To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Date: September 18, 2019
RE: Tech Dept. Executive Summary
As always it’s been a busy start to the year for us, but the wheels are turning and for the major part everybody has what they need to teach our students. With the large amount of tech we have out there, we still have a fair number of small problems we’re mopping up, but we’re getting through that pretty promptly. Overall, when we consider the elementary school reconfigurations and the high school 1:1 rollout, things have gone very smoothly. This is in large part because of the very positive collaboration with building leadership and staff, their planning and foresight.
Our high school digital learning initiative seems to have been well received by staff and students, and hopefully parents! I’ve heard positive feedback both about the high school’s rollout of the devices, and about how it’s being utilized in class, and outside it. The combination of our Google Classroom use and students having access where and when they need it seems to be paying off. We had a very positive staff training day in August around digital learning to help our teachers build on the work they had already started in previous years.
And invisible to most people are the myriad upgrades, improvements and new stuff we were able to achieve over the summer. Most of the district got wireless network upgrades, most significantly at Columbia Elementary. It had the weakest wireless network going into the summer and is now on par with all our other buildings. Its portables were also re-wired for data and wireless as part of the reconfiguration and bringing more of those rooms back into general use. The fiber connecting CES and KWRL back to the center of our network (and Internet connection) in the middle school was modernized. The old thin client infrastructure that we’d been using as low-cost student terminals has now been completely retired, having been supplanted by our various Google devices. A number of staff computers and student were refreshed, new wall mounted projectors went up, and bulbs replaced in existing ones that were fading. Columbia Elementary got four extra carts of Chromebooks, made up of older models we were not wanting to use for the high school 1:1 but that still had some life in them!
This and various other upgrades, moves, and shuffles were all greatly helped by the extra staff help we had again this summer, that really makes a great deal of difference to our ability to get all this done in a relatively short amount of time (the summer never feels long enough for us!).