School board presented with new technology plan

The South Kitsap School District’s last technology plan expired June 30, 2013. But during the June 4 meeting, the school board was presented a new plan for the upcoming school year.

The South Kitsap School District’s last technology plan expired June 30, 2013. But during the June 4 meeting, the school board was presented a new plan for the upcoming school year.

It is scheduled for discussion again at the June 18 meeting.

Superintendent Michelle Reid said she has met with Derry Lyons, director of Information Technology Services, several times in preparing a new Technology Plan for the district.

Lyons said, during a presentation to the board, the district’s last technology plan expired June 30, 2013, and that the Teaching, Learning and Technology Committee disbanded in Spring 2012.

Lyons said the Career and Technical Education (CTE) General Advisory Committee has made several recommendations which will be included into the 2014-15 planning efforts.

“Just because there hasn’t been a plan doesn’t mean we haven’t been working on objectives as we go forward,” Lyons said.

He said Information Technology Services’ goals are to support computer refresh, network expansion, data systems and efficiencies.

Lyons noted to the board that schools have had high-speed Internet, but this summer will upgrade the bandwidth with sufficient five-year capacity approved by the board in February.

“We are staying ahead of the curve as far as capacity,” he said. “We’re making sure we have adequate capacity, not just for online testing, but for daily use by the teaching staff.”

Concerning Wi-Fi at all schools, Lyons said when classes begin in September, most schools will have campus-wide wireless, but a few will not and others will not have sufficient capacity.

On allowing staff and students to bring their own devices to school, Lyons said, from an IT standpoint, they have the capacity to go beyond the network and wireless is open to staff and students.

“It boils down to a school-based electronic policy,” Lyons said. “Will they allow personal devices in classrooms or not? That is a classroom management question.”

Summer and future projects

Under the plan, Lyon stated during the summer, his department will work on:

• Upgrading the central server and email to provide secure and reliable service.

• Upgrading the district-wide network to improve speed while lowering monthly costs.

• Replacing or augmenting approximately 600 student computers and mobile devices, some 8- to 10-years-old, which includes second-handed computers and laptops.

• The Elementary Keyboarding Task Force will finish its evaluation and make a recommendation to elementary principals on the core skills, benchmarks and tools for effective K-6 keyboarding plan.

• Support the district’s Peason Math adoption with online services including student logins, teacher rosters, electronic texts and support materials.

• Support other district departments including human resources, special education, food services and CTE, and enhanced security and password management.

• Partner with Community Relations to restructure district’s website.

• Begin cataloging and estimating capital needs in preparation for possible levy proposal.

The district is receiving 400 second-hand computers from the Issaquah School District, but SKSD will purchase laptops to support online testing and upgrades to the CTE and high-school computer labs, according to Lyons

Lyons said during the next school year, several projects — many in conjunction with the Technology Advisory Committee — will begin. They include evaluating resources to replace the ESD Media Cooperative for the 2015-16 school year, support preparation for Smart Balanced testing and endeavors of English/Language Arts Task Force.

Long-term planning

During the long-term plan presentation by Lyons, he noted a new Technology Advisory Committee will build on the experience of the former Teaching, Learning and Technology Committee. It will embody an ad hoc structure.

There also will be “cabinet sponsors” that will be comprised of Lyons, Sara Hatfield, director of Career and Technical Education, and Shannon Thompson, director of Teaching and Learning. The sponsors may convene the ad hoc subgroups for discussion and planning. They also will represent the team’s goals and make recommendations to cabinet and leadership teams.

In addition to sponsors, a core team will include community members and students. The group will be set up to provide consistency through planning efforts.

“The organic nature of the meeting will allow for open participation from any stakeholders,” Lyons said.

Board President Chris Lemke said the plan was a step forward.

Reid said the Technology Plan is not a three- or five-year plan.

“It’s a 2014-15 technology plan and the bones to move forward,” said Reid.