ITC Newsletter

May 2016

Phone System Replacement

Everything gets old and our existing phone system is really old. This summer we will be replacing the entire phone system, including the back-end servers/software that control the phones, and all the phone handsets across the district. The basic handset will be similar to the one in the picture here. For secretaries, administrators, and other users who currently have extended needs and features beyond a basic handset, they will be getting a new phone that looks a bit different.

The primary advantages to a full system replacement include:

  • Modernization of a system that is past industry standard 'end-of-life'.
  • Centrally and locally managed phone system back-end.
  • Full MESD/CTA system support.
  • Full server redundancy to ensure maximum possible up-time.
  • Enhanced and expanded features for all phones.

Here are some key highlights that should answer most of your immediate questions:

  • Your extension number will remain the same as it is now.
  • You will need to re-record your voicemail greeting and password when you get back from break.
  • All of the existing features on our current phones will be duplicated in the new system.
  • Any saved voicemails will go away and will not be transferred to the new system.
  • Documentation and short training videos will be available on the Help Desk site.
  • Phones will be replaced during the summer after most of the staff have gone to summer break.
  • District office, building offices, and other departments that are staffed through or most of the summer will be scheduled for replacement to ensure the least possible interruption and down time.

Elementary Chromebooks Are Coming!

Here's some exciting news for our elementary schools! In order to significantly expand access to computers for students, we will be adding three (3) full carts of Chromebooks at every elementary school for the fall. Each cart holds 36 chromebooks. This expands our student to computer ratio from 13:1 to 3:1.

Chromebook devices are easy to use, boot up in less than 10 seconds to the login screen, and the batteries last all day long before needing to be charged. The mobility of the carts will cut down on the transition time to the computer lab, turning each classroom into a connected technology space when the cart is in use. The additional advantages of the carts will be during testing season, greatly easing the tight testing schedule in a single lab. Chromebooks work almost flawlessly with EPLA21, OAKS, and the SBA.

Scheduling of the carts will be managed by each individual building. Carts will be delivered to the buildings during the summer and fully ready for use on the first day of school.

ERATE Network & Wireless Project Update

As reported in previous newsletters, we have been leveraging the new eRate federal funding for schools to modernize our wired and wireless infrastructure. Phase I began in January and is now mostly complete at CHS, CMS, PV, and BC. This work included new wiring by an electrician running Cat6 cable to the center of every classroom for the wireless access point and another Cat6 cable for the mounted projectors as well as new network switches in the closets.

Our application to USAC for phase II of the project has been submitted and now we are waiting for their approval. We are hoping that approval comes in time to begin phase II at the rest of the schools this summer and be completed before the next school year begins. Once complete we will have the fastest wireless access points on the market in every classroom and a wired/wireless network infrastructure that is no more than 2 years old district-wide.

MHCRC Grant Update

For the last 2 years we've been working with the MHCRC (Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission) on their TechSmart Grant to get more Chromebooks and Technology Coaches into our elementary schools. The process has had it's ups and downs. We have an 18 page grant draft written and a 3-year work plan as well. The grant process is currently been placed on hold by the grant administrator for MHCRC until July after our new Director of Student Learning and Interim Superintendent officially take over their respective positions.

We hope to be back on track and have more solid information to share with everyone on this in September. Stay tuned!

Tech Tip with Dennis Beaman

Faster and less obtrusive communication using Gmail Hangouts.

Need to get a message or question to another person in the district, but don’t want to interrupt a class? Just use the Hangouts option in Gmail. It’s in the lower-left corner of the gmail window. You can search for that staff person, and send them a quick message. The message will appear in that person’s gmail window, waiting for their response. No need to pick up the phone, or send an email. It’s very quick, and reliable, and even works when someone is outside of the district.

Spotlight Story: Google Classroom

Time to turn the cube and think about how technology can help provide ways for students to access content, It also provides for alternative ways to assess students.” ~Anne Haverkamp, Centennial High School.

Anne was a senior English teacher that piloted a paperless classroom last year with the use of google classroom. Anne says it was wonderful, the kids were so completely engaged in it, they were able to use pod cast and verbal blogs. She was able to stay in contact with each student as they were writing. She said it was so nice to see what they kids were doing and be able to ask questions as they go. She says it allows the students to be more creative and expressive. She really liked the fact she did not have to keep track of papers,” kids could not use the excuse I turned it in and you lost it.” She was able to grade papers anywhere and not have to worry about a broken back carrying them all around.

Ann says “you can’t be afraid of technology we just need to jump in and use it because it’s the only way to learn it.” Students use technology all the time so they are less resistant in learning. We just need more technology in the hands of teachers and staff.

MacBook Pro Upgrade Schedule

In order to extend the life of our licensed staff MacBook Pro's, we will be upgrading all of these devices at the elementary level during the summer. Due to the constraints of fiscal year purchasing, we cannot receive the parts necessary to perform the upgrades until or after July 1, 2016. That means elementary licensed staff will need to turn in their device and power cord as part of their end of the year check out process in the building. Your device will be upgraded and ready in your building for pick up when you return in August.

The upgrade includes a new Solid State Hard Drive and Memory upgrade to 8GB. Batteries will be upgraded on a needs basis. These upgrades provide a substantial increase in speed and operation of the device.

Important Summer Printing Information

May is the month to start thinking about your summer orders that you will need for the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year (what you need for September ONLY). This will be a very busy summer in our print shop because of the new Eureka Math curriculum adoption for the entire district. Don't hesitate to contact the print shop with any questions concerning summer order requests

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