CISA Resources to Help Schools Strengthen Security and Build Resilience

In recognition of Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, CISA lays out some of the ways schools can build resilience through CISA's school safety resources.

By Dr. David Mussington, Executive Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security 

Schools provide the foundation for our nation’s future success and are an essential component of our everyday lives, providing services to millions of children, families, and communities across the country. K-12 schools are also part of our nation’s critical infrastructure. To ensure the safety and wellbeing of students, educators, and staff, schools must be aware of risks and threats, create and implement actionable security plans, and be able to withstand and recover from incidents. This month marks Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, an annual effort led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) focused on educating and engaging all levels of government, infrastructure owners and operators, and the American public about the vital role critical infrastructure plays in the nation’s wellbeing and why it is important to strengthen critical infrastructure security and resilience.

Recently we’ve witnessed increased frequency and intensity of threats and hazards facing our critical infrastructure, from natural disasters to targeted violence to cyberattacks. This year, CISA asks everyone, including the education community, to Resolve to be Resilient by preparing for and investing in resilience today, so we can withstand or recover quickly in the event of an incident tomorrow. 

CISA takes seriously our commitment to school safety and supports K-12 schools and districts in their efforts to enhance school security and build resilience. Together with our Federal agency and non-government partners, we develop actionable guidance, evidence-based practices, tools, and more to help educate, equip, and empower school leaders to foster change and be better prepared for an evolving threat environment.

In recognition of Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, here are some of the ways schools can build resilience through CISA resources:

  • Take steps in advance to prevent potential incidents. CISA partnered with the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center to develop the K-12 Bystander Reporting Toolkit, which offers simple strategies and guidance K-12 schools and school districts can use to implement and enhance safety reporting programs.
  • Assess risks and their potential impacts. CISA created the K-12 School Security Guide Product Suite to provide K-12 districts and campuses with resources, tools, and strategies to evaluate vulnerabilities, strengthen security, and better protect school communities.
  • Examine and test safety processes and plans through exercises. CISA Tabletop Exercise Packages are a comprehensive set of resources designed to assist schools and districts in conducting their own exercises and initiating discussions within their organizations about their ability to address a variety of threat scenarios.
  • Address systemic cybersecurity risk. CISA’s Cybersecurity for K-12 Education provides tools, information, and resources to protect against attacks by malicious cyber actors and reduce the likelihood of successful cyber incursions.
  • Develop sustainable capabilities to address an evolving threat environment. CISA’s regionally based security advisors assess, advise, and assist and provide a variety of risk management and response services.
  • Create holistic school safety plans. CISA administers a Federal interagency website that provides a one-stop access point to school safety information, resources, and tools on a range of topics and threats.  

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month is a time for all members of the school community to come together to advance safety efforts and recognize and champion initiatives that drive down risk and build resilience. This means doing the work up front to prepare for and adapt to changing risk conditions. This month and throughout the year, CISA reiterates our commitment to helping school communities across the country maintain safe, secure, and resilient learning environments.

For more information and helpful resources for the school safety community, visit CISA’s School Safety page.