Enhancing School Safety: Midway Technology Team's Proactive Approach
While the district commends the expert management of safety and security events, it also recognizes that responding to these events is just one part of the equation. In addition to implementing effective response protocols, it is equally important to recognize the extensive efforts devoted to prevention.
When it comes to proactive safety, Midway ISD takes a dual approach with the combination of "hardening" or strengthening facilities and security systems while also addressing the human component through safety training for both staff and students, active online monitoring and reporting, wellness programs and mental health initiatives, and a robust social-emotional learning curriculum.
As part of this comprehensive approach, the Midway ISD Information Technology Department assumes a vital role in the task of hardening our schools and enhancing security district-wide.
Alongside America's Safe Schools Week (Oct. 15-21) and in recognition of their ongoing commitment to the careful and responsible management of safety and security, the district honored the technology department at the October school board meeting with the first-ever award for safety stewardship.
“The work this team does impacts every single building, student, and employee in the district,” Midway ISD Superintendent Dr. Chris Allen said, “and they have done an outstanding job when it comes to ongoing proactive safety.”
The information technology team has led the charge in executing innovative safety and security measures encompassing cybersecurity, surveillance and access infrastructure, online safety, emergency notification systems, visitor screening, and data privacy.
Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
One of the cornerstones of Midway ISD's safety strategy is robust cybersecurity for data protection. On their most recent cybersecurity assessment, the information technology team received the highest cyber maturity score in the region of 3.36—a notable increase from 2.91. The recent implementation of industry best practices such as multi-factor authentication, geofencing for account access, and change control processes within the data center contributed to this year’s score increase and the district’s overall cybersecurity strength.
The importance of physical security is reflected in the technology team’s infrastructure efforts. Network-based door access control and surveillance systems across the district help manage building access and provide local administrators and first responders with essential security information.
In the digital age, online safety is key to ensuring secure online learning environments for students. With the help of the technology team, Midway employs a multi-faceted approach to online safety. Beyond standard network firewalls and content filtering, the district actively monitors student activity using Bark's human monitoring service. Additionally, students are encouraged to self-report any concerns via the StopIt app.
Rapid Emergency Notifications
With 911 alerts, lockdown notifications, and instant alerts to local police, all Midway campuses are well-equipped with the technology to provide rapid communication to school administrators and first responders in emergency situations.
Every Midway campus is equipped with Raptor, a staff alert and visitor screening system that checks all visitors against an offender database prior to granting entry. Midway’s technology team plays an important role in the operation of the Raptor system.
In pursuit of safer schools, the Midway ISD Information Technology Department provides invaluable support to the district’s proactive approach to safety, and their efforts reflect Midway ISD’s commitment to creating safe and secure learning environments.
Learn more about safety and wellness in Midway ISD here.