What 's New in D64 Technology

Can You Hear Me Now?

This summer marked a huge leap into the modern digital age with the upgrade of our phone system. Think rotary dial to "Siri, dial the corner pizza place" in one fell swoop. The District went from an analog phone system, where each line was hard wired to a phone, to a Voice over IP system, where practically every phone in the district can be directly dialed. This move was motivated by the simple phasing out of antiquated technology and that there were no more guarantees of service support as our phone lines were dying out.

With this modern system of communication, we can now take advantage of features that were not available to us before. We now have a message indicator light on the phone that can tell us there is voicemail awaiting us. Several different customizable outgoing messages can be set to let callers know how to best reach us which can be swapped out quickly and easily. A full blown, centralized staff directory can be accessed from any phone handset and can be managed with more efficiency and accuracy. There are just some of the initial benefits you will find as you begin to work this communication tool into your day-to-day.

As with any start-up, there are big hills to climb, operations to revamp and things to think about that you didn't have to before. In moving from extensions that can only be dialed internally to now having all classrooms have direct-dial phone numbers, additional phone numbers needed to be incorporated. Now all classrooms across the district -- which include gymnasium and PE offices -- can be contacted directly in the format (847) 653-xxxx. This will save on the amount of time and energy it took the building office staff to route calls and take messages.

In addition, all phone numbers have been programmed in conjunction with 9-1-1 locators. This means that if there would be an emergency call made from a particular phone, anywhere in the district, first-responders and emergency personnel will know the location from where the call was made and can go right to the crisis site.

Lastly, an automated attendant answers calls to the main office, giving prompt attention to the options a caller has to route the call, leave a message for an absence, hear basic information like school hours or hear about timely announcements or weather closings.

This summer the Tech Central team involved in this deployment -- Janice Santos, Gorman Christian, Dan Pacurar, and Allison Blum -- put in a concerted effort to successfully implementing this new system across all 9 buildings. Every classroom and office were visited, documented, and worked on. Their hard work, long hours, and dedication are to be commended.

Our "New Normal" in 1:1 Computing

Now that we have our first year of our 1:1 Learning Initiative under our belts, we have experienced much learning and growing as we reshaped our classrooms and operations. We have a "new normal" now with these Chromebooks under the arms of students in grades 3-8. The 1:1 Chromebook Student-Parent Handbook V2.0 is an embodiment of things we have learned operationally as we managed this large-scaled device deployment. Please use this 2.0 version as your reference in guiding your students to proper device care and responsibility.

The District is now jumping into a new year with clear eyes and full hearts in anticipation for where we are going from here. In light of the newly adopted Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, the focus of our efforts will be directed by our strategic objectives, specifically Strategic Objective #1 -- To Develop Students who Master the 4C's. Our opportunity is to innovate instructional design to incorporate practice in the 4C's using modern technology tools. This is to prepare our students for what's out there and to meet the demands of a digital work environment. Your building principals and Instructional Technology Coaches are available for leadership and support in this collective undertaking.