LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - With the third day of remote learning underway, a local school district wants to assist students and parents with any hiccups they may have when trying to access the class online. The LISD Technology Services Department is providing families with high quality tech support. They are assisting families with laptop or tablet issues, password resets, class link access and digital textbooks. view article arw

Technology use in Conroe ISD schools has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to play a vital role as the district examines costs that could be incurred as a result of online testing and virtual schooling, CISD school officials said. Hedith Upshaw, CISD assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said technology is used to connect virtual students to the classroom, facilitate the learning process and administer assessments. “We really use technology more as a tool or as a vehicle to show [the students’] product of learning,” Upshaw said. view article arw

Robotics is coming to 24 Round Rock ISD elementary schools. Using LEGO® Education Spike Prime kits, fourth and fifth-grade students will learn to build and code robots while developing an innovative project solution to a real-world problem. Teams and their coaches will meet after school for 2-hours a week for 12-weeks in preparation for a robotics community showcase in May. There is no cost for students to participate. view article arw

Judson ISD is investigating an Instagram account that allegedly posts photos of students “going No. 2” in school bathrooms without their permission or consent, according to San Antonio media reports. District officials told the Express-News they're unsure whether members of the Judson High School community run the accounts and whether the photos are of their students at all. The Current was unable to reach Judson ISD officials Monday for comment. view article arw

TikTok: a place where we can watch cooking videos, silly dance moves, and, apparently, where people can post non-credible threats of school violence. Last month, dozens of school districts around the country announced they were closing because of a wave of anonymous TikTok videos citing shooting and bomb threats.  This is incredibly dangerous for our kids, schools, parents, teachers, and the community. Now more than ever it is time that social media corporations like TikTok are held accountable for the content that is posted to their site.  TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms of this generation. It was launched in 2016 by the Chinese technology company ByteDance and allows users to create, watch, and share short videos. As of late 2021, the application had roughly 1 billion active users. Yes, as in 1 out of 7 people in the entire world use TikTok. That is quite a lot of people. view article arw

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Raise your hand if you’re a parent willing to step into a substitute teacher role, due to COVID-19 staff shortages.  That’s a new call the Hays Consolidated Independent School District is putting out, directing principals on all campuses to start recruiting parents who may be able to help out.  On Tuesday, Hays CISD said it needed 292 subs. On average this time of year, the district told KXAN it would usually only have about 185 requests. A spokesperson for the district credits the roughly additional 100 requests to the surge in omicron COVID-19 cases. view article arw

onnally Independent School District students and teachers will go to online instruction for four school days in response to an accelerating number of COVID-19 cases in the district, which was hit especially hard during a surge in cases last semester. In a letter sent to school officials Tuesday and posted on the district’s website, McLennan County health authority Dr. Farley Verner recommended closing all four Connally schools for one week because of an increase in COVID-19 cases among students and staff. Verner also recommended that all Connally students and staff be tested to identify any additional cases. The campuses are set to reopen for classes Jan. 19, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday cutting down on the number of instructional days affected. view article arw

(CNN)A ransomware attack on software provider Finalsite has affected the websites of about 5,000 schools, most of them in the US, a Finalsite spokesperson told CNN Friday. About 8,000 schools — including boarding schools, high schools and colleges —worldwide use Connecticut-based Finalsite's software for their websites and public communications, according to Finalsite. The websites of a "majority of our schools are back online this morning," Finalsite spokesperson Morgan Delack said in an email. "At this time, we do not have any evidence to show data has been compromised." The technology firm says it discovered the ransomware on some of its computer systems on Tuesday. "(We) made the decision to shut down our network when we saw the problem and rebuilt everything in a clean environment," Delack said. "We have all of our client's data." About 4,500 of the affected schools are in the US, Delack said. view article arw

Temple ISD will soon have a new digital tool at their disposal as they continue to find ways to increase safety across the district for students. "Having SMART Tag will allow us to provide a safer and more secure transportation system than we've been able to provide in the past," said Amy Scopac, the district's Transportation Director. Scopac told 6 News there has not been an issue that led the district to head down this path, instead, she cited technology and tirelessly working to stay ahead of the game for the reasons why. view article arw

Students and staff at Lancaster ISD returned to classes after winter break, but not to the actual classroom. The school district decided to spend the week after the holidays, teaching virtually, in an effort to give students and staff time to get COVID tested, boosted or vaccinated. Tomorrow, students and staff will return, but they’ll be required to wear masks despite Executive Order GA-38. Visitors are also prohibited at this time. view article arw

SpaceCom moving on from Space City

January 1008:25 AM
 

Convention sets up in Florida, with organizers citing pandemic, different strategic directions view article arw

Woodland Hills School District is moving to virtual learning for the rest of the month due to rising covid cases and related issues, district officials announced Thursday. Teachers and building administration will still need report to their buildings each day while the district is in virtual learning. The shift was decided by Woodland Hills’ Covid Response Unit, which consists of school board members, administrators and district health advisors. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sources say one of the biggest U.S-based semiconductor companies is scoping out Central Texas to lay roots. Micron would bring a massive investment and join in the trend of major companies — like Tesla and Samsung — moving to the Austin area. “We’ve already seen the semiconductor industry kind of rise to rarefied heights with Samsung picking little Taylor for a $17 billion plant. Sources tell ABJ that Micron is even considering Lockhart, which is another kind of town on the rural periphery of Austin, right?” said Will Anderson of the Austin Business Journal, “which hasn’t seen the same level of economic development. So you can imagine all the hubbub that was made of Taylor landing such a large plant, similar kind of investment in Lockhart promises to be equally transformative. If if they were to choose, I want to stress, sources told us this is not a done deal.” view article arw

Several Hudson ISD teachers were welcomed back from Christmas break with “competency awards” to be used to purchase technology for their classrooms. The district’s competency program began in 2010, instructional technology specialist Joan Ragland said. The program has undergone modifications along the way to “keep up with the changing skills and technology applications that are essential for today’s teachers and students,” she said. “The award program was put in place to reward teachers for their willingness to abide by the district’s goal of meeting the ever-changing technology skills that are critical for our students and teachers of today and the future,” she said. Additionally, the district did not want to mandate compliance without providing an incentive for teachers to follow the program’s guidelines and deadlines,  view article arw

DALLAS (KDAF) — The Dallas Independent School District is set to host their annual STEM Expo on January 22, which they claim to be the largest STEM Expo in the state. Over 90 virtual STEM exhibits and championships in coding, mathematics, science, robotics, technology and bridge-building will be available for attendees to experience. This year’s expo will, according to the ISD, “Bring our community together to explore, design, build and create a brighter future.” view article arw

Lancaster ISD posted this on social media this evening: Throughout the duration of our holiday break, our Lancaster ISD District Leadership and Health Services teams have monitored the current uptick in COVID-19 cases. Currently, Dallas County’s COVID-19 risk level is listed as red, local hospitals have a limited number of beds, and several individuals within our community have unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. view article arw

Students of Chapel Hill ISD’s Career and Technology Center showcased their best work Wednesday at the grand opening of “Shops on the Hill,” a shopping experience event showcasing 13 different pathways. During the event, attendees could purchase student-made items such as food and drinks from the culinary department, welding items, construction, flower arrangements and Christmas cards and tags. Other services that were offered at the grand opening were grooming services for dogs and beauty services from the cosmetology department, such as pedicures and manicures. Other student programs included health care assistance, cyber squad, clothing design and Texas Association of Future Educators daycare. view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo is teaming up with Impact Broadband, and Mimosa by Airspan, on the project Amarillo Connected, which aims to provide low-cost broadband to Amarillo and help up to 10,000 students and low-income residents, according to businesswire.com.  According to the website, Amarillo CIO Rich Gagnon came to Amarillo 5 years ago from Palo Alto Network and recognized a connectivity divide. Amarillo’s digital divide is “unique,” the website explained, because the many refugees in the community. view article arw

FREER- Freer Independent School District (FISD) received an alleged social media threat resulting in additional law enforcement on-campus Tuesday. Superintendent Conrad Cantu posted a letter on Monday in response to multiple parents reporting the snap chat post to the school district. view article arw

VICTORIA, Texas – UHV and Victoria ISD are working together to strengthen Victoria’s workforce of tomorrow. For the 2020-21 school year, VISD launched two new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academics. The new STEM academics are focused on preparing students with needed skills to pursue future STEM career pathways. Through Smith STEM Academy and Stroman STEM Academy, VISD students experience STEM content through real-world learning experiences. Ann Avila, innovation specialist for VISD, releases the following statement: “Developing community partnerships is key to providing multiple opportunities of exposure, experience and pursuit for all VISD students beginning with STEM,” said Ann Avila, innovation specialist for VISD. “Through our strategic planning we hope to develop lasting connections that will provide student choice and confidence in exploring multiple career-focused pathways.” view article arw

The principal at Weiss High School said Friday that the district police department is investigating the threat and that police presence had been increased.  Pflugerville ISD joined a list of Central Texas school districts that have recently received social media threats or rumors of violence.  In a letter to parents sent out Friday, Weiss High School Principal Sheila Reed said the Pflugerville ISD Police Department was investigating a social media threat after the school was made aware of the post. view article arw

WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) – Whitehouse ISD said students’ personal information may have been accessed after the district experienced a ransomware attack on June 14.  “Your minor child’s name, social security number, health information and date of birth may have been impacted,” wrote Whitehouse ISD Superintendent Christopher Moran in a letter to parents.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation contacted the school district in June about how they were a potential target of a cyber attack. view article arw

Corsicana Independent School District Board of Trustees named Stephanie Howell the the new Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Strategic Initiatives, at their Dec. 6 meeting. "Mrs. Howell's leadership and dedication to CISD continues to demonstrate that she is committed to providing students and staff with high-quality education, the best educational experiences, and resources to help us continue to thrive and grow," said Dr. Diane Frost, CISD Superintendent. "I am extremely honored to continue to serve the great educators, students, and parents of Corsicana ISD," Stephanie Howell said. "Throughout my career, I have continued to put students first and worked hard to provide the best educational experiences for CISD students and families." Howell has served in several roles within the district during her career, most recently as Executive Director of Technology and Innovation. Trustees approved an advertising agreement between the district and Vera Bank for the two 11 by 25 feet scoreboards for the baseball and softball fields. The agreement is for 10 years and $59,380. view article arw

FORNEY, Texas — Forney Independent School District officials say a social media trend of fake accounts representing school districts, fake student accounts, and posts encouraging riots and other violence are not just a local issue but are issues affecting schools throughout the nation. This comes after the district learned students had been sharing a social media post encouraging other students to leave class and "riot," according to an email from the district to parents of one of the affected campuses. The district says the post in question is the same post circulating across the nation and is not tied to Forney ISD or one of its campuses. view article arw

Van Vleck ISD’s Board of Trustees approved Monday during a special meeting a tax limitation agreement with Lavaca Bay Solar, LLC to build a solar power plant within the school district.  During the course of the meeting, the board also approved the creation of a reinvestment zone where the solar farm will sit. The reinvestment zone will cover 23,857 acres in the district. The reinvestment zone had to be established before the agreement could be approved by the board. view article arw

Amazon Web hit by major outage

December 0805:00 AM
 

ASSOCIATED PRESS Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage Tuesday, the company said, limiting service at many key and popular sites.  The company provides cloud computing services to many governments, universities and companies, including The Associated Press.  Amazon said in a post an hour after the outage began that it had identified the root cause and was 'actively working towards recovery.' It did not disclose more about the cause.  The outage also affected Amazon’s ability to provide updates, it said  Madory said he did not believe the outage was anything nefarious. He said a recent cluster of outages at providers that host major websites reflects how the networking industry has evolved.    (8) view article arw

The Brownsville Independent School District has revealed plans for $7.6 million in modifications to the former Resaca Elementary School to turn it into a state-of-the-art technology center. The BISD Board of Trustees approved moving forward with the project at its Nov. 2 meeting. At a Facilities Committee meeting, Deputy Superintendent. view article arw

Ten VEX Robotics teams representing Greenville High School and Greenville Middle School participated Thursday and Friday in their first competitions of the school year. With multiple competition fields set up in Greenville High School’s robotics arena, the event buzzed with activity as 40 teams took turns in rounds in a game called Tipping Point, in which drivers had to use their robots to place plastic rings around mobile goals. When the dust settled after the first day of competition Thursday, Greenville High School VEX Robotics Team, 4148A (a.k.a. Fast But Not Furious), finished ranked third overall but won the Excellence Award. Also representing Greenville High School, Team 4148E (a.k.a. Three Headed Goat), made it to the final round and was ranked fifth place overall. view article arw

Fort Bend ISD will be ending its virtual learning program, which was established for children most at risk for COVID-19, after a majority of parents said they were ready for their children to return to school in person.  The program will close on December 17 — the final day of the fall semester.  According to Sherry Williams, the district’s director of communications, 77% of virtual learning families responded to a survey and indicated that they were ready for their child to return to school in person. view article arw

BRENHAM ISD NAMES NEW WEBMASTER

December 0208:30 AM
 

Tom Spall, who has been with the school district since 2012, has been appointed to the position. Along with his current duties as the elementary instructional technology specialist, Spall will take over the duties of updating the district website. He will also act as the lead liaison between the campus/department delegated website liaisons and the district’s web-hosting provider, ezTask. The new role comes as Brenham ISD’s former communications director, Veronica Johannsen, takes a new position in another school district. Brenham ISD is also taking applications for a communications and community engagement specialist to fill the other duties from the previous communications director. The employee will oversee communications and community relations efforts and assist with the preparation of written materials for district publications. They will also prepare and provide information to the public about the activities, goals and policies of the district. view article arw

Garland ISD families who want their students to learn virtually in real-time will soon have the option to do so. The application window for the district’s ICON virtual school for kindergarten through sixth grade has been extended until Dec. 10, the district announced online. The past few months, Garland ISD offered an asynchronous, temporary parent-led virtual learning option for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The temporary parent-led virtual learning option ended on Nov. 19 for students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Since a COVID-19 vaccine is net yet available for 4-year-olds, the district is still offering temporary parent-led virtual learning for pre-K until further notice. view article arw

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — The $17 billion Samsung plant promises not only financial benefits to the city of Taylor but also opportunities for its school district. The company is preparing to take on paid interns come Spring 2022. “I’ve been here since I was born,” said Jackson Shroeder. “My family has been here for many generations too,” said Jackson Schroeder. view article arw

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. - Tahoma School District students age 5–11 will be getting their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine this week. The Puget Sound Fire Department, King County Medic One and the Tahoma School District have partnered to hold a follow-up vaccination clinic to get kids their second dose of the vaccine. Clinics will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and Wednesday, Dec. 1 at Tahoma High School. Children got their first dose at vaccine clinics in early November. view article arw

After his local library had to shut down because of a ransomware attack, Indiana state Rep. Mike Karickhoff realized the state didn’t know much about the frequency of such security breaches. Spurred by similar crimes across Indiana last year, he decided to author a bill requiring all public agencies to report cyberattacks to the state. “It’s like neighborhood watch,” said Karickhoff, a Republican. “If your subdivision starts having burglaries, you tell everyone in the area you’re having these burglaries. That’s how the alarm bell goes off.” His measure passed both chambers unanimously, and Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed it into law in April. view article arw

Longview ISD’s Ned E. Williams Magnet STEAM Academy held its SmartLab learning facility grand opening Thursday, demonstrating how students are putting the specialty equipment to use. The lab has been in use since the beginning of the school year, and a group of students visit it once a week, according to PYP Coordinator/Magnet Coordinator Christina Eagan. The facility has equipment relating to robotics, computer graphics, circuitry and more, inspiring students to get creative with science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Eagan said the best part of the lab is the teaching process for the students, allowing them learn from their mistakes. view article arw