State Auditor Shad White honored the Vicksburg Warren School District (VWSD) as the first-ever Mississippi Public Innovations and Efficiencies (PIE) Award winner. To win the award, the school district demonstrated successful use of computer software meant to keep its students safe and save public money.
“It’s great when the Auditor’s office gets to honor good work by someone in government, and that’s the purpose of these PIE awards. We want to encourage new thinking that saves taxpayers’ money,” said White.
Auditors were particularly struck by a portion of Vicksburg Warren’s PIE application. Within days of implementing a new software program meant to prevent students’ unsafe online behavior, school administrators were alerted to a student’s concern about online activity. The alert indicated the potential for self-harm. A principal immediately contacted the student’s family. By implementing the software, VWSD was able to help prevent what might have been a tragedy.
“A child’s life is priceless, and it’s great to see an innovative practice helping the taxpayers and simultaneously protecting our most precious resource: Mississippi’s children,” said White.
The innovative use of technology in Vicksburg Warren School District has also reduced the risk of ransomware (and the losses to taxpayers that can come from paying a ransom) and reduced the risk of computers being misplaced or stolen.
“Cybersecurity may not be the first thing people think of when they consider the field of education, and yet we focus on protecting students and staff each day from cyber threats. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and our Technology Team, along with our vendor partners, has made great strides in keeping our students and staff safe online,” said VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy. “We appreciate being recognized by State Auditor Shad White for this important work and look forward to continued collaboration with the Office of the State Auditor to continually improve our effectiveness in all areas as we work together to serve children.”
The Mississippi PIE Award was established this year to recognize high-performing government offices. The State Auditor’s office will continue to release more PIE Awards winners in the coming weeks.