Tech Notes

February 2020

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Relay Filter - Settings Change

Recently we made a small change to our Internet filter settings, but it may be noticeable enough that we thought it would be helpful to communicate the change and possible impact on staff.

We generally try to keep staff and student filtering settings as similar as possible to avoid confusion about which sites may work for staff, but not for students. One variation that we are eliminating is that the "mature" category was blocked for students but open for staff. This variant generates the most tickets from staff requesting a site to be allowed, often with some urgency since there was an assumption that the site in question would work for students. We are changing the settings so that "mature" is also blocked for staff.

That does not mean staff are no longer able to access content our web filter deems “mature,” which can be overly broad. They are still able to override any blocked page temporarily. The image below highlights the override option. When staff encounter a blocked page, a click of the the override button unblocks it for an hour. If a site seems to be erroneously categorized as "mature", just put in a help ticket to request that it be recategorized.

Hopefully this change helps in avoiding last minute surprises with lesson planning and student access to sites.

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The latest MacBook operating system, Catalina, is now available in Self Service.

A few things you'll need or want in order to ensure a positive experience:


Mac plugged into power.

Clean Slate
All applications should be closed before starting the upgrade.


The upgrade will take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to complete. During this time you will not be able to use your Mac. Do not close the lid. Do not move it from place to place.

Drive Space

At least 20 GB disk space free. We have identified about 90 staff devices that may be short on space and will be reaching out to staff to do some file clean-up. (See note below about checking storage space).

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To view currently used storage, click on apple icon (top left corner) and click "About this Mac". Then view the Storage menu. If you need help reducing the amount of space used, please open a help ticket.
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Apple Classroom Reminders & Resources

Latest release notes from Apple. Classroom device and software requirements.

Tip: As more staff use Apple Classroom, we are occasionally seeing an issue where students cannot join their current class because they are still "logged in" to someone else's class. When finishing up with a group of students, make sure to choose the End Class option so that all student devices are "released" from the class.

Did you know you can also run Apple Classroom manager from a Mac? Here is Apple's User Guide for the Mac version of Apple Classroom Manager. Find it in Self Service.

Getting Started with Classroom

Apple's introductory user guide.

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Goal Update: Phishing Prevention

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Audience: All Staff

Measurement Tool: KnowBe4 phishing campaign software.

Current Status (if known): About 7% of staff clicked a link in a phishing e-mail in the past two campaigns (Spring 2019). About 14% clicked in the October 2019 campaign. About 12% clicked in November 2019 campaign. Less than 5% clicked in January 2020 campaign.

Target: 4% or less staff click a link or reply to a phishing e-mail by May 2020.

Rationale: Phishing attacks represent a threat to the district that encompasses the possibility of compromised information, identity theft, monetary theft, system outages, data loss, and erosion of trust. Recent examples of school districts being affected by this: Los Altos, Manor. Here's a Ransomware map.

Our most recent results are shown in the chart above.

Good progress!

Let's remain vigilant and we can meet or exceed our goal of 4% or fewer clicks!

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Occasionally you may receive an e-mail with a list of quarantined messages. These messages have been flagged as possibly harmful in some way. The system holds onto these messages for about 15 days, then deletes them.

After you find a specific quarantined message, click the message to view details about it, and take actions. You can release the message to your mailbox, preview the message, download the message, or delete the message from quarantine immediately.

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Junk vs. Quarantine

Email suspected of having a virus or obvious phishing is kept in the quarantine folder on the mail server. Junk mail is defined as less of a threat (such as spam, ads, solicitations) and ends up in a folder in your Inbox.

Quarantined E-mail

Direct link to your quarantined messages list.

Staff Device and Wireless Access Point Refresh

Staff iPads. Most of these will replace the iPad mini model. As of now, this project is 93% complete (205/221 deployed).

Staff MacBook replacements: As of now, this wave (year one of three) is about 70% complete (207 of 294 deployed).

Staff receiving a newer MacBook Air should also review the Tech Tools article that explains our rationale and criteria for dongle requests.

Wireless Access Points: Oldest models will be replaced district-wide (about 200). This will be done in two waves, the first wave will replace the older 3600 series model. That wave is started; 34 out of 95 (36%) done. The second wave will be selected 3700 series models and known network "gap" areas.

Currently Supported Operating Systems

Chromebook/ChromeOS: Version 79

macOS Catalina: Version 10.15.3

macOS Mojave: Version 10.14.6

iPadOS: Version 13.3.1

Windows: 10

Related Info

We have some older iPads (Mini and Air models) that do not support the most current iPad software. Those are expected to be retired in summer 2020.

Windows 7 PCs are currently being evaluated for upgrades or replacement. Many of these are still running older software without newer versions that work on Windows 10. Windows 7 machines are no longer receiving security updates from Microsoft, creating a vulnerability for the district. Technology is working with affected staff and departments to develop plans and work-arounds for those machines.

Tech Tools - Sign In To Adobe Spark

Seeing more usage of this lately; reminder of how sign-in works.

Central Duplicating FAQ

Submitting jobs electronically through WebCRD saves time for everyone!


Goals clip art.

Apple Classroom logo.

Background photo: Minnehaha creek, August 2019.