Launching a districtwide computer science program for all grades

Key points:

With 24,000 students, Springfield Public Schools is usually among the three largest school districts in Massachusetts. Our students are spread across 31 elementary schools and a total of 70 schools. It’s no exaggeration to say that computational thinking plays a part in all of them. Fortunately, the district earned a grant that allowed us to offer computer science at every grade level, starting as early as pre-K. Because many of our teachers had no background in computer science, though, this large-scale implementation was no easy task.

Meeting standards and managing devices…Read More

Cybersecurity staffing shortage is districts’ top concern

Key points:

One in 3 school districts ranked lack of dedicated cybersecurity personnel as their top challenge in safeguarding schools, according to Cybersecure 2024, an annual survey from Clever that polls school administrators and offers an in-depth look at the state of cybersecurity across the U.S. K-12 landscape.

The survey of over 800 administrators, conducted in fall of 2023, illuminates the challenges and opportunities for schools in strengthening cybersecurity. …Read More

EmpowerU Honors Exemplary School Partners for Outstanding Impact on Student Mental Health 

MINNEAPOLIS   EmpowerU, a leading national provider of mental health skills and support for schools, recently recognized five school districts for their longstanding commitment to improving student resilience and mental health. The districts, based in Minnesota where EmpowerU was founded in 2018, each worked with EmpowerU for more than five years to deliver vital support to students, leading to a marked improvement in student well-being. 

“EmpowerU was launched as an effective way to deliver mental health services to young people,” said Katie Dorn, co-founder of EmpowerU. “I am beyond proud of the work we are accomplishing with our district partners who leverage their Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to positively impact students who are struggling with non-academic barriers to their success. We congratulate these five districts that are shining hometown examples of the potential of what we do.” 

The recognized districts were: …Read More

Can 4 equal 5? The impact of 4-day school weeks

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on equity, edtech innovation, immersive learning, and the science of reading. This year’s 7th most-read story focuses on the possibility of four-day school weeks.

Four-day weeks are becoming more common in school districts, particularly in rural areas of the U.S. Many districts are finding students and families like the shorter school weeks. In fact, in a survey of schools with four-day week policies, 85 percent of parents and 95 percent of students said they would choose to remain on the schedule rather than switch back to a five-day week. While these shorter weeks are popular with stakeholders, might there be unintended consequences of four-day school weeks? Are there certain ways to implement the schedule that lead to better outcomes for students?

Most of what is known about these questions has come from research conducted in the last five years. My colleagues and I have studied the four-day week using quantitative and qualitative data from state departments of education, school districts, and the NWEA MAP Growth research database. These projects and other recent research on four-day weeks have shed some light on questions about the implementation and outcomes of four-day school weeks. The research analyzes qualitative and quantitative data to compare students’ experiences and outcomes on four-day and five-day school weeks. We find that there are both benefits and drawbacks to the shorter school week, and these tradeoffs can vary based on the characteristics of the school district and how they implement the four-day week in practice.…Read More

Solving the IT staffing challenge in K-12 education

Key points:

Even in the best of times, K-12 school districts often have a tough time recruiting and retaining IT employees, as it can be hard for budget-conscious districts to offer salaries and benefits that are competitive with those in the private sector. This challenge is further magnified by low unemployment and the fact that private-sector businesses are also struggling to hire IT talent right now.

While labor shortages are finally easing in the wake of the pandemic, IT is an industry where employers are still scrambling for workers. According to USA Today, 62 percent of job openings in the information sector go unfilled every month.…Read More

Frontline Education and Vanco Announce Strategic Partnership

Malvern, Pa. and Bloomington, Minn. (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Frontline Education, a leading provider of administration software purpose-built for educators in K-12, and Vanco, a leading solution for event planning, ticketing, fundraising and patron engagement, today announced an exclusive partnership that provides K-12 school districts with a seamless and secure way to sell tickets and manage registrations for school events, at no cost to the school districts.  

Vanco is a trusted provider of payment solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of K-12 schools and districts. With a focus on secure, efficient payment processing, Vanco enables educational organizations to streamline financial operations and improve the overall experience for families. Adding Vanco’s secure payment processing platform to Frontline’s comprehensive suite of solutions provides K-12 districts nationwide a powerful set of financial and business management capabilities.

“Our Vanco partnership brings K-12 school districts a secure payments solution for effortlessly administering events and transactions,” said Mark Friedman, Chief Marketing Officer at Frontline Education. “It’s exciting to empower schools to create memorable experiences for the communities they serve.”…Read More

BookmarkED Addresses the State of Challenged Books with Industry-First Technology to Enable Parental Choice in School Libraries

DALLAS, Texas – BookmarkED, the industry-first technology solution to personalize libraries with parental choice, has announced its official launch in Texas. With the passing of  Texas House Bill (HB) 900, school districts face a pressing need to meet the changing requirements for parental engagement on library books that children have access to. BookmarkED is a Texas-based company that enables parents to make individual decisions on literary options for their children and protects school districts from liability by ensuring compliance.

Library book challenges are increasing across the US. The  American Library Association (ALA) documented 2,571 unique library books and resources challenged in 2022, nearly double the number of challenges reported in 2021 and the highest since ALA began compiling data more than 20 years ago. BookmarkED’s technology addresses the current state of challenged books by fostering parental choice to decide what books their children have access to, based on their family’s values and interests. 

“BookmarkED is an innovative solution that fosters parent’s choices for their individual child so that decisions are one-to-one versus one-to-all. Our platform puts the power into the hands of their parents, so that they can decide the literary path for their children by setting parameters over what books their children have access to. We are driven to first empower Texas school districts with this technology, and then move to a national level,” said Steve Wandler, CEO and Co-Founder of BookmarkED.…Read More

Linewize Selected as Preferred Technology Provider for Texas Schools in a Strategic Partnership with the Technology Alliance for Statewide Initiatives (TASI)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. /PRNewswire/ —  Linewize, a division of global safety and student wellbeing leader  Qoria, is proud to announce a preferred vendor partnership with Texas’ Technology Alliance for Statewide Initiatives (TASI).

Under the preferred vendor arrangements, Linewize and TASI have agreed to work together to promote and support the rollout of Linewize’s world leading suite of services to Texas Education Service Centers (ESCs) and K-12 districts.

Through this partnership, Texas’ ESCs and school districts will have access to premium tools with transparent pricing and the support they need to cater to the challenges of today’s schooling.…Read More

CENTEGIX Posts Record Demand for Its Wearable CrisisAlert Solution

ATLANTA /PRNewswire/ — CENTEGIX, the leader in incident response solutions, announced that new customers of its award-winning CrisisAlert solution were the highest in company history and that demand in the first half of 2023 has exceeded the 2022 full-year result.

School districts nationwide overwhelmingly select CENTEGIX’s CrisisAlert wearable panic button to protect staff and students. Now with more than 600,000 badge users, CENTEGIX is by far the industry leader and largest solution provider of wearable incident response technology for K-12 education, representing over 95% of the wearable safety technology market.

“We have six years of experience with wearables and have built a large and rapidly expanding suite of software applications and integrations that protect close to 10 million people for everyday and extreme emergencies. Customers tell us that CENTEGIX is the standard in wearable safety, and because all staff wear our badge, it builds a culture of safety at the location and in the community,” said Brent Cobb, CEO of CENTEGIX.…Read More