One way to address student mental health? Bring the clinic to school

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

Many Michigan school administrators say they’ve often served as stand-in public health officials during the pandemic. So it’s no surprise that districts across the state are eager to get some backup from a program that opens clinics in school buildings.

School-based health centers make it convenient for students to leave class and walk down the hall for therapy, a medical checkup, or a dental appointment. While the first centers in Michigan opened decades ago, policymakers have renewed interest in them in the wake of COVID and the ongoing student mental health crisis.…Read More

Introducing a new State and District Data Validation Tool for SKYWARD® Users

KALAMAZOO, Michigan – APRIL 6, 2022 – Level Data, Inc. announces a new suite of data validation tools for districts using the Skyward brand Student Information System (SIS). Level Data is a privately-held SaaS Company working with over 1,200 school districts and more than 5 million students using their data validation, data integration and reporting products.

Public School Administrators and student data specialists everywhere understand that submitting accurate data to federal and state agencies is absolutely essential for their district to receive all the funding they are entitled to from many government sources. State submission specialists at school districts are under significant pressure to secure all the funding they possibly can to bolster their local budgets.

Also of critical importance, data-driven decision-making has proven to be key in providing the highest quality of education to students. These decisions that can positively affect curriculum and other strategies are only as good as the quality of the underlying data. Simply put, districts that do not actively focus on maintaining the highest quality data face a substantial performance and economic disadvantage.…Read More

Extron NAV & Streaming Systems Serve the Chef for St. Helena High’s Culinary Program

Anaheim, California (December 22, 2021) – St. Helena High School is a top-ranked institute of learning in California’s Napa Valley wine region. The county is filled with luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, such as The French Laundry. Because of this wealth of fine dining and high-end accommodations, the high school’s culinary classroom received a new AV system that enhances instruction on-site as well as for students attending from home. The school administrators brought in E.R.I.C. Low Voltage Services to design and program and Consolidated Networks Corporation to integrate a NAV Pro AV over IP system, along with the SMP 111 streaming media processor and other products from Extron. “Integration of Extron’s NAV Pro AV over IP system and the SMP 111 streaming processor lets the students at home be on the same page as those in the classroom,” says Brian Baesler, Program Manager at Consolidated Networks Corporation. “This makes the AV system just what the chef ordered.” St. Helena High’s culinary classroom includes six full commercial kitchens, and the instructor is Chef Karl Turner III. Originally, the students gathered around the outside of one kitchen to watch the professional chef prepare and plate the gourmet dishes. Now, a NAV Pro AVoIP system ties three broadcast-quality 4K HDMI PTZ cameras to the existing 55” displays, as well as provides content to the streaming system. An Extron NAV E 101 encoder mounted with each camera shares video from the chef’s grill/range station and the two food preparation stations. A fourth camera and encoder are being installed for a heads-on view of the chef at work. The chef’s PC and a TLP Pro 1225TG 12″ Tabletop TouchLink Pro Touchpanel are installed on a shelf beneath one of the prep tables, protecting them from heat and splashes. The PC is connected to an Extron NAV E 201 D wallplate HDMI encoder. To support the PC’s USB signals, an Extron MediaPort 200 HDMI and Audio to USB Scaling Bridge converts USB to HDMI. The bridge enhances the computer-sourced content for the students attending class from home.  The SMP 111 streaming media processor captures and distributes the camera feeds and other resources for selectable live streaming. Five Extron transmitters stream AV signals over the 1 Gbps Ethernet network. An Extron NetPA U 1004 power amplifier with Dante and DSP 100 watts per channel drives the 70 V distributed audio system. From concept to commissioning, the entire project was completed in two weeks. CNC credits this in part to Extron’s well-designed products and the support engineers. The administration is quite pleased with the success of the AV system upgrade in the culinary classroom, and Chef Turner III is happy with how easy it is to use. To read the full St. Helena High School Culinary Classroom case study, click here. Extron – The AV Technology Leader Every day, millions of people around the world are having their experiences enhanced by Extron audiovisual signal processing, distribution, and control solutions. We design advanced technologies to create better looking images, higher quality sound, systems that are easier to control and work more reliably. Our powerful asset management tools are helping technology professionals efficiently manage large numbers of audiovisual systems deployed throughout their enterprises and institutions. Extron AV technology solutions serve the diverse needs of organizations around the world and are deployed in a wide variety of corporate, educational, government, healthcare, retail, and entertainment applications. To learn more about Extron, click here. Extron®, NAV®, MediaPort®, and TouchLink® are registered trademarks of Extron. Dante® is a registered trademark of Audinate Pty Ltd.

Our rural district’s 4 steps to a new post-pandemic learning reality

Maintaining the continuity of student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an extremely challenging feat for most school districts across the country. However, in the nation’s rural school systems, school administrators and teachers face a unique set of challenges. I believe that the way my school system is overcoming these challenges provides rural school districts a new blueprint for teaching and learning in the evolving COVID world.

My school system is located in Elko, Nevada, and like everyone else, we were impacted by COVID during 2020-2021. The Elko County School District covers 17,203 square miles of mountainous terrain and has major industries of ranching and gold mining. When our schools closed at the onset of the pandemic, providing all students with reliable access to the internet was our first priority. Next, we ensured all students had access to a suitable device, which in our district’s case, was a Chromebook.

While our school system was impacted by the first wave of COVID infections like many others, the second wave of COVID in the Fall of 2021 hit the community extremely hard. A massive surge of cases throughout the county created new challenges as students had to be quarantined at home for long periods due to COVID exposure. The uncertainty of whether a student would be in-person or remote from one day to the next remains a constant battle. …Read More

Schools are getting creative as they strive to improve indoor air quality

After shouldering responsibilities for keeping students and staff safe and healthy in a global pandemic – you may have felt the weight of the world on your shoulders for the past several months or still feeling this with expectations for next year.

The changes and demands of the past year are a lot for school administrators – and their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems – to handle. As we are hearing from public health experts and air quality specialists, effective ventilation systems are essential to help reduce the transmission of the COVID-19 virus or any other airborne illness in public facilities, from office buildings and restaurants to schools.

In his book Healthy Buildings, author Joseph G. Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings program and associate professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, concludes that up to 90 percent of schools in the U.S. are not meeting the minimum ventilation standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).…Read More

4 ways digital tools streamline summer program administration

Summer school is more important than ever this year as school administrators establish new learning programs to give K–12 students an opportunity to catch up on schoolwork and enrichment programs they missed during the pandemic. The federal government is also paying extra attention to summer programs, earmarking $1.2 billion in its massive relief package.

By the end of the 2020–2021 academic year, most U.S. schools were open, but administrators are still taking precautions to mitigate potential virus outbreaks among staff and students. This will be the norm for the foreseeable future since vaccines are widely available for staff and older children but haven’t yet been approved for younger kids.

Last year, teachers and school administrators adopted digital tools in greater numbers than ever before. Companies offering tools like online forms saw a spike in demand, and they are now seeing it rise again as schools organize summer learning programs.…Read More

5 ways to make the summer count for students

For students, summer break often feels fleeting. In what seems like minutes, sunshine and freedom are quickly replaced by books and backpacks once again. 

However, if you are a parent trying to engage your child for the summer, these same two months are anything but fleeting as you balance planning for your child with other obligations. 

And if you are a school or district leader in 2021? Summer offers two months to reignite a love of learning in students and support unfinished learning through acceleration or remediation. You also face questions about how to best help staff and students return to school after a tumultuous year.…Read More

How physical stress impacts you and your classroom

Being a teacher was already one of the most stressful occupations in America, even before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered widespread classroom changes and sudden shifts in teaching modalities. The impacts of physical stress in the classroom are widespread and have ramifications that stretch far beyond the classroom.

Educators, along with school administrators, must invest time in social-emotional learning and stress management. Following is some helpful information that can help educators learn about the impact physical stress has on their classrooms.

How stress impacts educators and the classroom…Read More

Oransi Offers 5 Tips for Schools Seeking Better Classroom Ventilation to Help Stop COVID-19 Spread

Experts agree that ventilation in schools is inadequate and many administrators seek clarification regarding best practices to improve classroom air quality and reduce infectious disease transmission.

School administrators continue to struggle with selecting the right ventilation system for classrooms, as more states reopen schools for in-person learning. The U.S.-based air purification company, Oransi, offers the following guidance for schools that will allow them to select the right ventilation products, the first time, thereby helping to avoid any delay when reopening.

To achieve good indoor air quality the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states there are three strategies:

1) source control (removes the source of the pollutant),
2) ventilation (brings in fresh air from outdoors)
3) and air cleaning (through use of an air purifier).

For school ventilation there are two options: a HEPA air filtration system or an HVAC ventilation system. Knowing which option is right for a school depends on the efficiency (percentage of particles of a given size that are removed by the air filter with each air pass) and if enough air is moving for the room size.

Commercial HVAC systems are expensive, time-consuming to upgrade, and generally use lower efficiency air filters that do not remove fine particles such as viruses – allowing them to pass back into a room’s air. However, upgrading or installing an HVAC system is the right solution if there is a very large space to clean – usually larger than 1,500 square feet – and removing viruses or fine particles is not a concern. But a new HVAC system may not be realistic when a school’s budget is limited or the campus buildings are older and source control and proper ventilation cannot be achieved. In this case, HEPA air purifiers may be the best supplemental solution for a school’s budget and layout.

But how can schools select the right HEPA air purifier? Oransi offers the following tips:

1) Based on the recommendation of Harvard University School of Public Health, look for 5 air changes per hour (ACH). If a school’s existing Commercial HVAC system provides 3 ACH, then the air purifier selected would need to provide 2 ACH as a supplement.

2) Look for a portable air purifier with a HEPA filter.…Read More

ManagedMethods Launches Industry-leading Student Cyber Safety Monitoring Powered by Artificial Intelligence

ManagedMethods, the leading Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance platform for K-12 school districts, today announced the launch of its Signals student safety monitoring feature.

Signals by ManagedMethods is an AI-powered student safety monitoring feature that helps administrators detect when a student is in crisis and in danger of potentially harming themselves. It does this by monitoring district Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 accounts for distress signals, and hidden cries for help. Upon detection, Signals sends alerts to designated school administrators in real-time. These alerts include the information needed to understand the incident, allowing for quick response to a student in need.

“We have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing the K-12 education industry’s leading AI technology for student safety monitoring over this past year,” said Charlie Sander, Chief Executive Officer at ManagedMethods. “Student safety is such an important focal point in making—and keeping—schools safe. We’re proud to see Signals already making a positive impact on students and staff in schools today.”…Read More