3 collaborative strategies to bolster cybersecurity

In the fall of 2021, the Center for Internet Security’s Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) reported an expected 86 percent increase in cybersecurity incidents targeting K-12 school systems over the course of one year. Public and private schools provide a broad surface area for exploitation and are often the target of malicious hackers looking for financial gain or to steal the sensitive personal data of teachers and students.

Countering these ransomware attacks with proper cyber hygiene practices can be especially difficult if there is little or no room in the IT budget, or if curriculum leaders lack involvement in the effort to enhance cybersecurity.

As a result, there are a few helpful benchmarks that can assist IT administrators in their ever-evolving quest to bolster cybersecurity measures and limit schools’ exposure to pervasive attacks. …Read More

ParentSquare Announces 2022-23 Advisory Council Members

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. MAY 6, 2022ParentSquare Inc., developer of the premier unified school-home engagement platform for K-12, today announced the members of the 2022-23 ParentSquare Advisory Council. The Advisory Council members help inform the company’s plans for the ParentSquare platform and serve as a peer-to-peer forum for discussing best practices and pressing issues in school communications and family engagement.

The ParentSquare Advisory Council is an invitation-only group, comprised of K-12 communications, technology, and administrative leaders who use ParentSquare. New and returning members include:

  • Abby Broyles, Public Information Officer for Garden Grove Unified School District (Calif.)
  • Brian C. Burke, Executive Director of Communications, Community Partnerships, and Strategic Planning for Bristol Public Schools (Conn.)
  • Dr. Jeffrey K. Butts, Superintendent of Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township (Ind.)
  • Caroline Chapman, Director of Communications and Advisement for Canandaigua City School District (N.Y.)
  • Stacy Conrad, Executive Director of Communications for Center Grove Community School Corporation (Ind.)
  • Kris Hagel, Executive Director of Digital Learning for Peninsula School District (Wash.)
  • Steven Langford, Chief Information Officer for Beaverton School District (Ore.)
  • Marci McFadden, Chief of Communication and Engagement for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Calif.)
  • Emily Mejia, Associate Director of Student Data, Achievement First (N.Y.)
  • Susan Moore, Director of Technology for Meriden Public Schools (Conn.)
  • Brad Orth, Executive Director of District Data Management, Business Information Systems, and Data Reporting for Cherokee County School District (Ga.)
  • Michael O’Shaughnessy, Supervisor of Curriculum for Montgomery County Educational Service Center (Ohio)
  • Rod Russeau, Director of Technology & Information Services for Community High School District 99 (Ill.)
  • Kelly Urraro, Director of Technology for Copiague School District (N.Y.)

“ParentSquare has a long history of listening to and incorporating feedback from our school district partners,” said Dr. Chad A. Stevens, Chief Strategy Officer of ParentSquare. “Our Advisory Council members are leaders who are shaping the future of school-home communication. Their expertise is instrumental in guiding our product development roadmap to address key needs and priorities and enhance communication in K-12 districts nationwide.”…Read More

AI’s pivotal role in authentic PD

Many people envision artificial intelligence’s (AI) role in education with a sci-fi twist, but in reality, AI is already embedded in promising new tools that address student learning, real-time feedback, and continuous professional development (PD).

AI-powered learning tools can offer students immediate feedback and a customized learning experience. And when used in PD, time-strapped educators can better reflect on their instructional practices and target areas for improvement.

Edthena, a provider of video-powered PD tools, is harnessing AI in its new AI Coach platform. The solution helps schools and districts give teachers access to supportive coaching to improve teaching effectiveness. AI Coach uses artificial intelligence to guide teachers through coaching cycles aligned to common growth areas.…Read More

3 tools to support trauma-informed teaching

While the awareness of trauma-informed teaching has been a concept I have grappled with, teaching amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has moved this concept to the forefront in terms of how to be effective as a trauma-informed educator in the virtual classroom. 

Trauma is prevalent in the lives of both educators and learners.  Though prevalent, it can also be silent in that it is not always a visible or known quantity.  Living through a pandemic, by its very nature, has been traumatic for everyone and it is important to debrief and reflect on the failures and successes of our educational practices during this time.

It may be surprising to learn that as of 2020, according to the CDC-Kaiser Ace Study, up to two-thirds of U.S. children have experienced at least one type of serious childhood trauma.  Some examples include abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence.  Trauma may be the largest public health issue facing our children today (CDC, 2019).  It is imperative that we are not only aware of these statistics but that we act on known strategies that help our students cope with trauma so that they can meet with success in both in-person and virtual classroom spaces.…Read More