Build a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness in K–12 Schools

Training educators and staff can greatly strengthen a district’s cybersecurity posture. Make all users responsible for practicing good cyber hygiene habits.

by

Rebecca Torchia

Ed Tech

Before St. Vrain Valley Schools began closely examining its cybersecurity posture, its staff didn’t have the best cyber hygiene.

“Unfortunately, many teachers would take their keyboard and write their password on the back,” says Michelle Bourgeois, the Colorado district’s CTO and one of EdTech’s 2022 K–12 IT influencers. Educators would also use personal passwords for their district accounts, she adds, increasing the risk of cyberthreats such as credential stuffing.

“We asked teachers and staff to start thinking about pass phrases, rather than passwords,” Bourgeois says. “In creating that secure pass phrase, we asked teachers to think about things that are personal: A favorite place they visited, or the author that they love, or a color that is their favorite, and combining all of those things in some random format.” The district also encouraged them to use capital letters and special characters to add security to their passwords.

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