Federal funding can help you install air purification systems in your school

Prior to the pandemic, many schools, colleges, and universities had indoor air quality challenges, but the past 18 months has brought a heightened awareness to a growing problem. Forty percent of the nation’s school systems need to replace at least half of their HVAC systems, according to a 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office.

Proper ventilation is a key prevention strategy for mitigating pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, as well as reducing dust, allergens, and VOCs to improve health and well-being.

Many school, district, and higher education leaders are working to improve indoor air quality for their facilities and the government has offered funding to supplement those costs.…Read More

U.S. Department of Education Taps FileBank to Deliver Ed Tech Services

OAKLAND, N.J., Aug. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — New Jersey-based enterprise management company, FileBank today announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Education.  Through this partnership, FileBank will provide ed tech services to the federal agency, storing physical documents in its 600,000 cubic foot archive center known as The Vault ™, and providing digital access through its secure, cloud-based platform.

This furthers the New Jersey company’s growth to education and government institutions across the country. FileBank provides ed tech and enterprise content management services to more than 300 schools and municipalities in the region. During the past year, FileBank has signed partnerships with new clients including the South Brunswick Board of Education.

“While it is an exciting contract for FileBank, it is also an honor to serve our country through the way we know best… document management,” says Gregory Copeland, President of FileBank. “Our bespoke solution promises to increase business productivity, organization, efficiency and the management of their crucial documents in a central and secure repository.”…Read More

School’s (locked) out: Defending against the new ransomware threat

With schools planning for the 2021-2022 school year, a threat already impacting districts across the country is on many district leaders’ minds. Ransomware is proving to be a thorn in the side of the federal government, healthcare institutions, IT organizations, and school districts.  

Since December of last year, many of the nation’s top cybersecurity organizations, including the FBI, CISA, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) have

received numerous reports of ransomware attacks against K-12 educational institutions.…Read More

How AI technologies support school safety

The COVID pandemic has changed much about how we live and how we work. Nowhere is this more evident than in our schools – in how we safely teach our students and how our students learn, safely. The challenge with schools is that, from a safety perspective, educational institutions were already under siege.

Consider the following: According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 3,200 fires each year in schools in the U.S. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, there are roughly 115 school bus incidents involving fatalities each year. Of course, most people don’t realize this because this information is overshadowed by the 180 school shootings in the U.S. from 2009-2018, according to CNN.

And now – in 2021 – we have inserted the impact of a global pandemic into this already-volatile situation, with almost no suggestions or assistance to these schools regarding how to safely re-open and keep our school campuses open.…Read More

4 ways digital tools streamline summer program administration

Summer school is more important than ever this year as school administrators establish new learning programs to give K–12 students an opportunity to catch up on schoolwork and enrichment programs they missed during the pandemic. The federal government is also paying extra attention to summer programs, earmarking $1.2 billion in its massive relief package.

By the end of the 2020–2021 academic year, most U.S. schools were open, but administrators are still taking precautions to mitigate potential virus outbreaks among staff and students. This will be the norm for the foreseeable future since vaccines are widely available for staff and older children but haven’t yet been approved for younger kids.

Last year, teachers and school administrators adopted digital tools in greater numbers than ever before. Companies offering tools like online forms saw a spike in demand, and they are now seeing it rise again as schools organize summer learning programs.…Read More

3 tech tools to engage students beyond the physical classroom

There is no doubt that education-focused technology has taken the world by storm over the last year. As a matter of fact, new research suggests that the federal government, state governments, and local school districts combined spend somewhere between $26 billion and $41 billion per year on edtech. Some disagree on the finer nuances of these figures, but one thing is for sure—tech tools are becoming more and more intertwined within the fabric of our educational systems.

One factor contributing significantly to the recent surge in the deployment of tech tools has been the pandemic. However, as remote learning begins to ease and in-class sessions start back up, more and more of these technologies will fade into the background. The tech tools with staying power are those possessing utility beyond the classroom—those that can be adopted for things like remote afterschool programming and tutoring sessions. These include technologies that aren’t meant to replace physical learning, but instead enhance it.

Here are three new tech tools that educators should think of when looking to engage students beyond the physical classroom: …Read More

OverDrive Education Provides Free Resources to Schools Receiving COVID-19 Relief Funds

Toolkit facilitates district decision making to eliminate barriers to reading and increase equity

CLEVELAND – May 14, 2021 – The federal government has approved billions of dollars of relief funds for schools, but some educators are unclear where the funds originate and how they should be used. Today, OverDrive Education announced a new effort to guide school districts through the process of understanding and using Education Stabilization Funds (ESF). Interested schools can access the full collection of resources in the K-12 Funding Champion Toolkit.

Since March 2020, the U.S. Department of Education has allocated nearly $193 billion in K-12 COVID-19 relief funding to states. The government funds, also known by legislative acronyms CARES, CRRSA, ARP and ESSER, can be used in a variety of ways ranging from improving ventilation, expanding after-school programs and purchasing digital resources like ebooks and audiobooks.…Read More

3 things parents of neurodiverse kids should know

As we wrap up April’s Autism Acceptance Month, it’s been so heartening this year to see businesses and our government show solidarity and launch numerous initiatives that support neurodiverse kids.

Movie theaters now have “sensory friendly showings.” The Utah Jazz took efforts to make their arena certified by KultureCity, making the stadium more accommodating for fans with sensory needs. President Biden signed a proclamation calling April 2, 2021 as World Autism Acceptance Day.

These are all worthy efforts and initiatives. But I’m also aware that for many parents, this April could be the first time they are recognizing Autism Acceptance Month, or the first time it’s been on their radar. Maybe they just received a diagnosis and are feeling overwhelmed. As great as these initiatives are, the parents of neurodiverse kids may need something simpler: connection, guidance, and empathy from other parents who know their situation.…Read More

The College Board Partners with PBLWorks to Train Teachers for New AP Courses Rooted in Project Based Learning

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the College Board to offer a new PBL-based professional development program for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Environmental Science and U.S Government and Politics. The new courses use a Project Based Learning method of teaching and are based on powerful new breakthrough research just released by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, that found PBL coupled with high-quality professional development significantly improves student performance when compared to students in non-PBL classrooms.

Specifically, the research demonstrated that high school students in AP classes who engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based projects with real-world applications performed higher than their peers on AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Environmental Science exams. In year one of a randomized controlled trial in five U.S. cities they scored 8 percentage points higher, and in year two of the study they scored 10 percentage points higher – and they were more likely to earn a qualifying score of 3 or above which could increase their chance of receiving college credit and saving on tuition.

“We’ve seen the impact of PBL firsthand in our work with schools and now this research provides proof of its impact on students who are taking AP classes,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks, “That’s why we’ve partnered with the College Board to support new project-based AP courses that are relevant, authentic, and engaging.”…Read More