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Students across Midland ISD have been learning from nature and ecological experts as part of the I-20 Wildlife Preserve’s Conservation Job Corp. This summer program gives teenagers a chance to learn about different environments across Texas. It also helps show these students how they can make a living out of conservation. view article arw

A former Klein ISD student is accused of orchestrating a cyberattack that halted STAAR testing in April and he now faces a felony charge after thousands of students were impacted by internet problems. An April 16 internet disruption due to a “distributed denial of service attack” or DDoS, was traced to Klein Forest High School student Keontra Lamont Kenemore, 18, by the district’s IT department, according to Harris County court records and school officials. view article arw

Keontra Kenemore, 18, is facing a third-degree felony charge of electronic access interference after investigators accused him of launching a cyber-attack. The attack, called a DDoS, otherwise known as distributed denial of service, overwhelmed the district's network services during state-mandated STARR testing in April, according to court documents. More than 24,000 students were impacted, according to the district. Court documents show that Kenemore allegedly used his school-issued Chromebook to access sites that initiated the attack. view article arw

The former Collin County GOP Chairman fended off several challenges, earning 54 percent of the vote.  The Republican Party of Texas has chosen a new leader, with delegates to the party’s convention selecting former Collin County GOP Chairman Abraham George, who secured the nomination after several rounds of voting.  The race was open, as Chair Matt Rinaldi announced he would not seek re-election.  Ultimately, when the vote hit the floor, the selections were narrowed down to George, current Texas GOP Vice Chair Dana Myers, and activist Weston Martinez.  With no candidate securing a majority of the vote, a runoff was held between George and Myers. While votes were being counted in the race, Myers sent a text to delegates claiming she was endorsed by four of the other challengers in the race.  George ultimately prevailed, winning 54 percent of the vote. view article arw

Over 1.7 million Texas households could lose access to affordable, high-speed internet this month as a federal subsidy that helps low-income Americans pay for broadband services comes to an end. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30 monthly discount on internet service for eligible low-income households, and a $75 monthly discount for households on tribal lands. The $14.2 billion program, which launched in 2021 as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, helps 23 million American households save money on their internet bills. The program expired at the end of April after Congress did not pass legislation extending funding but some households could receive partial discounts through May, with no benefits available in later months. view article arw

On a gray and muggy afternoon, several hundred handsome black cattle went about their business at the Wodagyu Ranch in Richmond, seemingly undisturbed by the beeps and buzzing overhead. "They're certainly used to it," said Arthur Erickson, co-founder and CEO of agricultural drone company Hylio, which he and several friends began in a dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin about 10 years ago. Co-founder Mike Oda grew up on the Fort Bend County ranch, Erickson explained, meaning that the company's co-founders always had a suitable place to tinker, ideate, manufacture and test their drones, which are used to apply herbicide, insecticide, fertilizers and other chemicals over farm and ranchland. Now they have grown to a company of about 75 people, with a foothold in the rapidly growing agricultural drone market. view article arw

People living in Texas who have registered to vote in the Mexican elections could elect the country’s first female president next month.   view article arw

Dubbed the “Silicon Fields” by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, during a White House announcement April 15, Taylor is shaping up to become the new heart of a semiconductor cluster in Central Texas. Samsung Electronics signed a preliminary memorandum agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce to receive $6.4 billion in direct funding, while the company is expected to invest more than $45 billion into the region. The federal funding—from the $53 billion Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act signed into law in 2022—will vastly expand Samsung’s footprint in Taylor and further U.S. Department of Commerce’s goal of producing 20% of the world’s leading-edge semiconductor chips by the end of the decade, according to a statement from the White House. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency is defending its decision to let computers grade students’ STAAR essay test questions in the face of mounting criticism from parents and teachers who question the fairness of an automated scoring system. Agency officials told Hearst Newspapers the system echoes an approach taken by at least 20 other states and helps cut costs. Starting last December, all student essay responses were fed through a computer program for scoring. About one-quarter were then reviewed by human scorers for accuracy. view article arw

In a TV commercial, Sister Monica Clare, a nun in northern New Jersey, walks through a church that’s bathed in sunlight and sits in a pew, crossing herself. Her message: TikTok is a force for good.  “Because of TikTok, I’ve created a community where people can feel safe asking questions about spirituality,” she says in the advertisement.  Sister Monica Clare is one of several fans of TikTok — along with drawling ranchers, a Navy veteran known as Patriotic Kenny and entrepreneurs — whom the company is highlighting in commercials as it faces intense scrutiny in Washington. view article arw

The West Independent School District was put on lockdown after a student gained access to a teacher’s PowerPoint and began typing threatening language in reference to a gun, the district said in a statement. West ISD says their Gaggle Safety Team sent them an alert about the incident at 1:47 p.m. Thursday afternoon. West Middle and High School immediately enacted their Emergency Operations Plan and were put on hold while campus police found the student, according to West ISD. view article arw

A Katy Independent School District parent reached out to ABC13, saying people are "outraged" over a new technology policy headed to the district. The parent told Eyewitness News that the new program prohibits students from using their personal devices, such as cell phones, in the classroom beginning next year. view article arw

Educators say 75% of the written test will be graded by AI and 25% will still use human graders. The system will flag things it's unsure of for people to review. view article arw

Corpus Christi At-Large Councilman Mike Pusley said that when he and other city leaders were notified, work crews were immediately sent out.  Students and faculty over at Tuloso-Midway Independent School District experienced a temporary internet outage that primarily affected the intermediate school as STAAR testing was supposed to begin. The outage being caused by a downed powerline.  Tuloso-Midway Superintendent Steve VanMatre said it all began when someone allegedly drove underneath the cable and hooked it with a piece of equipment, pulling down about 1,500 feet of cabling. As a result, he said that when he found out about the internet outage, he along with others decided to move STAAR testing dates.  "On Tuesday we were scheduled to have STAAR testing," VanMatre said. "We would postpone those testing dates until Thursday."   view article arw

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Dr. Kellie Wilks, Chief Technology Officer, ECISD, said in a news release. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of the whole Technology division. Everyone I have worked with has contributed to my success and to the things I have been able to do.” view article arw

Smartphones and tablets will be banned in Italian classrooms - even for teaching purposes - under new guidelines in Italy. “The use of smartphones and tablets can often create tension between students and teachers, sometimes also leading to acts of aggression against school staff,” said Italy's education minister Giuseppe Valditara. view article arw

By: Staff Report Date: April 3, 2024 Friendswood High School’s FRC robotics team, Bluetonium, achieved a significant milestone over the weekend by clinching their first-ever tournament victory. The Space City FRC District Competition was held at Clear Brook High School last weekend and included 42 teams from around the state, including two CCISD teams: Robonauts and CHIPS. The victory marks a significant achievement for Bluetonium, especially considering it was the last regular-season competition of the year. This win is not just a triumph but also a poignant moment for the team’s graduating seniors—Haley Clausen, Madi Meyer, David Reyes, and Connor Nelson. These students were honored with their FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) Alumni pins, a ceremony that symbolizes their contributions and dedication to the team over the years. view article arw

The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30 monthly subsidy to help low-income households pay for internet service. The program is slated to run out of money at the end of the month.  The $30 per month Daisy Solis has saved off of her internet bill for the past two years stretched a long way.  Those dollars covered new shoes for her three, growing children, dinners out at the Chick-fil-A that popped up in her town of Peñitas in South Texas, and part of a higher-than-usual electricity bill.  Now, Solis worries she might have to sacrifice on her internet speed because a federal subsidy that has helped her pay for her internet plan is set to expire at the end of April.  The Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30 monthly subsidy to help low-income households pay for internet service, and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands. The $14.2 billion program was part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and has helped 23 million households in the U.S — including 1.7 million in Texas — save money on their internet bills. The program’s funding is slated to dwindle at the end of April, though, potentially cutting millions off from the internet. In May, limited remaining funding in the program will allow eligible households to receive a partial discount; there won't be any benefits after May. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott took the stage at the University of Texas at Austin last August to discuss building up an energy source in the state. Unlike the oil and gas industry that Abbott often promotes, this fuel could create reliable power without also pumping pollution into the air. Abbott was there to talk about nuclear power — not big reactors like the ones that already operate in Texas, but a new generation of smaller nuclear reactors that companies are pitching as both safe and less financially risky than large nuclear power plants because they cost less. Abbott joined a panel with the CEO of chemical and plastics manufacturer Dow and the head of a newer business, called X-energy, which plans to build small nuclear reactors for Dow. The reactors will produce steam and electricity for the company’s complex just up the coast from Corpus Christi. view article arw

After a monthslong delay, construction is expected to resume in the coming months on a highly anticipated 3D printed home in Houston that has been described as the nation’s first two-story, 3D printed house. The home launched in 2022 to much fanfare because of its scale — a 4,000-square-foot, two-story structure that is reportedly much larger than previous 3D-printed homes in the U.S. Designed by a pair of Cornell University professors, the home is meant to be an experiment in integrating conventional construction techniques with 3D printing. But roughly a year after the initial announcement, activity at the project site on Emnora Lane in Spring Branch quieted. With just the 3D printed walls on the site for several months, speculation about the project’s future abounded on social media. view article arw

Property owners: The Tarrant Appraisal District announced Monday that it was facing a $700,000 demand following a ransomware attack. Medusa, the group suspected of the attack, has previously used extortion and the threat of selling sensitive information on the dark web as a tactic to negotiate, according to the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. The district’s legal council, Lindsay B. Nickle said the appraisal district was not able to determine if any “sensitive” taxpayer information had been compromised. So what sensitive information might these attackers have? According to the appraisal district, not much. view article arw

Kilgore ISD received $25,000 from Claycomb Associate Architects on Monday that will go towards purchasing bus tracking software. The donation will allow the district to implement state-of-the-art bus tracking technology with the goal to increase communication between the district, parents, and students. view article arw

Ransomware attackers who have taken control of the Tarrant Appraisal District website have demanded $700,000, the district announced Monday. The attackers have threatened to release “sensitive” information if their demands are not met, but the district does not know if they actually have any information, said Lindsay B. Nickle, a cybersecurity attorney hired by the district. The district said it is weighing its options, but does not want to pay, Nickle said. Board members were meeting in a closed session about the matter Monday afternoon.  The site has not worked since the attack on Thursday, the second time it crashed in two weeks. TAD’s email and phone lines are still down.  After the initial crash on March 14 — which the district blamed on a “database failure” — the district rolled out its new website ahead of its planned launch.  The Tarrant Appraisal District did not answer an inquiry about whether it has paid or negotiated with those responsible for the attack.  Security issues and website crashes are nothing new to the Tarrant Appraisal District.  In October 2022, a cyberattack exposed taxpayer data, though none of it was compromised, according to a report released March 1. view article arw

The Fort Worth Independent School District is testing out a plan to offer high-speed internet to students who don’t have it at home. The district is in the middle of a pilot project to provide private LTE access to students without home internet connections. District officials say the program is the latest step in its years-long efforts to ensure every student has broadband at home. Under the program, students use district-supplied LTE routers to connect with transmission towers and rooftop antennas at two dozen campuses. Private LTE allows network administrators to place restrictions on which devices can connect to the network. All tablets and laptops the district provides to students can connect to the private LTE devices, allowing students to work on homework and school projects after they leave school for the day. view article arw

Georgetown ISD shared in March that the district received $426,000 in federal grant funding to support its drone program. What you need to know Bretton Schultz, GISD's Director of Career and Technical Education, informed board members during a March 19 meeting that the district received the funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. The funds will cover a teacher's salary for the program for two years, as well as the purchase of new equipment. What they're saying "It's going to provide innovative equipment for our kids, and it's going to give us an opportunity to provide professional development for other districts," Schultz said. "We'll have them come in to GISD and seeing the things that we have going on here." view article arw

Thousands of students and staff in Liberty Hill ISD will have more advanced devices next school year after the board of trustees approved $3.2 million in funding at a March 18 meeting. What you need to know The district will spend about $3.4 million to purchase new laptops, upgrade iPads and Chromebooks, and install technology at new campuses. On March 18, the board of trustees approved several technology purchases above $50,000, totaling $3.2 million. The remaining $200,000 in purchases did not require board approval. Over $1 million will go towards replacing laptops for the incoming freshman classes at Legacy Ranch and Liberty Hill high schools, said Scott Stansbury, LHISD executive director of technology. These devices have reached the end of their 5-year life cycle along with around 1,000 Chromebooks and 400 iPads. view article arw

In Akron, Ohio, teens and tweens show up to school every day with their homework, their textbooks ... and a special magnetic pouch that renders their smartphones useless during the day. The Akron schools are part of a growing movement across the US and Europe to ban phones in schools or require them to be locked up in pouches made by a startup named Yondr. School districts in at least 41 states have bought the pouches in recent years, a response to behavior issues as well as concerns about students’ mental health and learning, which have ramped up since the pandemic. “The results for us were just a game-changer,” Patricia Shipe, president of the Akron Education Association, which represents teachers and other educators in the district, told me. Fights in the schools have decreased since the bags were introduced to all middle and high schools in 2022, and kids report engaging with their friends more. view article arw

What banning phones in schools can — and can’t — do. Schools in at least 41 states are using Yondr pouches to lock up students’ phones. In Akron, Ohio, teens and tweens show up to school every day with their homework, their textbooks ... and a special magnetic pouch that renders their smartphones useless during the day. The Akron schools are part of a growing movement across the US and Europe to ban phones in schools or require them to be locked up in pouches made by a startup named Yondr. School districts in at least 41 states have bought the pouches in recent years, a response to behavior issues as well as concerns about students’ mental health and learning, which have ramped up since the pandemic. view article arw

Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., explains why the county partnered with VTX1 to improve broadband connectivity in rural parts of the county.  A few years ago, you guys might remember we had a little incident called COVID. And right around this time four years ago is when this stuff really hit the fan. And we started realizing that this was not going to be an easy, solvable problem from one day or one week to the next.   As we started realigning our lives and what we needed to do in order to keep working, and in our position continue to provide public services to our community, we realized that we were going to have to do it through a new means. That meant virtual meetings, and a new word, Zoom, Conferences wearing the face mask, trying to distance, socially distance.  view article arw

School districts around the country are facing issues with how they handle their social media accounts, and the debate has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Denver Public Schools recently reviewed its social media policy that doesn’t allow employees to restrict comments on social media or limit who can see them. view article arw

The Fort Worth Independent School District is testing out a plan to offer high-speed internet to students who don’t have it at home. The district is in the middle of a pilot project to provide private LTE access to students without home internet connections. District officials say the program is the latest step in its years-long efforts to ensure every student has broadband at home. Read more at: view article arw

Read the full story:  Gone are the “good old days” when the only emails we had to worry about were from a Nigerian prince asking for half a million dollars or an occasional threat of a computer virus. Your tech director has been faced with many new threats to school technology assets– networks, computers, and data security. You can be a big help in keeping your school district and your own personal devices secure by following a few time-honored adages from one of our founding fathers, Ben Franklin. view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The pandemic accelerated how much we all depend on internet access to carry out daily activities. The latest data shows more than 2 million Texas households do not have high speed internet, disproportionately affecting those in rural areas. “What has been revealed by COVID is the fact that many of our students in the city do not have equal access to broadband,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson. However, this is not something that can be fixed overnight. view article arw

Ahead of the spring semester, Spring ISD officials have announced that changes will be implemented in hopes of improving remote and in-person instruction for teachers and students. In a presentation at the Dec. 8 board meeting, Lupita Hinojosa, chief officer of school leadership and student support services, announced that not all teachers will have to teach online and in-person students concurrently in the spring semester, as is currently the case. view article arw

Cleveland and Liberty ISDs became the latest school districts on the outskirts of the greater Houston area to cancel their online learning options this week, joining Barbers Hill and Navasota ISDs in requiring the majority of their students to return to campuses. Liberty ISD, which educates 2,266 students about 50 minutes northeast of downtown Houston, told parents at the end of October that remote learning would be offered only to medically fragile students, students who have tested positive for COVID-19, students who are quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure and students whose schools temporarily were closed due to positive tests. view article arw