Granite Gambit Program Available through Partnership between the New Hampshire Department of Education and Chess in Schools

As a result of the popular Netflix series, The Queens Gambit, online chess has become massively popular with Generation Z. In response to this, and in partnership with Chess in Schools, the department has launched our own Granite Gambit program to bring chess to our students.

More than a game, chess can be a vehicle for introducing and reinforcing academic and 21st-century skills.

The program is fully funded, so there is no cost to the district. While some chess experience is helpful, it is not required. In fact, many if not most participating teachers in such programs start out with minimal chess knowledge.

Chess in Schools (CIS) specializes in preparing educators to play chess and use the game as an educational tool to teach academic and 21st-century skills. In addition to training, CIS provides chess supplies and equipment to schools along with chess training software licenses, online resources, and online support for the duration of the program.

Each school decides what kind of chess program works best for their students. Options include: using chess and chess-related activities during the day to teach curriculum standards; before- or after-school chess clubs; summer chess camps; or some combination of these programs.

You can learn more about the Granite Gambit program and how it might work for your school by visiting the Granite Gambit Sign Up page.

Learn more about the Chess in Schools program.

Learn more about Chess in Education.

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FCC announces over $5 billion in funding requests for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and opens a second application window

FCC emergency connectivity fund image

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it has received requests for $5.137 billion to fund 9.1 million connected devices and 5.4 million broadband connections as part of the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The first filing window, which closed August 13, 2021, attracted applications from all 50 states, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia – including schools and libraries in both rural and urban communities https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-375210A1.pdf seeking funding for eligible equipment and services received or delivered between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. In view of outstanding demand and the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the FCC will open a second application filing window for schools and libraries to request funding for connected devices and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons for the current 2021-22 school year

Read the FCC Press Release for more information.
Visit the Emergency Connectivity Fund page on the FCC website.

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Speak Up 2021-22 opens October 20, 2021 to April 30, 2022!

The Speak Up Research Project provides an easy and cost-efficient way for you to capture the authentic views of your students, parents, and staff about digital learning, new learning and school models, aspirations for education and perceptions of school climate. You can also gain a contextual understanding of how the views of your stakeholders compare to state and national data results . And Speak Up participation, as always, is 100% free to all K-12 schools and districts.

Speak Up Classic & National Surveys open Wednesday, October 20, 2021!:
• K-12 students in English, Spanish and Group Format for K-5.
• Parents in English and Spanish
• Teachers
• School Site Administrators
• District administrators
• Technology leaders
• Communications officers

Register Now!

Visit the SpeakUp New Hampshire page!

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Back to School Campaign from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is kicking off its 2021 Back to School campaign to help students, parents, teachers, and administrators remain safe from cybersecurity threats as they return to school. The campaign will run from August 9 until August 30.

In response to the rise in malicious cyber activity against K-12 and higher education institutions and the increase in remote learning, CISA is planning a comprehensive back to school cybersecurity awareness campaign to highlight the importance of cybersecurity and to build awareness of cyber risks in the school setting.

During this campaign, CISA will highlight ways students, parents, teachers and school administrators can stay safe online, avoid becoming victims of a cyberattack, and learn best practices to improve cyber hygiene. CISA has seen an increase in ransomware attacks against K-12 educational institutions. Malicious cyber actors target school computer systems, which can slow access to systems — rendering the systems inaccessible to basic functions, including remote learning.

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to infect machines with malware and viruses to collect personal and financial information. Cybercriminals use these attacks to entice users to click on a link or open an attachment that can then infect their computers, creating vulnerability to attacks. Our Phishing Tip Sheet has additional information on combating phishing.

We encourage everyone – students, parents, teachers, administrators and chief information security officers of school districts to review our recently released stopransomware.gov – a new website designed to help individuals and organizations prevent attacks that can severely impact business processes and leave organizations without the data they need to operate and deliver mission-critical services. The website contains special resources for K-12 to assist institutions with their unique cybersecurity needs and has a number of resources for schools to explore and reference to learn how to stay safe online.

We also encourage you to read a special blog from Eric Goldstein, Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity, which highlights why cyber hygiene for educational institutions is so vital.

Our world relies more heavily on technology for work and play and it is increasingly important that schools and academia prepare for potential threats from bad actors.

Check our social media accounts, @CISAgov and @Cyber, during the campaign for more cybersecurity tips.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Defend Today Secure Tomorrow

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Return to School Roadmap from US Department of Education

The Department of Education launched the “Return to School Roadmap” which includes a fact sheet for schools, families, and communities, a guide for schools and districts outlining what schools can do to protect the health and safety of students, and a checklist for parents.

U.S. Department of Education Return to School Roadmap

FACT SHEET: Reopening Schools and Rebuilding With Equity | The White House

A Resource for Parents on Returning to In-Person Learning | U.S. Department of Education

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FCC Announces Emergency Connectivity Fund Application Window Will Open on June 29

FCC logo

Schools and Libraries Will Have 45 Days to Apply for Support to Aid Students Who Fall into the Homework Gap

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2021—Today, FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced schools and libraries can begin to file applications on June 29 for the newly established $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund. Schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons. During this 45-day application filing window, which will run from June 29 to August 13, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services for the 2021-22 school year.

“For too long, the Homework Gap has been a troubling and persistent digital equity problem in the United States,” said Rosenworcel. “With classes themselves moving online and the pandemic requiring us to stay home, we went from having millions of children who couldn’t do online homework assignments to having millions of children who couldn’t do schoolwork at all. In other words, the Homework Gap became a full-fledged learning and education gap.”
“It’s important that we address this issue now, and the Emergency Connectivity Fund gives us the opportunity to do that. As we exit this pandemic, we know that education has been changed. Like so much else in our lives, it has been digitized. That’s why I’m proud that starting in two weeks, schools and libraries across the country will have a terrific opportunity to get broadband service and devices into the hands of students, staff, and library patrons who lack them to connect these learners at home,” said Rosenworcel.

The American Rescue Plan of 2021 established the Emergency Connectivity Fund. The Universal Service Administrative Company will serve as the program’s administrator with FCC oversight. The Fund leverages the processes and structures used in the E-Rate program for the benefit of schools and libraries already familiar with the E-Rate program. You can find more information about the program at www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org or www.fcc.gov/emergency-connectivity-fund and instructions on how to apply at www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/application-process.

Recent estimates suggest there may be as many as 17 million children struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. Since her early tenure at the Commission, the Acting Chairwoman has made closing the Homework Gap a priority.

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Senators Murray (WA) Portman (OH) to Reintroduce The Digital Equity Act 2021

Closing the digital divide has always been an urgent priority, but COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on existing inequities, further demonstrating the need for legislation like the Digital Equity Act.

Digital equity is about ensuring everyone – no matter where they live – can fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy.

In a world where digital skills and digital access are needed to get an education, invest in skills training, apply for jobs, access unemployment benefits, and more – digital equity is absolutely essential.

The Digital Equity Act is bipartisan. That’s because every state and every community stands to benefit from an investment in digital equity – red or blue, rural or urban.

Background on the Digital Equity Act and the Path Forward
Senator Murray first introduced the Digital Equity Act in 2019 to help improve broadband adoption and bridge the digital divide. During the 2020 election, this bill was included in then-candidate Biden’s broadband platform. Earlier this year, President Biden also unveiled his American Jobs Plan, which includes a $100 billion investment to build high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent coverage, promote transparency and competition, reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption. Senators Murray and Portman will be advocating for key provisions of the bipartisan Digital Equity Act to be included in any forthcoming infrastructure package.

Digital Equity Act of 2021
The Digital Equity Act of 2021 strengthens federal support for efforts to help ensure students, families, and workers have the information technology capacity needed to fully participate in society by establishing two grant programs to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote digital equity nationwide:
* Building Capacity within States through Formula Grants: The legislation creates an annual $125 million formula grant program for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to fund the creation and implementation of comprehensive digital equity plans in each State.
* Spurring Targeted Action through Competitive Grants: The legislation also creates an annual $125 million competitive grant program to support digital equity projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, and/or communities of interest.
* Supporting Research and Evidence-Based Policymaking: The legislation tasks NTIA with evaluating digital inclusion projects and providing policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels with detailed information about which projects are most effective.

Quick Stats
* According to the Pew Research Center, before the pandemic nearly one in five teenagers in the U.S. said they had been unable to complete homework assignments due to lack of a reliable internet connection. The digital divide, also sometimes referred to as the “homework gap” as it applies to students, exacerbates existing wealth and income gaps in our communities; subsequently, many people-including those from communities of color, people with disabilities, low-income households, and rural communities, overwhelmingly impacted by the digital skills gap-are at risk of being left behind in an increasingly technology-driven world, absent intervention.
* According to a 2019 report from Pew Research Center, 58% of Black adults and 57% of Hispanic adults have a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 82% of white adults, and 66% of Black adults and 61% of Hispanic adults have broadband access at home compared with 79% of white adults.
* Currently, 35% of rural Americans lack high-speed broadband access, and there are approximately 30 million rural Americans with no internet access.

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Public Comment Wanted:  Title II-A and Title IV-A 2019-2020 Tydings Waivers

Public Comment Survey Open:  Title II-A and Title IV-A 2019-2020 Tydings Waivers

This New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) announcement serves as notice to the public, school districts, and the Federal Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Title II-A and Title IV-A Programs for an opportunity to comment on the NHDOE’s plan to pursue a waiver of the Tydings Amendment, Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1225(b)), and extend the period of availability for 2019-2020 Title II-A and IV-A funds by one (1) year. Acceptance of these waivers by the Secretary of Education would permit continued use of 2019-2020 Title II-A and IV-A funds through September 30, 2022. Without a waiver, these funds would expire on September 30, 2021.  All other requirements for 2019-2020 Title II-A and IV-A programs will continue to apply.

Please take a minute to leave a public comment regarding the waiver at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezGGn2IKVe-njOlfbKYcf5kHpgegOQ3NY8J5AngvNkTG_v7g/viewform

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Parents, Educators and Community Members Asked to Share COVID Perspectives

Department of Education launches COVID survey, building on last spring survey that generated over 56,000 responses

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Education is proud to announce the 603 Bright Futures Survey, giving parents, educators and community members a chance to share their perspectives on the response by New Hampshire schools to the COVID-19 pandemic this past year and how the experience should influence instructional as plans are made for fall learning. Last spring, a Department survey of remote instruction and the return to school generated more than 56,000 responses, helping to shape the state’s K-12 Back to School Guidance.

“The survey we conducted last year at this time generated a tremendous amount of valuable information, helping shape our return to school across the state,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “The 603 Bright Futures Survey will provide valuable feedback – what worked and what did not work – and provide valuable information for schools that are already crafting plans for fall instructional programs.”

The survey includes an opportunity for anyone interested – parent, educator or community member – to provide feedback. The Department will open survey on June 1, 2021 and it will remain available through June 30, 2021 to allow everyone the opportunity to respond. Parents responding for more than one child should complete the survey once for each student. Once the survey closes, the results will be made available through the Department’s website.

Survey Links: Distribution of survey links has been greatly simplified from previous years. Please share the links below. From there, respondents will be able to choose their school from a dropdown menu:
• Families in K-12, Preschool, and Private Schools: bit.ly/nhdoefamily
• Staff in Public and Private Schools: bit.ly/nhdoestaff
• Community Members: bit.ly/nhdoecommunity

*Please note that “Community Members” are those who do not have students enrolled in New Hampshire public schools. Those who do should complete the family surveys instead.

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Learn About and Participate in Framing the Evidence – A SETDA program

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) launched the Framing the Evidence program in 2019 to help schools better gauge the effectiveness of technology used for teaching and learning. Due to COVID, many schools shifted to remote and hybrid learning strategies so that students could continue learning outside of the school building, and even beyond the traditional school day. The Framing the Evidence program is more timely than ever, given the Department of Education’s American Rescue Plan funding totaling $122 billion to help reopen schools in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

To support schools and districts in making deliberate and informed decisions when buying educational technology, we invite schools and districts to participate in pilots set up through the Framing the Evidence program, which should help them assess the impact of technology in addressing instructional and learning challenges, whether remote, in-person, or hybrid.

The Framing the Evidence Program serves the needs of LEAs, SEAs, and EdTech providers by catalyzing and scaling evidence-based trials. SETDA is uniquely positioned to undertake this work as a means of democratizing the pilot process for schools across the nation and in every type of demographic setting.

The program will provide research that will inform the field of educational technology by: a.) providing opportunities to increase the appropriate use of technology for teaching and learning and b.) identifying and sharing evidence and promising practices in K-12 digital learning.

This initiative allows districts to take advantage of free technology pilot opportunities with SETDA’s vetted partners, providing access to high-quality educational technology solutions as part of efficacy studies tailored to your district needs. There is NO COST to districts to participate in the program.

To learn more, we encourage you to visit the Framing the Evidence page on SETDA’s Website: https://www.setda.org/priorities/professional-learning/evidence-based/framing-the-evidence-program/

We suggest that you fill out SETDA’s Google Form to share your current district needs. There is no obligation to participate in any pilots due to filling out this form. 

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