Tech Report

Date: January 20th, 2014
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary

Over the holiday break we successfully upgraded Microsoft Office on all our staff computers district wide and student machines in the business lab. Rose is now able to teach to the latest versions of Microsoft’s IT Academy training with her high school students. The deployment went very smoothly thanks to our recent (last summer) adoption of their System Center Configuration Management tool (SCCM).

We also made further changes to our network as we move towards our new phone system and our new high school campus. The need has arisen to segment the network more fully and push some services out to the edges to improve network utilization. Right now we’re working on establishing this for WIS as it will be a model for what will be effective for the new school. More work to be done, but we have a plan in place!

Finally over the break we made some improvements to Sips and began some tests around its future direction.

It’s great that the Ednetics phone bid has been accepted by the District. Our current system is under strain both in terms of wiring, hardware and its software, and having a modern system in place with the ability to integrate with other services will be excellent. As I mentioned already we’ve been planning our network configuration, and there are a couple of extra switches and some UPSs to purchase to make sure the system stays up for a while when the power goes out. I’m looking forward to working with Ednetics on this project.

Thoughts are turning towards online testing in the spring, and so right now we’re finalizing our testing of the software before deploying it across the district and letting folks try it out. We’ve run into a couple of snags which we’re working through now, and hopefully we’ll be ready by next week.

Lastly we’re experimenting with Google chromeboxes, small computers that attach to the back of a monitor and turn it into a desktop Google computer like a chromebook. It started as an experiment for our kitchen point of sale machines as they just use Skyward and so need a simple, fast and stable web terminal, which is basically what these Google appliances are. They really liked its very simple use in the high school kitchen and so we’re giving them to all the kitchens, and putting a few in the high school library for the students to try.