Ransomware attackers head back to school

Just when we thought the painful trend of ransomware attacks on public schools might be waning, news arrived of a massive incident. Over Labor Day weekend, the country’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, experienced a ransomware attack. The district serves 600,000 students and described “significant disruptions affecting access to email, computer systems, and applications.”

There was good news, though. The district appeared to catch the attack early, shut its systems down and avoided more serious problems. A lot of the time these attacks result in the loss of social security numbers and all kinds of other data, amounting to a serious violation of children’s privacy. For such a large district, this could have been catastrophic. LAUSD’s impressive response likely resulted from some smart preparation.

LAUSD was unfortunately not the only school to be victimized this year, and in other cases, some of the consequences appear to have been more severe. Staff at Cedar Rapids, Iowa schools saw their personal information stolen this summer, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, and even medical history information. …Read More

Forget flat networks–tighten your security

If you heard about the attack on the Los Angeles Unified School District in early October, you probably heard that 400,000 students’ private data was put at risk and that the hackers demanded a ransom. When speaking about the attack, the police chief made a point of saying that cyberattacks are “the number one threat to our safety” and that everyone is vulnerable. Even so, the education sector seems to have an especially large target on its back, with LAUSD being the 50th education entity to be hit with ransomware in 2022. If you want to avoid being next, there are a few key steps to take – including getting rid of flat networks. The status quo has to go.

Are You Prepared to Pay the Costs of Convenience?

All too often, schools blend their guest and student networks together. Such a move flies in the face of every single, basic security recommendation ever made, so why do they do it? Convenience. Yes, it’s more convenient but that’s because it’s insecure.…Read More

New Storybooks and Companion Stuffed Animals Support Children’s Mental Wellness

Los Angeles — Silver Lining Stuffies launched its inaugural line of storybooks and companion stuffed animals crafted to provide children with the tools to cope with mental health conditions. The first three books, Slow Down, Alfie!, Andie & the Worries, and Frankie & Gloob, address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and depression. Each stuffed animal stars in its own story as a lovable, relatable character who learns to cope with a unique set of difficulties, helping to normalize the experience of mental health challenges.

Silver Lining Stuffies was born out of the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when CEO and founder Sara Moore recognized the massive toll it was taking on the mental health of many, particularly children. As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety from a young age, Moore empathized and was propelled into action. As a child, she was fortunate enough to have a supportive family that provided the resources and tools to cope with depression and anxiety, which she continues to use.

Unfortunately, her story is not the norm. 1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 are diagnosed with a mental or behavioral disorder every year, and only 20% of them ever receive treatment. Silver Lining Stuffies aims to improve that by offering parents, educators, and children strategies to deal with these conditions, and by donating part of their proceeds to relevant organizations.…Read More

TutorMe Partners with Columbia Public Schools, Providing Students with Tailored Instruction for Academic Advancement

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) — TutorMe, an online tutoring solution creating access and opportunity for all students, announces a partnership with  Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, MO, supporting students during the 2022–2023 school year with learning recovery and academic advancement.

Made possible through ESSER funding and a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the district, Columbia Public Schools sought tutoring services to provide supplemental academic support to students. Columbia Public Schools chose TutorMe through a selection process among more than 20 applicants.

“As a district, our goal is to provide our students with resources that will help them grow confident as learners and further their academic careers,” said De’Vion Moore, the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education of Columbia Public Schools. “We selected TutorMe with the intent of making personalized tutoring support sustainable and scalable.”…Read More

TutorMe Partners with Rural Wyoming School District, Providing Students with Diversified Academic Support

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) JULY 27, 2022 — TutorMe, an online tutoring solution creating access and opportunity for all students, announces a partnership with  Park County School District #16 in Meeteetse, WY, supporting students with high-dosage tutoring and supplemental academic support. Made possible through a  Wyoming Department of Education grant for after-school and extended day efforts, each K–12 student at Park County School District #16 will have 24/7 access to TutorMe’s high-quality tutors starting this fall—providing students with additional teaching perspectives and avenues for learning.

Park County School District #16 consists of just one school and serves around 90 K–12 students from Meeteetse and surrounding communities. Due to the small student population, teachers are often providing instruction for several grade levels each school day. The partnership with TutorMe ensures students receive the personalized, 1:1 support needed to succeed.

“We are excited to have one more tool available to our students and teachers,” said Shane Ogden, Superintendent of Park County School District #16. “Being a small rural school, our students receive their education from some of the finest educators, yet their options are limited in having lessons presented in varying methods. TutorMe will expose our students to seeing and hearing content in a different way which provides our students additional opportunities to learn and grow.”…Read More

ALAS Congratulates Alberto M. Carvalho on being named the Next Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 13, 2021) – The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) congratulates Alberto M. Carvalho on being named the next Superintendent of Schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Carvalho most recently was superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, has served as ALAS’ president and board member for Region 7 Southeast, and is the recipient of the 2021-22 ALAS National Humanitarian Award for his leadership and his stance in support of mandated masks for students despite political opposition.

Carvalho has served as the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the fourth largest school district in the country, since 2008 and is recognized by his peers as a national voice for equity in education.…Read More

Twig Education Launches Twig Science Next Gen for Middle School

(Los Angeles, Calif.) October 28, 2021 —  Twig Education, creators of the leading elementary level science program Twig Science, today announced the launch of Twig Science Next Gen for grades 6–8.

Twig Science Next Gen for middle school is an investigation-based science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) solution developed for the three-dimensional Next Generation Science Standards. It transforms the standards into story-based modules in which students take on a range of STEAM career roles through various investigation types:

  • Hand-On Labs: Students learn through inquiry-based activities, solving problems and designing solutions using resources supplied in Hands-On Kits and other everyday items.
  • Digital Interactives: High-quality simulations based on real-world phenomena and authentic data, from the Gravity Simulator and Volcano Builder interactives to adventures like “The Great Air Race” and “Into the Abyss,” let students experience science in action.
  • Real-World Multimedia Field Trips: Through video and text, students shadow scientists and engineers around the world as they explore local, national, global, and space phenomena, deepening student understanding of STEAM practices and concepts.
  • Scientific Text Investigations: Students experience a variety of authentic scientific text types, including informational, narrative, descriptive, and argumentative, reinforcing the real-world science and engineering concepts of their learning journey.
  • Video Labs: Specially shot in the Twig studio, video labs enable students to take part in scientific inquiries and experiences that would be impractical to carry out in the classroom.

For Twig Science Next Gen, Twig partnered with some of the most highly respected organizations in the worlds of science and engineering education. Developed with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) team, three-dimensional performance assessments evaluate student attainment of NGSS Performance Expectations and prepare students for state testing. Imperial College London also acted as scientific advisors during the development of the program, which introduces students to multiple real-life STEAM professionals who inspire and motivate students and help them explain phenomena.…Read More

TutorMe Donates $100,000 in Tutoring Services to Racine Unified School District

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 23, 2021) — TutorMe, the online tutoring solution of the future, announced today that after a nationwide call for applicants, the team selected Racine Unified School District (RUSD) in Wisconsin to receive $100,000 worth of tutoring services. This donation provides the students of Racine Unified free 24/7 access to live tutors in more than 300 subjects to support learning recovery from school closures and remote learning due to the pandemic as well as address existing learning gaps.

According to Janell Decker, the deputy chief academic officer, some RUSD students are entering high school behind in reading and math, especially after the past year and a half, with so much disruption to the educational environment. RUSD is looking for additional resources and supports to ensure all students are on track. Instead of taking up state-mandated instructional time for added interventions, Decker said, “TutorMe can easily be incorporated into various times during and outside the school day, so this will help us tremendously!”

TutorMe’s network of more than 15,000 tutors will help address learning losses due to school closures and other disruptions during the past academic year. Participating schools in RUSD have received implementation support to get their staff and students comfortable with the TutorMe platform, which students will access via Chromebooks provided by the district.…Read More

How esports can boost teamwork skills

Teamwork and communication are the top skills employers are looking for, a new survey of hiring managers reveals. That bodes well for the students at a Los Angeles secondary school who are taking part in an innovative program that uses esports to teach critical 21st century skills: Teamwork and communication are also the skills these young gamers have seen the most improvement in so far.

Working with a company called wethink, Horace Mann UCLA Community School launched an afterschool program in January that has students in grades 6-12 practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, communication, leadership, and character as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

Esports is a perfect vehicle for learning these essential workforce skills, wethink says. Many of the attributes that students will need in the workplace correlate with success in gaming. For instance, to achieve success, players have to learn how to work together to accomplish a common goal.…Read More

Experience the Power of a Spoken Word Poetry

Good Deed Entertainment announced today that their spoken word, Rotten Tomato certified-fresh hit film SUMMERTIME, directed by Carlos López Estrada (Raya And The Last Dragon (2021), Blindspotting (2018) and Marvel’s Legion (2017)), and executive produced by Kelly Marie Tran, will be available for fans to own beginning on August 27, 2021 and can be purchased through all major retailers including, iTunes/AppleTV, Amazon, Vudu and Google Play. The film can currently be preordered at iTunes and a full list of where to purchase the film can be found at the SUMMERTIME website.

The film SUMMERTIME takes place over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, following the lives of 27 young adults as they intersect. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.

The film was developed over a summer workshop with the young poets, who were all part of Get Lit – Words Ignite, an LA based nonprofit that fuses classic and original spoken word poetry to increase teen literacy on the page and in visual media. All 27 poets served as co-writers and stars in the film.…Read More