Tech Report

Date: June 18th, 2014
To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Subject: Tech Dept. Executive Summary


In this final week of school we’re planning for our summer work schedule.  One of the largest pieces is bringing Microsoft’s SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) online. This will provide us modern tools for Windows deployment, application management and security and we’ll be able to let go of our current anti-virus subscription. There will be the usual round of software upgrades to various services we’re running, and we’re purchasing a new virtual server to add to our existing cluster, in part to accommodate SCCM. The other big software infrastructure piece is moving to a new version of our Linux thin-client system, something we upgrade every two years; and this is the year!

There will be some modest upgrades of staff computers. We have done a lot of that in the past couple of years. And staff computers are generally in good shape now, but we have to keep up the momentum in order not to fall behind there.  Student computers are also in good shape overall. We’ll be upgrading a bit of hardware here and there, and providing some teachers with the extra computers they’ve requested; but again, fairly modest changes.  We also have a few rooms to rearrange/move. For example, the Intermediate School wants it’s drop-in lab moved to the library (I believe they are turning the existing space into a rec room?).

Wall-mounted short-throw projectors are very popular with staff. Installing one allows you to remove the projector and cables cluttering up the front of the room, and get it all out the way. Our new high school will have them in every classroom. In our existing buildings, we’re upgrading to these very slowly, as they are expensive. We are prioritizing things like art and science rooms first; so, this summer we’ll add one to the art room in the Intermediate School.

Hopefully, later in the summer we’ll have contractors proceeding with the wiring upgrades in the all the schools. This should really make a big difference. We’ll have new high quality cabling in place for an eventual IP based phone system, for staff computers and the ability to place wireless access points centrally, to create much broader wifi coverage across all buildings.

We’ll also be looking at upgrading the wireless bridge to KWRL. We don’t have a hard-wired link to the KWRL offices and so they have been served by an older Cisco ‘g’ wireless bridge. This has been very reliable, but is starting to not be enough bandwidth so we’re exploring replacing it with their newer ‘n’ version.

We have some improvements/feature requests for our website and for Sips planned this summer, as well as completing a new tool specifically for tracking math assessment data. Policy-wise I’ll be exploring both how we deal with our data on mobile devices (both our own devices and people personal ones), and what it might look like to allow students to borrow mobile devices from us for school work. Hopefully, you’ll hear more about that in the Fall.