Officials with the Travis Central Appraisal District said their office was hit with ransomware attack Monday that shut down phone lines and an online chat system.  The appraisal district believes it was hit by Royal ransomware, said Cynthia Martinez, a spokesperson with the district. The agency did not say if a specific ransom demand had been made. Ransomware typically refers to software that blocks access to a network or a system or causes some other type of problem.   Monday's attacks comes just week after the Dallas Central Appraisal District was hacked shutting down its website, servers and email for more than two weeks.  The Travis Central Appraisal District provides appraisal values for all properties in Travis County. An appraisal value determines how much a home is worth, which is then used to calculate property tax bills.   view article arw

Video of a gunman being captured was shown during a demonstration that took place Wednesday near Florence. The man was caught after an artificial intelligence computer system identified him as a threat. The demonstration was put on by SparkCognition, an Austin tech company. Marketing Director Steven Gold led a discussion, at the company testing facility near Florence for a group of school administrators and security analysts. view article arw

LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Students at Clark Middle School got a chance to see what careers await them in the near future. Some of the agencies who took part in Tuesday’s Career Day were the Laredo Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as other organizations. Our very own Marissa Rodriguez Limon who is a reporter with our sister station Telemundo took part in the career day event as well. Pamela Arredondo, the principal at the middle school said it’s important to open student’s eyes to different career paths. view article arw

Internet safety for kids will be the topic of a Richardson ISD seminar for parents, guardians, and community members. The event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Richardson ISD Professional Development Center, 701 W. Belt Line Road, according to a district announcement. Topics of discussion will include ways to use the internet safely and responsibly. Lana Ahrens, director of training and community outreach at Dallas County Children’s Advocacy Center, will be the presenter. view article arw

SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Empowering parents to choose their child’s education is one of the main focuses in this upcoming legislative session. If passed, Senate Bill 176 would create an education savings account program that would allow parents to use state money to pay for private school, online schooling or private tutors. “So traditionally, school choice has meant magnet schools, it could mean home schooling, it could mean alternative schools. So now this is San Benito CISD, reimagining choice education through an ECL academies,” said Nneka McGee, Chief Academic Officer for San Benito Schools. School choice programs provide alternatives to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local public schools to which they are assigned. “A regular school, a traditional school, will have is just a general education. But let’s say, for example, a family wants a more stem-related meaning science, technology, engineering, or mathematics,” McGee said. view article arw

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan ISD said its taking another step towards protecting its students and staff by looking into silent panic alert technology. When the board of trustees met on Monday they were presented with a potential grant application for the new technology, but they decided it would be reviewed at a future meeting. Implementation of this technology would allow a signal to be sent to law enforcement or first responders in the event of an emergency situation. The system could be triggered by a button or activated via technology. Kevin Beesaw, Bryan ISD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, said the state of Texas will make the technology mandatory sometime next year, so it’s important to secure funding early. “We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can,” Beesaw said. “Funds are always tight, so it’s a good thing when you can come up with additional funding or whenever the state offers some funding.” view article arw

As Texas faces a projected shortfall in workers to fill jobs in various industries over the next decade, higher education and workforce development leaders say more should be done to support a wider variety of students. During a Texas Tribune event Thursday, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s chief of staff Melissa Henderson said the board’s revamped strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas, prioritizes equipping not just young adults but also Texans between 25 and 64 with postsecondary credentials. At the same time, panelists at the event stressed the need to provide holistic support to students, especially nontraditional ones like adults returning to school. Barb Clapp, CEO of Dwyer Workforce Development, which focuses on building the health care workforce, said this means offering wraparound services like child care, transportation, flexibility in learning hours and more — things that will also enhance equity for students from diverse backgrounds. She highlighted the organization’s case management program that can help participants solve problems and keep them on a stable track to complete their education. “Removing those barriers, you can expect outcomes,” Clapp said. view article arw

In a new collaboration between Fort Bend ISD, Fort Bend Transportation Church and NRG, donated hygiene items donated to students last week at Briargate Elementary to be distributed by teachers to students who may suffer from the stigma of coming from low-income families. Briargate is located in Fort Bend Houston, the area within Houston city limits that lies within Fort Bend County. According to Fort Bend ISD, 9.4 percent of Fort Bend residents under 18 live in poverty, and 94.9 percent of the people living in the area surrounding Briargate Elementary are economically disadvantaged. Parents in that area often have to choose between buying food or hygiene products like toothpaste. view article arw

The Alba-Golden community took a big step toward establishing an educational foundation for Alba-Golden Schools at Monday’s school board meeting. Based on a recommendation of Superintendent Macy Thompson, the board unanimously approved funding a consulting fee to create the foundation, as well as funding the web design for a foundation website. During the public forum, resident Debbie Perry presented a strong argument in support of funding a consulting firm to create the foundation. Perry noted that a consulting firm can get a foundation up and running in short order, train foundation members on the legal and ethical restrictions associated with foundations and provide access to funding streams which are unknown to local foundation members. The board also received summaries of two recently-completed financial reports. Representatives of Rutherford, Taylor and Company briefed their audit of the district’s finances ending Aug. 31, 2022. view article arw

Pearland ISD is alerting parents and others associated with the district that parties responsible for a recent breach of its computer system may try to contact them. In a video statement released on the district’s website, Superintendent Larry Berger said that an ongoing investigation shows no evidence so far that any sensitive information had been accessed by anyone outside of the district. view article arw

HEARNE, Texas (KBTX) - Hearne Elementary School students had the opportunity to go aboard Learning Undefeated’s Mobile STEM Lab on Tuesday. The mobile STEM lab is traveling across Texas to provide science, technology, engineering and math experiences to students. During the STEM lab’s visit, Hearne Elementary students learned about invasive species, circuits, and biomimicry. Students removed “lettuce seeds” from turf grass, created a wiggling robot that lights up, and constructed a prosthetic hand inspired by nature. Katie Askelson, Learning Undefeated’s education outreach coordinator, said the mobile lab provides young students with their first taste of engineering. “Some things that were not around 10-20 years ago are going to be jobs, so we need to start sparking those interest in students early and start catching back up with the world, because we’re a little behind in science and math right now,” Askelson said. view article arw

Student Support Services Department officials at Weslaco ISD are preparing to host an expo for students to enhance their social emotional learning skills. A licensed school psychologist Dr. Adam Saenz on Thursday will lead a presentation for elementary and secondary students to discuss topics such as emotional regulation, self-efficacy, growth mindset and social awareness.

view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas – Raise Your Hand Texas wants to limit the importance of STAAR Testing in schools’ A through F accountability system. The STAAR Test accounts for the entire rating of an elementary or middle school. However, this organization works for the test to account for less than 50% of the rating. Raise Your Hand Texas’ system would include student engagement, dual language program, student absences and more. Senior Director of Policy Bob Popinski said their solutions are common sense. “I think our common sense solutions will help tell a better story of what’s going on in our schools and how our schools can continue to improve student success and achievement,” Popinski said. view article arw

Lufkin ISD is in the last phase of implementing its new SMART tag system. This system allows the district, bus drivers, and parents to know when students get on and off the bus and for the district to be able to track their buses on routes. Lufkin ISD runs 35 different routes when picking up and dropping off students. Each bus has anywhere from 50 to 60 students on board. The SMART tag system now in place helps bus drivers know who is on their bus and how many students should get off and on at each stop and allows for the district to track the bus on its route. view article arw

Pearland ISD has reported that it is investigating "unusual activity" in its computer system that it says was impacting some operations, including Skyward, a system that provides communication access to families and students. The district said in a press release that there has been no evidence that any personal information has been affected by the problems. view article arw

RICHARDSON, Texas - Richardson ISD is reporting positive results from strictly enforcing a cellphone-free school environment, including Forest Meadow Junior High, where the district is testing out pouches that lock phones during the school day. The pouches, from Yondr, are only being tested at Forest Meadow. The district originally planned to launch the program district-wide at its junior high and high schools, but scaled back the plan after concerns from parents. view article arw

Last week, Royse City High School junior and budding videographer Vion Gashi was featured in a special for PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL), titled “We the Young People: Moments of Truth.” With an estimated 8 million 18- and 19-year-old Americans being newly eligible to vote this midterm election, the special covered topics ranging from simply explaining how the voting process works to tips on how to be more social media savvy and how to better spot misinformation. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO, Tx. (KABB) — Cyber attacks are increasing across the globe, and many hackers are taking aim at school districts.  Ransomware attacks cost US schools and colleges more than an estimated $3.5 billion in downtime alone in 2021, according to a new study.  Last year, the Judson Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, revealed it paid more than half a million dollars in ransom to prevent hackers from releasing sensitive data following a ransomware attack. view article arw

KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- Parents and staff were shaken up after a fake social media account was created to look like the Katy ISD Police Department tweeted an alleged school bomb threat. The video above is about Twitter launching a subscription service for $7.99 a month that includes a blue check now given to verified accounts. The district confirmed that this did not come from their verified Twitter account. "After further investigation, it has been determined that the fake messages that referenced school bomb threats originated from an external source that had created digitally altered tweets designed to look like they were posted by the Katy ISD Police Department," the district said in a statement. "Katy ISD Police and our Technology teams continue to investigate all leads and information pertaining to these fake social media posts." view article arw

Yesterday Katy ISD informed students, parents, and staff that the Twitter account for the Katy ISD Police Department was “hacked and manipulated by an unauthorized source.” The hacker(s) released a series of unauthorized messages on the account that referenced alleged bomb threats to Katy ISD schools over the course of November 7-11, 2022. Later they shared that it was actually “digitally altered tweets designed to look like they were posted by the Katy ISD Police Department.” view article arw

Pastor Alan Pollard often looks out the front window of his church and sees a bulky fixture he once thought could help him spread his gospel far and wide. Instead, the AT&T fiber box has become a daily reminder of the church’s inability to access broadband. “The connection is so bad that it interrupts the service,” said Pollard, who this year became pastor of Bethany Word of Life Tabernacle in Tyler, one of the largest cities in East Texas. “It’s hindering us from getting the message of God out to the world.” Pollard is one of many Texans frustrated at the lack of high-speed internet access. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.8 million Texas households lack broadband access. The problem disproportionately impacts rural communities, where a low population density dissuades private companies from setting up broadband infrastructure. view article arw

Humble Independent School District in Texas is in the second year of an initiative to pique student interest in CTE courses starting in sixth grade, giving students a chance to discover passions and specialize sooner.  When Career and Technical Education Director Larkin Le Sueur started lobbying Humble Independent School District in Texas for CTE courses for younger students in 2015, the district was offering a handful across 10 middle schools. After a yearslong effort by Le Sueur — and encouraged by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, which continue to warn of a need for qualified applicants for technical jobs — the district has more than doubled its elective offerings to 12, with multiple grades and departments involved in an initiative to raise CTE’s profile. view article arw

PHARR, Texas – Thirty-seven Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) high school juniors have been accepted into NASA’s Texas High School Aerospace Program (HAS) for the 2022-2023 school year. HAS is an authentic STEM learning experience for Texas high school juniors to engage with NASA’s missions and become the next generation of explorers. HAS is a year-long commitment for Texas high school juniors which starts in the fall with a four-month online learning experience related to space exploration, Earth science, technology, and aeronautics. view article arw

SPRING, TX – Nov. 3, 2022 – The Spring High School auditorium was packed Tuesday evening for the induction ceremony of 289 new members of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), representing Dekaney, Spring, Westfield and Carl Wunsche Sr. high schools. Surrounded by an audience full of well-wishers, the senior inductees proudly walked across the stage to be recognized for their achievement. This year’s event marks the fifth-annual districtwide NTHS induction ceremony, and the number of students achieving membership has increased over the years. It is open to seniors only so each year in the fall, a new group that meets the criteria is inducted. “Being inducted is an impressive accomplishment, one earned through hard work and persistence,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa. “And each one of you should take pride in the achievement, knowing that you’ve earned it.” view article arw

Dallas County and the Dallas Independent School District are working together to try to spread information about free and reduced price internet available to families. They say 210,000 households in Dallas County are eligible for the service but have not signed up.  "This is not slow internet," says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "300 MBPS is enough to where one member of the family is watching HD Netflix, another member is on a Zoom, another person is working on their homework and another person has finished their homework and is playing games on the WiFi on their phone." view article arw

The Denton Independent School District will offer free Wi-Fi to students on all 206 district school buses, according to a press release. The driving reason for this change is to improve students’ ability to complete assignments while traveling. The buses cover a 180 square mile area, meaning some students face long bus rides daily. School organizations also use the buses to travel long distances, such as to sports games or competitions. “We see this as another resource for our students to be able to utilize their district-issued Chromebooks or other devices to complete coursework while riding home on our school buses,” Executive Director of Transportation Sheryl Alden said in the press release. “Since we do cover such a large amount of real estate in our district, we know there are students of ours who do not have connectivity at home or ones who spend a significant of hours on a school bus to get home, and this is just another resource to help those students on their educational journey.” Denton ISD indicated that putting free Wi-Fi on their buses is part of a larger initiative to remove the barriers to technology that some students face. This drive started in 2021 when the school district provided laptops to all K-12 students.    (03) view article arw

Technology company Continental recently opened a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing facility in the Comal ISD district and donated $10,000 to the district’s career and technical education manufacturing program. In addition, Continental offered behind-the-scenes tours of the new facility first to Canyon High School students who are enrolled in the district’s robotics and engineering courses and then to Canyon High School teachers. Assistant Superintendent for CISD Mandy Epley said the donation and tours Continental offers will benefit students. view article arw

Technology company Continental recently opened a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing facility in the Comal ISD district and donated $10,000 to the district’s career and technical education manufacturing program. In addition, Continental offered behind-the-scenes tours of the new facility first to Canyon High School students who are enrolled in the district’s robotics and engineering courses and then to Canyon High School teachers. Assistant Superintendent for CISD Mandy Epley said the donation and tours Continental offers will benefit students. “As we continue to offer our students a wide variety of CTE programs, this type of partnership exposes them to real-world application of the skills they learn in class,” Epley said. “We are grateful for Continental’s commitment to the community and to supporting education that allows our students to engage with future careers.” About 20 students along with their CTE teacher Robert Harms toured the new facility in New Braunfels in October. This facility is the company’s first greenfield plant to be built view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — Oil and other energy source are a big part of the Texas and New Mexico economies. Students at Ysleta Independent School District got to meet the Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit. The unit is traveling the state teaching 5th through 8th graders about STEM and energy careers. MOLU is sponsored by the Texas Oil and Gas Association and Marathon Petroleum. view article arw

This past week was a busy one for Greenville High School’s culinary arts students. Not only did they have to prepare and serve meals for Greenville ISD’s Golden Lions Luncheon on Tuesday, but they also had to be up and working at 4 a.m. the following morning to get breakfast ready for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce to enjoy during GISD’s State of the District presentation. Although GHS’ culinary arts students, with their red or black chef’s hats and smocks, are not an unusual sight at events in Greenville, the students and their teachers are preparing to take their training as budding chefs and restauranteurs to an even higher level by starting an on-campus restaurant. It is expected to be open to the public one day each month starting early next year. “We’re not out to compete with local restaurants. What we’re wanting is for this to be a strong feeder program for those restaurants,” culinary arts instructor Chef Lucas Kiowski said. “This is why we’ve pushed for and have had several of our students earn food handlers certificates and even have some getting certified in food safety management. view article arw

For many students at Copperas Cove ISD’s Crossroads High School, not working and not having an income is not an option as many help support their households with what they earn. Nationwide, slightly more than 30% of teenagers held summer jobs to gain experience and earn extra money in the summer of 2020. In the summer of 2022, that number fell with only one in four — or 25% — high school students holding a summer job, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. view article arw

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Socorro ISD announced that the district was awarded a $10 million grant from the Financial Protection Agency. This grant will allow the district to fund replacing 25 of their bus fleet with electric buses making them the only district in the region to electrify their fleet. SISD was awarded this grant after six months of evaluating their current fleet, and surveying the number of students they serve. SISD Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman hopes this will help set them apart from other districts while creating a cleaner atmosphere. “It will have a huge impact on the efficiency and the cost to the school district as well as having these clean buses will do for the environment in terms of them being clean energy.” view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Tyler ISD held their Board of Trustees meeting on Monday and approved the purchase of new equipment for students in the Career and Technology Center. Executive Director of College and Career Gary Brown says CTE Perkins Reserve grant funds were used to purchase this industry standard equipment. This will benefit their students in the health science, manufacturing, and auto technology course sequences. “We’ve got some mid-fidelity manikin for our health science pre-nursing students where they can actually, they can speak and check blood pressure and check EKG and run assessments on the manikin. So it’s kind of a life-like simulation.” Brown said. view article arw

Bandera High School junior Patrick M. Lasiter was recently recognized for the completion of the NASA Texas High School Aerospace Scholars Program. Lasiter was one of over 800 high school juniors selected to be part of the program, held during the summer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “Bandera ISD commends Patrick for completing both the online and virtual HAS course curriculums. the district said in a statement. “Continue to make Bandera proud!” During his experience with the program, Patrick worked with teams of students to utilize a systems engineering model to plan a mission to the moon. view article arw

Between academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities, there’s a lot going on in Victoria’s school district — and its high school students want to make sure everyone knows it. Starting this year, students in media production clubs at Victoria East and West high schools are putting together monthly broadcast news episodes about their district, with help from faculty and district administration. Members of the clubs, Titan TV and Warrior Watch, travel to other schools and events to report on stories around the district, and then put them together into episodes which broadcast each month at 12:30 p.m. on the CW and on the district's YouTube page. view article arw