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Feature for District CIO

Every K12 IT manager wants all school software to work together seamlessly, but incompatible programs often prevent the sharing of key data.

For common communications, such as early dismissal notices, some schools create generic translated versions in key languages.

CIOs can play a key role in their district’s efforts to increase parent engagement as part of wider initiatives to advance equity.

Ultimately, the answer to delivering school bandwidth might require a radical rethink in which districts scrap expensive IT infrastructure in favor of pure wireless connections.

Source: The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning, SEDTA (DAmag.me/bbd)

Educators and students, of course, increasingly rely on the internet for everything from online curriculum and research to playing edu-games and posting grades.

By combining the plumbing of the internet with heavy-duty encryption, a VPN can help keep a district’s secrets. Under the surface, VPNs use a technique known as tunneling to create an encrypted data path from sender to receiver and back.

How a VPN sidetracks the internet, keeping the data at your school secure.

Schools thrive on free and open exchanges of information, but as soon as a principal reviews attendance records or examines student grades held on a district server, that openness must end.

Phishing attacks often involve receiving an email with an attachment or link from what appears to be a colleague’s email address.

It’s typically altered by just one letter—for example, instead of j.jones@schoolsample.org, it may be j.jones@schoolsanple.org (the “m” is replaced with an “n”). A user may not notice the subtle character change and click on an attachment (unleashing a virus or malware), or follow a link to a phony site that lures them into revealing private information.

While online curricula platforms have propelled personalized learning to new levels, Coppell ISD in north Texas takes the concepts a step further.

When the central Connecticut town of Cheshire moved to reduce power use, it upgraded six of its eight public schools with the latest internet of things technology. The plan combined energy-efficient LED fixtures with sensors and cloud-based servers that automatically turn the lights off in an empty room or adjust brightness.

The district cut its electricity bill by 84 percent, saving about $390,000 out of an annual $65 million budget.

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