Security and Trust in the Land of the Blind

We are pleased to welcome guest writer Brian Horton, Director of Technology Operations at Duke School (NC), to our blog. In this post, Brian shares his reflections on the ways that technology departments may now serve as trusted sources of information for independent school communities, especially as cybersecurity breaches cause all of us to be more anxious about the safety of our personal data.

Brian's experience after the recent Equifax data security breach led him to share important information with his school community about how to respond in such an instance. One by-product of his outreach has been a strengthening of relationships with the constituents he serves at his independent school. --  SD 

(10-minute read) 

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5 Ways Edtech Leaders Can Support Academic Programs

This month, as part of our year-long program for aspiring technology leaders, ECATD, ATLIS convened on September 11, 2017, a panel of academic leaders to discuss the relationships between the academic programs in independent schools and technology. Sarah Hanawald, ATLIS Executive Director, interviewed Jim Foley (Assistant Head of School for Leadership and Innovation, St. Luke's School, CT), Marsha Little (Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, The Lovett School, GA) and Derrick Willard (Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, Providence Day School, NC).  An excerpt from that interview follows. -- SD

(5-minute read)

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6 Steps for Polishing Your Proposal for ATLIS 2018

Lots of people have trouble turning their grand ideas or best practices into a presentation, even if they know their content backwards, forwards, and sideways. They freeze up despite the huge need the audience may have for what the proposal writer hopes to share. You may feel daunted by the writing, or you may not feel that you have put all the pieces of your idea together yet. This post can help you get started with the proposal writing process for ATLIS 2018. Remember, the proposals are due on September 30! -- Susan Davis, Professional Development, ATLIS

You can find a video of the webinar I made on proposal writing here. See a preview of what's on the submission form here.

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ATLIS Cybersecurity Advisory Panel Challenges Independent Schools to Take Action

Recently the ATLIS Cybersecurity Advisory Panel issued its 2017 report on the most significant sources of cyber attacks on independent schools, along with recommendations on how to combat those attacks. In this post, we introduce you to some of the key steps independent schools can take to protect their communities from cyber malfeasance.

Educational institutions are now a top target for cybersecurity attacks. Why? According to Jamie Britto of Collegiate School (VA), it’s “because we are weak and we pay.”

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July Webinar Round-Up

July was jam-packed with learning opportunities through our ATLIS webinar series. We featured Amanda Cadran of Learn on how to make the most of the data you can collect about how your users are employing online tools; maker inspiration from Sean Justice of Texas State University; our regular G Suite User Group meet-up, which focused on starting the new school year; and ATLIS co-founder turned entrepreneur Stuart Posin on how our phones collect and share data completely unbeknownst to us while we are sleeping or walking or ... you get the picture. This post provides a summary of each of these webinars, along with links to videos and resources when available.

Amanda Cadran on “Optimizing Your Edtech Tools”
(July 26, 2018)

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Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication

Bobby Bardenhagen, Marin Country Day School (CA)

Our recent webinar with Bobby Bardenhagen yielded a wealth of information about implementing multi-factor authentication (also called two-step verification) to bolster cybersecurity at his school. Below you will find notes from the webinar, as Bobby shared his personal journey and offered guidance for others who might be considering instituting this important security step. ATLIS members may access a video of the webinar here. -- SD

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Meetings that Matter

As each school year ends, we inevitably face numerous necessary meetings to wrap up unfinished business and plan for the year ahead. With this in mind, we want to share with you some sage advice from ECATD faculty member Curt Lieneck, Director of Information Technology at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

If you join us in Chicago later this month for our collaborative workshop with ISACS, “Cyber Security in Independent Schools,” July 13-14, you will have a chance to meet Curt, who is one of the participants. You can still sign up for the workshop here.  Also, you can RSVP here to join Curt and the ATLIS gang as we meet up and wind down at a soon-to-be disclosed location near the ADVIS offices at 5:30 pm on Thursday. -- SD

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Having Your Say: Attendee Responses to ATLIS AC 2017

As we studied the responses of this year’s attendees to our annual conference held last month in Los Angeles, we were pleased to find that the data reinforced the positive zeitgeist we had detected from personal interactions with attendees. We saw that you valued the inspiration of both keynotes and that you sought information and new connections to stretch your thinking. You found your investment of time and money yielded important interaction with trusted mentors and colleagues. This was the magic of the 2017 ATLIS annual conference: a community abuzz with the opportunity to learn together.

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Hey, Do You Know Someone Who Clicked?

Recently, a rash of what appeared to be phishing emails mimicking a request to share a Google Document descended upon our online communities. While the circumstances of this particular email attack remain uncertain, issues of cyber security remain of grave to concern to independent school technology leaders and are at the forefront of our work at ATLIS, most recently in a webinar offered by Jamie Britto and Denise Musselwhite.

As it occurred, an active discussion about the attack sprang up on the ECATD and ISED Listserves, Twitter, and regional discussion groups as members shared their experiences and perspectives, an exchange that serves to highlight the importance of our connections with ATLIS members who are dealing with problems like this in real time. The day after the attack, a New York Times article, “Email Attack Hits Google: What to Do If You Clicked,” offered recommendations for those who fell for the phishing attack and clicked. These included  revoking access (via and changing passwords to one never before used on your account.

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Cyber Security: Where to Start?

Jamie Britto from  Collegiate School (VA) and Denise Musselwhite from Trinity Preparatory School (FL)  team up for a webinar  on Thursday, April 13, 2017 (10:00 to 11:00 AM PDT) to explore steps school leaders can take to address cyber security on independent school campuses. Jamie and Denise will focus on no or low-cost options that can immediately improve your school’s cyber security; they will also share next steps for technology leaders who must face the evolving challenges of securing school networks. Here is an overview of this important ATLIS event.

This webinar inverts the approach used at our two-day workshop (co-hosted by ATLIS and ISACS) by starting with tactics, then looking at strategy, and wrapping up with a brief look at concepts which need to be addressed in the future.

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ATLIS Adds Pricing Transparency

ATLIS Data Platform allows members to see peer reviews and the actual prices paid by schools for key technology resources, using LearnPlatform as the analytics engine.  

Join us March 9 to learn more

Our platform now gives ATLIS independent school technology leaders a tool to improve educational technology purchasing decisions for both hardware and software purchases. The platform now allows members to access price reports on the products they are considering for first-time purchase or renewal. Members will have access to easy-to-read graphs that provide insight into how other member schools are buying and utilizing edtech. This transparency will allow schools to make better-informed decisions that improve efficiencies and increase cost savings for ATLIS members.

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IRS Warning to Schools

IRS Issues Warning to Schools

ATLIS shared this news last month with each of our member schools as a special bulletin.  If you did not receive the bulletin and would like to subscribe as one of your school's primary contacts, please submit this brief form and we'll add you to the list.

We want ATLIS leaders to be aware that schools are being targeted by increasingly persistent criminals who attempt to acquire employee W-2 data and file false returns to steal tax refunds.  Please share this information personally with those who have access to employee W-2 data in your school.

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Over and Up: Think Like the Knight to Advance Your Career

Over and Up: Think Like the Knight to Advance Your Career

Update: Join Gabe February 10 to discuss career strategies for technology leaders. If you missed the webinar, catch the recording here.

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New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions

The celebrations are over, the morning alarm has been turned back on, and educators and students are back in school (hopefully rested and refreshed). Many people use the new year to set resolutions and goals for the year to come. While we often think first of personal goals (run a marathon, read more books), this attitude can be a great impetus to set new professional goals. Those of us who work in schools get to say “Happy New Year” twice each year and the new calendar year can be a great time to set goals for the remaining school year and even the start of the next academic year.

One of the best ways to set new year’s resolutions is to set tangible goals. I like to set goals based on previous challenges. For example, have faculty been struggling with implementing an aspect our LMS or new operating system? Do I struggle to get devices imaged in time for the start of the academic year? Is there a stack of educational books that I’ve been meaning to read? Whatever my challenges have been in the previous year (or years), this is where I look for my goals.

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What impact have online and blended learning had on your school?

On October 20, 2015

 Eric Hudson hosted "What impact have online and blended learning had on your school?"

$60 Billion Dollar Hoax?

Are Screens in Schools a $60 Billion Dollar Hoax?

 Dr. Kardaras is the author of the new book Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids—and How to Break the Trance.  Time published an article titled Screens in Schools are a $60 Billion Dollar Hoax.  ISED chat tackled the article in a lively discussion hosted by @dwillard Derrick Willard, Assistant Head for Academic Affairs at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC

What's in store in the makerspace this year?

What's in store in the makerspace this year?

#isedchat September 29, 2016


New Overtime Rules

Overtime Rules and the Technology Department

New overtime rules were released by the Department of Labor this month. ATLIS is sending you our take on what the new rules about overtime mean for those who work in independent school technology. We are providing this information for educational purposes only. Remember that your state and local laws may differ from the federal rules, and your human resource officer should contact your school's legal counsel to ensure that your school is in compliance with all applicable laws.

You can see the entire scope of the new rules on the Department of Labor’s website. Of particular interest is special guidance the department has provided non­profits and higher education institutions. When combined with the overall rules, these two documents cover most of the questions that might arise in an independent school.

Who does not get overtime?

  • Anyone with a job description that previously met the criteria for exemption from overtime (called the “duties test” see below) is still exempt if that individual's salary exceeds $913/week (or $47,476 per year for a full­ year worker). The employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the duties test. In most schools, this would include a technology director and may include other individuals. It is the work itself, not the job title, that determines exemption.
  • All “highly compensated workers” (salary over $134,004) are exempt. Teachers remain exempt, regardless of salary.

Who does get overtime?

  • Anyone making less than $913/week (or $47,476 per year for a full­ year worker) even if his/her job description meets the “duties test” for exemption. This salary threshold will automatically increase every 3 years (not every year) to maintain a salary level that is at the 40th percentile of full­ time salaried workers in the lowest­ wage Census region. The next increase is scheduled for January 1, 2020.
  • Anyone previously entitled to overtime based on the duties test remains eligible for overtime compensation as the criteria has not changed. Help Desk Managers, System Support Specialists, Database Administrators, Network Administrators, etc. typically fall into this category, regardless of salary unless they earn more than $134,004.

What is less clear:

The requirements for overtime for a technology integrationist (or those holding similar positions) making less than $47,476 per year are not clear cut. While most schools consider this a faculty position, to be considered a teacher, the primary daily activity of this employee must be active instruction of students.
However, the rules for higher education also allow for exempt status for those who meet the criteria for "Academic Administrative Personnel": The administrative personnel that help run higher education institutions and interact with students outside the classroom, such as department heads, academic counselors and advisors, intervention specialists and others with similar responsibilities are subject to a special salary threshold that does not apply to white­collar employees outside of higher education. These employees are not entitled to overtime compensation if they are paid at least as much as the entrance salary for teachers at their institution (Overtime Final Rule and Higher Education).

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