The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has launched a new initiative aimed at helping school technology leaders protect valuable IT systems in case of an emergency. Designed to help K-12 technology leaders ensure that their schools and districts are prepared for disaster before, during, and after it strikes, CoSN’s new IT Crisis Preparedness Initiative features planning guides, presentations, case studies, and other resources. “Often when we think about being prepared for crises, we think about what we would do in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood, fire, or tornado. With this initiative, however, CoSN is reminding school technology leaders that crises can crop up at any time, and disasters are not limited to nature, season, region, or any other criteria,” said Sheryl Abshire, CoSN board chair and chief technology officer for Louisiana’s Calcasieu Parish School System. She continued, “As crises are often unexpected and cannot be forecast, it is incumbent upon school leaders to prepare to confront disaster before it strikes and threatens to damage critical information, infrastructure, and technological investments.” The initiative addresses plans for disaster prevention and mitigation; communication and continued availability of services during a disaster; and following a disaster, evaluation of the plan’s effectiveness and continued planning. The resources come from a variety of sources, including districts that have experienced a crisis, materials developed as part of CoSN’s leadership training, and web sites that provide crisis information. The project’s web site features links to some materials that are available for a fee, including a planning workbook containing worksheets that guide CTOs through each step in the planning process, as well as case studies detailing the experiences and best practices of other K-12 technology leaders. However, ed-tech leaders are free to access much of the information on the web site at no cost.
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