November 2020 Technology Newsletter

By: Michael Kealy

Please Welcome Isaac Otero To The Technology Department!

Please join me in welcoming Isaac Otero to the Technology Department as an Information Services Specialist. Isaac previously attended the Beacon City School District and recently earned his Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems from Dutchess Community College. Isaac also previously worked at West Point, in the Thayer Hotel, where he supported the IT needs of both employees and guests while also setting up IT equipment for a variety of events. We believe Isaac will be another great addition to our extraordinary team.

Chrome OS Updates

Our department has received several tickets regarding Chromebooks being slow and Google Meets not working. In almost all of these instances performing a Chrome OS update and restarting the Chromebook resolved these issues. As a result we will be pushing a computer policy that alerts users when the Chromebook they are using is ready for an update and the policy will give users 1 week to perform the update before it is automatically applied. We hope this change will create a better user experience for everyone.

Classlink: Makes Accessing Apps and User Accounts Easier

Since late winter the Technology Department has been working to implement Classlink a products that will be able to group all of a users educational apps in one place, give the district the ability to setup a single-sign on for many apps so students don't have to remember so many passwords, and allow users to reset their passwords remotely without having to be on-site.

Our department will be launching Classlink this week. Students will see a Classlink pop up screen in their web browser upon login to their Chromebook. Students can either login using their BCSD credentials or close the browser tab. Clean Data Trainers are scheduled for a presentation on how to use Classlink next week and will be able to assist teachers and staff in their buildings as we add more apps and expand the offerings in Classlink.

GSuite Updates

Accept knocks in bulk in Google Meet

Quick launch summary

You can now accept all pending knocks in bulk in Google Meet. Admitting participants or students all at once helps limit interruptions during the video call. Note, only the meeting organizer can see or approve requests to join a meeting.

Replace your background in Google Meet

What’s changing

You can now replace your background with an image in Google Meet. You can either use Google’s hand-picked images, which include office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds, or upload your own image.

Office editing mode is now the default editing mode for Office files in Drive on the web

What’s changing

Google is changing the default editing mode for Microsoft Office files in Google Drive on the web. Now, when you double-click on an Office file, it will open directly in Office editing mode.

Previously, double clicking would open a preview of the document, from which users could choose whether to open in Office editing mode or download the file. You can still use the preview mode by right clicking the file and clicking "Preview,” or by pressing ‘P’ on the keyboard while double clicking the file.

Take Laptops Home and/or Turn Them Off When Not In Use

I recently attended a virtual conference where the Technology Directors of both the Yorktown School District and Croton-Harmon School District spoke about the recent ransomware attacks in their school districts last month.

During the call, one of the Technology Directors indicated that the incident in their school district was not nearly as bad as it could have been since many teachers take their laptops home and/or turn them off at night. In this instance taking a laptop home or turning it off prevented the spread of the ransomware software throughout the network from machine to machine.

Based on this new information I want to encourage all district users to either take your district issued laptop home with you or turn it off when you are leaving it in a school building. This will help mitigate the spread of malicious software should our district experience a cybersecurity incident.

Reminder: Check Out The PowerSchool Performance Matters Data Dashboard

Administrators and Teachers, in PowerSchool check out the new 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".

Big picture
Big picture

REMINDER: Adobe Flash Is Going Away in December 2020

Check the websites you frequently use and in your instruction now to see if they use Adobe Flash as Adobe announced in 2017:

Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

If the website(s) you use contain Adobe Flash please begin thinking about alternatives. Adobe has said they will end support for this product on 12/31/2020.

Reminder: Please remove files that you no longer need/use

The Technology Department noticed that many users throughout the district have many files that they have not accessed or used in a very long time. Please clean up your home drives and delete any old files that you may no longer need/use.

To tell which files are the oldest you can sort your folders by "last modified" which will show you the last time a file was modified. Files that have not been modified in over a year or more should be considered for deletion.

REMINDER: Technology Assistance By Appointment Only

Just a reminder that all stakeholders should submit a help ticket ( to report technology issues. In person/on-site support is only available by appointment only due to COVID-19. Walk-in's are not permitted.