Dual-Credit Program Gives Lake County Students Hands-On Manufacturing Experience

K–12 students earn college credits while learning how to use the tools and technology that will give them an advantage in future careers.

by Rebecca Torchia

Rebecca Torchia is a web editor for EdTech: Focus on K–12. Previously, she has produced podcasts and written for several publications in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and her hometown of Pittsburgh.


Junior Gunner Kimble typically gets to Johnsburg High School around 7 a.m., but by 7:30 he’s heading out the door again. Kimble makes this quick departure because he participates in a dual-credit program through Illinois’s College of Lake County. A bus takes him and other participants to the college’s Advanced Technology Center, where they’re learning trade skills.

CLC built the Advanced Technology Center to prepare students for industrial careers, specifically in manufacturing.

“We could see a limit in terms of the supply we could create to establish a skilled workforce pipeline for the manufacturing sector,” says Lori Suddick, president of the College of Lake County. “The manufacturing sector in Lake County is strong, and it’s a necessary sector for the economic growth and sustainability of the communities that we serve.”

DIVE DEEPER: Colleges aim to fill workforce needs with tech training centers.

The college partnered with local high schools as part of the dual-credit program, providing an opportunity for students to earn college credits tuition free.

“Last year alone, we served over 2,200 dual-credit students and saved families $1.5 million in tuition and fees,” says Ali O’Brien, the college’s vice president of community and workforce partnerships. “The very first students to walk through the doors at the Advanced Technology Center and put their hands on the equipment in this industrial technology lab were our high school dual-credit students.”

The students get to work with industry-specific manufacturing equipment and advanced technologies, all aimed at helping prepare them for the workforce they’ll be entering.


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John Buttita 
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Data Loss Prevention Best Practices For K-12 Education

As hard as it is to admit, cybercrime is a serious worldwide problem. In fact, the global volume of cyber attacks reached an all-time high in Q4 2022, with nearly 1,200 weekly attacks per organization. Overall, 2022 witnessed a 38% jump in cyber attacks compared to the previous year.

Unfortunately, K-12 education hasn’t fared much better. Malicious hackers are targeting the industry in record numbers, putting student information at risk like never before. Unsurprisingly, this unprecedented uptick in cybercriminal activity has reinvigorated the topic of data loss prevention (DLP).

In this blog, ManagedMethods walk you through the basics of data loss prevention. From what it is to how it works, we’ll even give you 10 data loss prevention best practices to help you protect your district’s data…


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David Waugh
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CENTEGIX Acquires Ident-A-Kid and Launches Enhanced Visitor Management

A new, innovative solution integrates the power of the CENTEGIX platform with Ident-A-Kid’s market-leading iVisitor Management

ATLANTA – February 28, 2023 – CENTEGIX, the leader in incident response solutions, today announces its acquisition of Ident-A-Kid, the market-leading provider of Visitor and Volunteer Management and Reunification solutions for K-12. This acquisition furthers CENTEGIX’s mission to create safer spaces through innovative technology.

Over 7,000 schools nationwide have selected Ident-A-Kid for its automated background checks, visitor alerts, and integrations with other school safety platforms.

Ident-A-Kid’s iVisitor Management solution will be sold as CENTEGIX Visitor Management. CENTEGIX also announces the availability of Enhanced Visitor Management, which includes all iVisitor Management functionality and the new capability of real-time visitor locating. This innovative feature leverages the combined power of CENTEGIX’s location-aware network and mapping expertise to deliver functionality unique to the K12 safety marketplace.

“Thousands of schools rely on our best-in-class CrisisAlert incident response solution to protect their staff and students. By joining forces with Ident-A-Kid, we can deliver a new, innovative visitor management solution for K12 schools,” said Brent Cobb, CEO of CENTEGIX. “CENTEGIX’s Enhanced Visitor Management equips districts to know where visitors are located on campus at all times and delivers data about visitor sessions to inform visitor policies, manage vendors, approve visitor lists, and more.”

“Becoming part of the CENTEGIX team will enable us to evolve our visitor management solutions and remain the market-leading choice for K-12. Our experienced team will continue to operate from our Florida location and remains committed to the high level of customer support that we have always provided to our customers,” said Emily Fellouzis, Ident-A-Kid General Manager.

To learn more, visit www.centegix.com/visitor-management.


CENTEGIX is the leader in incident response and visitor management solutions. CENTEGIX creates safer spaces by innovating technology to empower and protect people, and leaders nationwide trust our safety solutions to provide peace of mind. To learn more about CENTEGIX, visit www.CENTEGIX.com.


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Matt Young
RVP Midwest

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Always identify yourself as an ILTPP member when requesting a quote or placing an order and reference Contract Number #ILTPP AEPA-021G.

East Prairie School District Mitigates Third-Party Risk With Automated Cloud Security



Rich Chiuppi has a lot on his plate. As Director of Technology at East Prairie School District #73, he’s part of a two-person team managing the entire district’s IT and cybersecurity needs.

“I oversee the technology, implementations, and security, so I wear a lot of hats,” he explains. Although generally not as big as other districts in the Chicago area, East Prairie’s 550 students and 80 staff are more than enough to keep Rich busy, especially when it comes to cloud technology.


As Chiuppi recalls, East Prairie recognized early on that the industry was trending toward the cloud. At one point, the school hosted all of its student information and library systems on in-house servers but soon realized that moving them to the cloud was the better option.

“We gradually started phasing things into the cloud for the reason that it was more effective, and in some situations, the industry was kind of forcing us in that direction,” he says. “If you’re hosting certain things on-premise, it becomes cost-prohibitive over time.”

So, East Prairie started using Google Workspace for Education Plus, with a few Apple and Microsoft applications in the mix. According to Chiuppi, it was an interesting transition because teachers were at first allowed to try different applications on their own.

“We wanted them to have the flexibility and creativity to use technology in the classroom,” he explains. “As time went on, we started to realize how data was being used by some of these vendors, how certain services behaved, and how many services we inherited from letting teachers have that freedom. Then, SOPPA came along, and it really opened our eyes like, ‘Oh, this is what’s going on?’”

SOPPA — the Student Online Personal Protection Act — is an Illinois law that protects the privacy and security of students’ online data at school. Its intention is to regulate how edtech vendors manage student data, but it also requires school districts like East Prairie to implement a more rigorous vetting process for solutions that capture student information.


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David Waugh
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Extreme Extends Fabric to the Edge, Simplifies Operations and Improves Security with Enhanced SD-WAN Solution

Automated Workflows, New UX and 10 Gbps Boosts Application Performance, Lowers Operating Costs and Reduces Mean Time to Resolution

MORRISVILLE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Feb. 8, 2023– Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), a leader in cloud networking, today announced that it has integrated network fabric capabilities into its ExtremeCloud™ SD-WAN platform, enabling customers to securely connect disparate environments such as the data center, campus and branch locations from within a single platform. Additional new enhancements include automated workflows as part of a simplified user interface and experience (UI/UX) as well as improved visibility and control for superior application performance. As a result, customers can automate tasks related to provisioning new sites and services, lower fabric deployment time by more than 90% and boost network security through hyper-segmentation.

As organizations become more distributed, the increasing shift of applications to the cloud exacerbates the need for connectivity that unifies data center, branch, campus and cloud networks. For example, healthcare providers must manage multiple remote clinics, growing school districts need to deliver connectivity for new buildings or temporary classrooms and retailers have to manage store locations around the world. Extreme makes it easier than ever to securely connect these disparate environments within a single platform, quickly set up new sites, identify and solve for the root cause of network disruptions and improve application performance.

Key Benefits of ExtremeCloud SD-WAN Include:

  • Fabric to the Edge Reduces Operating Costs and Simplifies Network Management: Customers can now easily extend network fabrics across new locations and the entire network and manage it all through a single pane of glass. The integration of Extreme’s network fabric with ExtremeCloud SD-WAN allows customers to automate discovery and configuration of fabric-enabled switches and access points, making it easy to extend connectivity to new sites while keeping costs low and improving security, visibility and application performance. Further, administrators can utilize hyper-segmentation to increase network security by preventing lateral attacks, helping avoid a potentially costly security breach.
  • Automated Workflows for Improved IT Efficiency: ExtremeCloud SD-WAN’s new streamlined workflows for planning, deployment and management enable IT teams to perform activities in minutes versus hours. These workflows include automated SaaS application discovery, faster initial site configuration and deeper application performance visualization. Now, IT teams can more easily identify the root cause of issues impacting the user experience as well as data-driven resolutions.
  • Improved Application Performance: Extreme has created an automated, maintenance-free approach to connecting to major cloud services like AWS and Microsoft Azure without limiting visibility or performance management. Customers can connect to these services using Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) tunnels, without installing or managing SD-WAN appliances or software in the cloud service provider’s environment. This brings connectivity to the edge of the network, simplifies connections to new services, reduces network bottlenecks and provides IT with greater control and visibility at both the application and the network level.
  • Support for High-Bandwidth Use Cases with 10 Gbps: As 10 Gbps internet becomes more widely available, Extreme’s new IPE2200 hardware appliance is ready to support high-bandwidth data center use cases. This appliance, available as part of an ExtremeCloud SD-WAN subscription, is ideal for customers with large campus environments that need to support a large volume of traffic like extensive use of video collaboration services.

Executive and Industry Perspectives

Ed Walton, CEO, STEP CG

“Removing complexity by leveraging innovative networking technology is the essence of what we do at STEP CG. With Extreme’s new integrated SD-WAN and network fabric capabilities, our customers will be able to extend a unified fabric beyond the campus to their smaller locations while benefiting from the application performance of SD-WAN. This will allow us to make our customers’ IT environments even more secure, agile and resilient.”

Dan DeBacker, Senior Vice President of Products, Extreme Networks

“As organizations grow, the network must be able to easily scale to offer users the same experience no matter where they are. Extreme fabric solutions help organizations of all sizes reduce risk, simplify operations and minimize time needed to set up and secure new sites. With the integration of fabric and ExtremeCloud SD-WAN, we’re helping customers unify complex and disparate networks and enhance network security. We’ve just set the competitive bar higher than ever with SD-WAN, making it simple and cost-effective to deploy across any organization.”

About Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks, Inc. (EXTR) is a leader in cloud networking focused on delivering services that connect devices, applications, and people in new ways. We push the boundaries of technology leveraging the powers of machine learning, artificial intelligence, analytics, and automation. 50,000 customers globally trust our end-to-end, cloud-driven networking solutions and rely on our top-rated services and support to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver progress like never before. For more information, visit Extreme’s website at https://www.extremenetworks.com/ or follow us on LinkedInYouTubeTwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Extreme Networks, ExtremeCloud and the Extreme Networks logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Extreme Networks, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks shown herein are the property of their respective owners.

Blair Donald
(603) 952-5662

Source: Extreme Networks, Inc.


Contact your dedicated Account Manager:

Extreme Networks
Joe YeagleSenior Account Executive

Matt Ward
VSAM / Extreme Networks

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Design, build, and fly your own drone using Pitsco’s NEW Drone Maker Kit! This kit guides learners in Grades 3-8 through the basics of engineering design and flight while encouraging creativity as they assemble their own drone. No device required, no-fear STEAM, 100% hands-on, and 110% FUN.

When shopping directly with Pitsco Education, don’t forget to use code AEPA22 or AEPACTE at checkout for your exclusive 2% discount and free shipping on $50+ orders! But hurry; the free shipping offer expires 3/31/23.


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Preston Frazier
Illinois Sales
800-835-0686 Ext. 4559

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Pitsco Education Blog

Instructure Acquires LearnPlatform, Adding Evidence-Based EdTech Application Insight to the Instructure Learning Platform

SALT LAKE CITYDec. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Instructure Holdings, Inc. (Instructure) (NYSE: INST) today announced it has completed the acquisition of LearnPlatform, the leading provider of technology that enables educators and their institutions to research, select and evaluate digital learning solutions. This unique platform equips stakeholders across the educational landscape with real-time, meaningful insight into the effectiveness of their tools of choice. This acquisition accelerates the impact of the Instructure Learning Platform for schools, universities, and shared partner providers by adding evidence-based insight into inventory, compliance, procurement, and usage.

The acquisition demonstrates and strengthens Instructure’s commitment to building an open, transparent and integrated teaching and learning platform for the education industry. The combination of LearnPlatform’s capabilities with Instructure’s Learning Platform delivers a new, partner-friendly offering that helps educators, schools and universities ensure that every learning technology choice they make is delivering on their intended outcome.

“The acquisition of LearnPlatform underscores Instructure’s commitment to building an open global education platform,” said Steve Daly, CEO of Instructure. “K-12 and Higher Ed institutions need an efficient, research-based, insight-rich solution that drives the selection and ongoing management of the sprawling learning technology landscape. We believe that adding these solutions gives our customers and partners even more ways to measure the impact of their investments and drive student outcomes for each and every student.”

Based in North Carolina, the LearnPlatform team has approximately 70 employees. Since 2015, the company has equipped educators, leaders, policymakers and edtech partners with the tools to modernize their learning environments.

“We’re thrilled to join Instructure, a company dedicated to amplifying the power of teaching,” said Karl Rectanus, CEO of LearnPlatform. “As institutions and districts seek to understand and improve the effectiveness of their digital learning environments, the combination of LearnPlatform and Instructure will accelerate access to the trustworthy, independent evidence they need to inform decisions, providing customers and partners unprecedented insight into the learning journey of students.”

With this acquisition, Instructure is building upon its commitment to a robust partner ecosystem. Instructure currently has more than 600 partners. By adding LearnPlatform, Instructure enhances capabilities for current and future partners who serve the educational community. With over 10,000 EduApp provider listings in the LearnPlatform ecosystem, Instructure can now offer even more value to its partners.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Instructure (NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world. Learn more at www.instructure.com.


This press release contains “forward-looking” statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the potential, timing and examples of any strategic alternatives. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, but are based on management’s expectations as of the date of this press release and assumptions that are inherently subject to uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements.

Forward-looking statements also reflect management’s evaluation of information currently available and are based on Instructure’s current expectations and assumptions regarding the acquisition of LearnPlatform (the “Acquisition”), the integration of LearnPlatform, the economy and other future conditions. Forward-looking statements about the Acquisition are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and other factors that are difficult to predict and could cause actual results to vary in material respects from what we have expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Specific factors that could cause future results to differ from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) failure to realize the expected benefits of the Acquisition; (ii) unknown or inestimable liabilities of LearnPlatform assumed in the Acquisition; (iii) the risk that LearnPlatform’s business will not be integrated successfully or that such integration may be more difficult, time-consuming or costly than expected; (iv) risks related to future opportunities and plans following the Acquisition, including the uncertainty of expected future financial performance and results of LearnPlatform; and (v) the effect of the announcement of the Acquisition on the ability of Instructure to operate. Other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements include the risk factors described in the Instructure’s  annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on February 22, 2022 and other documents filed with the SEC and could cause actual results to vary from expectations. All information provided in this press release is as of the date hereof and Instructure undertakes no duty to update this information except as required by law.

Brian Watkins
Corporate Communications

April Scee
Managing Director
ICR, Inc.

SOURCE Instructure Holdings, Inc.

What Differentiates AEPA From Other Purchasing Cooperatives?

Buying agencies demanding high standards of ethics from their purchasing cooperatives need not look further than AEPA.

By Ted Witt, AEPA Board Member

School district purchasing agents — and every person in the chain of acquisition for supplies, equipment, and services — work within the public’s trust. These employees must obey laws and regulations. However, they must also meet higher ethical obligations for a standard of fairness that earns the confidence of their constituents.


The Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) is a multi-state non-profit organization comprised of Educational Service Agencies / political subdivisions organized through a Memorandum of Understanding between all participating states.

We are a true “cooperative” that serves to leverage purchasing power to benefit all schools and agencies, regardless of size, with the ability to purchase at equal buying levels.

Learn More About AEPA!

The Illinois Learning Technology Purchase Program (ILTPP) is the member state agency representative for Illinois. Through our partnership with AEPA, we provide access to nationally bid contracts that are awarded locally to support the initiatives of education technology throughout the state. If you have additional questions about our current contracts, please let us know by emailing LearnMore@iltpp.org.

What your district should know about the state cybersecurity grant

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

  • The good: Reinforcements are on their way. The federal government created a new grant program to ease the burden on school districts in their constant battle against an increasingly malicious cybersecurity landscape.
  • The bad: The extremely tight window to apply for funding passed on Nov. 15. Nonetheless, there’s still a chance your school district can receive a slice of the $1 billion pie.

Let’s explore the ins and outs of the federal government’s new State and Local Cybersecurity Program (SLCGP). From the details and requirements of the program to how your district might benefit, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about the opportunity.


In November 2021, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bill gave state and local governments resources through which they could improve roads, bridges, broadband, and other essential components of their infrastructure.

Through this legislation, Congress also established the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that empowers the federal government to make targeted cybersecurity improvements within state, local, and territory government agencies. A total of $1 billion will be distributed over the next four years.

Okay — so what does this mean for your school district? How does this involve K-12 education?

According to K-12 Dive, schools cannot directly apply for the program. However, they can work with state and local governments to acquire funding. Per the SLCGP’s fact sheet, local governments are defined by law as a county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, or a school district. Likewise, a minimum of 80% of the state allocations must be passed down to the local level (i.e., school districts and other local entities).

That means schools can still access federal funding, albeit with a few caveats.


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David Waugh
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