Back-To-School Safely With Online Measuring Tool

CDW-G's assessment program allows school leaders to participate in a survey and receive instant scores for nationwide comparisons.
Schools across American can use an online tool to assess their safety.

CDW-G, the government-focused IT reseller site of CDW, published its School Safety Index Self-Assessment Tool this week. The program allows school leaders to participate in a survey and receive instant scores for nationwide comparisons.

"The CDW-G School Safety Index and assessment tool enable parents and school leaders to understand how they can improve the security of the learning environment," Bob Kirby, senior director, K-12, CDW-G, said in a prepared statement. "We want the index to spark discussion in the community and encourage everyone -- students, parents and educators -- to play an active role in strengthening the safety and security of our schools."

The School Safety Index, published in June, is based on a May 2007 survey of 381 district IT and security directors. The survey focused on 14 elements of physical and cyber safety.

The most recent survey showed a need for cyber safety curriculum at all levels, with only 8% of districts implementing such teaching goals. It found a lack of emergency communications, with only 1% of districts reporting they are considering mass notification systems. The survey also found that tech-savvy students frustrate IT staffs by side-stepping security measures, like firewalls, to access unapproved Web sites.

The CDW-G School Safety Self-Assessment Tool scores schools and districts on 10 safety indicators, or strengths, and four weaknesses. The cyber safety scores increase with focus on: data monitoring, network access, user authentication, education, and student protection. The physical security assessments increase with protections for building access, local authority and communication, education, faculty communication and parental communication. IT and physical breaches count against assessment scores.

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