How to make the most of your COVID relief funds

School district leaders across the country are cautiously optimistic about post-pandemic teaching and learning–and they’re also tracking what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade their technology infrastructure and classrooms with next-gen solutions like interactive displays, laptops, and more.

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three COVID relief packages that added up to over $190 billion for public and private schools. Billions more are slated to arrive shortly.

The potential for this funding is great. How to effectively secure and implement it can be daunting. Join eSchool News and a panel of the country’s most insightful analysts as they discuss the state-of-play of federal and state edtech funding programs and what districts can do to take advantage.…Read More

Student well-being is critical–here’s how to support it

Student well-being has a direct impact on student motivation, engagement, and learning. In short, their social and emotional well-being has a long-term impact. It is absolutely critical that educators learn to support student well-being.

Skills such as self-awareness and self-management are also critical for effective collaboration and learning. And when school leaders support overall student and educator well-being, creates a foundation for equitable education environments.

During an eSchool News webinar featuring edtech educators and district mental health experts, attendees will learn how to:…Read More

7 facts about the state of edtech in schools

School networks are getting faster and more modern, but school IT leaders and IT departments struggle to keep up with the demand for remote access and support, according to an annual CoSN survey.

The State of EdTech District Leadership 2022 survey provides a high-level sense of what school district leaders think of the state of technology in education. The 2022 K-12 IT Leadership Survey is CoSN’s ninth annual survey and was made possible by the Ed-Fi Alliance and CDW-G, conducted in partnership with MCH DataK12 Insight and AASA.

“There are no lack of challenges facing our nation’s schools today, but the annual CoSN IT survey also shines a light on several areas where we can be encouraged; increased connectivity, more devices, increased awareness of security and the outsized impact that IT leaders are having on their school districts’ planning processes,” said Troy Wheeler, president of the Ed-Fi Alliance. …Read More

Case Study: How Weston School District Built a Digital Strategy with Digital Signage, 15 Minutes at a Time

(May 12, 2022) –– Rise Vision has released a new case study of Weston School District, a small school district which serves three rural communities of Cazenovia, Hillpoint, and Lime Ridge, Weston and has a student population of 300 students. While Weston School District doesn’t face the problems a very large school does, it does face its own challenges.

Amanda Keller, who has been social media and public relations director at Weston for the past 4 years discussed the district’s challenges of its students across 12 years of compulsory education. Back in 2018, Weston struggled with keeping families updated with printed, physical newsletters.

‘It was frustrating to put so much time into communication we knew would be outdated before it reached our families and community,’ Keller continues. ‘It was also time-consuming to create bulletin boards that were very limited in how we could use them. These bulletin boards also had to be recreated often to keep the images current.’…Read More

Here’s how IT leaders can keep district networks safe

IT teams understand how important cybersecurity measures are, but many struggle to pinpoint where to begin when their resources are limited.

And when COVID closed in-person classrooms, it also gave a boost to cybercriminals looking to infiltrate school district networks. Data security breaches–including ransomware attacks, phishing, and unauthorized disclosures–show no sign of slowing, and K-12 IT leaders need to be ready.

Threats to K-12 education networks will never be eliminated, but there are strategies to successfully defend sensitive school district information. Want to learn more? Join a conversation with fellow edtech leaders and experts as they share best practices on both the technical aspects–software and services–and the human aspects–professional development and community education–of keeping your networks safe and sound.…Read More

Charleston County Schools Selects Open Up Resources And Kiddom To Provide K-8 English Language Arts Blended Learning Program

CHARLESTON, SCOpen Up Resources, a nonprofit increasing equity in education by making the highest quality curriculum accessible to educators, and Kiddom, the first all-in-one education platform for high-quality digital curriculum, announced today a new partnership to bring the top-rated EL Education K-8 English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum to Charleston County School District (CCSD) in support of the district’s blended learning efforts.

The partnership will provide teachers the ability to utilize the ELA curriculum on Kiddom’s platform to share assignments digitally, communicate with students, and deliver personalized feedback on submissions, while prioritizing student reading proficiency and content knowledge of science and social studies. Additionally, the partnership will equip CCSD with a full-service, multi-year professional learning plan from EL Education to support teachers, plus access to peer-to-peer communications within Open Up’s K-8 EL Education digital community.

“Putting students at the heart of this work has been our tagline for a while, but we watched schools make the decision to opt-out of what’s easier or more comfortable and that’s the true evidence that we are putting students first,” saidEmilie Woody, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Charleston County School District.…Read More

4 steps to a successful SEL implementation

After several years of using a homegrown social emotional learning (SEL) approach, our district decided it was time for a more official curriculum that would support our middle and high school students’ mental health, academic achievement, and overall well-being.

With about 840 students in grades 8-12, we’d already developed a homeroom/advisory period meant to create community among students. Our goal was to develop a “belongingness” within our students and staff.

As we built that out, we started creating our own lessons using some of the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) curriculum. We assembled an advisory team of teachers who helped aggregate resources about mindfulness, kindness, and other core topics.…Read More

How to implement a districtwide K-12 computer science program

With recent research showcasing the growing number of STEM-related jobs that will be available to our graduates in Indiana in the coming years, teaching computer science skills has become as important as teaching students how to read or do math. The state has recognized this importance by mandating that all schools incorporate computer science for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

As the career and STEM academy director for Barr-Reeve Community Schools, I helped our district integrate computer science into our K-12 students’ school days. Our program helps students develop essential skills for academic and professional success. I’ve learned a number of lessons along the way and hope districts across the nation can benefit from my experience.

Starting small…Read More

Los Angeles Unified School District Offers Spectrum Enterprise Stay Connected K-12 Solution to Families as a Way to Receive Robust Home Internet Access at No Cost to Students

LOS ANGELES – Charter Communications, Inc. today announced that it is working with the  Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the country’s second largest school district, to help thousands of families who lack robust internet connectivity at home enroll in the  Spectrum Enterprise  Stay Connected K-12 solution, which is provided at no cost for students. The Stay Connected K-12 offering is part of the District’s broader efforts to help close the digital divide in its communities and make it easier for all students to fulfill their academic potential.

Stay Connected K-12 provides schools the ability to offer high-speed, reliable broadband internet access directly to their students in their own homes so learning and teaching are uninterrupted. Participating families are not billed for the service.

“Without reliable internet access, our students don’t have what they need to learn,” said Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of LAUSD. “It’s as simple as that. Los Angeles Unified is relentless in our efforts to equip our students with the resources they need to achieve their full academic potential.”…Read More

Don’t forget social, emotional health for district IT staff

During all the tumult of the last two years of schooling, from remote to hybrid to masked in-person, educators prioritized the social and emotional needs of students. A full 70 percent of schools now offer mental health programming, according to a recent survey from the American School District Panel and 20 percent of these schools say they added these services as a response to the pandemic disruptions. Shifting toward helping our students’ emotional well-being is vital and, in many cases, has shown extraordinary results. But we need to make sure we don’t forget the social and emotional health of district IT staff. 

Think about how much stress we all felt especially at the beginning of the pandemic. Not only was there personal stress but schools went remote instantly. District and school IT staff had to not only set up 1:1 programs on the fly, but also find new remote learning software and create helpdesks for thousands of students.

It’s clear now that part of a well-thought digital strategy for the future includes wellbeing support for IT technicians and school support staff, too. For example, such support can come from tools that ease cumulative stressors by saving time, lightening workloads, improving communication, and simplifying or automating procedures. Embracing a digital strategy that runs right across all areas of the school ensures that every staff member can benefit from the advantages offered by technology. …Read More