MEDIA RELEASE: Maine Participates in National Cybersecurity Opportunity for Young Women in High School

To help educate more young women about the opportunities in the field of cybersecurity, Governor Janet Mills, the Maine Office of Information Technology, and the Maine Department of Education are promoting ‘GirlsGoCyberStart’, an exciting national program that uses online games of discovery to introduce high school girls to the field.

“Cybersecurity is a growing and critical field. It is more important than ever before to train skilled experts in Maine and across the nation to defend our national and financial security,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This program will help young women pursue the education and training they need for lifelong careers and leadership positions in cybersecurity.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Maine students to showcase the incredible skills and talent they have acquired from the many computer science initiatives, programs, and curricula happening in schools throughout Maine,” said Maine Education Commissioner A. Pender Makin.

CyberStart was created by the SANS Institute and was first piloted to youth in the summer of 2017. The program enabled 3,500 students nation-wide to discover and demonstrate their aptitude for cybersecurity, yet only five percent of the students who participated were young women.  The results of the pilot sparked the GirlsGoCyberStart program, specifically designed to interest young women in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

This will be Maine’s second year participating in the GirlsGoCyberStart.  Last year, nearly two hundred students from all over Maine participated in the event and placed in the top 100 of all participating state teams.

“We are excited to join this wonderful opportunity to expand our talent pipeline by engaging young people interested in learning more about cybersecurity and directing them to the appropriate training and career coaching,” said Ande Smith, acting Chief Information Officer for the Office of Information Technology.

Maine students who participate in GirlsGoCyberStart will be doing so alongside students from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Participating students do not need prior cybersecurity knowledge or programming experience.  All that is required is a computer and an internet connection. Young women in high school who excel in the GirlsGoCyberStart game will have the opportunity to win scholarships and other prizes.  The website for registration opens on February 18, 2019. More information about the program and eligibility can be found at CyberStartUS.

For more information about Maine’s participation in the program, contact Dr. Kelly Samson-Rickert, Director of Workforce Innovations for the Maine Office of Information Technology at Kelly.Rickert@maine.gov or 207-624-9965.

U.S. Department of Education Acts on School Safety Report Recommendation to Improve Understanding of Student Privacy Law

The U.S. Department of Education released a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on schools’ and districts’ responsibilities under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in the context of school safety.

The Federal Commission on School Safety (FCSS) released an in-depth report last December, which observed that “substantial misunderstanding remains at the local level among officials and educators concerning (FERPA), and in particular its application to school-based threats.”

This FAQ document, titled, School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), consolidates previously issued guidance and technical assistance into a single resource to help raise schools’ and districts’ awareness of these provisions.

The document consists of 37 commonly asked questions about schools’ and school districts’ responsibilities under FERPA relating to disclosures of student information to school resource officers (SROs), law enforcement units and others, and seeks to explain and clarify how FERPA protects student privacy while ensuring the health and safety of students and others in the school community.

The FAQ document includes answers to common FERPA questions involving school safety, such as:

  • Can law enforcement unit officials who are off-duty police officers or SROs be considered school officials under FERPA and, therefore, have access to students’ education records?
  • Does FERPA permit schools and districts to disclose education records, without consent, to outside law-enforcement officials who serve on a school’s threat assessment team?
  • When is it permissible for schools or districts to disclose student education records under FERPA’s health or safety emergency exception?
  • Does FERPA permit school officials to release information that they personally observed or of which they have personal knowledge?

The full FAQ document can be found here.

For additional information on the meetings, field visits, listening sessions, roundtables and other resources used to produce the FCSS report, please visit the U.S. DOE’s school safety website.

Bullying Prevention: Online Professional Development

Through a collaborative effort with Safe Schools, an industry leader in K-12 school safety, the Maine DOE is providing all schools free, equitable access to professional development that addresses Maine’s anti-bullying law.  The professional development course, Bullying: Recognition & Response, specifically highlights An Act to Prohibit Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools and addresses the proper use of Maine DOE’s model bullying policy and procedures, which can be found here.

Bullying: Recognition & Response is an online video that is 67 minutes in length and is divided into 7 sections, with a quiz at the end.  The video can be shown to a large group, small groups, or viewed individually.  Delivery of the video should be done in a way that best meets the staff’s professional development needs and is responsive to the school district’s efforts to address bullying.

To access this professional development, district or school leadership should contact Justin Moore, justin.moore@vectorsolutions.com, or Allison Byndas, allison.byndas@vectorsolutions.com at Safe Schools.

For more information related to bullying prevention efforts in Maine schools, please contact Sarah Adkins, Student Assistance Coordinator, at sarah.adkins@maine.gov or 624-6685.

Rural Maine Attendance Summit to be held April 11

Rural Maine Attendance is hosting small school districts from across the state for a day-long summit held at gather at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer on April 11th, 2019 with experts from across the state to talk about ways to improve chronic absenteeism in rural schools.

This summit will help generate more tools, and allow for the exchanging of ideas regarding the growing issues that are keeping kids from accessing school. Any and all rural Maine school districts with less than 1,000 (or so) students are invited to this conference.

Groups of people (two or more) from districts are welcome to attend and/or staff that deal with attendance issues such as Social Workers, Guidance, Principals, Lead Teachers, etc.

For more information visit the Rural Maine Attendance website.

MLTI T-shirt Design Competition Accepting Entries Until April 12, 2019!

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) has hosted a design challenge for years. Students were asked to submit original works of digital art that could be used as screensavers. Twenty winners were chosen, and those images were used as screensavers on thousands of student laptops across the state each year. This was a way to celebrate the varied ways students could create with the MLTI technology and share with others across the state.

This year, the MLTI still wants to encourage students to create digital art and share it widely, however instead of a screensaver challenge, we will be hosting a T-shirt Design Competition. A panel of judges will narrow the submissions down to five designs, and then we will ask Maine students and educators to vote for their top choice. The winning T-shirt will be printed for the 1000+ attendees of the 16th Annual MLTI Student Conference, which will be held on Thursday, May 23rd at the University of Maine in Orono. Additionally, based on design submissions, up to 20 students will be selected to receive free registration to the conference.

Eligibility:

  • Any student who attends an elementary, middle, or high school in Maine during the 2018-2019 school year is eligible to enter the competition.
  • Students may work in teams, but the design must be an original piece of artwork created only by eligible students.

Submission Guidelines:

  • All submissions must be an original artwork. Any use of any photo, drawing, images or elements created by any other person (other than the MLTI logo) is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification.
    • Please adhere to the guidelines for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards regarding copyright and plagiarism: Even if you have permission to use a work or if the work is in the public domain, the work that you submit to this competition must represent a new, original work. Additionally, changing the medium of an original work is not considered transformative. For example, a painting or drawing of a photograph taken from the Internet or a magazine is not considered original and should not be submitted.
  • Each student or team may only submit one entry.
  • The artwork should be sized to 81/2” x 11”.
  • Students may hand-draw or digitally design their artwork.
  • Digitally designed artwork should be 300 dpi, RGB color, and the fonts must be embedded.
  • Submitted artwork must incorporate the phrase “MLTI Student Conference” and the year “2019” or “’19”.
  • Students must incorporate the MLTI logo into their design: downloadable files or by copying and pasting this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI_logos.
  • The design should reflect this year’s conference theme and include the text: “#Create4ME.” We are celebrating the power of students to create innovative solutions to challenges in Maine or the spirit of entrepreneurism that is found in many Maine communities. Technology often plays a role in that creation, but doesn’t need to be depicted explicitly.
    • Optional: Students may submit an artist statement (less than 200 words) with their design to help bring clarity to their adherence to the theme.
  • Acceptable file types: PDF or JPEG high resolution.
  • Color: T-shirts are one solid color with one color ink, and the student can suggest the color for each.
  • The t-shirt design must fit on the front of the t-shirt.
  • Signed Release: Each student must sign this release and include it in their submission. If the link above doesn’t work, please copy and paste this link: http://bit.ly/MLTI2019T-shirtDesignCompetitionRelease

Judging Criteria

  • Guidelines: Work clearly adheres to the submission guidelines.
  • Theme: Work has represented the theme “Create for ME” or “Create4ME”.
  • Principles of Design: Work incorporated the following elements of art: balance, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition, proportion, rhythm, variety, and unity.

Timeline:

  • Competition opens: February 5th, 2019
  • T-shirt designs due: April 12th, 2019 (no late entries will be accepted)
  • Finalists selected and notified: April 18th, 2019
  • Voting opens: April 19th, 2019
  • Voting closes: April 30th, 2019
  • Winner Announced: May 1st, 2019

Ready to enter the competition?

Submit your entry with this form or copy and paste this link:

http://bit.ly/MLTITshirtCompetitionSubmission2019

For more information or answers to questions, please contact Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov