This month the focus has been on staff training. At the end of October, we ran a tech training for our paras as part of the State’s new requirements for them. This was a great opportunity to go over some of the basics in how we use technology here, and a chance for our paras to get their questions answered. I think it was well received.
Now we’re putting on three additional trainings that are open to all staff, still focusing on some basics, but broader and deeper than the general training in October. We’ve just had one on Google Drive and Docs, a technology we use so widely within the District that we’re trying to ensure that everyone has the confidence and ability to use it efficiently. This week we’ll have a training aimed at our teachers and paras on Google Classroom, the web based course management system that our high school makes heavy use of. And then after Thanksgiving, we’ll have a session on some other web-based tools that are available to us, LucidPress, desktop publishing software for newsletters and other publications, and Screencastify, a great little tool for making screen recordings.
We’re planning our E-rate expenditure for next year. E-rate is a Federal program that supports schools with their Internet connection costs, networking equipment, and sometimes certain networking services such as Internet filtering. The FCC, which oversees this program, hasn’t released this years rules yet so we’re still slightly in the dark as to what is eligible and what the available funds are, but the usual application window is coming up so we’re still preparing and will adjust once rules are finalized. Just last year, amongst other things, we used this funding to bring all our wireless access points up-to-date and get sufficient wireless into Columbia Elementary for the reconfiguration. Funding permitting, this year the main focus will be to update the controllers that act to configure and manage those access points.