Tech Notes

Summer 2019 - August

Last chance! Survey closes 8/23!

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.

Phones - Mitel Connect

The Shoretel Communicator software is no longer supported. All staff with a phone number should install Mitel Connect.

Installation instructions can be found on Tech Tools for PC and Mac.

Here are the Reference Guides for the software. One nice thing is that it functions very similarly on the PC and Mac platforms, which was not the case with the old software.

IMPORTANT! The installation notes review how to do the initial login to the software. For staff who skip ahead, please be aware that the first login uses the following settings:

Username: Your usual username to log in to the computer.

Password: Your usual password to log into the computer.

Server (listed under Advanced Settings):

Additional guides for using and setting up various parts of the software will be posted as quickly as we can create them. You'll find those guides in Tech Tools in the Tech Support menu, listed in the Phone & Fax category. One example of these guides includes notes on linking to your Exchange e-mail account, so that you can pull in contacts and calendar information,.

Internet Filter - Relay

We switched over to the new Internet filter recently. As expected, there will be some adjustments we need to make to get everything working as expected.

The help ticket type to use for submitting website add or block requests is listed under Software, App, or Website Issue > Website Allow or Block.

If you are having trouble accessing sites at all, try the steps in these Filter Troubleshooting Notes.

This is also a good time to remind everyone that our philosophy on filtering is not focused on censorship, but on safety and digital citizenship. We will always listen to valid arguments for opening up a questionable site, but will also weigh the potential harm of such sites.

Device Roll-outs

Here is when we expect devices to be deployed to students:

K-5th: Second week of school. Tech has been working hard on prepping iPads. K continues with a 2:1 model for one more year. For 1st-5th, we are working off of class rosters and pre-assigning devices to students in order to speed up the deployment process for staff and students.

6th-8th: All middle school devices will be deployed/returned on Wednesday, September 4. This will take place in science class sections as it has in the past. New 7th and 8th grade students should visit a tech in the Learning Commons during those times.

9th grade: Devices will be deployed as part of freshman seminar on Thursday the 5th and Friday the 6th.

10th-12th new students and device pick-up: Visit C300 tech office on Tuesday the 3rd or Wednesday the 4th. Building techs will be unavailable on the 5th or 6th while we do 9th grade roll-out.

Sync Schedule

This is a summary of when we expect various software and sites to be updated with this year's student information.

Canvas: August 26

Seesaw: August 30

Destiny: September 3

ThinkCentral: First week of school


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 were 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.

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 (most installations have been completed as of now).
  • 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 - Status Updates

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. - Delivered to buildings, working on device prep.
  • 1st grade iPads: Additional charging crate, 1:1 distribution of new iPad. -Delivered to buildings, working on device prep.
  • Middle Schools: Refresh/Replace most of the existing older HP Chromebooks. - Will be done by mid-September.
  • High School: Refresh one lab with PLTW PCs. - Installed; all PLTW labs should be ready for start of school.
  • Apple TVs: 3rd generation (smaller model) replaced with 4K model district-wide (about 500). - Project completed.
  • 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. - Completed; not yet deployed.
  • 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. - Started; about 50 deployed so far.
  • 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 removals completed.
  • Lightspeed Internet Filter set-up: We may check in with some staff directly to verify that the new filter is working as expected. - Completed.