CoSN launches K-12 interoperability resource

In addition to new resources, during CoSN 2015 in Atlanta, ed-tech champions were honored for their achievements

cosn-interoperabilityAt its 2015 conference, CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) launched new resources to help school districts achieve the digital leap. The organization also recognized the achievements of exceptional leaders nationwide.

Following the reveal of CoSN’s 3rd annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey, the association launched a new primer, titled Interoperability Standards for Education: Working Together to Strategically Connect the K–12 Enterprise.

The guide will help district technology leaders understand why interoperability standards matter, highlighting the most widely used and emerging standards: digital content; data connectivity; data integration; authentication authorization and identity management; portals and portlets; file sharing; network infrastructure; and digital accessibility.

Next page: Important points of the interoperability primer

This primer also covers interoperability governance at the district level, with lead-user profiles of interoperability solutions, and provides a forward-looking view with practical considerations for strategies in the IT environment.

“This unique resource, written by chief technology officers for chief technology officers, is truly one of a kind. There is not a tool like this for K-12 leadership that paints such a full picture on these standards,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

“K-12 school district technology leaders who do not know these interoperability standards are not running their IT environments effectively – and therefore, somebody else is making decisions for them. The primer will help educate and change that course,” said John Alawney, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Information Officer, Katy (Texas) Independent School District, and Chair, CoSN Technology Committee.

To see the primer in full, visit:

During the conference, CoSN also honored exceptional leaders and teams for demonstrating outstanding commitment and contributions to K-12 education technology.

Included below is a look at this year’s honorees:

Team Award: Henrico County Public Schools (Va.)

Henrico County Public Schools launched one of the first large-scale one-to-one initiatives in the country 14 years ago, and the district continues to excel at managing and assessing its programming. Henrico created a 21st century instruction rubric, called Teacher Innovation Progression Chart (TIPC). Focusing on critical 21st century skill areas, the TIPC chart measures digital skills to prepare students for college, career, and life and has been adopted by other school districts nationwide. Henrico has also made sure that students and teachers stay involved through its Henrico 21 project, an online community featuring teacher-created content, student blogs, and social media content. The project provides teachers, parents, students, administrators, and the community the opportunity to share their work and ideas.

Withrow Award: Vincent Scheivert, Chief Information Officer, Albemarle County Public Schools (Va.)

Vincent Scheivert has transformed learning in a diverse school district covering more than 700 square mountainous and rural miles around Charlottesville, Virginia. Recognizing that there was a wide disparity in home Internet access of his students, Scheivert created a solution by developing a 4G wide array wireless network. Within just two years, the network will give thousands of previously underserved students access to high-speed Internet at home. Scheivert is also strengthening connectedness at home by launching a one-to-one program that will equip all students in grades 6-12 with devices and has introduced a number of new instructional programs – notably the Coder Dojo Academy – to offer free coding classes to students.

Volunteer of the Year: John Alawney, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Information Officer, Katy Independent School District (Texas), and Chair, CoSN Technology Committee

Despite changing jobs and moving districts, John Alawney has been active in CoSN for a number of years. He has led CoSN’s Technical Committee and guided a vast volunteer network of chief technology officers to produce the aforementioned new Interoperability Standards for Education primer. Last year, he led CoSN’s Teaming for Transformation group on an exclusive school site visit to Katy ISD. The site visit allowed participants to hear from local leadership and industry leaders and engage with Katy ISD students and educators.

Partnerships That Matter: Education SuperHighway

Education SuperHighway played a crucial partnership role in laying the groundwork for the education community’s major E-rate victory in late 2014. Advocating the widespread needs of district technology leaders, Education SuperHighway informed the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to modernize and increase federal funding by 60 percent, roughly $1.5 billion annually to school infrastructure – the first-ever funding increase in the program’s 17-year existence.

Private Sector Champion: Gary Mainor, Vice President, Pearson

Pearson’s Gary Mainor went beyond what is required in his day job to provide high-quality and strategic value to advance learning through technology. Mainor was instrumental in guiding CoSN’s most recent international delegations to Portugal and Singapore, and he co-chaired CoSN 2015 events.

To learn more about the awards, visit:

CoSN 2015 also featured an advocacy event for educators and industry stakeholders to show their support for transforming learning. Through the advocacy event, students, schools, and libraries will be better equipped with the necessary technology tools to learn in a compelling environment and succeed in the global marketplace.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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