Learn how to modernize your K-12 financial operations

Over the past several years, K-12 school districts experienced the limitations of legacy systems. With the recent government funding available for pandemic recovery, a window of opportunity opens for K-12 schools to modernize and bring resilience to their spend management systems.

Automating your school district’s spend management solution should be a top priority. Market uncertainty has shown that faculty and staff spending data is often dispersed and hard to track, meaning you are missing complete spend visibility. This lack of reliable, consistent data is leaving school districts vulnerable to risks.

Join an eSchool News panel of experts as they discuss understanding and managing your school expenditures with a single platform that captures employee spend, when and how it happens, and how investing in a digital spend management solution can help enable school districts to increase efficiency, transparency, compliance, and control.…Read More

Building a Successful Certification Program at Your Institution

In a world where competition for jobs, pay increases, and academic success continues to increase, certifications offer hope to candidates and educators.

Certification helps to build a skilled workforce that meets the needs of local employers and government tech initiatives. Certification strikes the right balance of academic excellence and real-world skills, giving students the confidence and motivation they need to succeed both in school and in a profitable career.

“According to Pearson VUE’s 2021 Value of Certification study, 69% of IT managers believe certification significantly increases an employee’s productivity,” said Ray Murray, of Vice President and General Manager, Certiport. “Certifications are a great way to help candidates get their foot in the door and be more productive in their future careers.”

Defining certification

A certification is any credential that an individual can earn or achieve that validates a level of knowledge or a skillset related to a specific subject or discipline. Certifications are credentials that stand in addition to, in support of, or independently from degrees and diplomas.…Read More

E-rate spending reveals schools’ tech evolution

Schooling has changed in many ways in the last two years, but while remote learning, mask policies and increased federal spending in education have gotten lots of attention, another trend has gone nearly unnoticed.

But thanks to the availability of detailed E-rate data, this sea change is now being recognized. E-rate is the federal government program that provides discounts of up to 90 percent for schools and libraries to bring high-speed internet into their building(s) and create internal networks for online access. For years, E-rate applicants have leveraged E-rate to bring fast internet service into their organizations, cobbling together funds and seeking out providers. But today, a new trend is emerging—more funds are being requested to improve internal networks, allowing the flood of devices now used in schools and libraries to effectively get online.

E-rate funding requested in Category One, which includes data transmission services and internet access, has declined for five straight years, largely a function of increasing marketplace competition and decreasing per-megabit prices.  But funding requests for Category Two services have soared in the same time period. Category Two funds can be spent on wireless access points, network switches, data cabling and other resources essential for on-campus connections.…Read More

How online tutoring helps us close learning gaps and support teachers

A report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms that the pandemic greatly impacted students’ academic progress across all grade levels and instructional models.

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) has leveraged pandemic relief funds to invest in additional resources for our district community. In addition to enhancing our summer school program, we are helping teachers support their students—and close learning gaps—by providing access to online, high-impact tutoring services. 

While we originally implemented online tutoring for our virtual school only, we were so impressed by the results that we decided to scale the service across our district. Now, every student has unlimited access to high-quality tutors—regardless of their grade level or academic standing.…Read More

School System, County, and Police Partner on New Modernized Bus Initiative to Enhance Student Safety in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to halt dangerous driving around its school buses beginning this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.

As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.

“There is no bigger cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell said. “This partnership is another step in accomplishing that, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources, and energy in it. I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk.”…Read More

The digital dilemma in student well-being

The second week in May was the 21st annual Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year focused on the impact of loneliness and the practical steps we can take to address it.  

For young people in particular, mental health has become one of the greatest challenges they are faced with today. In the UK, government figures indicate that one in six young people aged 6 to 16 had a probable mental health condition in late 2021, a sharp increase from one in nine in 2017.  

Meanwhile, 50 percent of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by the age of 14, with 75 percent developing by the age of 24, according to NAMI, The National Alliance for Mental Illness in the US. This shows just what a crucial and vulnerable stage adolescence is and why it is so important to support young people in this stage of life.…Read More

Labster Secures $47M in New Funding Tranche to Expand Global Opportunities for Virtual Science Laboratory Simulations

COPENHAGEN and BOSTON – April 6, 2022 – Labster ( www.labster.com), the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and interactive science, has raised $47 million in additional funding to support massive growth opportunities worldwide. This new capital infusion will enable Labster to further develop in Europe and the United States and to establish itself within Asia and Latin America. By investing more funds into its library of science simulations and expanding its reach to younger students and adult workforce skills training, Labster will be able to serve 100 million students around the world through its institutional and government partnerships.

Total investment in Labster now stands at $147 million. This new financing tranche is sourced from new investors: Sofina Group and Pirate Impact, along with fresh infusions from existing investors: Owl Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, EduCapital, NPF Technologies, and GGV Capital. They are joining the Series C round announced in 2021 led by Andreessen Horowitz. Additional investors included Balderton Capital, Northzone, Swisscom Ventures, and David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies.

“As a contributor to sustainable development, Sofina is proud to support Labster’s vision of empowering millions of students with an engaging STEM learning experience,” said Bertrand Fawe, investment manager at Sofina Group. “The use of immersive virtual reality technology will continue to play a growing role in the delivery of education.”…Read More

Introducing a new State and District Data Validation Tool for SKYWARD® Users

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – APRIL 6, 2022 – Level Data, Inc. announces a new suite of data validation tools for districts using the Skyward brand Student Information System (SIS). Level Data is a privately-held SaaS Company working with over 1,200 school districts and more than 5 million students using their data validation, data integration and reporting products.

Public School Administrators and student data specialists everywhere understand that submitting accurate data to federal and state agencies is absolutely essential for their district to receive all the funding they are entitled to from many government sources. State submission specialists at school districts are under significant pressure to secure all the funding they possibly can to bolster their local budgets.

Also of critical importance, data-driven decision-making has proven to be key in providing the highest quality of education to students. These decisions that can positively affect curriculum and other strategies are only as good as the quality of the underlying data. Simply put, districts that do not actively focus on maintaining the highest quality data face a substantial performance and economic disadvantage.…Read More

What are the next steps to defend K-12 schools from cyberattacks?

Education has been dealt a difficult hand over the past several years. The mass shift to virtual schooling during the pandemic upended systems in so many ways, and it shone a light on the aging infrastructure and technical deficits so many school districts struggle with. Not only did children and teachers have to be more flexible and resilient than ever, but districts also have been hammered by ransomware and other cyberattacks.

At the same time, schools aren’t always getting the right guidance for dealing with the increased cybersecurity threats. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released late last year found that the U.S. Department of Education’s current plan for addressing K-12 school threats needed updating and was primarily focused on mitigating physical threats. And that plan was issued in 2010–in terms of cybersecurity, that might as well be eons ago.

So, what should education IT leaders be doing? And what should they be on the lookout for?…Read More