E-Rate Survival FAQs

  • What (and who) is E-rate?

    E-rate is a US Federal Program for funding telecom and technology in K-12 schools and Libraries. The program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under direction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Key components of the program include:

    • Universal Service Administrative Company(USAC)
      • An independent, not-for-profit corporation that operates as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). The USF helps provide communities across the country with affordable telecommunications services.
    • Schools and Libraries Division (SLD)
      • A division of USAC responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the E-rate Program
    • Universal Service Fund(USF)
      • Currently all telecommunications companies that provide service between states, including long distance companies, local telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, paging companies, and payphone providers, are required to contribute to the federal Universal Service Fund. Carriers providing international services also must contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
  • Where do I go to apply for E-rate?

    Riverbed Xirrus provides a step-by-step guide to the E-rate funding process at http://erate.xirrus.com under the Start Here menu. The application process is described by USAC on their web site starting here: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx

  • Is my district or facility eligible for E-rate?

    Typically, most K-12 educational facilities, consortia and libraries are eligible, but there are some requirements. A facility’s or district’s eligibility can be determined starting here: http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/beforeyoubegin/default.aspx…Read More

Greatest lesson: Teacher buy-in is overrated

One of the greatest lessons my 30 years of experience in education has taught me is that teacher buy-in is, sometimes, overrated.

There, I said it.

Now, before you stop reading, note my use of the word “sometimes.”  As a former school administrator, I realize there is a time and place for buy-in.  However, as one of my mentors, a seasoned middle school principal once explained to me, while consensus and collaborative decision-making is important, it can also be paralyzing to innovation.  Understanding the balance between growing buy-in and launching innovation has never been more important than in today’s era.…Read More

Getting struggling students to read requires both data and compassion

When I became an administrator back in 2008, I realized there were too many students flying under the radar and not reading at their grade level. If there’s one thing I know as an educator, now a superintendent, it’s that reading level defines success—period. Research shows that if a student reads on grade level, his or her likelihood of being successful dramatically increases.

Early in my educational career, I learned first-hand the impact of using student achievement data to guide my instruction, but assessment results don’t tell the whole story of a student. As part of my mission to see that no student falls through the cracks, all are greater than average, and everyone graduates knowing how to read, I developed an idea called “Truthful Kindness and Necessary Action” to help me balance objective reporting and empathy for students.

The ‘compassionate rescue’ is not enough

In my district, we talk a lot about being kind to students. While my teachers are extremely kind, there are situations where students are what I call “compassionately rescued” from their struggles. In other words, teachers may be allowing struggling students to slide through, or rescue them from the necessary struggle of having to master key skills, when they haven’t shown mastery.…Read More

10 ed-tech resources for school administrators

You don’t have to be a technology-savvy administrator to start implementing these resources today

technology-administrator-educationSometimes it may seem like teachers get to experience all the technology “fun,” but there are many education technology resources that school administrators can use to meet the unique challenges they face.

For example, many school administrators spend time reviewing and revising handfuls of crucial documents. Administrators also need to be able to communicate with staff anytime, anywhere; appease anxious parents; know learning standards and implementation strategies; and provide 21st-century professional development for staff–not an easy job.

However, it doesn’t always take the latest and greatest (sometimes even in beta) technology to make an administrator’s job more efficient; sometimes, it’s the often-overlooked technology, or vetted technology an administrator may not know about, that can help juggle multiple tasks within a day.…Read More

How administrators collaborate and connect

Ed-tech administrators offer advice to help others build personal learning networks

administrators-connectedEd-tech leaders gathered for a Connected Educator Month webinar to explore what it means to be a connected administrator; how connected administrators empower teachers, students, and parents; and how a few simple actions can lead to a more connected and positive school culture.

Moderated by Tom Daccord, director of EdTechTeacher, a professional learning organization, panelists included:
Eric Sheninger, principal at New Milford High School in New Jersey
Patrick Larkin, assistant superintendent for learning in the Burlington Public Schools (Mass.)
Carl Hooker, director for instructional technology in the Eanes Independent School District (Texas)

Below are the panelists’ responses to a number of tech-centric questions.…Read More

App of the week: Look For

lookforappName: Look For

What is it? A research-based program developed with national and state core teaching standards that enables users to organize, identify, clarify, and provide immediate feedback to classroom teachers regarding their instructional practices. This app is an answer for high performing staff developers, instructional coaches, peer coaches, and school administrators seeking to improve classroom instruction in their schools.

Best for: Administrators…Read More

Free administrator MOOC focuses on digital learning

New K-12 MOOC connects school and district leaders to implement digital learning initiatives

mooc-digitalA new, free Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC -Ed), designed to help district and school leaders, will focus specifically on helping administrators effectively implement digital learning.

The MOOC, “Planning for the K–12 Digital Learning Transition,” offered by the Friday Institute at NC State University and the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), began on September 30 and will continue for the next eight weeks.

This course is designed for busy district, school, and teacher leaders and teams; thus, the MOOC is structured enough to help guide administrators through the content, but accommodates a demanding schedule. This MOOC-Ed will help district leaders “understand the potential of digital learning in K–12 schools; assess progress and set future goals for their schools or districts; and develop a plan to achieve those goals,” said Project 24, which is part of AEE.…Read More

10 school solutions for mobile device management

Bring Your Own Device initiatives just got a whole lot easier for schools

school-device

Schools usually never do anything on a small scale, and that includes the recent boom in “bring your own device” (BYOD) initiatives. From smartphones to tablets and iPads, mobile device management (MDM) has never been more vital for a successful school BYOD program. However, choosing a mobile device management solution can be a daunting task, especially in light of already-strained school IT resources and limited administrator knowledge beyond what device to implement.

That’s why the editors of eSchool News have hand-picked 10 school solutions for mobile device management, based on scope of the solution, how well the vendor incorporates school-specific needs, and industry reputation.…Read More