Meet the Winners—Dr. Kellie Wilks, Chief Technology Officer, of Ector County Independent School District, TX (ECISD)

The CoSN Withrow CTO Award recognizes an exceptional district CTO who serves as a true technology champion and whose leadership has been transformative for their school system. The award honors Frank Withrow, a pioneer and champion of K-12 education technology.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” said Dr. Kellie Wilks, Chief Technology Officer, ECISD. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of the whole Technology division. Everyone I have worked with has contributed to my success and to the things I have been able to do.”

Dr. Wilks has a long-standing history of supporting ECISD. She was involved in the Raising Blended Learners Grant and the Math Innovation Zones Grant, as well as initiatives to bridge the digital divide. She is a collaborative leader who has developed partnerships in the community that encourage shared best practices and provide opportunities for all students.…Read More

Cybersecurity: eSN Innovation Roundtable

Cybersecurity is arguably one of the biggest priorities in K-12 school districts across the country. IT leaders agree that a “when, not if” mentality is essential in formulating a K-12 cybersecurity strategy to keep school networks and sensitive information protected from hackers, phishing, ransomware, and other external (and internal) threats.

During an eSchool News Innovation Roundtable with a focus on cybersecurity, moderated by eSchool News Content Director Kevin Hogan, district IT leaders explored the challenging and ever-evolving topic of K-12 cybersecurity. Roundtable participants included:

  • Phil Hintz, Chief Technology Officer, Niles Township District 219 (IL)
  • Greg Limperis, Director of Technology, Lowell Public Schools (MA)
  • Sandra Paul, Director of Information Technology, Township of Union Public Schools (NJ)
  • Mohammed Saleh, Associate Chief Technology and Management Information Systems Officer, Paterson Public Schools (NJ)
  • Paul Sanfrancesco, Director of Technology, Owen J. Roberts School District (PA)

Key takeaways and insights from the roundtable include:…Read More

School-home communication remains a challenge for many districts

Key points:

One-third of parents say they feel uninformed about their child’s progress in school, and less than 40 percent receive regular communication around supporting their child’s academic success, according to a survey from edtech solution company SchoolStatus.

The lack of clarity around school-home communications is cause for concern, given that 77 percent of families surveyed in the 2024 School-Family Communications Report recognize the importance of school-home communication.…Read More

6 tips to help educators support young readers

Key points:

In school, many kindergarten and first-grade students are asked to memorize lists of common words, which are sometimes called “sight words.” This practice skips important steps. The idea that children learn to read by memorizing whole words is a misconception. Research shows that teaching students individual letter-sound correspondences and having them sound out words is more effective.

Defining sight words…Read More

Intuit Launches Intuit for Education and Announces Goal to Help 50M Students Become Financially Literate, Capable, and Confident by 2030

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE)–new survey published today found that 85% of US high school students are interested in learning about financial topics in school. To close the gap in financial literacy, Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), the global financial technology platform that makes Intuit TurboTaxCredit KarmaQuickBooks, and Mailchimp, today launched Intuit for Education, a new financial literacy program that provides high school teachers and students with free personal and entrepreneurial finance courses. The company also launched the Intuit Hour of Finance Challenge to challenge schools to spend one hour on financial education during Financial Literacy Month in April.

“Without personal finance knowledge, students struggle to make informed financial decisions, jeopardizing their long-term financial success after graduating,” said Dave Zasada, vice president of Education and Corporate Responsibility at Intuit. “We know that financial education works. Our survey shows that 95% of students who receive financial curriculum at school find it helpful. As an organization that has been powering prosperity globally for 40 years, Intuit recognizes our unique opportunity and set a goal to help 50 million students become more financially literate, capable, and confident by 2030.”

Intuit for Education…Read More

The 4Cs: How esports promotes student development

Key points:

I first started trying to get an esports program at my school in 2011. At the time, there was a lot of resistance around the misconception that violent video games make violent kids, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Another common roadblock I faced was the idea that video games make young people antisocial. That’s not true, either. Kids love socializing through video games.

I started building an esports curriculum and, every time, I got shot down, I would add an element to the curriculum addressing the reasons I was told we couldn’t have a team. When I was told that video games cause young people to become antisocial, I added a section on social-emotional learning (SEL). Family members and other educators worried about excessive screen time leading to poor physical health, so the curriculum calls for every practice to begin with calisthenics and stretching, and we talk about the performance triad of a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and appropriate nutrition.…Read More

Look Who’s Talking: Superintendent Susan Enfield on the Changing Role of Leadership in Schools

Title: Leading in Service to Schools: Every Leader Matters

School districts are in a precarious state. Post-pandemic, institutions are still grappling with learning recovery, teacher shortages, and other societal struggles. Never have those in positions of management been so vital. Susan Enfield has been there. And in her opening keynote, she intends to help. She indulged eSchool News with some starting points. Susan delves into lessons learned with the rapid deployment of technology during COVID, the necessity of equitable access to devices and digital resources for students, and the importance of embracing discomfort to foster innovation. Have a listen:

Dr. Susan Enfield is the former superintendent for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. Prior to this, Dr. Enfield spent a decade serving as superintendent for Highline Public Schools outside Seattle, Washington. Under her leadership, Highline worked to deliver on its promise to know every student by name, strength and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose.…Read More

CTE advocates want more funding as demand increases

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

A decade ago, Latisa Kindred fought to bring back the electricity program at Simeon Career Academy, which had been shut down by the school’s principal due to low enrollment. The effort by Kindred, students, alumni, and elected officials paid off – and the program was reinstated.

Now, Simeon’s career and technical education program, where Kindred continues to teach electricity to high school students, is being held up as a model. Last week, Mayor Brandon Johnson toured the high school, visiting carpentry, electricity, and culinary arts classrooms – and even sampling a large breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and toast prepared by the high school’s chefs.…Read More

Montgomery County Educational Service Center Launches Telehealth Partnership With Cartwheel

DAYTON, OHIO – The Montgomery County Educational Service Center (MCESC) today announced a partnership with mental health provider  Cartwheel to bring students and families rapid access to mental health care via telehealth with Ohio-licensed clinicians.

“Post-COVID, mental health challenges have gone up significantly across the country and in Montgomery County. Long waitlists for care have impacted students, families, and school staff,” said Amy Anyanwu, Assistant Superintendent, Montgomery County Educational Service Center. “It’s crucial to recognize that students grappling with deep sadness or anxiety shouldn’t be turned away or endure a four to six-month wait to see a therapist. Every child deserves timely access to the support they need during such challenging times. Our community health partners are doing what they can, but they are outnumbered. With our Cartwheel partnership, we’re taking one more step to get students access to the care they need when they need it.”

The partnership comes as youth mental health needs reach an all-time high in Montgomery County, Ohio and across the nation. According to the Montgomery County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS),  more than 20% of young people are experiencing a mental health disorder. In Ohio, suicide is now the  second leading cause of death among youth. These mental health challenges have also  spilled over into the classroom, for example by increasing chronic absenteeism and disciplinary issues such as suspensions and expulsions. …Read More

Enrollment in VHS Learning’s Flexible Self-Paced Courses Soars by Over 400%

Boston – Across the nation, flexible self-paced learning is capturing the interest of students and their families due to the flexibility it offers. That interest is reflected in the ever-increasing popularity of VHS Learning’s flexibly paced courses. The number of students enrolled in at least one of VHS Learning’s Flexible self-paced course offerings increased by 430% between the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

The flexible self-paced courses remove the restrictions of set semester and school-year start dates, allowing students to create customized academic schedules. VHS Learning first offered flexible self-paced courses during the 2022-23 academic year. At that time, 221 students enrolled. In the 2023-24 academic year, the number enrollees rose to 1,172, including almost 200 students that have signed up for VHS Learning’s new Flexible self-paced half-credit courses.

Flexible Self-paced courses are available in three categories:…Read More