Emergency Planning Resources

by EduTech, March 2020

From the Director.........

As we begin proactive discussions around emergency planning, we have put together some resources. This newsletter has been created to provide you with communication and up to date information associated with EduTech systems and services. We hope this information will be helpful to you when you are working on your planning.

EduTech continues to plan for all kinds of situations and scenarios that may occur during any emergency. In the event of closure (BOCES and/or districts), EduTech is prepared to continue support of critical systems that you rely on for basic district functions.

Feel free to utilize the RIC One Planning Document to help guide you in making decisions regarding school operations.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me at kelli.eckdahl@edutech.org

Do I need a Virtual Private Network to work offsite?

A virtual private network (VPN) is only needed if you need access to the following:

· All web applications such as NVision, SchoolTool, etc. do not require a VPN for access.

· access to a district network

· maintenance or monitoring of network operations (HVAC/Server Maintenance)

If you need a VPN account please contact the helpdesk (helpdesk@edutech.org or 1-800-722-5797) for required forms.

From Microsoft Teams

Dear New York State K12 Educators;

COVID-19 has started to impact or already has impacted many of the Faculty/Staff/Students that we support in NY. We have had many inquiries on how schools can provide a dynamic distance learning environment should they need to close. The New York State Microsoft Team has provided the following information in an effort to help school districts leverage Microsoft Teams, which is free for Education.

Microsoft Teams for Education is an online classroom and collaboration platform students and teachers can use to continue their focus on teaching and learning from home. It is accessible on mobile devices, tablets, PCs, or on any browser. To learn more about Microsoft Teams and how to get started, you can join the live webinars starting on March 5th . To see all the webinars, click Microsoft Teams for Distance Learning Webinar Series. For IT guidance on how to deploy Office 365 and get your entire school started on Teams, check out How to Deploy Teams. Once Teams is enabled, students and faculty can start using it by entering their school email address at teams.microsoft.com or via the mobile or desktop Teams applications.

Lily Zheng, a Microsoft employee in Shanghai, posted in her blog here: Working Remotely During Challenging Times about her experience living through this trying time as well as some thoughtful and timely best practices for conducting work remotely.

Warm Regards,


As a response to recent events, EduTech has revived an archived online course called "Teaching Online is Virtually Worth it" from AccelerateU PD. This course is available to anyone at no cost and is set up to be a self paced course. This course will be available on Monday, March 16, 2020. Participants can access it at : www.edutech.org, Emergency Resources page
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This 7 hour course is designed to provide you with a set of tools for online teaching. Topics such as setting up your online classroom, selecting effective teaching methods, handling assessment and dealing with difficult online students are just a few of the components discussed. Many tips will appear throughout the course enabling you to walk side by side with your online mentor.

Online courses set themselves apart from the traditional lecture-style classroom with the addition of interactive components. Participants in an online course communicate with other course participants under the guidance of a facilitator. Facilitators are specially selected professionals who completed our Community Leader training course. They keep course discussions moving and direct participants' questions to the course developers.

How You Will Learn

This exploration consists mainly of guided, web-based research activities that uncover a wealth of resources and information. Requirements will consist of reading and examining web pages as well as occasional opportunities to interact with other educational professionals.

What is Required of You

This is a self-directed experience in which each learner is responsible for the quality of the learning. One of the advantages of online learning is that the participants have control over where, when and how much of the learning takes place. This course requires you to review the materials and topics outlined in each session and participate in activities and discussions for completion.

Course Communication

One of the basic tenets proposed by Project Accelerate’s course developers is that you learn best in an online environment with a high degree of internal reflection and group participation. Be an active participant, question the text, keep a learning journal, use your favorite note taking method to help internalize the course content.

The number of discussion forums reflects the expectation of active participation in this course. It is important that you share your expertise and questions with the community to simulate the group discussions that you would be able to have in a face-to-face workshop. Feedback and commentary are the backbone of these courses. We have found through experience and course evaluations that educators who are the most involved in course activities such as chats, blogs, wikis, and forums tend to have the best outcomes. In order for you to spend your time well, we encourage regular posting and responding to other’s comments in the multiple forms of communication available.

Through the EduTech Broadcast Network we have developed an online resources portal for districts to access as a resources should online instruction become active.

As you continue to focus on emergency planning, we would like to include some things to consider as you look at business operations. In the case district facilities are closed, we can provide our districts with remote access to nVision from either home or another remote location. This access will be provided on an individual basis to district staff. If a district closes or is planning to close, please notify us immediately. Any designated essential business office staff will be provided access upon approval of the district business official, superintendent, and/or person authorized to make nVision security change requests.

Below are a few things to keep in mind as each district prepares their own business continuity plan.

  • Determine which business office staff will provide essential functions and who can be designated to work remotely. For example, this could be payroll, treasurer or business official.
  • This may be a good time to strongly encourage staff to sign up for direct deposit so that paystubs can be e-mailed rather than physically printed.
  • Reminder: District staff are the only ones who can perform business office functions on behalf of districts. This would include processing payroll, printing checks (either payroll or AP), submitting NACHA files, ERS, TRS, or IRS files. District staff must perform bank, or wire transfers.
  • Standard checks can be printed on any printer, either at home or other remote location. Checks in small quantities can be handwritten.
  • We highly recommend that staff perform business functions and operations on district owned equipment to prevent any accidental data breaches.

  • We can provide our districts with remote access to the full version of nVision from either home or another remote location.

  • If you have any other questions regarding what accounting or payroll staff may need in order to work remotely, please let us know.

If there are extenuating circumstances that are not part of your planning, any requests should be made by the superintendent to Kelli Eckdahl, the EduTech Director.

All calls should be made to the EduTech helpdesk at 1-800-722-5797 Option 0.

EduTech will continue to monitor the situation in the region in regards to training and events. Should we need to cancel, we will contact registered participants and plan alternate dates or delivery methods.

Reminder, EduTech will be running Vendor Intake Training on the following dates and locations. We encourage all districts to participate if possible as many if not all CBT districts will have at least one student taking their test on paper.

Intake Training ELA/Math Vendor Scoring

GVEP 80 Munson St, Le Roy, NY - Conference Room A

March 19, 2020 at GVEP 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM


The Conference Center at Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES - F112 Cortland Room

March 20, 2020 at W-FL BOCES 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM


Take Inventory and Examine Current State

As you discuss the possibility of going to online instruction, we recommend that you take the following things into consideration:

  • Work on up to date inventory
  • Do you currently have 1:1 and if you don't do you have enough for students?
  • Do all student have internet connectivity at home and if not, what provisions can you provide to help
  • Is there any applications that reinforce learning that can be on the devices (including ipads) that do not require internet (elementary grades)
  • Prioritize what grades need to be online and what courses (regents, AP, Ace or Gemini)

Currently Verizon will allow districts to order Jetpacks (hotspots). The hotspots can be stored in the district and activated at your convenience. Charges do not apply until activation.

Test, Test, Test

Part of determining your critical staff should also involve testing their access from home. Please encourage those to test their connections and access to critical applications from home ahead of time.

We highly recommend that critical staff perform work related duties on district owned equipment to help prevent any accidental data breaches or release of sensitive information.

Help Desk continues to support districts

The EduTech HelpDesk will always be here. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 4:30 pm.

EduTech also has the ability for the Help Desk to work at different locations should the need arise.

All questions should be directed to help desk at 1-800-722-5797 or helpdesk@edutech.org

AccelerateU Classroom, 2019-20

In addition to offering 300+ online courses using our teachers, AccelerateU offers a

blended learning option – using your teacher as the “teacher of record”.

Using a district teacher and AccelerateU's content, training, system and support, we can partner

with you to offer a turnkey, supported online or blended course. Our courses comes from national

content providers, supplemented and vetted by our certified teachers to ensure alignment to


We call this blended learning option the "AccelerateU Classroom". AccelerateU Classroom includes:

• In-person training in our systems (in-person and remote)

• Orientation session and follow-up visits for students

• Guidance and technical support, both in-person and remote

• Opportunity to network with other online teachers

If you need selected Regents content, please download a syllabus at https://www.edutech.org/resources/accelerateu-online-learning/course-list.

Then indicate what topics your student(s) need and return the syllabus to us.

We will then customize a course that aligns to your students’ specific needs.

Contact us for more information.

Mike Morone, (315) 332-7331 or mike.morone@edutech.org

Heather Stonecipher, (315) 332-7552 or heather.stonecipher@edutech.org

Deliveries to Closed Buildings

EduTech deliveries will not occur if a district is closed. If there is an emergency or a special circumstance, please contact the warehouse at warehouse@edutech.org. Equipment and deliveries will be stored in our warehouse until delivery can occur.
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