AV System Checkups

As part of our summer work list, we’ve been checking on the AV systems in classrooms. We’ve identified a number of them in need of repair. We’ve ordered parts and hope to have them working by the start of school.

This includes the classroom microphones. We’ve found some at the middle school that weren’t working and they have all been checked out and tested. The high school doesn’t have microphones in most rooms, but we are hoping to get them yet.

Emergency Paging System Status

Part of the recent phone system upgrade is the ability to page all the phones in the building from any phone in the building. The system will undergo final testing shortly, and will be ready to use after that.

To make a page, pick up a phone and dial the number for the paging system. It will answer and say “welcome…”. After that it will beep and you are talking to everyone through their phone. It will be like you are on a one-way speakerphone call. This was implemented for emergency situations, but will have use for regular communication as well.

This only works from district phones. Plans include connecting to the existing paging system so broadcasts will be heard more widely. Codes to access the system will be distributed once testing is complete.

Student Devices

The board approved moving forward with our device project at Monday’s meeting. Every student in grades 2,3,6, and 9 will have access to a device of some sort this year. This will expand the deployments from last year to include two-thirds of the district. Existing devices will be redistributed to accommodate grades not yet reached.

Elementary homerooms in 2nd and 3rd-grades will each have a cart of Chrome devices. Each 6th-grade core classroom at the middle school will also receive a cart of Chrome devices. We’re also providing devices for the 6th-grade special education rooms and the STEM program.

Students in 9th-grade will receive a Windows device, similar to last year. They will also receive a bag to carry the device in. As before, these students have the option of taking the device home each night.

The devices have been ordered and we’ll be prioritizing their preparation and deployment as they arrive.

Phone System Updates

The phone system’s long-awaited updates are getting underway. The vendor performing the work is getting started this week with the behind-the-scenes work. Sometime this fall, they will cut over to the new system. The effect on staff phones should be minimal, as the switch will take place during non work hours.

Along with the phone upgrades, we’ll have a new emergency notification platform and enhances to how 911 calls are handled.

Summer is Here

Summer has arrived. With it comes a bunch of projects related to district technology.

We are set to order new devices for grades 2,3,6, and 9. Existing high school devices will have their filter changed to a new product in response to issues we had with the previous one.

Elementary classrooms will get new microphones and the elementary gyms will get new projectors as well. The wireless projection pilot will continue as well.

District-wide projects include changes to student accounts and Google usernames. A major goal has been the consolidation of two email systems into one.

The usual summer work of cleaning and fixing things will continue as always.

Classroom Microphones

Due to a large number of failing devices, every elementary school classroom will receive a new microphone this summer. We have deployed several of these over the past year with positive results.

This new microphone is part of our strategy of replacing the technology in the towers with smaller, cheaper, and simpler to operate options. Ultimately, the goal is reducing the whole cabinet to a couple small items mounted out of the way. At that point, the cabinet would be unnecessary and could be removed entirely.

Getting Ready

Laptop cases The crew has been hard at work getting the new devices ready. We’re working through nearly 470 Chromebooks, 450 bags, and 17 carts.

Extensive planning has been carried out for the software on the 450 high school devices, which are due in the next couple weeks.

More work follows to get these devices ready to deploy. Logistics of deployment and training for students and staff are also in the works.

Carts unloaded from the truckBoxes of Chromebooks

Email Migration Update – 8-1-18

Phase one of the email migration project is underway. As of August 1st, approximately half of the mailboxes have been migrated. Once the remainder have migrated, we can initiate the cutover to the new server.

If you use the Outlook client, you should notice very little, if anything, different. It will also work from outside school.

If you use the web version, the URL will be changing. It will be updated on the district web site. Instructions will also be available to reconfigure your phone if you use it to check email.

Email Changes Coming

In the near future, the district email server will be migrated to a cloud-hosted solution. We’ll also be retiring the current spam filter.

What does this mean for you?

You will need to re-setup any phones or other apps you use to check your mail. You won’t get spam filter update messages anymore. You’ll find your spam in the spam folder and can recover messages from there. If you have a laptop, or otherwise have access to Outlook from home, you will be able to use that program there instead of logging in through the web site. The web version will be updated and look a little different, but is largely the same.

Phase two of the migration, to be completed a little later, is changing the Google accounts to remove the ‘apps’ in the username. This is a bit more complicated, but should be achievable this summer yet. Once complete, all sharing notices will appear in your regular Outlook inbox and outside users who share a document with you can use your harpercreek.net email address.

If you are unable to access your email after this process begins, check this website for updates. If you are still unable to log in, enter a helpdesk ticket and include alternate contact info so we can reach you.

Middle School and 1:1

We had a meeting at the middle school to discuss what 1:1 might look like there. The group came up with several points to consider. First was that it might make more sense to start at the high school and work from there if rolling out the whole district at once wasn’t possible. We are working up a plan where that could be possible.

Other concerns involved making sure procedures and policies were in place to keep the program running smoothly and making sure the labs could handle the class sizes until 1:1 was everywhere. Anyone with feedback is encouraged to share, as planning will continue over the summer in anticipation of a possible fall start to the program.