Health and Safety – the Key Focus of the 2021-2022 School Year

No matter where your school district is in the US, there is little doubt that you’re dealing with overwhelming levels of stress. The challenges seem to come from all points: cyber criminals are targeting schools; teachers, entering their third year of dealing with COVID-19 in the classroom, are quitting in droves; and administrators and school IT leaders are being forced to cope with rapidly changing mandates and community needs. All of these challenges and more must be met without compromising student data security or HIPAA. Our health tracking solution Bright CARE™ can help.

What Is Bright CARE?

Bright CARE is a comprehensive student health and medical record management system developed by Lumen™ Touch. For schools that would benefit, this system can be implemented as a standalone application. However, any school using our Bright STUDENT™ district and student management system automatically has access to Bright CARE as well.  Bright CARE is the only total electronic medical record platform that tracks medical, dental, and behavioral health for students, from early childhood through graduation, giving administrators and health staff immediate and historical data in a safe and secure manner. In addition to the new features added to help manage pandemic-related compliance, health, and safety needs, additional features include comprehensive record management with condition tracking, automated Medicaid billing, and immunization tracking.

Bright CARE COVID-19 Management

Last year, Lumen Touch quickly adapted Bright CARE to meet the needs of our community, allowing districts to safely monitor and track the health of their students and staff without compromising personal privacy. Using student badges, tracking and tracing information is collected privately.

Schools are now able to:

  • Track temperatures
  • Conduct contact tracing
  • Manage COVID-19 testing
  • Monitor social distancing
  • Report information securely to the CDC and local health departments
  • Run reports on immunizations and track compliance
  • Prepare and analyze district-wide vaccination summaries

Teachers are tired and scared. Schools are working to find ways to keep them safer in and out of the classroom. Tracking and managing the health of students is a critical method for improving the health and safety of your entire school.

Don’t Take Our Word for It – Discover How Bright CARE Is Helping New Haven Public Schools

As the Director of School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and school Dental Clinics for our large urban district, about five years ago we were in great need for a reliable, HIPAA compliant and customizable data management program to collect, manage and report our visit data that was also affordable. The existing student information system for the district was not HIPAA compliant, nor capable of collecting or reporting the type of data that was required by both our state funders nor for local partners and stakeholders.

We were so fortunate to be introduced to Lumen Touch LLC, who were not only willing to work with us, as a small network of schools with School Based Health Clinics (17), but they dedicated a developer and staff to work closely with us over the next several years to customize a program that met all our needs AND within our restricted budget!  They are incredibly professional, responsive to any and all requests and have remarkable expertise in producing a user-friendly program for districts of any size.

Though we utilize only a portion of what Lumen Touch can offer, their Bright CARE Health and Wellness Management system, I hope that we will be able to incorporate more of their student information programs in the future.  They have created a one-stop integrated system that ties all areas of student data into one place so that all data (health, academic, social-emotional, IEPs, attendance, etc.) can be collected, pulled, organized, tracked and reported efficiently and accurately to create a comprehensive student profile that is also HIPAA compliant.

We are so grateful to Lumen Touch for their dedication and expertise in helping our district build a tailored program for health data that enables us to meet all data requirement and so much more. I highly recommend any district to consider a partnership with Lumen Touch.

Sue Peters, APRN, MPH, RN, New Haven Public Schools

All of us at Lumen Touch know how difficult this year has been so far for teachers, students, administrators, and IT leaders. We are committed to doing our part to help make you feel more supported and more capable of caring for your students and your staff.

If managing health and safety has become a challenge for your school, please reach out to sales@lumentouch.com.

The Future of Teaching

Every day, we see stories about teachers who are hanging on by a thread, and we hear stories from teachers who can confirm the same and who are, worse yet, actively seeking other opportunities and will leave their careers in education. It’s not that they don’t want to be teachers, but the challenges of these past few years – on top of the many other pressures teachers face in the classrooms – have become insurmountable for some. We need to look at both how to better support educators and reduce attrition as well as look at how the education system can change to accommodate the drop in availability.

Teacher Shortages Are Growing

Throughout the country, the number of people entering the teaching profession is dropping significantly. According to the National Center for Education, education majors accounted for more than 10% of the degree candidates in 1990-1991. That number fell to 4.2% in the 2018-2019 school year. The pandemic has reduced those numbers even further. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are teacher shortages in nearly every state for nearly every subject. A quickly generated report on general math resulted in a nine page list of teacher shortages from Wyoming to Puerto Rico.

Supporting Teachers More Effectively

Teacher turnover is damaging to students. According to research by Eric A. Hanushek, Steven G. Rivkin, and Jeffrey C. Schiman, the following impacts occur:

  • Teacher turnover negatively affects achievement despite adverse selection of leavers.
  • Experience loss and grade reassignment account for the negative turnover effects.
  • Negative turnover effects are concentrated in lower-achievement schools.

Reducing teacher attrition, then, has a direct impact on student success.

There are a number of ways we can support our teachers more effectively:

Invest in educators. Increase salaries and offer additional pay when they’re forced to manage both in-class and online students. Pay off their student loans. Cover the costs of all of their supplies; don’t make them beg the internet community to “clear the lists.”

Listen to educators. Listen to your teachers – at the school level, the district level, the state level, and the federal level. Put teachers on the committees that make decisions about policy, health, safety, and, yes, curriculum.

Provide tools for educators. Invest in technology that makes it easier for teachers to do their jobs. This means that at the state and national levels, governments need to free their budgets to invest in equity – broadband for every household, for example. At the district level, districts need to invest in smart technology that makes it easier for teachers to manage not just their teaching responsibilities but all of the other tasks they have, such as SPED reporting and SEL.

Addressing the Tech Skills Gap

There’s a huge tech skills gap. Our partners at Global Grid for Learning have identified some of the risks of not addressing this gap and the threat it represents to our economic stability:

  • Our ability to compete globally could be threatened.
  • Ransomware and phishing attacks are growing more sophisticated, resulting in the need for technically capable workers to thwart the threats to our schools, infrastructures, and businesses.
  • As AI, AR, and VR become commonplace in retail, education, healthcare, and other industries, the demand for technically proficient workers will continue to grow.

Radically Alter the Education System

It’s time for an academic overhaul. We’ve been using the same basic education system for more than a century, and we’re not keeping up. Larry Ferlazzo explores this in his two-part series on Futures Thinking. We need to change how we assess, what we teach, and how we prepare students for the workforce of the future. Lumen™ Touch is at the forefront of the education revolution. What do you want to see for the future of teaching?

KC-Area Organizations Launch Student Competition to Combat Child Trafficking

Call for Entries Now Open Asking Students to Take Action Against Trafficking

Kansas City-area Rotary clubs have partnered with local organizations Intouch Group and Lumen Touch to spread awareness about child trafficking. Together, the organizations have launched a contest, “Students Stopping Trafficking,” which aims to inspire Kansas City-area high school students to create a compelling awareness campaign or idea to combat the trafficking and targeting of peers in their own communities. Ideas could include an advertising campaign, a live event, a social media campaign, or something more.

In 2019, 11,500 human trafficking cases were reported in the United States; around two-thirds of those reports were for sex trafficking. As with most public health issues, awareness is key to the prevention of human trafficking. “I’ve been asked, ‘Is trafficking really a public health issue?’ It absolutely is,” said Intouch Group Chief Creative Officer Susan Perlbachs. “And it’s not just me saying so. The Administration for Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, considers it a public health concern affecting entire communities.”

­The contest unites three organizations that share a passion for technology, educating young people, and advocating on behalf of public health issues. “Trafficking is becoming more severe with the help of technology, and as a technology organization focused on students, we want to help bring awareness and support our community in eliminating student trafficking,” said Audrey Mathis, Chief Operations Officer at Lumen Touch.

Three cash prizes will be awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place winners — each given to the students’ schools — and students who submit the first-place selection will then work with Intouch Group, a healthcare advertising agency, to bring their idea to life.

The contest is open to students aged 13-18. Entries are due April 12, 2022 and finalists will be asked to present their ideas to a panel of judges via video conference. More information about the contest – including FAQ’s, a scoring rubric, and resources for students – is available on the website at https://studentsstoppingtraffic.com/.

Assessments, Learning Loss, and the Future of Learning

A lot of people in the education industry are talking about how the pandemic fundamentally changed education, simply because it was being delivered through a different medium.

We disagree.

If the means by which we expect students to learn is not allowed to change, then change doesn’t happen just because we vary the medium through which education is delivered. In fact, most educators, often bound by the curriculum requirements of their districts, are still teaching the same subjects in the same way with the same assessments. Just because they’re doing it online instead of in person doesn’t mean anything has fundamentally changed – and fundamental changes to education are what we really need.

We Need to Stop Focusing on Failure

If a student is excelling in music and art while failing math and science, then that doesn’t mean they’re failing as a student. It means they demonstrate exceptional skill in areas that can lead to innovation. In order to foster the true passion and talent in every student, we need to make a fundamental change in how we assess success. This point has been brought to bear on how we evaluate learning loss as a result of the pandemic. Dr. Yong Zhao explains during an interview with Dr. Wendy Oliver, published on EdisonLearning:

The pandemic has created a very unhappy environment for a lot of children. They’re isolated, they’re not going to school, and they’re not talking to friends. But at the same time, we probably should pay attention to see how they have grown. Human beings learn from experiences. These experiences have changed our children in different ways. Perhaps now they are better at handling adverse situations. They are now better at making friends online, which is essential in today’s life. Maybe your children are becoming more independent in learning? These are the types of things he stresses we really need to focus on.

Right Now, We Assess Failure and Focus on Failure

From early on in our students’ educational journeys, we focus on measuring failure. We conduct spelling and math tests and mark what they get wrong. We focus on how far beneath the average they are and we assume that wherever they are at that moment academically is where they will remain. This places an undue burden on the students and the teachers when they are forced to approach education in this way. Instead, we should be focused on the successes and strengths students have. When we focus on successes and strengths and take the time to understand a student’s passions and interests, we can find ways to improve their subject matter expertise by teaching through their passions.

Every Student Deserves to Have an IEP

Right now, the only students who qualify for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) are those students who have a disability that is recognized by the federal government. But shouldn’t every student have an individualized learning plan that is customized to meet their needs and help them achieve the best outcome?

We must be particularly cautious as we come out of the pandemic, as there is a push to assess students and determine what they’ve lost by learning from home. Brian Moon explores this in terms of the unbounded concern over learning loss. He points out that part of the problem stems from education focusing on the wrong question: “How do we help students perform better on standardized tests?” By doing this, we are forcing teachers to teach to the test and focus on teaching what students need to know to pass tests instead of engaging their minds.

Moon suggests a new question: “How do we use assessment to accelerate, deepen, and showcase individual student learning?”

How Do We Use Assessment to Accelerate, Deepen, and Showcase Individual Student Learning?

That is the question that needs to be explored as we redefine education in the twenty-first century. But in doing so, let’s focus on Moon’s point:

We need not categorize students as deficient in order to justify improving the efficiency, depth, and meaning of their learning experiences. Assessment scores are finite, but learning is limitless. When we center student growth – rather than points or percentiles – as the goal of education, we expand the possibilities for how schools can provide value.

The Future of Learning

The future of learning should be individualized. Assessments should not be used to penalize students but rather to help encourage learning. And what students learn should be modernized and revolutionized so that the students moving through the education system today are prepared to live, work, and engage in the society of tomorrow. Learn more about how Lumen Touch is contributing to the future of learning.

Student Data Privacy Tips

As school resumes around the country, student data privacy becomes a primary concern for all administrators and IT leaders. Protecting student data is certainly a top priority, but managing how and where student data is collected, shared, and disseminated can be extremely difficult. It’s easy to overlook federal and regional mandates, easier still to overlook parent and student rights when it comes to data sharing.

So, the question is: How can we make it easy for school districts to protect student data?

The easier it is to protect their data, the more likely it is that schools will be capable of doing so to a degree above and beyond basic compliance. It’s not that schools are negligent or lazy about protecting student data; it’s that there are so many other responsibilities resting on the shoulders of education leaders that it all becomes overwhelming. As student data privacy is so technical in nature, it can often be something that is overlooked without anyone even realizing it.

Student Data Security Problems

Unknown App Usage – One of the biggest challenges associated with protecting student data is in how to control who has access to the data and who has the ability to share it. For example, a teacher might sign up to use an app in the classroom and share student data necessary to use the app. But if that app has not been vetted and approved by the school, then the entire school may be at risk of a data breach should the app have security flaws that go undetected because the administration never knew that the app was in use.

Rogue Apps – Even when the use of an app is approved by the school, districts must be able to track each vendor. It’s not easy to track vendors, let alone understand what they do with the student data they obtain, how they store that data, and whether or not they share it with others. And what happens if the app is no longer in use? Does the provider have suitable data destruction policies?

Federal and State Compliance Requirements – Schools must adhere to specific guidance requirements to comply with federal, state, and local regulations. While these regulatory mandates are the least restrictive in terms of protecting student data, they cannot be ignored.

Best Practices for Student Data Privacy

Managing the safety and privacy of student data requires ongoing monitoring and comprehensive, district-wide policies concerning who can share what information with whom. Depending on the contract with your edtech vendor, your data may be left at risk long after students leave your school. These best practices can help to ensure that your schools are doing all they can to protect student data:

1) Establish student data privacy policies to which all employees in the district must adhere. This should include restrictions on independently sourced apps and edtech solutions, specific permission requirements to share student data, and a system for managing vendors and vendor data privacy policies.

2) Communicate clearly with parents. Under FERPA, schools are allowed to share the following data without direct permission: a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and attendance dates. However, parents are allowed to opt out of that. Most schools do not make a concerted effort to communicate parent rights in this area, which can cause aggravation and mistrust. Clear communication policies should be in place that instruct parents about their rights to restrict the data that is shared about their students. Schools should also make it easy for parents to communicate the desire to opt-out.

3) Develop a cybersecurity strategy that protects your students, teachers, and school from the barrage of cyberattacks that have escalated in the last few years. Firewalls, layers of security, regular monitoring, and off-site back up should all be the norm, as should the training of all employees, to help them recognize cyber threats.

4) Hold vendors to strict security standards and vet them carefully. You should be willing to forego working with an edtech vendor that can’t demonstrate the ability to protect student data. Your policies should ensure that the least amount of student roster data required is provided for any app the district implements, and the policy should restrict or prevent third parties from having direct access to your data without strict oversight.

5) Partner with Lumen™ Touch to meet your student data privacy needs. Bright PASSPORT governs how schools share personally identifiable information (PII), such as student roster data. Rather than allow teachers or school districts to implement apps for their classrooms, Bright PASSPORT provides districts with a library of approved apps that have been properly vetted to meet the required security standards. Learn more.

Does Your School Need a Cybersecurity Audit?

In order to know where you need to make improvements to your cybersecurity strategy, you need to know where your weaknesses are. That’s why Lumen Touch is offering a brand new service for schools: Bright LITE

Our customized service offering provides individuals and organizations with the information and education to efficiently evaluate both the risks and opportunities they face. 

Let Lumen Touch help you be more secure with Bright PASSPORT and Bright LITE. To learn more, get in touch.

Download the Bright LITE brochure (PDF)

How to Support Teachers as We Return to the Classroom

July has come to an end, and in August virtually all educators begin thinking about the coming school year as they develop lesson plans and prepare their classrooms. This school year in particular, there are many challenges facing teachers, not the least of which is a teacher shortage in many areas. Given these challenges, what can we do to make returning to the classroom easier?

How Administrators Can Support Teachers

Obviously, one of the best ways to better support teachers is to increase salaries wherever possible. When educators are not burdened with financial stress, they are better able to focus on the most important job they hold. But beyond allotting bigger salaries, administrators can demonstrate support by:

  • Providing teachers with the tools and technology they need in the classroom
  • Listening seriously to their ideas about how to improve education, safety, and the learning environment – and implementing any ideas you can
  • Ensuring they have a safe workplace
  • Saving teachers time by giving them a powerful learning management system that manages curriculum, instruction, assessment, and grading

How School IT Leaders Can Support Teachers

Most schools were already integrating more technology into the curriculum, but that certainly escalated during the height of the pandemic. IT leaders were responsible for making sure students had the equipment they needed, and for providing tech support for students, parents, and teachers throughout the school year.

For most districts, going into the new school year, the focus will shift toward ensuring that classrooms are ready for teachers and students. As more schools convert to smart classrooms, technology – and the experts who make sure the IT infrastructure stays up and running – become more crucial, to ensure the best possible educational experience. As SEL (social-emotional learning) becomes more prevalent in every school, IT leaders can play a much more important role.

How Parents Can Support Teachers

Aaron Cardwell, who was a teacher at Rocketship Public Schools and recently started a position as Assistant Principal at Success Academy Charter Schools, shared advice that went viral on Facebook about how parents of kindergarten and first-grade students can help, as their children begin the school year. He emphasized the focus on practical skills. Read his post here. Parents can also support teachers by:

  • Providing the requested supplies – and sending extra if possible
  • Filling out and returning all forms (a lot of this can now be done online through a parent portal)
  • Responding to and communicating with teachers when parental involvement is needed
  • Supporting their efforts in the classroom by ensuring that their children do their homework each day and come to school prepared to learn
  • Being active in the PTA and in the community, advocating for education equity and support

How the Community Can Support Teachers

There are so many ways the community can support teachers, including getting involved in the school board, attending school district meetings, advocating for the changes that teachers need, and voting “yes” on budget increases in those communities where voter approval is necessary for district funding. However, we know that teachers often spend far more each year on school supplies than their tax-deductible $250, so one thing we can all do to support teachers is to #clearthelist. This is a movement started on social media to help teachers obtain the supplies they need for their classrooms. Another organization, Donors Choose, connects communities and corporate donors with teachers who need project funding. It’s a great way to support education.

A well-educated society is the backbone of an economically strong, socially engaged country – and teachers are a pillar of that society. Our teachers have always been heroes but in most cases have gone unrecognized. The pandemic focused a spotlight on the education system and the value of the teacher versus the institution. It is our hope that everyone will support teachers more fervently going forward.

Are Virtual Classrooms the Future of Learning?

Students may be returning to the classroom in the fall, but technology has certainly changed not just our ability to deliver instruction but also the innovation surrounding effective education. Virtual classrooms will not go away. The possibilities are limitless! Here are some great examples of how technology is creating optimal learning experiences:

UCI Professor Goes Virtual

Grown tired of Zoom, Christina Lopes, a professor at University of California, Irvine (UCI), developed a virtual space for her students to obtain hands-on experience in her course, How Computers Work. According to a Newswise article, she helped to create a new program called OpenSimulator. Instead of sitting in a classroom learning from a textbook, students are able to see the code come to life.

Virtual Innovation Is Disrupting Every Industry

From virtual meetings, where the CEO of a company appears as a hologram in various locations around the world, to tradeshows where buyers are able to examine virtual versions of the equipment they are interested in buying, virtual and augmented reality are changing how we perceive the world and how we interact with one another. Virtual environments are enhancing virtually every industry, and education is no exception. Virtual classrooms can help educators meet the needs of more students. What started as a way to reach students when schools closed during the pandemic has revolutionized education in a way that can hopefully continue even as students return to the classroom.

Virtual Classrooms Help Bring Education into the Future

We know that a radical revolution in education is necessary in order to prepare students for the future of work. Teaching to the test and basing student advancement on their ability to regurgitate facts is no longer enough to prepare students for the workforce of the future. Virtual classrooms allow students to accelerate their tech skills, improve their soft skills, and learn how to leverage technology for their benefit.

Virtual Learning and Classrooms Can Co-Exist

No matter how students receive instruction, educators are paramount to the overall success and progress a student makes. Virtual classrooms may never fully replace in-person instruction. But virtual classrooms can be used to enhance the in-classroom experience, by allowing students to pursue individualized and customized areas of learning, thereby giving every student the opportunity to have a richer education. Virtual classrooms can also allow two teachers from different districts, states, or even countries to collaborate to deliver a richer, more diverse curriculum.

Virtual education is not the enemy of the classroom – it is an enhancement to it. And for students who have difficulty being in school every day, either due to illness, disability, or the circumstances of their home life, it can bring additional equity to your district.

Preparing Students for the Future Means Radically Changing Education

“Technology is neither the problem nor the solution, it’s just a tool. In the end, these are all human problems that need human-focused solutions.“ 

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

In March 2018, Vivienne Ming gave a speech at the SingularityU Czech Summit about the future of education and how to robot-proof kids. Fast-forward three years and her words are just as prophetic, if not more so, given the huge shift to virtual and hybrid learning we’ve experienced due to the pandemic.

Resolving Inequities

One of the reasons Lumen™ Touch talks so often about inequity in education is that it really does have an impact on the success of the student. When we can resolve inequities, such as access to the internet, access to a computer, and easy access to libraries, the gap is reduced. Ming explains that there is no bigger impact on children’s minds than their experiences within the home, so the other thing we must tackle to give our students a better future is to address economic barriers at home: access to jobs, transportation, mental health, and medical care. This allows parents to provide the kind of role modeling that students need to start with a stronger foundation.

The Connection Between Education, Workforce, Health, and Inclusion

Ming’s research discovered that people who came from a higher socioeconomic status were 10 times more likely to have patents attributed to them as kids who performed similarly but came from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds. When we consider what that means in terms of, as Ming describes it, the massive economic, cultural, and innovative potential that is being squandered, we can clearly see the need to address inequities in education, to take advantage of that potential.

How do we do that?

We level the playing field by providing access to edtech, AI, and other technologies, so that each student has the opportunity to develop, achieve, and contribute.

“In the future 10-15 years from now, there’s only going to be one job description: adaptive, creative problem solver.”

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

Window of Opportunity: Radically Changing Education Can Happen Now

Between the ages of five and eight, a child’s brain is most impacted by things like childhood household stress and childhood isolation. The trauma of those stresses decreases a child’s ability to develop working memory. Using literacy and numeracy, working memory can also be improved. Ming also discovered, through the course of her work, that grades don’t predict success. She goes further, however, insisting that education should be about helping each individual have a happy, healthy, productive life – not just philosophically but in an objective and measurable way.

How Can Radically Changing Education Help All Students?

According to Ming, we must recognize the trap of assuming that who a student is during one parent-teacher conference is not who that student will always be. So, if we learn to give students what they need in the moment, we can maximize their long-term outcomes. And this approach works whether a student is in elementary school or high school or college. It’s about putting emotional intelligence into education.

“If we keep building them for a world that’s not existing 10 years from now, then we will end up with a society in which a tiny sliver of people will be ready to compete.”

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

Watch her presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y5dhBdg48M

What to Expect in the Next School Year

The school year is winding up, and while there will be celebrations and goodbyes and acknowledgements of completing another academic year, most school administrators and IT directors have already turned their attentions to next year. Budgets are being planned, and for the most part, we are all expecting to have most instruction occur in-person.

COVID-19 Has Forever Changed Education

We are seeing signs of permanent changes in education as a result of the experiences we’ve all had during the pandemic. Technology is not going away. In fact, the success of edtech has been so profound that some school districts are recognizing the value that remote learning provides in other circumstances. For example, the New York City public school system has cancelled snow days for the 2021-2022 school year, citing the benefit of remote learning.

Learning Analytics Will Be More Effectively Leveraged

Being able to deliver instruction, manage testing, and analyze data has been strengthened in the past year, and reliance on that data will be used to improve the delivery of education to all students. Because educators will continue to use edtech solutions and learning platforms to deliver some in-class instruction, they’ll be able to swiftly adjust to the needs of the students in their classrooms, using the more immediate feedback from the data.

Health Monitoring and Vaccine Tracking Will Remain Essential

Already, governors are announcing that a COVID-19 vaccine will be a requirement to return to school, placing pressure on schools to be able to track and monitor student health more carefully. In addition, because there will continue to be outbreaks of COVID-19, particularly in those areas that have not yet achieved herd immunity, the ability to conduct health checks and contact tracing will remain essential.

Student Data Security Will Take a Front Seat

Speaking of student data, student data security will be priority number one for school administrators and school IT leaders. From the incorporation of blockchain technology to the use of a private, secure platform through which edtech solutions are obtained, such as Bright PASSPORT, there will be a much more formal effort to ensure that whatever edtech is used by schools is properly vetted, securely obtained, and approved for use.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Lumen™ Touch can help you meet the rapidly changing needs of your district, get in touch.

Student Data Security and Bright PASSPORT

Cybersecurity is a conversation we normally hear about in the business world, but cybersecurity is just as important for schools, as student data is a goldmine of information for cyber criminals. Schools are required, under a variety of governance regulations, to protect the information they collect about students. 

Unfortunately, threats to student data security are continuing to grow at an alarming rate. Last month, the FBI issued a warning about the uptick in ransomware attacks on schools. A week later, Park Hill School District in Kansas City, MO were targeted. Just prior to that, schools in Buffalo were shut down by a cyberattack.  And schools in Florida are being held for millions in ransom. As schools and districts struggle to fend off these attacks, enhancing protection must be a priority.

Protecting Access to Student Data – It’s the Law

Even if there were not federal regulations to guide schools, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), protecting student data is a matter of safety. Schools that have multiple edtech solutions often must provide each vendor with roster information and more. Unfortunately, the schools often have no control over the level of security each individual edtech vendor applies to the information they collect. This places a huge burden on district IT teams.  

Managing Access to Student Data, Simplified

When everyone is finally back in the classroom, technology and edtech solutions will still be employed to aid with learning. Because of the enormous risk involved in sharing roster and other personal student data with multiple edtech vendors, schools must consider a different way forward that allows them to not only remain in compliance but to ensure that the vendors with whom they share the data are also using strenuous measures to protect that information. To make that easier for everyone, Lumen Touch is introducing Bright PASSPORT – a centralized, secure method of sharing student data.

What Is Bright PASSPORT?

Bright PASSPORT governs how schools share personally identifiable information (PII), such as student roster data. Rather than allow teachers or school districts to implement apps for their classrooms, Bright PASSPORT provides for districts a library of approved apps that have been properly vetted to meet the required security standards required.

Bright PASSPORT communicates with third party applications, providing secure and federated access credentials for all end-users within their Lumen Touch portal.

Student Data Security with Bright PASSPORT

Schools mitigate risk through the use of Bright PASSPORT, because information sharing becomes centralized and secure. Approved applications are provisioned to each individual user, allowing parents, students, teachers, administrators and staff access to their applications without ever leaving their Lumen Touch Portal. Vetted apps can be accessed directly through the Lumen Touch AppStore.

To learn more about how to adopt this solution for your school and secure your student data, get in touch.