Date: September 19th, 2012
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary
We had a busy summer as usual. The single biggest change has been the Skyward transition which has obviously impacted everyone. From our perspective we had a lot of data coming out of School Master and into various other systems, all automated, and we've had to translate that to Skyward. As is the case for most people I'm sure, we had our initial frustrations but it's all settling down now, and no doubt this will prove to be a superior system overall.
We had our usual classroom shuffles, a few new interactive whiteboards go in, along with various staff and student computer upgrades. We've given the High School English department new netbooks, slightly larger at 11.6", and took the old ones over to the Primary School to act as a second mobile cart there. This allowed us to remove some of their very oldest classroom computers that just weren't working with our systems any more. The 100 computers we received from Camas just before the summer all went out to replace the oldest student computers around the District as well.
The High School also got their new Digital Arts computer lab with significant contributions from the Middle School as Michael Smith offers that class to both schools. They're making great use of our thin clients to access the centralized server with Photoshop on it, and soon HS English classes will be able to make use of that lab when Michael isn't in there.
Many of our server applications were upgraded to their respective latest versions, perhaps the most significant or widespread being our Linux based thin clients. They've moved to the next LTS or "Long Term Support" version which has changed how our thin clients both look (to the students) and function in the background. Certain changes mean we've been able to take several servers out of production because we can now run more clients per server without affecting performance, a very positive step. Despite an initial double take from some people because of the new looking interface we've been very happy with how the new system is performing.
A fair amount of work went into Sips over the summer and just as school started up again, updating assessments, more reports so that folks had access to the data they're collecting and also solidifying the alternative program documenting system (contact logs, learning plans, interventions) for LRA. TEAM are about to jump on board with that same system we've developed for LRA, and the Middle School seems poised to make use of all the data from the Intermediate School as they begin to develop their own CAST and BIT/GIT processes.
Overall it's actually been a very successful start to the new year for us!