Technology Director Report
Date: January 19th, 2016
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Technology Department Executive Summary
Over the holidays we took advantage of the time to get into rooms and do some of those things that are harder to squeeze in during the regular school year, like deploying new student Chromeboxes to all the middle school science rooms, setting up display TVs for the middle school offices and moving a mounted projector and the teacher’s desk setup in the primary school (both of these with the help of our maintenance department), and the usual network upgrades and adjustments that require slight downtime. We had to ensure that all our Chromebooks were sufficiently updated to be able to run the State testing software. Usually they update themselves, but those few Chromebooks at the bottom of a cart that don’t often get used can fall behind and get stuck on an old version requiring us to manually force them to update. Fortunately Google's reporting tools for managed devices are very good and so we had an accurate list of which laptops we needed to round up over the break.
A new component of the online testing is the new ELL ELPA21 test, fortunately the state has contracted with the same vendor as for the SBA tests and so it’s all happening through the same secure browser. This means there’s nothing to do for our Windows and thin client student computers, but the Chromebooks do require a new version of the secure browser. This proved problematic at first, it simply wouldn’t install in our environment, but with direct help from AIR (the company the state contracts the tests from) we just resolved the problem.
We have two new Chromecarts that we are preparing, one for the Intermediate School and one for the Middle School, which will give them 3 and 4 carts each respectively, essentially one per grade level. We’re also currently pushing out some new staff computers and adding more RAM to others to ensure our staff machines remain healthy and responsive.
Finally over the break we finished moving ourselves into our new location in the woodshop and adjoining classroom. It’s great to have all that storage space outside of our actual office giving us more room to move around (especially important for James), things often got quite cramped in our old portable.