Summer Tech Updates

Tech Tools Site

The previous version of the tech tools website will be going away sometime this fall. The new site is live and we are in the process of adding content and tweaking a few things.


The Staff Links menu has all of the links everyone is used to seeing on the tech tools site. Note that items like Aesop and Veritime are all listed simply as Frontline now, since we have moved to a unified login for those services.


The Digital Learning menu is home to content developed primarily by our Digital Learning Coaches. There you'll find descriptions of apps and recommendations on how to use them, as well as detailed overviews of tools like Canvas, Seesaw, and Google Apps and how they can be used in your classroom.


The Students and Parents menu will provide some links and we will be moving information that used to live on the district website to this area to provide a more focused experience for students and parents.


The Tech Support menu will be content written primarily by our technology support staff; the goal for this area is to serve as the first stop for staff to check for a solution to a problem prior to submitting a help ticket.


Some (most) of the site is still under construction, but our goal is to create a one-stop shop with more up-to-date info that will benefit all of the technology users in the district.

Frontline Central

Our primary use for Frontline Central will be the delivery and tracking of forms.


If you have previously set up your new Frontline account, the next time you log in you should see an additional area called Frontline Central. As we build forms, they will either be sent to you directly (generally for mandatory items like policy review) or you will have the option to start a form yourself (for something like an address change).


We'll try to let you know when new forms are added to the system.


The first form everyone will receive is a "District Policy Review" form. This is basically a copy of various policies that we like for everyone to review annually, and for which you simply sign off that you have received and reviewed the document. Nothing fancy, so it seemed like a good place to start.


The attachment below is a summary overview of Frontline Central.

Frontline Professional Learning Management

Progress on the Professional Learning Management section of Frontline has not been as quick as we would have hoped. This is our replacement for Apex Total Program and KeepCertified. We hope to see progress pick up in the next few weeks and to have some functionality available for the start of the school year.


Also note that KeepCertified will still be around for another year, though we want to move off of that platform as soon as possible so that we aren't trying to maintain data in two systems.


We'll share more info about this system as soon as we can.

Summer Projects - Status Updates

Here are some updates on projects that we had planned for the summer:


  • East & West audio-visual updates due to 6th grade move and other room changes: The great majority of requests will be completed.
  • High School technology: Most rooms will be done and ready for the start of the school year; the likely exception is the wing of classrooms in the theater area (limited access at this time).
  • 3rd-5th grade headsets: Second half of headset orders from last year completed.
  • K, 6, cart and staff iPad updates: Waiting for cases to arrive on a slow boat from China (I wish I were kidding). Expected to be here last week of August.
  • PK-8 Chromebook carts: No adds at K-5, but cart refresh is now caught up and they are all the newer Dell models. Middle schools each had two carts refreshed. CFC gets a newer Dell cart from Pearson.
  • Infinite Campus Fees: General fees (such as device insurance, parking passes or activities) can now be paid directly in Infinite Campus. This does not impact Food Service payments; nothing has changed there (people are used to it and it's easier right now to keep the general fee and food service accounting separate this way).

Printers

We are exploring an option to replace all of the HP MFP (printer/scanner/fax) machines with a less costly to operate Canon machine. This would also entail overhauling our print management software and eventually allow us to set up print release and tracking using the door swipe cards (using the same tech the swipe cards use to "talk" to the doors). We expect a final decision and approval on this within the next couple months. No, we are not swapping out our highest volume school printers in August; we're not crazy.

Replacement Cycles and 1:1

Having all of this technology around creates great opportunities for our students and staff, but one (of the many) questions it can lead to is "how do we sustain it"? What we have been trying to do is develop clear and consistent replacement cycles for our entire environment. This helps in managing budgeting over the long term and in reducing the likelihood of equipment failing or becoming obsolete while we are still trying to use it.


This does not just affect iPad and MacBooks, though that is the obvious and one of the more expensive aspects to maintain. It affects Chromebooks, printers, network switches, wireless access points, battery back-ups, servers, and a host of other devices. It is why we will be getting proposals this year to either update or scrap and replace our phone system (now 12 years old). It also partially explains the initial thoughts on K-2 iPads being a cart model. We ramped up 1:1 very quickly here based on the plan put in place during the pursuit of a tech levy. Now that we are a couple years in and can project budgets more accurately, it is possible to respond to requests that have come in from the elementary buildings to expand 1:1 down to Kindergarten. It can be done, but it's going to take a little time. Right now we are projecting being able to go to a 1:1 ratio in 1st and 2nd grade next year (2019-2020 school year) and then to Kindergarten the following year (2020-2021 school year).


This is being mentioned now because there is obviously an impact on planning and curriculum. It is also a large part of the reason why we are not accepting donations of iPads from parent groups or the Foundation; we cannot create a sustainable replacement plan without having an accurate gauge of expenses in the short and long term. Hopefully that all makes sense, but I'm always happy to sit with anyone and go through the tech budget and our long-term projections and rationale for certain decisions.

Device Deployment Notes

Aside from our usual device roll-outs (see link above), here is some additional info about device deployments for this year.


  • K carts: As mentioned, devices are here and carts will be restocked once the cases arrive and we can finish prepping them.
  • 1st and 2nd grade carts have been prepped and are ready for use.
  • 3rd-5th carts: Basically ready; we'll need to move some devices around and deal with fluctuations in class sizes.
  • Staff iPads: We will be collecting the remaining 4th generation iPads once the school year starts. Replacements will be done as part of our regular replacement cycle and in accordance with our guidelines for iPad Distribution to Staff. Review that doc for additional info about current and future replacement cycles for staff.

Tech staffing

A few new hires and some moves amongst the tech staff; here's the roster:


Building techs

District Office/CFC/TLC: Maria Hawes

Eagle Creek: Juli Hietala

Jackson: Paula Hammer

Red Oak: Bradley McGarr

Sun Path: Chris Fleming

Sweeney: Joel Strehl

East: Drew Churchill & Steve Scofield

West: Jon Benz & Jen Reis

High School: Linda Paul, Douglas Lopez, Alyssa Hawes & Pilar Rodriguez


District techs

Supervisor: Chris Lee

Manager/Apple: Nathaniel Strauss

Systems Admin/Student: Ty Willmsen

Systems Admin/Finance: Michele Carpenter

Systems Admin/Windows: Dave Ryan

Systems Admin/Network: Quazi Jahangir

Support Specialist: Colin O'Brien

Support Specialist: Amanda Holm

Executive Assistant: Holly Anderson

Theater Manager (shared with Community Ed): Bob Cole


Digital Learning Coaches

Eagle Creek: Doug Keddie

Jackson: Natalie Weatherman

Red Oak: Kari Gerhart

Sun Path: tba

Sweeney: Kathryn Davis

East: Jeff Jackelen

West: Eric Hills

High School & TLC: Kara Osmundson

High School & CFC: Sandra Riehl

Very likely forgetting a bunch of things for this newsletter but it's already a novel and you'll get another one in a few weeks...