integrated Projects. Her visit lead to a forthcoming article in the DEN Classroom Guide in 2007. We have a dinner date in Georgetown next April. I remember talking with this neat techno-saavy guy, telling him how great the new DEN website was, going on and on–only to discover it was Steve I was talking to. I did my first podcast with him.

    Why am I reminiscing. Because I feel that I really am privileged to know fairly well the anchors of DEN: The Next Step. I have always been in awe of them, and humbled by their knowledge, humanity, concern. None of that changed. So, much as I mourn and miss our 30 field managers, much as I cannot imagine life without Shannon, Danielle, Kim, and all the wonderful people who were our icons of leadership, energy, dynamism, I know DEN will survive. The team will undoubtedly work even harder now, but they and we will endure.

    Since the Wednesday before Thankstgiving till a day or two ago, our learning community supported 4 staff members who lost a parent. Then a death of someone from my childhood. Then DEN–and that seemed almost like death. So many field managers’ lives were impacted. I just couldn’t bring myself to comment. But we always rally. So I know we will move forward, I know we will make it together. We are just too good a team not to. We’re behind you; just let us know what we can do to help. There’s a lot of strength out there, and you only need to ask to harness it.

  4. Patricia A. Hawkenson said:

    Could you please comment on the role of the State Advisory Boards? Are these groups being recognized in the new plan? If so, what is their role?

  5. Stephanie J. Madlinger said:

    As the smoke clears, I believe the flame still exists! I am one of the very lucky DEN members who have personally met all of you at one of the many DEN events. As a participant at the Midwest Regional Institute in Chicago and one of the 10 scholarship winners to NECC, you all showed me your true spirit and intensions -that of giving and inspiring, listening and responding. You now have a large bump in the road, but all good things don’t come easy, right?

    I have also had the pleasure to work with and meet many of the FM in the Midwest. (Katherine, Dick, Linda, Kristen, and Jan) All of you worked hard and your efforts have been worthy and will not be lost. As we all know though, what lasts is our passion – our passion for kids, our passion for education, and our passion to make a difference in the lives of others. We also know from experience that there is always a reason for everything. Sometimes we do not understand, cry, stomp our feet, and even hide; but as time passes and we focus on the future, there seems to be another, better adventure we never would have dreamed that comes knocking at our door.

    This is true I believe for each FM and the DEN. I am one, like many others, who has gone through the many emotions of disbelief over the last week. However, the DEN is different because of the personal connection – which we need to remember is STILL THERE. The goal now becomes to continue this connection and passion, which I have no doubt will happen.

    St. Louis is hosting the Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC) at the end of February where Hall Davidson will be a Keynote Speaker. We are excited to have several other DEN members presenting their talented ideas. Many nationally recognized speakers will be at the METC including, Meg Ormiston, David Warlick, Christopher Moersch and Bernajean Porter. Each of these education supporters have had several bumps in the road and have all overcome them because of their deep passion and belief in what they are doing – making a difference! The METC is one way for educators across the nation to support, learn and grow in order to make a difference.

    So as we smooth the road together, and look to the future together, I am excited to continue to support, learn, and grow together – making a difference along the way.

  6. Michele Futch said:

    Thank You! I am pleased to hear this information. I have thought about this alot over the past week. The North Florida DEN and Danielle have meant a lot to me. (Danielle still does!) The DEN enabled me to grow professionally by leaps and bounds! I have become more technology proficient and learned so much from others. When I heard the DEN news last week, it was kind of like finding out Santa Claus isn’t real when you truly believed in him. I am trusting the DEN Leaders now to bridge the gap for us. We had too much of a good thing, to quit now.

    I will do whatever I can to help the DEN out, on any level needed. Feel free to continue to count on me. I will gladly help out with FETC next month, if needed. I am at your service. Merry Christmas to all!

  7. Cheryl Woolwine - North Florida said:

    I appreciate the information you have shared and the effort you seven are making but – how are you going to do it? As a member of the North Florida DEN and having had Danielle as our leader I just don’t see how it can be done. In the past I was in touch with Danielle, at least every other day by phone or email sharing news, information or just checking on how things went with a training or an upcoming training – Since the announcement last week I have heard from no one except on the blog – I hope the DEN makes it and if it does I would like to be a part of it- but I am not sure it can hold together now that the glue has been thinned out so much!
    Good Luck

  8. Betsy Whalen, Discovery Education said:

    Thanks for your comments – we will continue to post further details of our plans as we get them in place – including specifics on new processes for ordering training kits, points of contact, etc.

    Thanks for your patience – please keep the comments and feedback coming!:)

  9. Karla Halcomb said:

    Yeah!!!- I feel like the DEN is up and running again. I’ve already put to use the new ideas I learned at the Tennessee Conference just two weeks ago and as a new Star Educator. I still continue to be excited about utilizing the tools available and am even more excited to hear that conferences and rewards remain to be part of the DEN. What happens next for Star status folks? I’m looking forward to everything including meeting the great folks on board.

  10. marie belt said:

    I am happy that the DEN still seems like it will thrive. I am worried about those of us (myself included) who were not “techie” to begin with, who became more “techie” because of the influence and encouragement of our field managers. I have Jannita, so I know I will still have support. But, what about everyone else? In these NCLB times, it is easy to become fixated on “the program.” Yes, using technology, United Streaming, will help our students. But, I know that our teachers are stressed out, trying to deliver instruction, as “directed.” It is difficult, sometimes, to go beyond and make ourselves take on new learning. I speak from experience. I am so thankful to have had Jannita PERSONALLY sharing ideas for extending the curriculum. That piece will be missed by many. Those who were technologically savvy even before DEN will do just fine…but what about us newbies?

  11. ana said:

    I have to agree with last comments, and I am still in shock, processing all the changes. I feel lost without Danielle,and all the great comments and ideas we all shared in the blog, her willingness to help, confidence and words of encouragement at all times. I have felt a complete silence since she and the rst of the field managers left….there is emptiness…and for some of us..this den was our refuge. Although we did not know each other, it felt as if we did. I hope that connection reopens, not only on the professional side but in the true side of being a teacher, a colleague, a friend…Greetings to all.

  12. Suzanne Wesp said:

    I, too, am so relieved to see that the DEN will continue on, although somewhat different. From the workshops like AFI to the social gatherings, I have found the DEN to be a tremendous source of inspiration, comraderie, and resources. Jannita, you rock!! I’m glad we will still have you around to work with.

  13. Shanon Flynn said:

    I am really glad to know that DEN will continue, but it just won’t be the same without that personal touch that Danielle supplied for us. I’ll be watching to see how it goes.

  14. Darcie Priester said:

    I’m very happy to hear that there are continuing updates, however, part of me still would like to know why this happened the way it happened. Betsy made a comment on my blog, in response to my earlier question and I very much appreciated that, however, she and the rest of the seven didn’t make this initial decision. I think as discovery educators (and I want to stay on as one) we are still owed an explanation from the people who did make this decision. I would very much like to hear from them and what they have to say, as well.

  15. Maryann Molishus said:

    Two questions for anyone who can answer:

    1. I signed up for the Discovery pre-conference event at PETE&C but did not recieve confirmation that I am registered. I need to know so I can submit registration to principal. I want to know if this day is covered by DEN Star for me.

    2. What about the poster contest? I sent entries at the last minute to Shannon, PA field manager. I wonder if they got passed on.


  16. Carlene Shortz said:

    I was pleased to be asked to be part of the MI Advisory board. I was wondering if this board still exists? I was told it was on hold. Please let us know.
    Carlene Shortz

  17. Joy Wolfe said:

    Maryann, I hope your questions are answered.

    I have a few of my own. Though I’m not so much interested in supporting Discovery after what has happened, my school district is still paying for unitedstreaming. I haven’t used it in a couple of weeks, but when I logged on tonight, I noticed that mine isn’t working. It will play the first 7 or 8 seconds of a video, then will time out.

    In the past, I would have contacted Rachel, and would have had answers withing a few hours. I honestly don’t know whom I should contact at this point, and I need the videos for a class tomorrow.

    Also, there was a teacher at my school who had no access to the “my content” section or any of the other teacher options not too long ago. Again, I emailed Rachel, and by the end of the day she had contacted people at Discovery as well as the apporopriate people at my school’s IT division, and the problem was solved. I have recently been contacted by another teacher who is having the same problem. Whom should she contact? Will it be solved withing a few hours?

    I understand that Discovery no longer supports the resources that teachers need to solve such problems in as timely a manner as we’ve become accustomed to, but if this could be taken care of, I, as well as the other teachers in my district, would certainly appreciate it. If someone could please contact me as to whom I should address these issues, it would be great.

  18. Craig Halper said:

    Hi Joy,

    I posted to the discussion boards, but want to follow-up here as well to address your concern that there aren’t resources available to help you with your issues. The group which Rachel worked with to resolve your issues, Implementation, remains available to help solve problems teachers encounter when using unitedstreaming.

    You can reach us through the Support link on the site, or at 800-323-9084 for urgent issues.

    We look forward to hearing from you.


  19. Bev Matheson said:

    As I read the comments left on this blog, I too hope that everyone will continue to comment and share their experiences. After realizing that these posts are coming from educators from all over the U.S. I started thinking how wonderful it would be getting to know educators from outside my local DEN area. Having everyone post on the national blog is a great way to get started.The experience I had traveling with my local DEN friends to northern California and meeting their team was such a wonderful experience, I can’t wait to meet more of you from other regions. Let’s focus on the positives and make this work. We love you Jannita!

  20. Phyllis Gibson said:

    I am a new STAR Discovery Educator and need to know who to contact for more information. I was under the impression that I would receive a welcome packet and notebook for doing training sessions. I have not received anything. I had become a member right about the time that all of the managers lost their jobs. I had also given information to my regional manager about inservices I had attended and presented. How do I know if that information was relayed on to the right people.

  21. SKYONCHEM said:




    41. 1.Define half life period.
    2. What is a pseudo first order reaction?
    3. What is meant by energy of activation?
    4. What are parallel reactions? Give an example.

    42. 1. What are simple and complex reactions?
    2. Drive the relation between half life and rate constant for first order reaction.
    3. Give any three examples of opposing reactions.
    4.Write a note on consecutive reactions.


    1. Drive the Arrhenius equation for the effect of temperature
    2. How is the rate constant for the hydrolysis of an ester determined experimentally?
    3. Write an account of the Arrhenius equation for the effect of temperature
    on the rates of chemical reactions.
    4. Drive an expression for first order rate constant.
    5. Give the characteristics of order of a reaction
    6. Explain the experimental determination of tate constant for the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solutions.

  22. Chris said:

    Moving ahead is a good thing, as long as you honor your commitments made in the past.

    I spent a great deal of time training new teachers and showing them the ropes for your programs. Dan told me I would receive a Unitedstreaming Sweatshirt, size XL, for my efforts by Christmas. I have not received it. Perhaps it sounds petty, but I really would like the sweatshirt. (Or a lab coat size XXL if you have them lol) Also, another teacher at my school completed all the requirements for the Bag o Tricks but she has not received anything.
    I’ll have her contact you.
    thanks very much, and I look forward to receiving my sweatshirt.

  23. Betsy Whalen said:

    You will receive your sweatshirt. As you can imagine, losing 20 team members has caused things to be delayed while we get everything back on track. We’re working on getting rewards out to everyone.

  24. Chris said:

    Thanks for the note. It probably seems like a small thing to you, but I worked hard for it.

    My size is XXL

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