To: Michael Green
From: Steve Rippl
Date: April 22, 2021
RE: Tech Dept. Executive Summary
As part of the preparations for our secondary students returning, we’re re-arranging the layout of our middle and high school computer labs to accommodate full classes. Spreading everyone out as much as possible creates a few small problems, for example, the walkways between rows of computers get very tight. But it can be managed, and it’s a small price to pay for being able to have our students back in the buildings.
Last report I said that K-4 wouldn’t be 1:1 anymore after this year, but that has likely changed (more on that in my other report this month). So planning is now underway to backfill the 4th grade Chromebooks which will be going to the middle school and purchase more carts. Having around 3,000 Chromebooks in circulation now (between students and staff) means a pretty steady flow of repairs as random things happen to them. But we take care of these quickly in-house, with James, and now Jeff as well, being able to handle almost all types of repair themselves. GoGuardian, the company that provides our Chromebook filtering, also has a product to track Chromebook inventory, who it’s checked out to, and what repairs have been done on devices. We’re in the middle of moving our data across into there.
A large portion of our background work at the moment is around security. School districts and ESDs have been the targets of large scale cyber-attacks recently, generally seen as soft targets with sensitive data. In Woodland, we don’t run the most vulnerable kinds of services (Microsoft file and backup servers, Exchange servers, etc), and so we are in a better position than some already, but there is more we can do. Currently, we are focused on our practices within the tech department and improving everything we can there (things like further securing privileged accounts, not having more privileged accounts than absolutely necessary, running a centralized in-house password manager for our department, automating security patching of our Linux servers). Outside the department, a couple of years ago we began the process of enforcing 2-factor authentication for Google and our users with the most sensitive data (admin, nurses, SPED, tech). Now we’ll be expanding that out to all our certificated staff. And Travis is attending a couple of virtual training/conferences around security to get more information on best practices.