Innovate in TSD
In today's digital age, cybersecurity is paramount, particularly in the education sector. With an ever-expanding online presence, the need to bolster defenses against cyber threats is more crucial than ever. This October, during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we focus on the increasing threats and attacks faced by K-12 institutions. Two new security campaigns are introduced to protect students, staff, and valuable data.
Working with our Vendor Partners to Improve Information Security
In order for us to protect our data, we need to be compliant with changing data protection laws and work with our partners to keep our data safe. Google, our TSD partner, has taken significant steps to bolster their security and by extension TSD’s information security measures will need to change.
As of October 23rd, Google will require that any app, website or platform that uses your TSD Google account be explicitly approved by ITS. ITS has partnered with the Learning Services Curriculum and Instruction Team to evaluate the 3500 apps currently used in TSD. Since this is a large number to review, we are only verifying the apps that have over 100 TSD users. Anything that has been verified will display a green check mark in the Digital Catalog. On October 24th, anything that has not been verified will be removed from the catalog. This may mean that some apps, websites or extensions that you have used, might not be verified and will not be accessible. If there is an application that you would like to be added to the approved list, please put in a request to have it vetted. Our Learning Services and ITS team will review. This additional review process will take time to complete the final evaluation review. We appreciate your patience while we stay in compliance with K12 security changes.
Cybersecurity Insurance Requirements
With the increased threats and attacks on K-12 Institutions, we will need to make changes to qualify for and maintain our cybersecurity insurance. Over the last 6 months, ITS has been creating Information Security training for all TSD staff. This will be delivered through the Public SchoolWorks platform. We are offering this professional development this fall and will require all staff to take cybersecurity training during the Winter Training period which begins on February 1.
As a part of our ongoing mission to support information security, we will add an ITS Security Tip each month to the Innovate in TSD Blog.
Want to Bring Students into the Fold of Information Security?
Common Sense Media has created Digital Citizenship Lessons for K-12 Students. Check out the following lessons that can be shared with students
Remember, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and we all play a part in creating a safer digital ecosystem. Let's embrace these changes and work together to fortify our online security.
By understanding IT security incidents and knowing how to respond, we strengthen our collective ability to safeguard our district's information and assets.
An IT security incident refers to any event or situation that has the potential to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information systems, data, or services. These incidents may stem from various sources, including cyberattacks, human error, social engineering, or technical malfunctions.
Common Examples of IT Security Incidents
- Malware Infections: This category encompasses viruses, ransomware, and other forms of malicious software that can infiltrate systems, causing harm or unauthorized access.
- Phishing Attacks: Deceptive emails or messages designed to deceive recipients into revealing sensitive information like passwords or financial details.
- Unauthorized Access: Any attempt to gain access to a system or data without proper authorization, whether through exploiting vulnerabilities or utilizing stolen credentials.
- Data Breaches: Incidents involving the unauthorized access, acquisition, or disclosure of sensitive or confidential information.
- Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks: These attacks attempt to overwhelm a system or network, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users.
In the event you suspect or encounter an IT security incident, it is imperative to follow these steps:
- Immediate Response: If you suspect an incident, act promptly to contain it and minimize potential damage.
- Notify ITS Department: Report the incident to ITS help desk, immediately. Incidents can be reported via help desk ticket http://help.tsd.org/, phone 970-613-7777, in-person, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide as much detail as possible.
- Document Everything: Keep records of what transpired, including the time, actions taken, and any evidence you may have.
- Avoid Further Actions: Refrain from taking any further action that could exacerbate the situation or compromise evidence.
Prevention and Mitigation
While incidents may occur, our best defense lies in proactive measures. Regularly update and patch systems, use strong, unique passwords, and be vigilant against phishing attempts.
By understanding IT security incidents and knowing how to respond, we strengthen our collective ability to safeguard our district's information and assets.
Spear phishing attacks are highly targeted and personalized attempts by malicious actors to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or performing actions.
We want to bring your attention to an increasingly sophisticated cyber threat that has been on the rise: spear phishing. Spear phishing attacks are highly targeted and personalized attempts by malicious actors to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or performing actions like:
- sharing personal information,
- purchasing gift cards,
- or compromising security
Malicious actors are using the names of staff members, mostly principals and secretaries, to create email accounts and pretend to be those individuals, asking for phone calls or to purchase gift cards. District staff should not be using personal email accounts to conduct business. If you receive an email that is a personal email vs their TSD e-mail, please do NOT click on that communication or any links in the communication.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the safety and security, we want to provide you with some important information about spear phishing and how you can protect yourself:
What is Spear Phishing?
Spear phishing involves attackers researching and tailoring their messages to specific individuals. These messages often appear legitimate, utilizing familiar names, logos, or contexts to lure recipients into taking actions that may compromise personal or organizational security.
Red Flags to Watch For
- Unexpected or unusual requests for personal or sensitive information.
- Urgent or threatening language that pressures you into quick actions.
- Email addresses that closely mimic official ones (e.g., Mary.Sue@tsd.org vs. Mary.Sue254e@gmail.com).
- Links or attachments from unknown or unexpected sources.
- Think Before You Click: Be cautious about clicking on links or opening attachments, especially if they are unexpected.
- Verify the Sender: Double-check email addresses and contact the sender using official channels if in doubt.
- Use Strong Passwords: Regularly update your passwords and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Keep Software Updated: Ensure your operating system, antivirus, and other software are up to date.
- Report Suspicious Activity: If you receive a suspicious email, report it to your IT department or administrator immediately.
- Report in Gmail: Report the email as phishing or as spam in Gmail.
Education is Key
Help spread awareness about spear phishing to your peers and colleagues. The more informed our community is, the better we can protect ourselves and our school district.
Remember, cyber threats are evolving, and our best defense is staying informed and vigilant. If you ever receive an email that seems suspicious, it's always better to be cautious and report it rather than risk a security breach.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and please feel free to reach out to ITS if you have any questions or concerns.
During the summer our ITS team has been busy, if you missed it, check out our summer ITS work Video. One of the most exciting changes to share is the remarkable accomplishments of our high school student interns and ITS staff apprentices who dedicated their summer to support TSD’s changes with Tech4All.
400 Devices Repaired: Elevating Technological Resilience
Our tech-savvy interns repaired close to 400 devices in the month of July alone. Whether it was a damaged screen, a sluggish processor, or a battery in dire need of replacement, our interns successfully repaired TSD student devices. Through their efforts, they have not only saved valuable resources but have also shown their commitment to enhancing the technological resilience of our school's infrastructure.
Assisting in Processing 3,000 New Chromebooks: Paving the Way for the 23-24 School Year
The year brings with it exciting prospects, and our student interns played a pivotal role in processing a whopping 3,000 new Chromebooks, ensuring that our faculty and students will have access to cutting-edge technology to facilitate seamless learning experiences.
15,000 Devices Cleaned and Moved: Enhancing Digital Accessibility While Working With Zone Teams
Digital accessibility is a key component of our educational philosophy, and our zone technicians, apprentices, and student interns took this mantra to heart. By integrating with our full-time staff zone teams, they accomplished the task of cleaning and moving 15,000 devices between sites. Working side by side, their teamwork demonstrates their belief in creating an inclusive educational ecosystem where every student can harness the potential of technology.
Over 750 Hours Worked: Fostering a Strong Work Ethic
Over the course of the summer, our interns collectively contributed more than 750 hours of hard work and dedication. Such an exemplary display of work ethic sets an inspiring precedent for their peers. Check out our website to learn more about our Apprentice and Intern program.
With a successful Intern and Apprentice program, we shared our learning with other Colorado districts.
The ITS Client Services team presented conference sessions at both InnEdCO and CASE conferences this summer. Students from both the intern and apprentice programs shared their experience with leaders from around the state. Attendees asked questions about the program, how students feel doing the work and how our staff collaborates and connects with student workers.
Looking Ahead: A Bright and Empowered Future
The accomplishments of our high school student interns and apprentices underscore the value of nurturing and empowering young minds. If you would like to expand or begin a student intern program at your school, reach out to us. As the Chief Technology Officer, I am proud of our school team Interns and ITS apprentices. Their efforts are a testament to the power of collaboration between students, educators, and administrators, all working together to create a college to career ready learning experience in TSD.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
As we gear up for the end of the school year, please see actions and steps needed wrap up your school year and tech needs! Updates & steps include Student Device Collection, Staff Laptop Clinic, Empowered Learning Institute, Google Classroom Clean Up, Google Takeout & Kami Retirement.
End of the School Year: Technology Updates
As we approach the end of the academic year, I.T.S. is looking ahead to summer projects, from device refreshes to software changes. Here are a few things to keep in mind for a smooth start to the next academic year, or if you are leaving the district this year.
Student Device Collection
To prepare for our recently-announced student device changes, I.T.S. will be collecting all student devices over the summer in order to redistribute according to our new sustainable model next year. Please see this blog for more information. If you would like I.T.S. support for deployment or check in processes, please sign up for a time for help.
We have created some additional supports for check-in. Please see this student generated video explaining our check-in process. Please print a check-in form for each student to use during device collection.
Please use the following slide decks to help with the process.
Moving to a new room? Leave your phone.
If you are moving to a new building, classroom, or office over the summer, please leave your phone in its place. Desk phones belong to the room and it’s important we have accurate records for safety purposes. If you need assistance setting up your voicemail in your new room, please create a Telecom Support Ticket.
Departing the district? Turn in your devices and transfer your files.
If you are leaving the district this year, please leave all devices at your building. We ask that you turn your device into your school site tech. We also encourage you to transfer ownership of any files other will need after your departure, or move them to a Shared Drive. Please create a ticket at help.tsd.org if you have questions about moving your files.
Staff Laptop Clinic & New Teacher Deployment
Staff laptop clinic returns. Get your computer tuned up or have a problem looked at on the spot. If you receive an email that you are eligible for a new computer, you can come and get it before classes start! New staff can also sign up to get their computer issued to them before NTO. We have many summer options if you are available, as well as options during NTO and TENS week to support all staff.
We have many options available to accommodate staff this year.
Summer Slots - July 11-Aug 4th,
NTO Week - Aug 1st, Aug 2nd (MVHS) & Aug 3rd
TENS Week - Aug 9th and 11th
You can book a 30-min appointment slot using this calendar. Unless otherwise noted, all appointments are at SSC, located at 2890 N Monroe Ave, Loveland CO 80538. The Aug 2 timeframe at MVHS will be held in the Media Center from 8-12 and is first come, first serve.
New Staff Computers
Are you eligible for a new computer for the 23-24 school year? If you are, ITS will notify you by May 19th. You can pick up your new computer anytime during our Staff Laptop Clinic by making an appointment using this calendar. We will take your old computer and give you your new computer at the same time, so please make sure to backup your files to your Google Drive prior to coming to your appointment.
Google Classroom cleanup and archive
Over the summer, all Google Classrooms from previous academic years (22-23 and earlier) will be archived to help teachers and students start the new year with a clean dashboard. If you still need a class from a previous year, you can easily unarchive it.
We will also be tightening our security settings to ensure only users inside TSD can join Google Classrooms. This change will only affect about 1% of classrooms, but if you have any questions please create a Software Support Ticket.
As part of the ongoing process of evaluating what platforms and systems are being utilized within the Thompson School District, we have looked at the usage data of the Kami premium application. This application was purchased using ESSER funds to handle remote learning. The usage of Kami has decreased since we have returned to in school learning. As a result, TSD will not renew Kami at a district level purchase and it will no longer be rostered in Clever. The free version is still available. There are also several alternatives available in the Digital Catalog as well as native features on both Chromebooks and iPads that can annotate on PDFs.
On a Chromebook: Download the PDF from Google Classroom (or however else you give the PDF to students), then open in Gallery (native CB app) where you’ll find text, highlight, and drawing features. After annotating, students can save the file, then go to Google Classroom and upload the edited file.
iPads offer the Markup tool when viewing a PDF.
Help with any of these options is available from the Technology Implementation Specialists.
Students or staff leaving the district can use Google Takeout to transfer data out of their TSD Google account. They can get started with this self-help document. Please share with your graduating seniors.
You're invited to the Summer Empowered Learning Institute, and it all kicks off with live sessions on June 20th!
Inside the Institute, you'll find 70+ differentiated sessions, go at your own pace sessions that provide you with a blueprint on how to create future focused classrooms that inspire playful learning and authentic engagement. View the Empowered Learning Institute flyer or go directly to the TSD Empowered Learning website
This experience supports everyone with sessions customized to specific grade levels, content areas, and roles. Access to the institute will be provided after registration in mid May, along with a Google Classroom invite.
Click the following link to log in and view the TSD course: #10716 Empowered Learning Institute at TSD - Summer 2023. Register for the classified, Relicensure licensed or TIC credit that works for your summer learning needs!