How schools can become air quality champions this year

The COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of our lives for more than two years, but perhaps the hardest hit population were children who suddenly found themselves unable to go to school. This was disruptive not only from an educational standpoint, but socially, as well. That’s why school districts have done everything in their power so that children can experience a normal 2022–2023 school year. But that can only happen if superintendents make safety a top priority to prevent coronavirus outbreaks that could derail their carefully planned back-to-school plans. And it all starts with air quality. 

This isn’t just a local issue. Over the coming months, the Biden administration will be honoring and highlighting school districts who are excelling in their efforts to improve indoor air quality. It’s a great opportunity for leaders to be recognized for their amazing work, and to instill confidence in a public that is still skeptical that the worst days of the pandemic are behind us. 

According to a recent statement from the White House, in addition to vaccines, boosters, and COVID tests, one of the pillars of keeping schools open is, “helping schools plan and implement indoor air quality improvements.” Schools will have access to federal funds to optimize ventilation through inspection, repairs, upgrades, and replacements in their HVAC systems, as well as installing new systems that facilitate better ventilation. …Read More

5 school safety questions your district should be prepared to answer

With students and educators reentering their classrooms for the 2022-23 school year, district leaders need to be able to reassure everyone in their school community that school safety is a priority and that they will be safe physically, socially, and emotionally.

Decades’ worth of research have shown that school safety, school climate, and student well-being are all important for academic achievement. The conditions that support them are complex and ever-shifting, which means it’s a constant challenge to create an optimal learning environment. That’s why district leaders should always be ready to explain what their school safety plans are and how their administration arrived at them.

Be prepared to answer these five questions on the topic of school safety from parents, educators, and students as you head back to school:…Read More

5 ways to support educator well-being this school year

Educators, I see you. I know it’s been a rough couple of years.

From teaching through a global pandemic to adjusting in real time to teacher shortages and policy changes, from worrying about school safety to trying to manage more disruptive behavior in your classroom, this past school year alone has presented huge challenges.

As humans, we are neurobiologically wired for connection – it’s in our DNA. And, as educators, you are wired to help support the students (and fellow educators) you serve – it’s why you entered this profession to begin with. However, due to all of the external (and internal) pressures, you and so many other educators are likely feeling burned out, exhausted, and overwhelmed.…Read More

Allentown-Area School Buses Modernized with Safety Technology to Protect Kids and Stop Dangerous Drivers

Allentown, PA (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Children returning to school on the yellow school bus can expect a safer, smarter commute this fall, thanks to the launch of a new safety initiative across Eastern Pennsylvania. Allentown, Bethlehem, Kutztown Area, and Northwestern Lehigh school districts have each partnered with local law enforcement and BusPatrol to tackle the illegal passing of stopped school buses.

More than 300 buses across Berks and Lehigh counties will be outfitted with automated enforcement technology to detect the license plates of vehicles that fail to stop for school buses, putting children at risk. The video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review before a citation is issued.

The programs will go live on Monday, August 29, to coincide with the start of the new school year. In addition to enforcement, the initiative includes an education and awareness campaign to remind motorists of school bus safety laws and teach students safety tips for getting on and off school buses.…Read More

eSN K-12 Hero Awards Program nominee: Spotlight on FLVS

Educators have always deserved praise and recognition–that has never been more evident than during the pandemic, when they prioritized student safety among heroic efforts to keep learning going virtually, in hybrid environments, and finally, for full in-person learning. These efforts are exactly what the eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards Program recognizes.

Sponsored by JAR Systems and SAP Concur, vendors can nominate as many individuals or organizations as they’d like. The program recognizes the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction and administration.

eSN Editor-at-Large Kevin Hogan sat down with Kelly Goodman of K-12 Hero Awards Program nominee FLVS, along with Jim McClurkin from sponsor SAP Concur, to chat about post-pandemic education and innovation.…Read More

Flinn Scientific Offers New Laboratory Safety Certification Courses for Teachers for Free

BATAVIA, IL (AUGUST 19, 2022)   Flinn Scientific releases updated free laboratory safety courses designed specifically for middle and high school science teachers.  

Just in time for the 2022-2023 school year, Flinn Scientific has released new Lab Safety courses for middle and high school science educators. Offered free of charge, these asynchronous courses can be completed in one session and are intended to help science educators create the safest learning environments possible for their students. These courses are appropriate for teachers new to the science classroom as well as experienced educators. Some states may even offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for successfully completing the courses.

“Many teachers may have had limited exposure to safety practices in their educator preparation program, but we all know that creating a safe learning environment is critically important, especially in performing laboratory experiments,” says Michael Lavelle, Flinn Scientific’s chief executive officer.  …Read More

One district’s push to help students feel like they belong

Bullying is prevalent in high schools and can lead to a lack of a sense of belonging. According to a new study, 51 percent of high school students say they have witnessed bullying at their school. When it comes to reporting, just under half (49 percent) say they would be comfortable talking to a teacher about bullying they witnessed, while just 34 percent would be comfortable if they were the ones being bullied.  

Iowa City Community School District, which serves over 14,000 students in grades K-12, uses Qualtrics to make it easier for students to communicate their concerns about bullying, sexual assault or harassment, discrimination and school safety to administrators. Students can scan QR codes on posters prominently displayed in bathrooms, cafeterias and hallways to report what they have witnessed or experienced, anonymously or not. Students can even upload videos, pictures or screenshots to help identify the problem.  

The “Say Something” campaign has resulted in more than 300 reports, triggering automatic emails to principals and select administrators, who have then taken quick action to protect students in cases of bullying, sexual harassment, hazing and more.  …Read More

10 back-to-school cybersecurity essentials

Summer is over and schools are back in session across the country. If you missed the chance to prepare and test your cybersecurity protocols while students were living their best lives on summer break, there are actions you must take at the start of the school year to get your programs in shape.

Teachers and administrators are ready to kick off a great year of learning, but must match that same preparedness to ensure their cybersecurity safety house is in order.

While not an exhaustive list, here is a checklist of 10 areas that deserve the most attention and that you can get started on (or even complete) immediately. Keep in mind, cybersecurity often touches physical security, too, so some of the recommendations make important cross-functional impacts, including helping you secure and maintain your insurance coverage.…Read More

School System, County, and Police Partner on New Modernized Bus Initiative to Enhance Student Safety in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, MD, Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Every day in Maryland, thousands of drivers fail to stop for school buses and put the lives of children at risk. Anne Arundel County Public Schools hopes to halt dangerous driving around its school buses beginning this fall with the launch of a new safety initiative in partnership with the Anne Arundel County Government, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, and BusPatrol.

As part of the initiative, the entire AACPS bus fleet of approximately 750 school buses, including those owned by contractors, is being upgraded with advanced safety technology that features AI-powered stop-arm cameras to detect violations and capture the license plates of drivers that illegally pass school buses. This video evidence is shared with local law enforcement for review and validation before a citation is issued.

“There is no bigger cornerstone in the foundation of educational success than the ability to transport students safely to and from our school buildings,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark T. Bedell said. “This partnership is another step in accomplishing that, and we are grateful to those who have invested time, resources, and energy in it. I urge everyone who utilizes our county’s roads to do so in cautious manner so that we do not put our children at risk.”…Read More

State of School Safety Report Reveals Students Want More Social and Emotional Support and Increased Safety

NEWTOWN, CT, July 25, 2022 – A national survey and report released by Safe and Sound Schools with Raptor Technologies and Lightspeed Systems® surveyed school leaders, public safety, mental health, teachers, parents, and students identifying gaps in feelings and perceptions about school safety, in particular with students.

In general, most groups feel schools are safe. However, students express the greatest concerns over feeling safe physically and emotionally. This suggests a strong need for schools to focus on identifying early indicators of concern so they can offer support well before a student proceeds down a path of harm to self or others. Re-education on safety procedures and enhanced reporting and managing of low-level indicators may be necessary to build confidence in students’ safety and wellbeing.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that school communities engage all stakeholders—from students to superintendents—in conversation and decision-making to protect our most sacred spaces and precious community members, our schools and our students,” said Michele Gay, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools.…Read More