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Securing a Multi-Vendor Cloud Environment at School

Modern Network Segmentation and Access Control

Legacy network design techniques in education often used segmentation of networks at the core switch or even a router to control access between networks of differing security levels. Managing these access lists was time consuming and relatively primitive. One could only enforce the most rudimentary (at best L4 – address and port) traffic rules. This often resulted in allowing access to resources that user groups should not have – especially in shared computer environments.

The early firewalls capable of application awareness (L7) were not fast enough to sit between segments of a LAN – in spite of their capabilities to identity traffic in advanced ways such as by user or by time of day in addition to application used.

Today we have the capability to easily segment traffic between networks using a high speed and inexpensive firewall capable of controlling traffic based on any number of criteria including user, application, time of day and source device type. We can also scan this traffic for malware, apply Intrusion Detection and throttle or guarantee bandwidth. With a cluster of firewall appliances, we can provide very high reliability. It is common practice in education to route traffic between networks of differing security levels through a modern firewall, leaving the switching infrastructure to do what is was designed for – forwarding packets to their destination at "line speed." Some of these devices can even sit in a switch chassis – reducing the space needed and power requirements in the data center.

Network Access Control in a K-12 Environment

With the advent of 1:1 teaching and digital curriculum, the K-12 school has extended the learning environment from the physical campus to anywhere in the world. This presents unique security challenges to any K-12 security administrator. A campus or district Network Access Control system can play a major role in protecting the IT environment. A NAC system, as it is commonly called, serves four primary functions:

  • Identification of devices and profiling of the devices that are connected, including device type and operating system.
  • Enforcement of IT policies that define what a user can access, with what device type, and when makes for a consistent user experience
  • Protect IT resources via dynamic policy controls that integrate with third party security products.
  • Perform advanced and automated endpoint security checks on devices attempting to connect via wired, wireless, and VPN connections.


The boundaries of IT's domain now extend beyond the four walls of an organization. And the goal for many organizations is to provide anytime, anywhere connectivity without sacrificing security. Network Access Control systems can be very valuable in a K-12 environment. These systems enable users to be authenticated with specific policies applied to their network access. Examples of NAC systems are user authentication with policies applied at network access that control what parts of the network the user can access, what speeds the user connects at, and what times and devices are accessible to the user. Network Access Control systems automate machine scans of outside computers that access the network, and in the event that a device violates known policy it can be disconnected or quarantined while in session.

Continue reading on the Datalink Networks Technology Blog.

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E-rate News Flash - Issue #18-02, January 30, 2018

Entity Profile Update
 
We want to thank all of the Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that were able to update their entity profile in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to include the County-District-School (CDS) number prior to the close of the Administrative window. A total of 1,837 sites now have the added CDS number to help them through the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review process.

Important Funding Year 2018 Dates and Deadlines
 
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced on December 14, 2017 the E-rate Funding Year 2018-19 application filing window dates.
·         The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 471 window: opened January 11, 2018 at noon EST and closes March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
·         The last day to file the FCC Form 470 is February 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
As of January 9, 2018, a total of 826 FCC Forms 470 have been filed by 608 applicants.
Additional Guidance for the FCC Form 470
 
USAC has recently published a decision matrix to help applicants navigate the FCC Form 470 drop-down menu. This matrix became necessary when the definitions of each drop down option changed for the 2018 filing year. The decision matrix can be found on USAC's Web page at http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/handouts/FCC-Form-470-C1-Dropdown-Table.pdf
 
E-rate applicants are encouraged to review this matrix prior to submitting the FCC Form 470 this year. Selections made on the Funding Year 2017 application will likely not have the same result on the Funding Year 2018 application due to the change in definitions.  The matrix provides additional USAC guidance concerning which FCC Form 470 menu options must be used when requesting various combinations of transport and Internet services. Those seeking Internet service with bundled transport need to be particularly careful. If USAC strictly enforces these new menu options, applicants relying on last year's Form 470 selections may find themselves facing funding denials for FY 2018.

E-rate training
 
The K-12 High Speed Network continues to offer E-rate trainings to California Schools and Libraries. Below is a summary of the current training schedule, along with the link to register for the trainings.
Training name: E-rate - Successfully apply for funding
This six-hour, face-to-face workshop takes you from the planning phases through filing the FCC Form 471, including demonstrations of the E-rate Productivity Center.
 
There will be one training as follows:
Date: February 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Santa Clara County Office of Education, 1290 Ridder Park Drive,
San Jose, CA
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Successfully apply for funding training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-138490.      
Training name: E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470
This one-hour webinar will cover the technical navigation of the FCC Form 470. A brief discussion of procurement will be included.
 
There will be two trainings as follows:
Date: February 12, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144968.  
 
Date: February 13, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144969.
Training name: E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471
This webinar will be approximately one hour and will demonstrate how to complete the FCC Form 471 for various types of services.
 
There will be three trainings as follows:
Date: February 21, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144971.
 
Date: February 22, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144972.
 
Date: March 8, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144973.


CALNET 3 Contract Extension
 
The California Department of Technology (CDT) has exercised its one (1) year option to extend all CALNET 3 contracts identified below. The new expiration date for all CALNET 3 contracts will be June 30, 2019.
 
This CALNET 3 extension will provide State, Local Government and E-Rate customers a sufficient amount of time to plan for fiscal year funding and file appropriate forms (e.g. E-RATE Form 471) for reimbursement.
 
With the new contract term of June 30, 2019, CALNET still has the option to extend all CALNET Categories/Subcategories with a single, one-year option to extend to 2020 remaining.
 

 Schools and Libraries Program Weekly News Briefs on E-rate
 
The Schools and Libraries Program (SLP), commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx .

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Two new training sessions offered for DASHBOARD

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is excited to offer a two-part training series that dives deeper into Dashboard data to help local education agencies (LEAs) make decisions that are research-based, equity focused, and informed by stakeholder engagement.

The two-part training series will be livestreamed via a Zoom webinar. Below are the specific dates, topics, and registration details for each session.

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Data and Evaluation Module/Part 1

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8
10am—12pm

Build Your CA School Dashboard Data Literacy
Dive deep into particular aspects of the Dashboard including status and change calculations for specific indicators. Participants will walk through a data analysis protocol using sample Dashboard data, and learn how other data sources can be used in conjunction with Dashboard data.

This training is primarily designed for LEA representatives who are responsible for making data-informed decisions as part of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.

Location: Zoom webinar

To register: Click here 

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Data and Evaluation Module/Part 2
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
10am—12pm

Small District & School Leaders:
Build Your Capacity to Make Data-Informed Decisions

This session is tailored for representatives from small LEAs that might have limited Dashboard data. Participants will examine the Dashboard and dive deeply into other sources of district and school data that can be used to design a strategic action plan to improve student outcomes.

The training is also designed to benefit representatives from charter schools, as well as court and community schools

Location: Zoom webinar

**Registration details coming soon



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Microsoft and PowerSchool Partner

REDMOND, WASH., and FOLSOM, CA. – January 18, 2018 – Microsoft Corp. and PowerSchool, a leading provider of K-12 education technology solutions reaching over 30 million students in North America, today announced a new partnership that will bring together PowerSchool's innovative K-12 technologies with Microsoft's O365 for Education productivity suite, Windows devices, and cloud infrastructure to help ensure all students reach their full potential. Aligned around a shared vision that technology in education can help improve a child's future opportunities, the companies have committed to leveraging their best-in-class solutions to help educators, students and parents achieve their common goal of success in the classroom. 

By combining PowerSchool's award-winning Unified Classroom™ and Student Information System with Microsoft's productivity suite, Windows devices, and Azure infrastructure, the partnership will create classroom efficiencies, enable collaboration, and provide insights that allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time focused on administrative tasks. Additionally, students will have the ability to engage with their teachers, other students, and classroom materials in ways that work best for them, and parents will be able to more easily understand and support their child's progress. PowerSchool's customers will also benefit from Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's secure and intelligent cloud. 

The partnership involves PowerSchool delivering apps on Azure which enables a high degree of scale and security, while providing a platform to more rapidly deliver innovations. "At Microsoft, we are working hard every day to give school leaders and educators the tools they need to unlock limitless learning for students, and this new partnership is a big step forward in that vision," said Eran Megiddo, Corporate Vice President of Education at Microsoft. "Working together, we'll deliver new solutions that connect PowerSchool's leading K-12 technology with Microsoft's cloud productivity and analytics to provide the best teaching and learning solutions for educational institutions to support the students of today in creating the world of tomorrow." The partnership will allow Microsoft and PowerSchool to reshape K-12 education in five key areas:


  1. Creating a unique and enhanced Unified Classroom experience — By embedding Microsoft Office 365, including OneDrive, OneNote, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Class Notebook into PowerSchool's Unified Classroom, teachers will be able to manage all aspects of their classroom and use Microsoft Office 365 in one simple solution.
  2. Providing best-in-class cloud infrastructure — With PowerSchool's solutions hosted on Microsoft Azure, the partnership will offer advanced security, scalability, and reliability to their cloud solutions.
  3. Enabling Personalized Learning — The addition of Microsoft's solutions for education to the PowerSchool Unified Classroom will further empower students with more ways to demonstrate learning, collaborate with others, and personalize their learning experiences. The addition of Azure Machine Learning and Cognitive Services will enable PowerSchool to not only inform the learning process, but also adapt it in real time to meet the needs of each student.
  4. Providing Valuable Insights — By leveraging a combination of PowerSchool's Unified Insights platform and Microsoft's Power BI, the partnership will provide educators with the data they need to gain valuable insights into operational metrics and student performance.
  5. Creating a community of educators — The partnership is committed to helping the education community by sharing their decades of combined experience to help all educators grow and develop their skills in the classroom.


"At PowerSchool, we're dedicated to improving K-12 education and ensuring every student has the opportunity to achieve success in the classroom and beyond," said Hardeep Gulati, PowerSchool CEO. "Microsoft shares our mission to use innovative technologies to deliver transformational educational experiences. By partnering with Microsoft, we can better connect educators, students, and parents, delivering a stronger K-12 experience for all, in a way that is only possible due to our combined expertise." PowerSchool and Microsoft will be at multiple conferences throughout the year. See their innovation in action and learn more about the benefits this partnership offers K-12 schools and districts. 

About Microsoft Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

About PowerSchool Group LLC PowerSchool is a leading provider of K-12 education technology solutions that improve the education experience for educators, students, and parents in over 70 countries around the world. We provide the industry's first Unified Classroom solution, empowering teachers with best-in-class, secure, and compliant online solutions, including student information systems, learning management and classroom collaboration, assessment, analytics, behavior, and special education case management. We streamline school office and administration operations with online solutions for student registration, school choice, and finance/HR/ERP. We drive student growth through digital classroom capabilities and engage families through real-time communications across any device.    Visit https://www.powerschool.com/ to learn more.

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CALPADS poll - How many accounts do YOU have?

I've created a poll based on a question posted today in one of the CALPADS forums.  You must be logged in to vote!  See image below for how to access poll. 

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Friday Funny

In response to this afternoon's CALPADS listserv meme . . . .  Have a great weekend my fellow CALPADIANS.  You've earned it!

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The Value of Knowing Your School's Security Weaknesses

Many schools in California are rolling out "one-to-one" computing initiatives, to supplement existing policies of bring your own device (BYOD) programs to advance digital curriculum in K-12.

These changes provide amazing educational opportunities for students and staff alike, but introduce new challenges. One of the most pressing is ensuring security while more than doubling the endpoints involved.

We believe that intelligence and visibility are powerful, particularly when it comes to cyber-security threats and the defense against them. K-12 schools are particularly vulnerable targets because they have transient and often novice populations. Today's students are digital natives who are very savvy with networks and devices; in many cases more than school administrators or even IT staff.

Unfortunately, security of local infrastructure is not a concern for most students, and K-12 environments have earned a reputation as "soft targets." Ransomware criminals are able to take advantage of simple weaknesses in policies, software, or network architecture.

Research consultant Doug Levin of EdTech Strategies put together a K-12 Cyber-Incident Map, which graphically illustrates the impact of cyber incidents around the country.

As K-12 schools increase their reliance on digital devices, the number of cyber incidents has grown exponentially. Between Jan 01, 2016 through the end of 2017, there has been a 100% increase in publicly disclosed cyber incidents, no doubt a fraction of all incidents taking place. (Source: THEJournal.com)

The following areas represent some common fields of attack by cyber-criminals. Cyber-attacks come in many different forms in K-12 environments. No single security product will keep a K-12 campus safe; a "defense in depth" security approach is required to ensure the greatest protection. 


Any successful approach to security should incorporate a detailed review and assessment of one's present and ongoing security posture. Security solutions, both hardware and software, can be expensive and drain scarce resources from other key areas like wireless infrastructure or digital textbooks. The most important first step is to understand where the largest risks are to potential data-theft or cyber-attacks.

Read the full article on Datalink Networks' Technology Blog.

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E-Rate Update - January 2, 2018 - Issue 18-01

Important Funding Year 2018 Dates and Deadlines
 
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced on December 14, 2017 the E-rate Funding Year 2018-19 application filing window dates.

• The administrative Window (used to update Entity Profiles in the E-rate Productivity Center) closes January 10, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
• The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 471 window: opens January 11, 2018 at noon EST and closes March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
• The last day to file the FCC Form 470 is February 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

 
The EPC Administrative Window is Open until January 10 at 11:59 p.m. EST!
 
This is our second reminder encouraging Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to take advantage of the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) administrative window to update your entity profile in order to make the application process go as smoothly as possible. To date 1,602 schools and school districts have entered their 14 digit County-District-School (CDS) code in the "State School Code" Field in the EPC. The CDS code is an important tool for validating E-rate eligible schools and school districts.
 
The December 14 Special Edition of the Schools and Libraries Program News Brief (see http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=808) provides additional information on updating your profile.
 
The Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) process goes much more smoothly if the profile information in EPC matches the information on the school or school district record in the California School Directory as closely as possible.
 
To accomplish this, LEAs are encouraged to update the following in each site's profile:
 
1.    Update the Entity name and address in the EPC to match the California School Directory. http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp
2.    Update the "Number of Fulltime Students" and the "Total Number of Students Eligible for National School Lunch Program (NSLP)" fields to match the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) data from the 2017 collection period. This information should be available from your CALPADS Coordinator. The CALPADS 1.17 report is the recommended report to use for this purpose.
3.    Enter the full 14-digit CDS number in the "State School Code" field, with no spaces or dashes. You can find the CDS number in the California School Directory at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp.
a.    Some sites that do not have a CDS number may qualify as an Annex. If so, LEAs should create a "Customer Service Case" within the EPC to request the existing Billed Entity Number (BEN) for those sites be listed as "Inactive", and then added as an Annex to the primary site that does have a CDS number. A detailed discussion of what constitutes an Annex can be found in the March 4, 2016 News Brief on USAC's Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=670 and the March 11, 2016 News Brief on USAC's Web Page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=671.
4.    Verify the contact person's information on the district's profile. Since this person will receive communications from USAC, it is important that this be someone who has regular e-mail access and access to the LEA's account in the E-Rate EPC.
 
FCC Form 486 updates
The FCC Form 486 is the last FCC form required to be certified before the LEA can benefit from the approved E-rate funds. The deadline for this form is 120 days after the start of services, or 120 days after the date of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL), whichever is later.

Funding Year 2017-18 has presented unique challenges in the processing of the FCC Form 486. These challenges occur when an LEA changes the Start of Services Date (SSD) to anything other than July 1, 2017 or accidentally selects the incorrect Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) certification. When either of these actions occur the FCC Form 486 must be reviewed manually, which has caused significant delays in the approval of this form.

This has resulted in a backlog of forms needing to be reviewed. Unfortunately, the LEAs can't benefit from the approved E-rate funds until this form has been cleared through the manual review process. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) has begun its manual review outreach to those affected by means of e-mail. The LEA is encouraged to respond promptly to the e-mail in order to complete the review, allowing the funding to become available to the LEA.

For those who have not yet submitted their FCC Form 486, please read the CIPA certifications carefully so that you select the correct one. There is also no drawback to leaving the SSD date as July 1, 2017. Confirming these two items on your FCC Form 486 should ensure an automatic approval of your form, thus avoiding the manual review process.

Additional Information & Support
The Schools and Libraries Program (SLP), commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx.

You can subscribe to the California Department of Education (CDE) E-rate e-mail listserv by sending a "blank" message to  . If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE E-rate listserv, send a "blank" message to .

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Here's the FCC's Net Neutrality statement from Dec 14, 2017

FCC ACTS TO RESTORE INTERNET FREEDOM

Reverses Title II Framework, Increases Transparency to Protect Consumers, Spur Investment, Innovation, and Competition

--

WASHINGTON, December 14, 2017—The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years.

Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC's 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem.

In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015. Moreover, the FCC today also adopted robust transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers' conduct. In particular, the FCC's action today has restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices.

The framework adopted by the Commission today will protect consumers at far less cost to investment than the prior rigid and wide-ranging utility rules. And restoring a favorable climate for network investment is key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers. The Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order adopted by the Commission takes the following steps to achieve these goals:

Declaratory Ruling

  • Restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act—the classification affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2005 Brand X case.
  • Reinstates the classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service.
  • Finds that the regulatory uncertainty created by utility-style Title II regulation has reduced Internet service provider (ISP) investment in networks, as well as hampered innovation, particularly among small ISPs serving rural consumers.
  • Finds that public policy, in addition to legal analysis, supports the information service classification, because it is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, thereby furthering the goal of closing the digital divide and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.
  • Restores broadband consumer protection authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enabling it to apply its extensive expertise to provide uniform online protections against unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.

Report and Order

  • Requires that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission, including any blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or affiliated prioritization.
  • Finds that transparency, combined with market forces as well as antitrust and consumer protection laws, achieve benefits comparable to those of the 2015 "bright line" rules at lower cost.
  • Eliminates the vague and expansive Internet Conduct Standard, under which the FCC could micromanage innovative business models. Order
  • Finds that the public interest is not served by adding to the already-voluminous record in this proceeding additional materials, including confidential materials submitted in other proceedings. 

    The item takes effect upon approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the new transparency rule that requires the collection of additional information from industry. Action by the Commission December 14, 2017 by Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (FCC 17-166). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O'Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners Clyburn, O'Rielly, Carr and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements. 
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Illuminate Education acquires eduCLIMBER

Illuminate Education, the company transforming K-12 instruction through educational intelligence solutions, has joined forces with eduCLIMBER, a unique cloud-based data system that increases efficiency and accuracy of data analysis to improve student outcomes. eduCLIMBER is based in Evansville, Wis. and currently serves hundreds of school districts.

The dynamic combination will add eduCLIMBER's data capabilities, which focus on the visualization of both academic and behavioral data, to Illuminate Education's established Education Intelligence Platform. The companies' aligned missions and complementary technologies will allow them to provide increasingly more useful and user-friendly data to K-12 districts through a strengthened set of product offerings.

"Illuminate Education and eduCLIMBER's shared focus on utilizing data to improve student outcomes makes this combination powerful," said Max Carnecchia, CEO of Illuminate Education. "eduCLIMBER's abilities are unparalleled in providing teachers and administrators with digestible and visual student data. These tools produce automated data walls, saving teachers' valuable planning time. Specialists can easily monitor student progress and administrators can quickly triangulate and compare student data across a school or district."

The Illuminate team of educators has been committed to creating tools that promote student and educator success since 2009. Since Illuminate Education's founding, K-12 districts have increasingly looked to organize key data functions such as student information systems, data warehouses, assessment management and individual education plans in special education. To address these needs, Illuminate Education developed its Education Intelligence Platform to consolidate these functionalities into one simple, effective system.

Founded in 2013, eduCLIMBER has been on a similar path to improve education through data visualization, particularly to enhance Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

"This is a true partnership of two companies who are passionate about helping educators with their data," said Matt Harris, co-founder of eduCLIMBER. "Together, we will give educators what they've been dreaming of — a single system to aggregate and visualize their student data, which then enables them to identify strategies for improving student outcomes."

To learn more about Illuminate Education, please visit http://illuminateed.com.

About Illuminate Education
Illuminate Education is a leading provider of K-12 software and services. An educator perspective drives all of Illuminate's solutions, which are designed to maximize instructional time, streamline educator tasks and support data-driven decision-making. Illuminate's award-winning Education Intelligence Platform consists of a product suite featuring data, assessments, student information, special education and reporting. Illuminate serves more than 1,600 school districts and over 5.4 million users including students, parents, teachers and administrators. Learn more at http://illuminateed.com.

About eduCLIMBER
eduCLIMBER is a unique cloud-based data system created for educators by educators. Making data analysis more efficient and accurate, educators can maximize time and focus on what's important -- improving student outcomes. eduCLIMBER allows districts to manage both academic and behavioral data under one system in order to make effective data-based decisions about student achievement and professional learning.

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E-Rate News Brief - December 14, 2017

E-rate Funding Year 2018 Application Filing Window Opens January 11, 2018

I am pleased to announce the Funding Year (FY) 2018 FCC Form 471 application filing window opens Thursday, January 11, 2018, at 12:00 noon EST and closes on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 11:59 PM EDT. This filing window is more in keeping with those used in prior funding years.

Applicants can begin preparing now for the successful filing of their FY 2018 funding applications by taking the following steps:

Step 1 - Install Browser Updates: Google Chrome is the preferred browser for EPC, but no matter which browser you use, be sure the latest version is installed on your computer.


Step 2 - Establish Account and User Rights: If this is your first year participating in the E-rate program, call our Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100 to create your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). If you already have an EPC account, log in and review, update and/or assign user rights for persons who will need access for FY 2018.


Step 3 - Update Your EPC Profile Now: To ensure a smoother filing process, EPC profiles will lock on January 10, 2018, at 11:59 PM EST. You will not be able to make changes to your EPC profile after that date. So, please log in to your EPC account now to make any necessary changes to your profile. Specifically, you should:
 

          • Ensure that the entity type for each of your schools, libraries, and non-instructional facilities (NIFs) is accurate.
          • Confirm the names and addresses for all of your entities and NIFs, and let USAC know if any have closed or if you expect to add any new entities for the upcoming funding year.
          • Schools should carefully review their student counts, including National School Lunch Program (NSLP) information.
          • Libraries should confirm their square footage, as well as the school district in which their main branch is located.
          • All applicants should review the "Connectivity" questions in their profile if they have made changes to their network or have a different opinion on the sufficiency of their network

Note that USAC has already updated EPC profiles with the data from approved FY 2017 applications, so you may notice some updated information when you log in to your account.

Step 4 - Proceed With Competitive Bidding: If you have not started the competitive bidding process by filing your FCC Form 470, please begin now. Remember that you must wait 28 days after filing the FCC Form 470 before entering into an agreement and filing your application. Waiting for the filing window to open is not necessary. USAC's website at http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx provides step-by-step instructions for completing the FCC Form 470 and conducting the competitive bid process.

As always, representatives at USAC's Client Service Bureau are available to help you at 888-203-8100. Alternatively, you can also open a customer service case in EPC to receive assistance.

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CALPADS Fall 1 Deadline Postponed!

Editor's note:  This just came across the CSIS listserv:

Dear LEA Representative:

We have determined the recent slowdown in CALPADS is due to sheer volume in the last week of the deadline. We were not able to get more LEAs certified earlier and reduce the load on the system prior to the deadline. As of Monday, 12/11/2017 only 50% of the 1,906 LEAs in the state had certified Fall 1. While we work to encourage LEAs to certify throughout the submission window we were unsuccessful to encourage more to complete sooner. So, due to this high volume causing extreme slowness with rendering reports and related screens, and the closure of some number of districts due to fires, the 2017 Fall 1 certification deadline has been extended to Friday, December 22, 2017.

Thank you,

CALPADS Team

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So. California school closures due to wildfires

...

LAUSD Closes San Fernando Valley Schools Due To Wildfires « CBS Los Angeles

Hundreds of schools are closed Wednesday due to a new fire in the Sepulveda Pass and ongoing fires burning elsewhere across Southern California.

Here's a link to a CBS website story about the school district closures as a result of the wildfires.

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CEDS Normalized Data Structure (NDS) Overview

Interesting video describing the CEDS (Common Education Data Standards) 

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CALPADS Update Flash #132

Dear LEA Representative:

The attached CALPADS Update FLASH #132 provides information about the following topics:

· Aligning Guidance Regarding When to Disenroll Truants to Support Practices to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism, Truancy, and Dropouts
o When should an LEA disenroll a student who has been enrolled and attending school and then becomes habitually truant and appears to have dropped out?
o Statutory steps for addressing truancy; exit options
o Are LEAs responsible for students who are expected to return the following school year, but who do not show up ("no shows")?
o When should a student be exited with E400 – OtherOrUnknown?
· Changes to CALPADS Field and Code Definitions to Support Guidance

A separate letter is being sent to your Superintendent or Charter School Administrator that discusses the same guidance contained in this Flash.


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District Boundary Navigator

Very cool nationwide online map of district boundaries just released:   https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/schoolmap/   Not yet able to download the files that would allow you to import into your SIS, but this looks promising.

The U.S. Department of Education tool, School & District Navigator, was developed to provide a geographic presentation of the Common Core of Data's (CCD) public school and public school district datasets.

The CCD is a program of the U.S. Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics that annually collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts and state education agencies in the United States.

The data are supplied by state education agency officials and include information that describes schools and school districts, including name, address, and phone number; descriptive information about students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.
For more information about the data, please visit the CCD website.

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2017/18 Survey Results are in!

The results of the 2017/18 survey are here!

This year we had over 200 survey responses. We augmented this by Google searching each school district's website. We also looked at 3rd party procurement websites, tech plans, and board notes. Finally, we reached out to the vendors directly and requested updated client lists, which most provided.

The update matrix of California K-12 systems for 2017/18 can be found here: https://www.schooltechnologyleadership.com/technology-in-schools/survey-results-2017-18

I think this is the single most comprehensive and up-to-date list of district enterprise systems in use in California. We are now tracking over 300 individual systems across 40 categories! And we've built out a product page for each one which you can see here: https://www.schooltechnologyleadership.com/systems

I also wanted to point out that this is truly a "vendor-neutral" effort; the site does not have any relationship to any of the vendors listed on this site. We are simply trying to identify (A) what is out there, and (B) who is using what. And we're succeeding!

I really want to thank everyone who participated in this year's survey. Without your help this free resource to support California IT Directors and data decision makers would simply not exist.

Sincerely,

Chris Moggia, Ed.D.

310-612-4478 (cell) 310-796-9166 (office) 

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"Catch-All" Chrome Extension Silently Steals Your Data

A new malicious Google Chrome extension steals any data victims enter into any website they visit reports the security team over at Barkly.com.

Malicious browser extensions are unfortunately nothing new, but a newly discovered example analyzed by Morphus Labs Chief Research Officer Renato Marinho is a good indication of how advanced and dangerous they're becoming.

Appropriately dubbed "Catch-All," this malicious Google Chrome extension captures all the data posted by its victims — including usernames, passwords, etc. — on any website they visit and transmits it into the hands of cyber criminals.

Read the entire article at Barkly.com.

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CDE E-Rate News Flash October 20, 2017 Issue 17-13

E-Rate News Flash

E-rate Funding Year 16 (2016–17) Invoicing Deadline

Monthly recurring services received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 have an invoicing deadline of October 30, 2017. Invoicing is accomplished using one of two methods.

     1.  The local education agency (LEA) submits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 472, also known as the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) form, to the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to receive reimbursement, after each invoice is paid in full.
     2.   The Service Provider submits FCC Form 474, also known as the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) form, to the SLD for reimbursement on the discounted portion of the product or service provided to the LEA.

The LEA may request a one-time invoice deadline extension if either the LEA or the Service Provider need additional time to complete invoicing. A one-time extension of 120 days can be requested, but must be requested prior to the deadline of October 30, 2017.

LEAs that use the BEAR method for reimbursement must also have:

     1.  A Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the online FCC Form 472.
     2.  An approved FCC Form 498 on file to receive a direct reimbursement from USAC.

    A detailed discussion of how to complete the invoicing process can be found in the October 6, 2017 Schools and Libraries Program (SLP) News Brief, which is posted on the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=791.

    E-rate Funding Year 17 (2017–18) FCC Form 486 Deadline

    LEAs that have received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) on or before July 1, 2017 have a deadline of October 30, 2017 to submit the FCC Form 486. The general rule for calculating the deadline for this form is 120 days after the start of services, or 120 days after the date the FCDL was posted. LEAs receiving an FCDL after July 1 can calculate the FCC Form 486 deadline using this general rule.

    Missing this deadline can result in a loss of funds. A detailed discussion of how to submit the FCC Form 486 can be found in the October 13, 2017 SLP News Brief, which is posted on the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=796.

    New guidance for the FCC Form 470

    The August 22, 2017 Special Edition News Brief issued by the SLP discussed new drop-down menu options on the FCC Form 470. This simplification was implemented so that LEAs would have a better understanding of what they are required to bid on in the event they were seeking certain fiber options for transport services. The August 22, 2017 Special Edition News Brief can be accessed from the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=786.

    Although simplification was attained in most instances, the new drop-down menu has created confusion regarding the option of "Internet Access and Transport Bundled". This option has, in the past, been considered technology neutral since the means of transport was not defined. Service Providers could submit proposals containing any method of transport as long as it resulted in a service that delivered Internet access to the LEA.

    The new guidance for LEAs seeking technology neutral bids is to select both "Internet Access and Transport Bundled" and "Leased Lit Fiber". LEAs that select only "Internet Access and Transport Bundled" on the FCC Form 470 will be denied funding if the winning Service Provider delivers the bundled internet access over fiber. Service Providers may inadvertently respond with proposals for Wide Area Network (WAN) services, since that is what the "Leased Lit Fiber" selection has meant historically. LEAs are encouraged to use the "Narrative" section of the FCC Form 470 to provide clarification to the Service Provider. Maintain a copy of all proposals received in order to ensure compliance with program rules.

    Additionally, the new guidance makes it apparent that LEAs should request that Service Providers include the delivery method and speed of the Internet access in their proposals. LEAs can use the "Narrative" section of the FCC Form 470 to notify Service Providers of this requirement. LEAs have the option of posting a Request for Proposal (RFP) in addition to posting the FCC Form 470. In this case, these requirements can be specified in the RFP to ensure that Service Providers are aware of the requirement.

    Detailed definitions for each drop-down menu option in the FCC Form 470 are available in the FCC Form 470 User Guide. Access the Form 470 User Guide from the SLP's Forms Web page at http://usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/e-rate-productivity-center/Filing-FCC-Form-470.pdf.

    Additional Information & Support

    The SLP, commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx .

    You can subscribe to the California Department of Education (CDE) E-rate e-mail listserv by sending a "blank" message to . If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE E-rate listserv, send a "blank" message to

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New Chronic Absentee Intervention Program offered through West (Makers of SchoolMessenger)

To help schools combat chronic absenteeism, West's SchoolMessenger solutions today launched its Chronic Absenteeism Intervention Program (CAIP). CAIP combines the proven elements of SchoolMessenger Communicate, the most-trusted K-12 notification service, and SafeArrival, a unique student attendance management tool, with a set of professional services that support schools as they plan and implement a program to reduce chronic absenteeism.

The impact of chronic absenteeism is well documented. A U.S. Department of Education study, "Chronic Absenteeism in the Nation's Schools," revealed that students who are chronically absent in preK-1 grades are much less likely to read at grade level by the third grade, and a study of Utah public high school students found that even one year of chronic absenteeism was associated with a 7X increase in school dropout.

However, research and experience demonstrate that a tiered intervention approach can reduce chronic absenteeism, including by building awareness, encouraging families, providing support and engaging students. A recent Teachers College, Columbia University, experimental study of 22 West Virginia middle and high schools sent automated text-message alerts to parents about their child's class absences, increasing attendance by 17 percent.

Building on this evidence, the components of CAIP are uniquely designed to help schools develop and deploy a customized, preventive family messaging program to reduce absenteeism that meets their local needs. 

Full Story:  https://www.schoolmessenger.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=14462&pageId=200986


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