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

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