Tech Report

Date: March 16, 2010
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary

Our change over to a new anti-virus software (Kasperky) has been successful and relatively pain free! I say this because it's no small thing to change anti-virus software on a Windows platform, the software deliberately "digs in", making it hard to remove fully enough for a new application to install cleanly. There was still quite a bit to be done as approximately 1/3 of the Staff machines didn't switch over cleanly, but Steve Brown very methodically moved through them (from the comfort of his office chair) and got things to where they should be. In fact Steve has taken the lead on this whole project, setting up the central maintenance server, doing the testing and seeing through the roll-out.

We had a slight scare at the end of last week when John Shoup handed us the CD for High School testing accommodations saying it wasn't working, and every machine we put it in confirmed that! With testing starting on Tuesday we contacted OSPI to find out that this was in fact the situation for everyone, so a new, very labor intensive work-around was developed. We had to set up each student machine individually (not how we work usually, we have policies and scripts that push things out to computers automatically), but by Tuesday the guys had the fix in place.

Speaking of John, he popped into our office earlier the previous week and wondered if Travis wanted to help him teach the C++ course next year. John teaches a programming course every other year and has used Pascal as his language of choice, but now wants to change to the much more relevant and applicable C++. Travis has programming experience (it's part of what he does here), and so John asked if he'd support him in the class, which I'm very supportive of!

Sips (our Student Information and Progress System) is getting a work out right now with the Primary School preparing for the Spring report cards. It had been on one of our older servers as usage had been spread out, but I was just forced to move it on to better hardware so that it would remain responsive with a whole building using it at once. It's now taken it's rightful place on one of our newer Virtual Servers and is running very well. We're also in the midst of doing the Kindergarten registration through it, over 50 people so far have registered via our on-line form. The next stop here is to finalize the importing of the data into School Master to try and save the secretaries some considerable time and effort.

Lastly I'm grateful that our Tech plan was approved by the Board this month. The process of writing it was certainly helpful in forming where we need to be in the future with regard to technology use, and the help and support that our teachers need to get there. Now, for a while, the work will be in implementing it, which I'll be discussing with Principals this week. I'm heartened by the Board's positive responses to where we are and where we need to be with technology integration in our students education, and appreciate their concerns for the challenges involved.