Has remote learning made snow days obsolete?

Has remote learning made snow days obsolete?

2020 was certainly a challenging year on so many levels for K12 school districts. But as the saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. For K12 schools, a sudden shift last year from in-person to at-home teaching created a need to provide remote access to instructional resources. While the transition was difficult for some schools at first, many districts were quick to adapt to the new learning environment.

Now some school districts, such as New York City public schools, have decided to nix snow days all together, opting for remote learning instead. Gone are the days where school buildings in NYC will be closed due to bad weather. Starting the 2021/22 school year, “The DOE will shift all students to remote instruction in lieu of cancelling schools due to severe weather conditions,” the DOE wrote in a statement provided to CNN.

With so many districts now fully supporting at-home instruction, schools are more prepared to switch to remote instruction at a moments notice. Due to damage and power outages at several schools in Fort Smith, Texas, for example, teachers and students at Fort Smith Public Schools used their remote learning plan for the day.

Although switching back and forth based on the needs for that day are made easier by remote learning technologies, securing school owned devices while at home and protecting students while online is more important than ever. Web filtering solutions that can decrypt SSL traffic and accurately report on all student’s surfing activities are crucial; basic DNS filters are no longer enough.

Hybrid-cloud based solutions such as the Linewize Web Filter provide school districts with a web filtering system and classroom management tool equipped with selective SSL decryption, red flag safety alerts, teacher/student screen sharing, and cyber safety education for the community.

Other hybrid-cloud web filters like the ContentKeeper Web Filter not only provide selective SSL decryption, but application controls that allow schools to identify & block suspicious apps such as BitTorrent, Psiphon or Ultrsurf that students us to circumvent school web filters & anonymously access the Dark Web.

Whether students will be learning at home, in school, or a combination of both, technology stands at the ready, and security solutions are finally available to provide the digital safety net needed to help districts keep their students safe while online at home.

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA). It was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This long-awaited sequel to the CARES Act includes a stimulus and pandemic relief package of just under $900 billion, with just over $81 billion of it for the Education Stabilization Fund. This fund provides an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund and must be used by September, 2022.

The recently passed legislation also includes $1 billion for the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. GEER is available for governors to provide either K-12 or higher education funds based on the needs they identify in the state. This fund will also operate similarly to the GEER fund found in the CARES Act.

The ESSER II Fund

Much like the ESSER I Fund within the CARES ACT, the majority of the money allotted to K-12 schools will go directly to districts based on the proportion of funding they receive through Title I of the federal Every Students Succeeds Act. The states can reserve 10 percent for administration, but must use the rest for local education agencies (LEAs). The $54.3 billion is roughly 4 times that received in March, 2020.

School districts can use the fund for any activity allowed under other federal laws for education, aiming to improve outcomes for students who have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus. This can include:

  • Activities authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
  • Slowing the spread of Covid-19;
  • Addressing the specific needs of disadvantaged students;
  • Helping with learning loss;
  • Purchasing PPE and the supplies needed to clean and disinfect schools;
  • Providing mental health services and support for students;
  • Closing the digital divide for students;
  • Summer learning and supplemental after-school programs;
  • Planning for school closures;
  • Purchasing the hardware and software needed to conduct remote and hybrid learning.

How Could The Fund Be Allocated?

If budget allocation from the CARES Act Discretionary Funds is any indication of how this most recent fund might be allocated, a majority of the states will likely focus on broadband, remote training/curriculum, and devices. Below you can see how governors have been using the CARES Act discretionary funds:

Additionally, experts put together a rough estimate of what states should receive compared to the CARES Act.

 

Coronavirus K-12 State Allocation Table

What to expect going forward?

With this much anticipated relief for school districts around the country, should you expect more to come? Many experts predict that the fund is acting as a “bridge” payment and are hopeful for more help, particularly with a new administration taking office on January 20 and the Senate recently moving to Democrat control.

On January 14th, 2021, President-elect Biden released a $1.9 trillion plan for COVID-19 relief that would provide $130 billion in funds for K-12 education. In this plan, funds are aimed at helping K-12 schools reopen or provide distance learning.

“We will do everything we can to keep our educators and students safe and to safely open a majority of our K-8 schools by the end of our first 100 days,” Biden said in a speech announcing his plan.

For more information on the ESSER II Fund, the Office of Elementary & Secondary Education has put together this Fact Sheet

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

Linewize and Gaggle announce strategic partnership

Linewize and Gaggle announce strategic partnership

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (August 25, 2020)  Linewize, a growing education technology company, today announced its partnership with Gaggle as a part of its expanding cyber safety offering. Gaggle is the pioneer in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Gaggle team,” said Linewize VP, North America, Ross Young. “They dominate the ‘hands-on’ student safety market and have saved countless lives. Together, our technologies will work seamlessly to uncover more valuable data for school districts for an iron-clad cyber safety solution.”

The Linewize solution provides school districts with a web filtering system and classroom management tool equipped with red flag safety alerts, teacher/student screen sharing, and cyber safety education for the community. When Linewize flags a student internet search for terms that may signal potentially dangerous or harmful behavior, an alert will be sent to the Gaggle Safety Team, who will include Linewize alerts in their analysis to determine if the school or district needs to be notified.

The Gaggle safety solution combines artificial intelligence and trained safety experts to provide real-time analysis and review of students’ use of online collaboration platforms, such as Google’s G Suite for Education, Microsoft Office 365, and Canvas. Gaggle assists districts in proactively identifying and supporting students who are struggling as well as creating a safer school environment by building a culture for improved digital citizenship.

“This partnership adds a new layer to student safety during this critical time when many districts are grappling with what type of instruction models they will deploy,” said Jeff Patterson, Gaggle’s founder and CEO. “Whether students will be learning at home, in school, or a combination of both, Gaggle and Linewize stand ready to provide the digital safety net needed to help districts keep their students safe online wherever they are.”

About Linewize

The Linewize ecosystem is a unique response to the challenge of today’s connected learning environments. The ecosystem aligns a series of products to help districts stay in regulatory compliance, get the most out of their purchased technology, keep kids cyber-safe at school, and impact the parent community by assisting them in raising good digital citizens. For more information, please visit www.linewize.com

About Gaggle

Since 1999, Gaggle has been the leader in helping K-12 districts manage student safety on school-provided technology. Using a powerful combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts, the safety solution proactively assists districts 24/7/365 in the prevention of student suicide, bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other harmful situations. Most importantly, Gaggle continues to help hundreds of districts avoid tragedies and save lives, while also protecting their liability. Thus far in the 2019-20 academic year, Gaggle has helped districts save the lives of more than 830 students who were planning or actually attempting suicide. For more information, visit www.gaggle.net and follow Gaggle on Twitter at @Gaggle_K12.

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet security services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.

To learn more about our services, or schedule a demo contact us today.

Linewize Cloud WebFilter w/ “Classwize”

Linewize Cloud WebFilter w/ “Classwize”

Available on Demand: Take an in depth tour of the Linewize HYBRID-CLOUD WebFilter and “Classwize” Teacher module… on your schedule.

Learn how the Linewize hybrid-cloud WebFilter is helping K12 schools overcome the limitations of an on-prem-only webfilter when it comes to protecting their distance learning devices.

Learn how the Linewize hybrid-cloud approach  provides a better way to protect all browsers, across ALL devices (Chrome, Windows, Mac and iOS) both on and off prem, through a single interface. If you have a cloud only web filter today, you are aware of it’s inherent limitations.

Learn how the Linewize “Classwize” for Teachers module allows your teachers to not only see what their students are doing on their school owned devices, but to control what internet content they can & cannot access during class… even while their students are working from home!

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. security solutions to K12 schools since 1995. If you are not entirely satisfied with your current web filter or the support provided by the manufacturer, let us help you find a better way!

Benefits of Working with a WebFilter Reseller

Benefits of Working with a WebFilter Reseller

WHAT IS A VALUE ADDED RESELLER?

A value-added reseller, also known as a VAR, is a company that can add services and knowledge about a vendor’s products, then resell that product to an end user. A WebFilter reseller is one that typically sells several WebFilter solutions from multiple vendors. If you work in a K12 technology department, you are most likely overworked and understaffed. And when it comes time to shop for new technologies, especially WebFilters, navigating all the options from the many different vendors can be daunting. Resellers can help you sift through all the clutter and guide you in choosing the best solution from the vendors with which they work.

SO MANY OPTIONS. WHERE TO START?

Consider this; if you are a mid-size school of 2,500 – 5K students, you may have an IT staff of 8-12 people. A corporation of that size would have an IT staff of 10x that amount. You run the accounting systems, the student information systems, the firewalls, and so much more. On any given day, you are one step away from pulling your hair out. Researching new software and technology takes time you just don’t have. However, when a current technology solution no longer meets your needs, you have no choice but to shop around. The pressure is on to make sure you choose the best solution, from so many options, for your specific needs. When it comes to shopping for WebFilter software specifically, there are many solutions from which to choose. The stress of making sure you choose the best solution, at a price your district can afford, can be overwhelming.

RESELLERS OFFER MANY BENEFITS

While you may feel the manufacturer knows more about their solutions than anybody else, you may want to consider that the manufacturer’s theselves may not be excited to inform you about any possible shortcomings of their solutions. After all, telling you what their product CAN’T do may make it difficult to sell their solutions.

Working with a reseller does not limit your ability to gain deep insight into said solution. In most cases, the reseller introduces you to the manufacturer, then the three of you work together through the research process. 

Resellers that sell multiple solutions from several vendors are generally well versed in the pros AND CONS of the solutions they sell. A trustworthy reseller that puts their name and reputation on the line every time they recommend a solution to a school will be open and forthcoming about any potential shortcomings of any solution they recommend. If YOU decide the shortcoming will be a detriment, you can decide to work with that reseller to explore alternate options.

WILL I PAY MORE FROM A RESELLER?

When you work with a reseller who is an authorized representative of the solutions they sell, the price you receive from the reseller is often the same as if you purchased direct, and in some cases cheaper; well established resellers often get volume discounts and pass along those savings to you.

RESELLERS OFFER OPTIONS

No single WebFilter or I.T. security solution is a perfect fit for every school. Value Added Resellers are connected to a number of vendors which means they can offer a range of solutions to ensure you find the best solution for your specific needs. When working through a reseller, you get the choice to determine what’s the best solution. Resellers work with you to understand your needs and then suggest a solution that best fits your school’s requirements. They will give you valuable recommendations, whereas a manufacturer most likely offers just one solution that may not serve your needs.

Resellers eliminate the need for you to contact numerous manufacturers. When it comes to WebFilters, for example, there are many, many to choose from. Going through each solution, then comparing features and benefits, can be a time consuming and tedious task. Resellers with a dedicated team that keeps up on the latest information from the various manufacturers helps you shorten your research time.

THE VALUE OF A RESELLER

A good reseller will ensure the solutions you purchase meet your requirements. Resellers help to educate their customers about the products they sell. Resellers will setup and conduct demonstrations, and hold technical discussions, and even setup proof of concepts.

In summary, if you are shopping for a webfilter or any I.T. security solution, a quick meeting with a reseller can be time well spent. You will get valuable information and insight to help you as you search for the best solution for your school.

FilteredNet has been selling webfilters and I.T. sercurity solutions to K12 schols since 1995.

We work with I.T. security vendors covering a range of internet secuirty services, including webfilter solutions such as Linewize by FamilyZone and ContentKeeper.