Sept. 20, 2022: USDLA Public Policy — Opinion piece: Urgency Needed for K-12 Security Governance Policies

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022: A Note from Pat Cassella, executive director, USDLA — As we know, school cybersecurity governance requires being proactive. Some of the critical factors include developing a response plan, designating a security coordinator, and auditing and updating systems.

To make our programs effective, we must train staff on best practices, stay apprised of the latest resources, and advocate for legislative support. To help understand how important it is to incorporate cybersecurity programs into our schools, I encourage you to review this article by Alice Owen in the September 2022 issue of Government Technology magazine.

Click here to read the entire article. And scroll down for an excerpt that I believe you’ll find enlightening.

Government Technology magazine

September 2, 2022 • By Alice Owen

The main thing education technology leaders tell me that keeps them up at night is worrying about cyber attacks in their districts. According to a recent Microsoft Security Intelligence report (2022), K-12 school districts are the No. 1 target now for malware and cyber attacks. According to their research, the United States alone had over 4 million devices affected in the last 30 days.

Even several years ago, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was warning that K-12 school districts were quickly becoming “targets of opportunities” for malware, denial-of-service attacks, video conferencing disruptions, and phishing schemes. The rush to get devices in the hands of students during COVID-19 lockdowns only increased security vulnerabilities because of a lack of investment and long-term planning. Schools are feeling that sense of urgency about how important the security of their technology environment is to the operations of their district.

Student data can be very lucrative on the dark web if hackers obtain medical records or personal information for identity fraud. Since minor students do not have a credit history, these fraudulent activities may not be discovered until they become adults. Districts are responsible for protecting the privacy and security of student/employee data and building a culture of trust and transparency among stakeholders. Schools must comply with the new laws with new cybersecurity legislation across the country. It is imperative that security steps are taken as soon as possible to shore up district networks and protect end-user devices, but also delineate the ongoing policies that will govern them.

This article highlights steps that education technology leaders need to take to keep their districts safe, including:

  • Be Proactive: Work with your administration and school board
  • Hire Now: Or designate a security coordinator for your district
  • Do your homework: Conduct a security audit
  • And more!

Click here to read the entire article!

Don’t miss our USDLA Friday Webinar Series: 1-2 pm Eastern

Friday, Sept. 23: How to Drive Online Student Engagement for Deeper Learning — In this fireside chat-style webinar with the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business faculty members, Elizabeth Churchya and Eric Powers will share their experiences effectively, empowering students to engage in online courses. Given their vastly different subject matters, each will be able to speak to the various techniques they used to drive meaningful conversations and engagement around their course topics. They will also highlight how they used their Yellowdig Communities to create a connected learning experience for their students. Don’t hesitate to bring your questions to Eric and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Churchya, Piano Faculty Member, Pianist Elizabeth Churchya is a charismatic and sensitive performer who has concertized extensively throughout the United States and England. She is a prize winner in many competitions, including the Charleston International Competition. Recently, Elizabeth appeared as a “Rising Star” soloist with the UofSC Orchestra in the Ravel Piano Concerto performance in G major. She had the privilege of performing in masterclasses for renowned pianists, including Nelita True, Edmund Battersby, Dmitri Rachmanov, and many others. Her primary teachers include Joseph Rackers, Phillip Bush, Jeffrey Brown, and Lelia Sadlier. Elizabeth is a current doctoral candidate at UofSC in Music Performance (ABD). She teaches Film Music at the University of South Carolina, a course she designed and quickly became the university’s most popular music elective.

Eric Powers, Academic Chair and an Associate Professor of Finance, Eric has taught introductory financial management at the undergraduate and masters levels, undergraduate fixed income security valuation, and the Ph.D. seminar in corporate finance.

Sponsored by Yellowdig: In 2014, Yellowdig’s CEO and founder Shaunak Roy knew he wanted to start a company that mattered. As Facebook and other social media technologies took over the social connectivity scene, he saw an opportunity to leverage this idea of social sharing through technology, specifically in sharing academic ideas and knowledge. As Shaunak looked back on his academic days (he went to undergrad at IIT Bombay and postgrad at MIT), he realized he learned as much from his peers as he did from his brilliant professors. Some of the bonds he created with his peers lasted well beyond those formative years and morphed into lifelong friendships. Click here to learn why online learning communities drive deeper learning, energize faculty and increase retention: Click here to register for this session!

If you missed it: Sept. 16: Inclusive Student Mentoring — Sheryl Kristensen and Thomas Butkiewicz from Walden University discussed an inclusive student mentoring model applying inclusive teaching and learning strategies to influence student engagement and persistence in the learning process and the virtual mentoring relationship.

“Awareness of implicit bias, cultural humility, and cultural intelligence promises to improve mentoring relationships by valuing the strengths and diverse perspectives that students bring to these relationships,” Sheryl explains.

“We offer a model which proposes how inclusive mentoring practices may lead toward leveling socially constructed power configurations,” shares Tom, noting that participants will receive a job aid to help them apply inclusive strategies in their own student mentoring practice.

For a limited time: Click here to watch the webinar!