5 ways our district streamlines edtech ecosystems

Student data privacy has been at the forefront of district leaders’ minds well before the pandemic. However, since COVID-19 shifted schools and classrooms online, it’s not surprising that tech usage has reached an all-time high. Districts are accessing 1,400 edtech tools per month on average, and cybersecurity attacks in our nation’s schools are also increasing.

As an Education Technology Specialist at one of Colorado’s fastest-growing districts, District 49, I was tasked 5 years ago with the responsibility to ensure our district complied with federal and student data privacy laws. Both state and federal laws require vendors and school districts to facilitate safe online learning experiences. However, when the pandemic hit, our district was forced to rethink our approach beyond compliance to further vet our edtech tools and make protecting student data privacy a regular practice of our edtech ecosystem.

For the process to work, I knew we would have to work collaboratively, across departments and buildings, to confirm that our teachers and students were using digital tools that delivered value without exposing student data to risk.…Read More

Is blockchain the key to college success?

A student’s credentials and accomplishments, stored on and secured by blockchain technology, can set students up for college acceptance and college success, said Joshua Samuel, the CEO of Coins for College.

During a session at FETC 2023, Samuel explored how blockchain can be used in real world to solve problems like knowledge gaps, student motivation, attendance, teacher compensation.

Blockchain technology holds the promise to change much of what’s plaguing education today, he asserted. Blockchain relies on methods of cryptography, which secures data from unauthorized access and keeps students’ information safe.…Read More

New school year shows continued signs of academic rebounding

Post-pandemic academic achievement is showing encouraging signs of improvement, although not evenly across school years, according to NWEA, a nonprofit, research and educational services organization serving K-12 students.

The new research findings are based on fall 2022 assessment data from nearly 7 million US students in grades 3-8.

The new report is part of NWEA’s ongoing research effort to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted student achievement in reading and math. …Read More

LINQ K-12 Customers Anticipated to Serve Nearly 4 Billion Meals to Students in Fiscal Year 2022

WILMINGTON, N.C. (PRWEB) — LINQ, creator of leading nutrition software solutions, today shares that its Nutrition customers’ usage data shows that nearly 4 billion meals were served to students in fiscal 2022 reflecting a 44 percent increase over the 2.7 billion meals served in fiscal 2021. LINQ Nutrition customers supported serving these meals while managing their reimbursements through state and federal nutrition programs.

The USDA reports on the  overall number of meals served to students through a variety of nutrition programs with reimbursements of almost $9 billion to schools in fiscal 2021. Through LINQ Nutrition solutions, customers across the country can successfully manage their school nutrition programs, limiting food waste, nourishing students, and educating them on the importance of nutrition.

“We’re proud that we’ve enabled our customers to easily order, plan and provide students nutritious meals while getting reimbursed through state and federal programs,” said Brandy Keller, Senior VP of Product at LINQ. “Knowing that districts have been able to successfully manage their nutrition programs through LINQ, especially during the challenges of the last couple of years, reaffirms that we are accomplishing what we set out to do every day.”…Read More

How to identify student anxiety in the classroom

Issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to pop up as educators devote more time to student anxiety issues in the classroom. Frustrations mount as they attempt to manage both instructional requirements and a decrease in achievement from at-risk students.

In particular, teachers report escalating anxiety symptoms since the pandemic lockdowns, and data is now available to support their conclusions. The CDC recently declared a student mental health crisis, with 44 percent of high school students reporting sadness or hopelessness.

Dealing with struggling students can overwhelm teachers as they report spending more time attempting to support individuals while shortchanging the rest of the class. Diagnosing and remedying problems is essential.…Read More

Foundational literacy is key to reversing post-COVID reading declines

Our first look at long-term trends in reading and math assessments since the pandemic began affirm what many education professionals were anticipating. 

The National Association for Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as “The Nation’s Report Card,” recently issued its signature report, which revealed that students assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic experienced significant declines in both mathematics and reading. NAEP’s 2022 data shows that “average scores at both grades [eighth and fourth] were not significantly different in comparison to the first reading assessment [20 years prior] in 1992.”

And while reading score declines as measured by various student assessments during COVID-19 are alarming, they are not unexpected given the profound obstacles students have faced.…Read More

6 reasons to improve teacher and principal evaluation policies

New data and analysis released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds ample opportunities for improvement in states’ teacher and principal evaluation policies. With educator quality as the most powerful in-school factor that contributes to students’ academic success, an essential component to supporting student recovery in the wake of pandemic-related learning loss must be ensuring all students have access to effective teachers and administrators.

Evidence-based teacher and principal evaluation policies, when well-implemented, have great potential to help individual educators strengthen their practice, promote overall improvements in the quality of the workforce, and—most importantly—support increased student achievement.

“Strong, well-implemented teacher and principal evaluation systems can make a big difference for both teachers and students,” said Dr. Heather Peske, NCTQ President. “It’s disappointing to see that states have continued to back away from evidence-based evaluation policies and practices over the past several years, especially when we need to ensure every child has access to great teachers more than ever.”

The new NCTQ report, State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies, presents data and analysis on policies from all 50 states and D.C. covering essential, evidence-based components of teacher and principal evaluation systems. Despite increased state adoption of evidence-based evaluation policies over a decade ago, the most recent data documents a continued decline in the number of states with teacher and principal evaluation requirements in place that research shows have the potential to drive significant improvements in student learning. 

Key findings in the NCTQ data include:

  • Fewer states require that objective measures of student growth be included in a teacher or principal’s evaluation. Helping students to grow academically is core to the role of all educators. Between 2009 and 2015, most states adopted policies that required educator evaluations include some objective measure of student growth, such as student state, district, or school assessment data or data from student learning objectives. However, while 43 states had this requirement for both teacher and principal evaluations in 2015, that number has since dropped to 30 states for teachers and 27 states for principals. While the pandemic may have interrupted assessments, recent declines in student results should reinvigorate states’ focus on student growth.
  • Fewer states now explicitly allow or require that student feedback be incorporated into a teacher’s evaluation. Teacher evaluations that include multiple sources of data, including from student assessments, teacher observations, and student surveys, create a fuller, more accurate picture of a teacher’s performance. Despite evidence that feedback from students is an important component to include in assessing teacher quality and to gauge students’ experiences, only five states now require that student surveys be included in a teacher’s evaluation. Support for including survey data in principal evaluations has also declined, with now only eight states requiring surveys or feedback from students, teachers, parents, and/or peers be included in a principal’s evaluation.

Related:
Prediction: The future of teacher evaluations is video
Post-COVID plans should focus on program values and evaluation…Read More

K-12 cybersecurity vendors: Is the threat already in your house?

K-12 vendors are key components in all aspects of K-12 education. From operational needs such as attendance and payroll to learning applications for reading, science, and mathematics, vendors ensure school districts operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

But K-12 vendors are also one of the greatest single sources of cybersecurity vulnerability for schools and districts. The U.S. Government Accountability Office asserted that “cyberattacks carried out directly against edtech vendors […] tend to have an especially severe impact on K-12 because they affect a large swath of students across multiple school districts at the same time.”

In fact, K12 SIX’s annual report asserted that 55 percent of reported school data breaches in 2021 were connected to incidents originating from district vendors.…Read More