Sept. 2021 Tech Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

IMPORTANT: 2-Step Verification Requirement Coming For Faculty & Staff 10/12/21

Beginning the week of 10/12/21 the Technology Department will be setting a computer policy requiring Faculty and Staff to setup 2 Step Verification on their BCSD Google Accounts. 2 Step Verification has been an option for all stakeholders, including faculty and staff, throughout the past 2 years, and has been mandatory for administrators. This change is being made to protect the district from future cyber security attacks and for compliance with NYS Education Law 2d and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.


As most of you know, and I have previously discussed in past newsletters, the cybersecurity attacks against schools has been growing, along with the regulations schools must follow to safely manage and protect data.


According to Microsoft Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), also known as 2 Step Verification, can block 99.9% of account compromise attacks. "All it takes is one compromised credential or one legacy application to cause a data breach."


I've also referred to NYS Education Law 2d in past newsletters. NYS Ed Law 2d Part 121.5, Section (a) requires school districts to use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as the standard for data security and privacy protection. NIST SP 800-53, REV. 5 IA-2 (2) recommends: "Implement multi-factor authentication for access to non-privileged accounts."


Here is an article on how 2 Step Verification Works and how to set it up: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/#tab=how-it-works


As always if you have additional questions or need assistance please submit a Technology Department help ticket: help@beaconk12.org

City of Yonkers Is The Latest Local Cybersecurity Target 9/6

Student Chromebooks

During the first week of school the Technology Department delivered over 400 Chromebooks to new and kindergarten students throughout the district. We have been working hard to make sure every student that needs a device has one in the event the district needs to go remote.


During the last two weeks of September we will be working with elementary building principals to swap out over 450 older Chromebook Model 11 and 3120's for new touchscreen Chromebook 3100's.


Thanks for your support and patience while we have been distributing all of this new equipment.

Technology Help Desk Tickets

Thanks to everyone who has been submitting Technology Help Desk tickets this school year. Submitting a ticket helps our team identify issues and trends quickly while delegating the work in an efficient manner.


I want everyone to know that the opening of school, and September in particular, is the busiest time of the year for the Technology Department. Our focus in the last week has been setting up and distributing hardware (Chromebooks and Laptops) to students and staff who didn't have anything. We are beginning to move on to address other issues involving software, rostering, and peripheral equipment. If you have already submitted a ticket please refrain from submitting a duplicate or follow up ticket, and rest assured that your ticket is in the que and my team is working as fast as they can to get to it and resolve your issue.


Lastly, please only submit 1 ticket per person/issue. When one ticket is submitted that contains multiple people and/or issues it makes it hard to divide up the work and refer the matters to each of the experts on our team, typically slowing down the response time.


Thanks again for your continued patience and support.

Google Classroom Enrollments

The Technology Department has received many tickets, primarily from students, regarding Google Classroom Enrollments from the previous school year. Google has not given the Technology Department the ability to assist in Google Classroom Enrollment matters which are left to be handled by the student or the Google Classroom Teacher.


Once a teacher archives a Google Classroom Class students can no longer un-enroll themselves. The teacher must unarchive the class and either unenroll the student themselves or notify the student that the class has been unarchived so that the student can complete the unenrollment process.


Here is more information from Google: https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/6069981?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop

Clean Data Trainers

The following teachers have been appointed Clean Data Trainers for the 2021-2022 school year and can assist with PowerSchool related questions including attendance and gradebook questions. Please contact your building's Clean Data Trainer if you need assistance.

1. Shannon Varekamp - RMS

2. Tom Burns - BHS

3. Alicia Smith - South Avenue

4. Debra Waage - JV Forrestal

5. Maria Calaf - BHS

Google Updates

Restore a page via version history in new Google Sites

Quick launch summary

In new Google Sites, you can now restore a specific page from version history. Previously, you could only restore an entire site. This additional functionality makes it easier to restore, edit, and re-publish specific pages that may have changed by mistake or been deleted.


Getting started



Resources


Google Forms settings are now easier to navigate

Quick launch summary


Now you can easily customize your form or quiz settings with a more visible settings tab and an improved settings layout. You’ll see an improved settings menu in the settings tab.

Reminder: PowerSchool Performance Matters Data Dashboard

Teachers, in PowerSchool check out the Performance Matters Data Dashboard! The dashboard includes relevant information about each of your students along with early warning indicators to help you identify students that may be struggling.


To access the dashboard a teacher should login into PowerSchool and click the square icon (pictured below) in the upper right hand corner and select "Performance Matters".

Reminder: Invite Parents To Your Google Classroom

About guardian email summaries

A teacher can invite a guardian to receive email summaries about their student’s work in class. To get summaries, the student must use Classroom with a G Suite account (looks like student_name@school.edu). Email summaries do not include grades.


What’s included in an email summary?

  • Missing work—Work not turned in when the summary was sent.
  • Upcoming work—Work that’s due today and tomorrow (for daily emails) or that’s due in the upcoming week (for weekly emails).
  • Class activity—Announcements, assignments, and questions recently posted by teachers.

Guardians who sign up for email summaries can’t see the Stream, Classwork, People, or Grades pages in Classroom.

How do guardians get summaries?

  1. A teacher or admin sends an invitation to a guardian.
  2. After a guardian accepts the invitation, they choose when to get email summaries for each of their students.

By default, email summaries for classes are turned off. If you’re a teacher, you can get instructions to turn them on.


When do guardians get summaries?

Guardians can get emails daily or weekly and can unsubscribe at any time.

Guardians won’t get an email summary if:

  • There's no activity to report for the given time period.
  • All their student’s teachers turned off notifications for their classes.
  • They accepted the invitation but chose not to get any summaries.
  • They aren't connected to any student in Classroom.