Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative Update

It has been an exciting start to the 2019-2020 school year. The SSIA Grant is now underway with 48 unique EdTech solutions addressing the various domains of school safety that are a focus of districts and schools across the US.

87 schools in 50 districts across the US will be testing solutions in the Safer Schools Framework, consisting of campus security, physical health and wellness, emotional and behavioral health, emergency preparedness and management, digital safety, community engagement, and healthy school and district culture. This represents nearly 194,429 students who are directly and indirectly impacted by this initiative.  We extend a huge welcome to our grantees and thank you for being part of this important look at how EdTech is working to make schools safer and more supportive of teaching and learning.

The research this grant enables will seek to provide information on a number of topics around the intersection of EdTech and school safety, such as:

  • What are districts are seeing as the most important safety issues?
  • What solutions they are currently using to address those issues?
  • Where does an EdTech solution seem like a good fit?

Another important question being explored is to determine how many new EdTech solutions a district feel it can reasonably implement without crossing into initiative fatigue or compromising implementation fidelity.

Look for those answers in upcoming newsletters. A tidbit you may find interesting is that early indicators are that campus security and emotional and behavioral health are the top domains of school safety that districts are focused on for this school year.

GG4L’s platform enables each school to track usage and outcomes data for each solution. The generated data will be aggregated, anonymized, and analyzed by both McREL and GG4L, who in turn provide quarterly reports to all stakeholders. This information can then be used to make decisions about the overall product impact and effectiveness of the initiative.  

GG4L Launches a Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to our first monthly GG4L newsletter.

You can read the full newsletter here.

We are pleased to share the latest news and success stories across our rapidly-growing membership base. As of the end of September 2019, our first anniversary since merging with EduTone, we are now in approximately 500 US school districts serving approximately 9,000 schools, and have attracted in excess of 75 EdTech company members to our platform. This is a validation of the value that both our Platform and impact initiatives deliver to the members of our Public Benefit Collaborative (PBC).

Most of our GG4L EdTech members have been aligned with the Safer Schools Framework and are participating in our $25-million grant for Safer Schools in America, which is now transitioning to an on-demand grant program open for all member schools to apply with a guarantee of a same-day approval. Once a school district joins as a GG4L Member, free of cost, any of its schools become eligible for a one-year, in-kind grant for any of the solutions listed in our Catalyst Catalog that participate in our On-Demand Grant Program.

We are also very proud of our Future-Proof Skills Program that is currently in the process of identifying and signing up 25 high schools that will be recognized as Centers of Excellence (CoE) across the United States. Each of these CoE’s will be our launchpad in various geographic regions to engage with local employers, higher education institutions, government agencies, and many other stakeholders to focus on showcasing several implementation models and deliver new certificated courses and programs that are aligned with a specific set of Technology, Business, and Personal Skills development and mastery. There is also a focus on Academic STEAM Skills courses that are included in the Catalyst Catalog. This program is expected to grow from 25 CoE’s to approximately 500 secondary schools by the end of 2020. We have several corporate sponsors and global technology partners in the pipeline that we plan to  announce in the coming months.

I am very proud of our experienced, hard-working GG4L team that is focused on our rapid growth and our mission to positively impact education at scale, through the frictionless adoption of our GG4L Platform to enable our member schools to deploy, validate, and sustain innovative EdTech solutions.

Robert

Read the full newsletter

New On-Demand Grants Now Available from GG4L

GG4L on-demand safe school grants

GG4L is thrilled to announce that although the 3-year grant is closed, we have launched a similar but shorter-term grant. On-Demand Safer Schools Grants enable a school or district to apply for and immediately be approved for an in-kind grant that lasts for one school year and can be used to place any EdTech solution from the Safer Schools Initiative into a school in that district. For details please go to https://gg4l.com/initiatives/

GG4L will be inviting schools to participate in grants that provide school safety EdTech solutions for a full school year. Each school grantee will be the recipient of an integrated suite of EdTech solutions that address school safety.  These solutions will be deployed, and measured for efficacy where appropriate, over a 12-month project period at no cost to the schools, excluding wholesale hardware costs were required to implement the SaaS solution.

Data-driven, evidence-informed decision making is essential for those charged with school safety and student wellness. In line with ESSA requirements, the Safer Schools Impact Initiative will use proven and independent measures of efficacy under an institutional quality research framework to establish best practices toward successful outcomes that can be shared nationally.

GG4L’s platform will enable each school to track usage and outcomes data for each solution. The generated data will be aggregated, anonymized, and analyzed by both McREL and GG4L, who in turn provide quarterly reports to all stakeholders. This information can then be used to make decisions about the overall product impact and effectiveness.

ScholarChip Enhances Student Safety at Bay Shore High School

ScholarChip, a GG4L Safer Schools Initiative EdTech partner, helps create a safe, secure school environment in an efficient and cost-effective way; it’s an automated, easily implemented solution.

Clayton Moore is the Security Surveillance Technician at Bay Shore High School in Long Island. He’s in charge of maintaining their security systems, technology, cameras, and ID card management for the 2,000 students in attendance.

“I’m the Key Master,” Moore joked. “No one can get past me!” In spite of his quip, Moore takes student safety very seriously and has been working with ScholarChip since 2008.

Tapping into Security

“All of our students hold a smart ID card badge from ScholarChip. They tap in at one of five kiosks at our school entrances, and because it’s an electronic process, I can tell who is in the building in real time, which is vital information from a security standpoint,” said Moore. Moore added, “We use the kiosks at the cafeteria entrances too, so only kids who belong there, for that period, can get in.”

Bay Shore uses stand-alone kiosks for building attendance so they can be moved and used for other things, too. Kids can tap in with their ScholarChip smart ID cards at events that take place after school like a sporting event, dance, concert, or any other school-sponsored program. These cards strengthening accountability, safety and control, and provide event administrators real-time attendee counts.

ScholarChip’s smart ID cards carry a chip that is encoded with a unique ID number assigned to one individual. It is the back-end computer that maintains detailed information on the student to whom the ID is issued, so administering the program is simple and straightforward, and cards can be activated and deactivated on demand.

“The ScholarChip system is very good,” added Moore. “It gives us a lot of control over knowing where students are, when they come in, and when they leave. That’s important in today’s school climate.”

Locking It Down

In the old days, schools used to practice fire drills. Now they practice lock-down drills, too. And sometimes it isn’t a drill. “We’ve had a few lock-downs where things happened in our community, close to the school. Recently the Suffolk County Police Department had a wanted suspect about a mile away from us, which triggered a lock down. Thankfully, nothing came of it, but we knew who was in school that day, and who wasn’t.

An accurate attendance report is available on a tablet or computer that shows which students used their card to get into the building, which can help first responders react fast.

Expanding the System

Bay Shore High School recently implemented ScholarChip’s SALA (Student Ad-hoc Location App) in the library. With SALA, students tap their ID cards outside of the classrooms in locations like the nurse’s or a guidance counselor’s on­ce. Moore said, “Previously, we built a program that the librarian used to register kids into the room. It wasn’t as good as SALA. Now you can view a photo, match it to the student, see who belongs there, and you know that’s where they’re supposed to be.”

Staying Safe

In this day and age, schools are faced with the threat of active shooters, drug dealers lurking on the grounds, sex o‑enders trolling events, and parental abductors waiting for an opportunity to strike. Real threats are reported all the time. But dedicated security professionals like Clayton Moore are on the job, using advanced tools like ScholarChip, to make sure that his students are safe, every day.

CrisisGo Improves School Safety at Goreville Every Day

CrisisGo enahnces safety Goreville High School

Goreville Community Unit School District (CUSD) previously experienced safety-related communication issues because they did not have a discreet and efficient way to simultaneously communicate with their staff during an emergency. The school district is also located in a rural area, which made them susceptible to a communication overload if an emergency occurred and the 911 system got tied up. With numerous technology solutions in the market to help school safety initiatives, Goreville CUSD was interested in a platform for improving their communication capabilities, increasing the speed of their safety communication and response times, and sharing critical information with local law enforcement. The district became primarily interested in CrisisGo as a way to provide secure and reliable safety communication that could grant all staff members access to safety communication that would not go down in an emergency due to an influx of calls.

Goreville CUSD not only found value in utilizing CrisisGo to improve communication during an emergency and make their staff more prepared for emergencies, the district also found that CrisisGo helped strengthen their daily safety communication. Goreville Community Unit School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Webb stated, “CrisisGo is not just about communication in an event, it’s a communication tool that can help you every single day.”

Webb said that he enjoys the ability to use CrisisGo to turn the smartboards in their classrooms into a big panic button for the teachers. He noted that if an event occurs, the teachers are most likely to be by their smartboard. According to Webb, CrisisGo has not only impacted their daily safety communication, it has also helped improve the safety culture of their school.

“There’s been a great improvement on staff members joining in the culture and talking about better ways to utilize CrisisGo,” Stated Webb. He added, “You know you’ve changed the culture whenever you have teachers talking about it in the teacher’s lounge and bringing you suggestions because of their conversations. It’s not a top-down school safety mechanism, and CrisisGo goes a long way with that because it allows us to test it and it allows them to respond back to it with things they are seeing and any issues.”

Webb also said that CrisisGo has helped them share information with local law enforcement to provide better situational awareness. He stated, “This year we started sharing the perpetrator location so those responding will know exactly where to go. That was a key event because we found some holes in that process that we were able to close by using CrisisGo and having responding Sheriffs know where to attack.”

According to Dr. Webb, the district has been using CrisisGo for safety drills to practice their safety protocols and help staff become more familiar using their safety platform for the best possible emergency preparation. He concluded, “We are always looking for a zero response time, and whenever you have immediate notification where it can go out to so many people at once while you’re mobile, that’s a tremendous asset to have in an event.”

GG4L Awards EdTech Grants to 72 US Schools Across 16 States

Safer Schools in America, a 3-year national research effort studying the impact of EdTech innovation on school safety, will launch in the new school year

May 15, 2019 | Bay Area, California – Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is pleased to announce that 72 schools from 36 school districts, geographically distributed across 16 States, who were selected for grants during phase one of the ‘Safer Schools in America Impact Grant’ initiative, will start the new school year with edtech tools in place to help them protect their students by creating a secure grid in and around schools’ academic, social, and physical environments.

In November 2018, in partnership with McRel International, GG4L announced the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant.  The grant program provides support to selected schools for the implementation and usage of select EdTech products from leading education providers who are focused on school safety solutions for K-12. These solutions will be implemented and studied for a period of 3 years – at no cost to the school grant recipients.

“How we provide a safer environment for teaching and learning is always top of mind for educators,” said Dr. Sandra Elliott, GG4L Chief Academic Officer. “We are grateful for their commitment in helping us measure the impact of 40+ new and innovative edtech solutions.”

In line with ESSA requirements, the Safer Schools in America impact initiative will use independent measures of efficacy under an institutional quality research framework to establish best practices that can be shared nationally. The data will be aggregated, anonymized and analyzed by McREL and GG4L and provided in quarterly and annual reports to all stakeholders.

Additional edtech grants will be awarded to more than 200 school districts during Phase II and III. The application deadline for Phase II has been extended to May 31 to allow for last minute requests. U.S. schools and districts are encouraged to apply soon .

The application takes less than 10 minutes to complete and can be found at: https://gg4l.com/impact-initiative-grant-application/.

For more information about the Safer Schools in America Grant Initiative and a list of participating edtech vendors, please visit: https://gg4l.com/initiatives/safer-schools/.

Global Grid for Learning is continuing to make edtech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Our next initiative, Future-Proofing Our Schools, available to member schools worldwide, will be announced later in 2019.

About GG4L

Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is committed to promoting data security in schools. Protecting the data of every user is a top priority. GG4L’s Connect platform makes integrating and deploying education technology safe, easy, and inexpensive. It’s free for schools to use, less expensive for EdTech vendors, and safer for students. As a Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L welcomes collaboration and support from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic foundations. Help us keep K-12 data interoperability costs low for schools, while maintaining the security and privacy of student data. Contact us today to learn more about becoming a GG4L Corporate Sponsor at info@gg4l.com

About MCREL

A nonprofit research and development organization that since 1966 has turned knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world. McREL provides schools, districts, and other education organizations with high-quality research and evaluation, professional development and coaching, strategic planning, and assistance with improvement and innovation projects.

GG4L Safer Schools Initiative Update

safer schools initiative updateIn November 2018, in partnership with McRel International, Global Grid for Learning announced the launch of our first initiative, the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant.  The grant program provides support to selected schools for the implementation and usage of select EdTech products from leading education providers who are focused on school safety solutions for K-12. These solutions will be implemented and studied for a period of 3 years – at no cost to the school grant recipients.

Since announcing the launch in November 2018, we are pleased to report on the progress of our efforts.

Phase I Complete

Phase I of the initiative is now well underway, and we are pleased to announce that 85 schools in 15 states have been awarded grants. Read the full release here.

Phase II Launch

Additional grants will be awarded to more than 400 US schools in more than 200 school districts during Phase II. Applications for Phase II are available through April 30th. U.S. schools are encouraged to apply soon.

EdTech Vendor Partnerships 

From our initial EdTech partnerships with Amazon AWS, LightSpeed Systems, and Instructure, we have continued to grow our EdTech network. Our partnerships with EdTech vendors continue to grow, with new vendors being added each week. Learn more about our EdTech partners.

Safer Schools Resource Page

For the benefit of all schools, vendors, and corporate partners, we are developing a comprehensive list of Safe Schools Resources. If you know of an organization, publication, or institution that should be included, please let us know.

What’s Next?

Global Grid for Learning is continuing to make edtech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Our next initiative, the Future-Proofing Learning with STEAM Credentials, available to member schools worldwide, will be announced later in 2019.

Join Us

Schools around the globe can join GG4L free for life. Learn more.

EdTech Vendors can join GG4L for a small membership fee that delivers enormous benefits. Learn more.

Businesses help us make a sustainable impact by becoming a sponsor. No matter what size your business is, from a small mom-and-pop retailer to a Fortune 100 global corporation, GG4L Catalyst will match you with an impact opportunity at any level: global, national, regional, or local. Learn more.

T|H|E Journal Highlights Safer Schools in America Grant

The education technology publication T|H|E Journal reported on the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant to disburse $25 million worth of safety solutions to as many as 500 schools, and then study the effectiveness of the technologies deployed. The participating vendors focus on a wide variety of safety-related issues, from emotional well-being to managing sports injuries to keeping in touch with parents. “Parents, students, teachers and administrators expect schools to be safe, secure, and supportive for teaching and learning, but little research has been done to date to measure the effectiveness of the solutions that we purchase to address safety and well-being,” said Sandra Elliott, chief academic officer at Global Grid, in a statement.

Read the full article.

Most School Districts Lack Necessary Interoperability

In a recent article in Education Week, interoperability in schools was found to be severely lacking, even in those districts on the leading edge of EdTech. Interoperability, the “seamless exchange of information between different systems and devices [t]hat can include class rosters, student performance information, digital content, and more” is necessary in order to efficiently use data while also ensuring security, but there is a long way to go. Top EdTech leaders site a lack of agreed-upon technical standards as part of the problem.

Read the full article.


The members and sponsors of the Global Grid for Learning are democratizing access to K-12 data and applications. We’re making EdTech easier to deploy, more effective for teachers and students, and more affordable for districts and vendors. Connect to the Grid. Take part in an Impact Initiative. Be a sponsor. Let’s make EdTech better together! Learn more.