Tech Notes

Summer 2019 - July

Infinite Campus Outage

Infinite Campus is doing some planned maintenance/upgrade work on July 19. On that date, Infinite Campus is expected to be unavailable for the entire day.

This fall, we will have the ability to provide an automated download link on student iPads to speed up the process of installing a pre-selected batch of apps.

We are doing a survey to determine the top 5 apps that each K-5 and middle school building would like to see installed on student devices at the start of the school year.

These would be in addition to our elementary and middle school core set of apps, which includes:

Elementary Core Apps:

  • Google Drive
  • Canvas Student
  • Seesaw
  • FAST assessment (webclip link; not technically an app)
  • +1 tbd

Middle School Core Apps:

  • Google Drive
  • Canvas Student
  • IC Student
  • +1 tbd

The resulting top 5 will be available as a download link for students to expedite app installation, and will be named for each building; something like "Eagle Creek Core Apps" for example.

Infinite Campus On-line Registration

One of our summer projects is to set up On-Line Registration functionality in Infinite Campus. This will allow new and continuing families to complete a large portion of the registration process on-line. Benefits of this include greater accuracy, reduced paperwork, and convenience for families.

The screenshot below provides a sample of the process, showing the various data collection areas (Household, Parent/Guardian, Emergency Contacts, Other Household Members, and Student Info). The Student area is shown with the various sections of informational items, which include demographics, various program data, additional contact info, health data, and some opt-out forms.

Big picture

If you have any Frontline Courses in Progress right now, read this...

(News from Frontline)

Courses that are in-progress today via an Activity and are not completed by 7/17 will lose progress and need to be restarted.
Courses that are completed via an Activity prior to 7/17 will be recorded as complete as part of the Activity in PLM.

The reason this is happening is due to a change they are making in the system with how the online courses are accessed.

This probably does not affect many (if any) staff right now; just letting you know.

Important Changes and Updates to Know About

Smart Notebook 16 Legacy Edition - Will no longer be available for new installations this fall. This version does not work on Mojave; it will be removed from Self Service. Version 19 is now available in Self Service. Here's an article from Smart with additional info about Flash Player support being removed from their software, along with some tips on converting objects and replicating functionality from older versions of the software.

MacBook replacement: Currently scheduled for 300 devices to be replaced. Some of this is happening over summer (with any available staff); most of it will happen in September-October. This represents about 1/3 of our staff MacBook inventory, with the plan to replace 1/3 of the inventory each year. (Once all replacements are done we will evaluate our schedule for future replacements). On a related note, the new devices use the USB-C connector exclusively; we have posted an article on Tech Tools reviewing our approved list of dongles and docks and policy around purchasing of such items.

Apple TV 4K Installations: All 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TV devices will be replaced over summer. With this upgrade, we encourage staff who have "given up" on the Apple TV to give it another try; we believe that everyone will have a better experience with the new device.

Google File Stream: We are requiring migration off of Google Backup and Sync to File Stream. Over the next year we will be reviewing our use of Standard Google Drive and Team Drive (now rebranded as the confusingly generic Share Drive) to be more consistent and to better protect our data. Please check with a tech if you need help with this move; we certainly do not want anyone to avoid this process due to concern about losing files.

Tech Report: Updated tech report is available; this is a lengthy document about tech department initiatives with a particular focus on the tech levy funding and related projects.

Phone Project

Network hardware has been ordered and installation will start in mid-July.

A newer model handset should be available in spring, so we will wait for that to be available before starting any replacement of handsets. We may do a few conference room spaces in the meantime that use different hardware.

New software should be available in late July-early August.

All voicemail accounts will be deleted and re-created. We will not be able transfer saved messages to the new system. We will provide instructions on creating new recordings and setting up voicemail. Logins will be reset to defaults for all staff. New software will be available; we will send out info when that can be downloaded in Self Service. Also note that we may be changing some existing phone extensions as part of efforts to clean up our current configuration.

2019-2020 Projects & Topics

Here are some items we are working on for next school year.

  • Canvas Use Expectations: Updated versions for 6-12 and K-5.
  • Seesaw Use Expectations: Version for K-5.
  • App Expectations: K-5 version will include 1 or 2 apps per grade level that students should be knowledgeable about and comfortable using by the end of that grade.
  • Digital Citizenship curriculum revisions.
  • A-V Pilot rooms and decision-making (we are presently on target to complete pilot room installations this summer).
  • Assisting Finance/HR with transition of those functions off of Infinite Campus over to Skyward. IC Student is not being changed or otherwise affected by this work.

Summer Projects

In addition to phone system upgrades and filtering changes, here are a few other summer projects:

  • 2nd grade iPads: New iPad carts, 1:1 distribution of new iPad. - Carts wired, awaiting delivery of iPad cases so that we can start distribution.
  • 1st grade iPads: Additional charging crate, 1:1 distribution of new iPad. - Awaiting delivery of iPad cases.
  • Middle Schools: Refresh/Replace most of the existing older HP Chromebooks. - Devices back-ordered, expected to be done mid-September.
  • High School: Refresh one lab with PLTW PCs. - PCs delivered; awaiting installation.
  • Apple TVs: 3rd generation (smaller model) replaced with 4K model district-wide (about 500). - Devices configured and ready for next step, which is installation at each building. About 30% of installations done at this point.
  • Wireless Access Points: Oldest model replaced district-wide (about 200). - Delivered; this is a "when we have time" project since this is a pro-active upgrade.
  • Infinite Campus: Build and deploy On-line Registration functionality. This will make it easier for families to do a new enrollment or to do an annual update to their information. More details about this project will be sent out soon. - Details in this newsletter?
  • Staff MacBook refresh: This will be a 3-year project, split into 1/3 of staff each year. First year will be oldest devices, targeted groups, and devices that have the highest number of battery cycles (meaning that the battery is likely to not hold a charge as well as it used to). Most of this will occur in early fall, but we will start in summer with any available staff.
  • Removal of elementary PC labs: We have had requests to remove PC labs from Sweeney, Sun Path, and Red Oak. This work will be completed over summer. - Lab removal in progress.
  • Lightspeed Internet Filter set-up: We may check in with some staff directly to verify that the new filter is working as expected.

Dell Discount Program

District employees can take advantage of the Dell purchase program; details in flyer attached below.