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Feature for District CIO

ACADEMIC EFFICIENCY—Los Angeles USD’s CIO, Shahryar Khazei, has integrated enterprise resource planning software (which streamlines administrative functions) with the district’s student information system.

Some early adopters in K12 education have deployed ERP to manage a range of operations more efficiently.

Everything might work smoothly now, but Los Angeles USD’s first try at automated payroll in 2007 failed, with some employees getting overpaid while others didn’t get a check or were underpaid.

“We tried to do this too early, before the software was fully developed,” says Shahryar Khazei, the district’s CIO.

Aimed at automating its payroll, the $95 million system went haywire and took a year and a half to fix and customize to the needs of the district.

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.

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