From the Executive Director

 

I just wanted to take a few moments to say thank you to all our members and the dedicated efforts you have made over the last month or so. I know that many of you had to turn on a dime to get your networks ready for online working and learning. I just wanted to make sure that someone told you thank you in case no one had done so.

  • Thank you for setting up network security protocols to protect students and staff as they worked remotely.
  • Thank you for distributing the thousands of devices to needy students in your districts who were not able to provide their own.
  • Thank you for the creative ways you have devised to bring internet access to the homes that do not have it, through hot spots or buses with WIFI.
  • Thank you for creating drive-through tech support centers and call-in hotlines to keep devices working.
  • Thank you for training your staff on the best practices of online learning and internet safety.
  • Thank you for supporting virtual meetings and classrooms so that teaching and learning can continue to happen during these stay-at-home times.
  • Thank you for doing all of this while trying to support your own families and keep them safe.

Thank you for supporting the 3.5 Million students that our organization represents!

We are here for you!

Stay safe and healthy until we get to see each other again!

Alice Owen, Ph.D., CAE, CETL

CoSN Issues Statement on White House Criticism of Distance Learning

Washington, D.C. (July 9, 2020) – CoSN CEO Keith Krueger today issued the following statement on the recent criticism of distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic by Trump Administration senior officials:

 

“During this COVID-19 emergency, distance learning saved school districts from having to cancel instruction altogether.

 

“While it has not been a flawless transition, the answer is not to end distance learning — it’s to properly fund it and combine it with in-person instruction. In fact, many districts that spent years preparing and implementing online learning in advance of the crisis have reported positive outcomes.

 

“Our country must quickly get serious about addressing broadband internet access and other digital equity gaps that students and teachers face at home. All signs point to a 2020-21 academic year in which millions of students will be required to once again learn partially, or fully, online.

 

“Education plans for the fall should be grounded in science and data, and made by local school leaders and school boards who know their communities’ needs best. Many will likely include leveraging remote learning to ensure social distancing and safe learning environments.”

 

Research indicates that four out of 10 school districts say they were unprepared to make the switch to remote learning. Millions of students and teachers lacked the broadband internet connections needed to access online lessons from home, particularly in rural areas and low-income, urban neighborhoods.

 

Many school leaders cite a lack of student and teacher devices as one of the greatest difficulties they faced during this transitional period. A short-term solution in these communities has been loaner laptops and tablets to bridge the persistent “Learning Gap.”

 

These issues have not gone away over spring. In fact, over 85 percent of respondents in a recent CoSN back-to-school survey said that off-campus internet connectivity was an urgent problem that must be solved. This may be because only seven percent expect their districts to return to a pre-pandemic situation this fall.

 

As we look to the 2020-21 school year, local leaders, informed by public health guidance, must be able to make their own decisions. This should include universal options to provide quality distance learning, whether that means in a blended environment with face-to-face instruction or fully virtual learning. The federal government must provide the additional funding required to make this possible.

Governor Abbott, TEA, Dallas ISD Launch Operation Connectivity Statewide

May 8, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and Dallas Independent School District (DISD) today launched Operation Connectivity, a statewide initiative to deliver internet connectivity and device solutions for school districts, families, and students in Texas. Operation Connectivity was originally started in Dallas to address the the lack of high speed internet and/or home laptops for many DISD students which caused an interruption to their learning, as education in the classroom transitioned to at-home digital instruction due to COVID-19. This initiative now aims to provide internet connectivity to hundreds of thousands of students statewide. Read more.

LINKS TO COVID-19 RESOURCES

COVID-19 EDTECH GUIDANCE & REMOTE LEARNING RESOURCES

CoSN

CoSN has a new resource on virtual learning for TX K-12 CTO and CoSN members, EdTech Guidance in the Age of COVID-19. This pandemic affects us all – so please feel free to share it with others who need it to serve their students and teachers. Our community is grateful for all the behind-the-scenes work that’s getting done for the greater good of learning.

 

Digital Bridge K-12 Helps Districts Address Home Learning Gaps

EducationSuperHighway, a national organization with the mission to upgrade internet access for all public schools, has recently launched Digital Bridge K-12: an initiative dedicated to helping school districts address the home learning gap. EducationSuperHighway has developed a number of resources to support states, as well as initial toolkit for school districts. The resource guide sets out best practices how to address the learning gap locally and examples for school districts to partner with their local telecommunications carrier or wireless provider to help connect students WiFi hotspots.  

Join the CTO Council!

Who We Are

The Texas K-12 CTO Council is the state chapter of the Consortium for School Networking [CoSN] and the premier organization for chief technology officers in Texas schools. The purpose of the organization is to assist Texas K-12 school districts in understanding how to plan for the use and successful implementation of information technology in Texas schools and advocate for districts’ technology needs to improve student learning.

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Members benefit from a host of professional development opportunities and access to a network of K-12 EdTech experts.

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Through professional development, conferences, meetings, webinars, and study groups, Texas K-12 CTO Council gives members a variety of opportunities to connect.

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