Date: May 18, 2010
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary
As I write this we are three quarters of the way through the online MSP testing and things have gone very well. The Math tests have functioned flawlessly on both our Linux and Windows systems, while the Reading test caused a few (minor) issues on both. We are using our Linux Netbooks from the High School English mobile cart through the wireless and that has worked without any problems as well. It has been quite a sight to see 90 kids testing on computers in the Library at once! We've had up to 175 students testing online at any one time across the school so far, which involved putting quite a few additional computers in place. The laptops from USNR have come in very handy already! I want to hand it to the both our Techs and the Middle School staff for working together very well in setting all this up and seeing it through.
On the Google Apps front we are preparing to swap out our public website calendars for Google based ones. They offer more functionality from the administrative perspective in terms of complex recurring events, ease of editing etc., and from an end-user (parent) perspective they offer the ability to subscribe to them. This means parents could connect to the District, School and/or class calendars from within their own email/calendar client at home (whether it's Outlook, iCal or even Googles if they use Gmail) and see our events right on their own calendar! Whenever we update or change events they would automatically change in their calendar. We'll be making the switch over the summer and advertising this new feature in September. If you want a preview of what it looks like Jodi Bretin has already moved her Middle School Facilities calendar over (http://www.woodlandschools.org/index.php?q=node/865)
So now we are well into planning for the summer, deciding what to upgrade, getting Staff to enter those helpdesk tickets now before the end of August when we'll be swamped as always. I'm trying to organize some training in the new Microsoft Windows 7/Server 2008 environment for some of the guys so they can update their skills from XP/Server 2003. We've had many years of relative stability from Microsoft but it is time to look forwards. We've already got one or two Windows 7 computers out there for testing purposes, and from next year that will probably become the norm for new machines, at least on the Staff side. In the mean time we have quite a bit of work to do to ensure that all our Network infrastructure and techniques work correctly for the new operating systems. We'll probably be updating our Domain controllers (the main servers that handle all the Districts authentication) over the summer, which will be a little nerve-wracking!