SETDA Launches Cybersecurity Resource Focused on Small, Rural, and Under-resourced Districts

Washington, D.C. — Today, SETDA is pleased to announce the release of a cybersecurity resource focused on small, rural, and under-resourced districts. Developed by SETDA’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Collaborative—an active professional learning community consisting of state edtech leaders, affiliates, and corporate members—this resource is designed to identify essential resources, assess state-level K-12 cybersecurity advocacy initiatives, and craft policy recommendations to enhance cybersecurity readiness within these districts. 

In collaboration with Microsoft and the K12 Security Information eXchange (K12 SIX), this initiative underscores SETDA’s commitment to providing essential tools and guidance to support state educational agencies.

The publication, titled Small Districts, Big Hurdles: Cybersecurity Support for Small, Rural, and Under-resourced Districts, offers details on how state agencies and other support organizations are empowering their smallest districts to secure their data and networks. From detailing various funding sources to providing insights into statewide and regional partnerships and offering practical examples of cybersecurity training, the document is a must-read for everyone involved in helping districts improve their cybersecurity posture. It is the newest addition to SETDA’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Collection, available for access in their OER Commons site.…Read More

ParentSquare Releases Back-to-School Resources, Including Updated Checklist for Successful Home-School Communications

Santa Barbara, CA — The summer break gives district and school administrators time to evaluate the efficacy of the approaches they used in the previous academic year and create new strategies as needed. To help educators increase the support that both students and teachers receive from family engagement, ParentSquare, the award-winning unified school-home engagement platform for K12 education, has compiled resources for improving school-home communications in the upcoming school year.

The primary resource is the company’s updated “Back-to-School Checklist For Successful School-Home Communications,” a comprehensive list for organizing and implementing critical tasks. Based on ParentSquare’s experience of working with thousands of schools and districts for more than a decade, the checklist includes:

  • 4 steps to help readers take stock of what’s working and where to improve
  • 5 ways to benchmark your processes and plans against K12 best practices
  • 6 items to include in your annual communications plan
  • 6 set-up or administrative tasks
  • 7 key launch activities to start your year off right

The checklist also includes a “Other Back-to-School Tasks” section where users can add items that are specific to their school or district.…Read More

Key tips to help educators thwart cyberattacks

Key points:

  • There are simple and proven tactics to help schools avoid common cyberattacks
  • Remaining vigilant and knowledgeable helps educators form safe habits to dodge cybercriminals
  • See related article: Defending against the most common cyberattacks

It’s not a topic we’re unfamiliar with: Criminal hackers are increasing their activity and they’re targeting K–12 schools, threatening districts with damaging financial and learning-downtime costs. The K12 Security Information Exchange (K12 SIX) tracks publicly disclosed school cyber incidents and reports an average rate of more than one K–12 cyber incident per school day across U.S. public schools.

With increased cyberattacks, the idea of a potential threat to a school or district feels daunting to ward against, but, more often than not, these simple tactics outlined below can support educators thwart some of the most common attacks.…Read More

Technology’s key role in personalization and differentiation

Editor’s note: This blog post originally appeared on CoSN’s blog and is reposted here with permissions.

Part of a Blog Series from the Emerging Technologies Committee Leveraging Technology for Improving School Wellness and Safety

The renewed focus on the whole student, specifically on social and emotional needs and growth (social emotional learning – SEL), is certainly a positive direction in K-12 education. Technology leaders and providers have answered the call, with the development or enhancement of digital content and resources to assist teachers and parents in promoting students’ growth. However, perhaps we as edtech and curriculum leaders are overlooking the value of other high impact avenues for addressing those needs.   …Read More

Safeguarding K-12 school networks with proactive cybersecurity approaches

Key points:

  • School districts need bigger cybersecurity budgets and support mechanisms
  • Cybersecurity threats are not going away, and knowledge is a large factor in protecting networks
  • See related article: 4 steps to avoid a ransomware attack

Now more than ever, safeguarding students and staff from targeted cyberattacks is critical to the health of our U.S. education system. Local K-12 schools are a top target for cybercrime. Estimates from the nonprofit organization K12 Security Information Exchange reveal more than 1,300 publicly disclosed cyberattacks against U.S. schools since 2016.

The size and scope of these threats amplified during COVID-era hybrid learning, when schools were forced to rapidly adopt cloud-based collaboration technologies at scale. But even though students have returned to the classroom post-pandemic, just like every other industry, the K-12 threat landscape isn’t slowing down. …Read More

Dexter Community Schools in Michigan Uses Rise Vision to Encourage Student Creativity and Increase Student Engagement

Dexter, Michigan — Dexter Community School, a mid-size school district located in Dexter, Michigan, has implemented Rise Vision’s digital signage solution to encourage student expression and creativity.

Rise Vision, the #1 digital signage solution for K12 schools, has helped schools across the country enhance communication and foster a positive school culture.

With a high school population of approximately 1,200 students and a total district enrollment of over 3,500 students, Dexter Community School is committed to supporting the new generation of digital natives. The district has found a creative way to provide students with a platform to showcase their work and ideas through the use of digital displays.…Read More

National Report Reveals Rapid and Discreet Wearable Panic Buttons Directly Impact Staff Well-Being and Job Satisfaction, and Students’ Perceptions of Safety

ATLANTA/PRNewswire/ —  CENTEGIX, the leader in incident response solutions, today released its biannual report highlighting the impact of safety tools in K12 schools across the country and the benefits of wearable panic button solutions. The ” School Safety Trend s Report: Fall 2022” analyzed over 50,000 incidents gathered from CENTEGIX’s CrisisAlert™ usage data for the Fall 2022 semester, along with survey data from 1,200 educators and staff who have used the CrisisAlert platform to call for help.

According to the survey results, access to a safety solution that offers campus-wide coverage with precise location indication was highly effective in protecting staff and students. This correlates with the CrisisAlert usage data that showed 47% of incidents reported in the fall of 2022 occurred outside the classroom. Full-campus coverage is necessary to ensure all students, staff, and visitors are safe whether in the classroom, in the parking lot, or on the athletic fields.

Respondents also shared that districts that provide discreet and easy-to-use safety and security solutions for teachers and staff see a direct impact on their well-being and job satisfaction, as well as students’ perceptions of safety. Survey results revealed that 97% of respondents believe that having a wearable incident response solution helped them feel safe and supported as a staff member.…Read More

Building culture and community takes more than a committee

When organizations are mindful and deliberate about generating and maintaining a sense of teamwork and shared goals, team members are put at ease and more productive. The same is true for building a school culture and community for staff and students alike.

When I was named the leader of Follett’s K12 business, one of my first priorities was to create a team dedicated to improving the culture of the organization. We didn’t necessarily have a negative culture; however, it was clear that part of building a positive culture included making deeper connections to the communities we serve, both internally and externally.

As an education company, we are deeply aware of the challenges faced during the pandemic for educators (and organizations like ours) and that those challenges were overwhelming. We know all too well that has caused strain on the educational system, staff retention, and more. However, it has also given us all the opportunity to reflect on those practices and reimagine them.…Read More

State of Georgia Approves Continued Use of YouScience Discovery Statewide for K12 and Technical College System of Georgia Students

AMERICAN FORK, Utah /PRNewswire/ —  YouScience, the leading college and career readiness company, today announced the State of Georgia has approved the continued use of the company’s aptitude assessment,  YouScience Discovery, for more than 1 million K12 students, and students within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), which includes 22 technical colleges across 88 campuses. Last year alone, roughly 240,000 7th and 10th grade students in Georgia took YouScience Discovery to identify their natural abilities and align them with potential careers.

In 2010, the General Assembly of Georgia enacted the Bridge Bill, which was passed to ensure that Georgia’s 6th – 12th grade students were made aware of available college and career options. YouScience seamlessly fits into the state’s initiative and Georgia’s curriculum to fulfill the bill’s requirements.

“This renewal is a testament to the success that students have achieved with using Discovery over the past eight years,” said Edson Barton, CEO at YouScience. “It’s critical we ensure that today’s graduates are aligned with what the workforce is looking for and have a sense of what careers they can thrive in. It’s also vital that career exploration starts at a young age so that we can get students on the right pathway – whether that be college or directly into a career – as early as possible. We’re thrilled to continue our work with the state of Georgia and aid its students’ in college and career exploration and ultimately success.”…Read More

K12 Technology Company Edlio Acquires SchoolInfo, Launches Edlio Access App

GLENDALE, Calif. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Edlio, leading provider of technology solutions for K-12 schools, is pleased to announce its acquisition of SchoolInfo, creators of premier mobile apps for schools.

SchoolInfo has proudly served the education market for 10 years, and has created mobile apps for more than 2,500 schools, districts, and other organizations. Nearly 3 million teachers, parents, and students worldwide rely on SchoolInfo products.

Edlio serves over 16,000 schools, and is a proven partner for K-12 leaders. Since 2001 they have worked to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing needs of teachers and school administrators. Edlio’s technology is designed to be user-friendly for any educator, yet powerful enough to meet the needs of even the largest school districts and communities.…Read More