Meet the Winners—Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) in Manassas, Virginia wins the 2024 Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity.

The CoSN Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity recognizes a district that is working to address digital equity, narrow the Homework Gap and ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

“PWCS’ commitment to bridging the digital divide is unwavering, and receiving the Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity recognizes the collaborative efforts of our division and schools,” said Matt Guilfoyle, Chief Information Officer, PWCS. “We believe that equitable access to technology is essential, and it is our responsibility to empower our students to be digital citizens who use information technology to better themselves and the world around them.”

PWCS uses and supports technology in innovative ways. Most importantly, each school has an instructional technology coach who offers professional development and assistance to teachers, supporting a culture of innovation. The rich data culture has positively affected attendance, student support and graduation rates.…Read More

Friday 5: College and career readiness

Key points:

When we think of K-12 education, an important aspect is what students do after high school. That might be college, it might be workforce training, or it might be direct entry into a career. These options make college and career readiness an essential aspect of K-12 education.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest questions around college and career skills today:…Read More

Using tech to drive innovation in early care and education

Key points:

Fasten your seatbelts. The past few years in the early care and education (ECE) space have been a figurative roller coaster ride of ups and downs when it comes to the availability and distribution of public funds.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating, negative impact on the ECE supply and availability of care, as well as the exodus of large portions of the ECE workforce. In response to this national crisis, Congress provided a total of over $52 billion dollars in additional funding to stabilize the ECE field and ensure that eligible families were still able to access care. States have used these funds to not only stabilize the supply of care and the ECE workforce, but also to explore new solutions to support efforts to rebuild, expand, and improve the quality of ECE across the country.…Read More

Cybersecurity: eSN Innovation Roundtable

Cybersecurity is arguably one of the biggest priorities in K-12 school districts across the country. IT leaders agree that a “when, not if” mentality is essential in formulating a K-12 cybersecurity strategy to keep school networks and sensitive information protected from hackers, phishing, ransomware, and other external (and internal) threats.

During an eSchool News Innovation Roundtable with a focus on cybersecurity, moderated by eSchool News Content Director Kevin Hogan, district IT leaders explored the challenging and ever-evolving topic of K-12 cybersecurity. Roundtable participants included:

  • Phil Hintz, Chief Technology Officer, Niles Township District 219 (IL)
  • Greg Limperis, Director of Technology, Lowell Public Schools (MA)
  • Sandra Paul, Director of Information Technology, Township of Union Public Schools (NJ)
  • Mohammed Saleh, Associate Chief Technology and Management Information Systems Officer, Paterson Public Schools (NJ)
  • Paul Sanfrancesco, Director of Technology, Owen J. Roberts School District (PA)

Key takeaways and insights from the roundtable include:…Read More

3 key strategies for district leaders to build a resilient educator workforce

Key points:

Teachers matter more to student achievement than any other aspect of schooling. Research shows that “when it comes to student performance on reading and math tests, teachers are estimated to have two to three times the effect of any other school factor, including services, facilities, and even leadership.” Yet, despite this significant impact, too often, district strategies focus on interventions that prioritize students and their achievement, while educators are left with the same supports and resources amidst increasingly higher expectations.

Students matter AND district leaders need to prioritize taking care of the adults who take care of the kids.…Read More

9 in 10 K-12 tech leaders predict surge in IT workload

Key points:

Nine out of ten K-12 tech leaders expect their IT asset inventories will grow in 2024, while almost half (48 percent) predict their IT budgets will diminish, according to a new survey by Incident IQ, a workflow management platform built for K-12 schools, which recently polled Technology Leadership Council members. 

Nonetheless, these IT leaders were clear in their determination to minimize the impact on students of any budget cuts. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said that maintaining device access is one of their big goals for the year, and a solid 87 percent of respondents stated that sustaining 1:1 initiatives at their current levels is a top priority for 2024. …Read More

Safety First

While everyone’s favorite acronym—AI—seems to be the hottest topic as #CoSN2024 kicks off here in Miami, Ashley May, M.S., M.Ed., CETL, Director, Educational Technology Spring Branch ISD (TX), reminds us what is truly the most urgent and present concern for all edtech leaders. Security—whether online or in-person— is always issue number one.

eSchool News was able to interview Ashley about various aspects of ensuring student safety online, where she emphasizes the importance of collaboration between technology services and academic teams when it comes to data privacy, culture building, parental involvement, and the evolving landscape of educational technology. Have a listen:

The discussion highlights the necessity for proactive measures to safeguard students in the digital space, as well as the continuous review and adaptation of practices to address emerging challenges.…Read More

It’s not business, it’s personal: Building a culture of trust to protect personal data

This post on data protection originally appeared on CoSN’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

Key points:

Protecting our privacy and security is challenging. Really challenging. It is also inconvenient, time-consuming, and sometimes frustrating. Forgot your password? Yeah, that’s going to take some time to reset. Now, I need to enter a code to verify it is me. Or do I have to complete a CAPTCHA? Why is everything so hard?…Read More

Admins need PD too— Insights on CoSN’s CTO Academy

What does it take to run the tech for a school district in 2024? A lot more than resetting the router. At #CoSN2024 next week, a cohort of news CTOs will convene as part of the year-long CTO Academy. Kelly Sain, Thompson School District (CO) CTO, was gracious enough to give eSchool some details. She emphasizes the evolving role of a CTO, moving beyond technical aspects to focus on improving student learning experiences through technology; Stresses the necessity of digital access and equity for students and the integration of technology into curricula; And underscores the value of collaborative learning and mentorship provided by programs like the CTO Academy in addressing challenges and staying updated with industry trends. Have a listen.

Details for the program: The CTO Academy For K-12 Early Career and Aspiring CTOs is a program to address the needs of education technology leaders who are new (less than four full years) to their CTO or Technology Leadership position or aspiring CTOs and EdTech leaders currently working in a technology department. Participants will have the opportunity to develop edtech leadership skills including; managing diverse teams, leading a variety of projects simultaneously, and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders. Academy participants make a positive impact on student-centered and digital learning in their school district and enhance their career trajectory.

Transcript …Read More

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Classroom?

Key points:

When it comes to classroom learning, classrooms offer a structured environment for learning, fostering interaction and academic growth. However, they also present challenges such as distractions and limited individualized attention. Understanding what are the advantages and disadvantages of a classroom is crucial for optimizing the learning experience and addressing diverse student needs effectively.

What are the advantages of classroom learning?

Classroom learning offers numerous advantages that contribute to a comprehensive and effective educational experience. Firstly, it provides direct interaction between students and teachers, facilitating immediate feedback, clarification of doubts, and dynamic discussions. This real-time engagement fosters deeper understanding and promotes critical thinking skills. Moreover, classrooms offer a structured environment with clear routines and expectations, promoting discipline and responsibility among students.…Read More

The 4Cs: How esports promotes student development

Key points:

I first started trying to get an esports program at my school in 2011. At the time, there was a lot of resistance around the misconception that violent video games make violent kids, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Another common roadblock I faced was the idea that video games make young people antisocial. That’s not true, either. Kids love socializing through video games.

I started building an esports curriculum and, every time, I got shot down, I would add an element to the curriculum addressing the reasons I was told we couldn’t have a team. When I was told that video games cause young people to become antisocial, I added a section on social-emotional learning (SEL). Family members and other educators worried about excessive screen time leading to poor physical health, so the curriculum calls for every practice to begin with calisthenics and stretching, and we talk about the performance triad of a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and appropriate nutrition.…Read More