Tag Archives: Tech Integration

My Google Apps Presentation

Here is the outline of my Google Apps presentation for the VPA conference on May 11, 2010.

Why move to Google Apps?

  • FUD (and sometimes FUDD) Concerns
    • COPPA – “If you are using Google Docs within Google Apps Education Edition for your school domain, your school assumes the responsibility for complying with COPPA and the information that students submit. When offering online services to children under 13, schools must be cognizant of Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  COPPA is a regulation that requires parental consent for the online collection of information about users under 13.  Per the Google Apps Education Edition Agreement, any school administering Google Apps Education Edition acknowledges and agrees that it is solely responsible for compliance with COPPA, including, but not limited to, obtaining parental consent concerning collection of students’ personal information used in connection with the provisioning and use of the Services by the Customer and End Users. Parental consent and notification could take place in form of a permission slip granting use of Google Apps and/or other technology services at the school.”
    • FERPA – Google’s Privacy Policy
    • CIPA – A free message security service can make the system CIPA compliant.
    • Archiving – Google provides each user with over 7 GB of email storage.  A message discovery service is available for a fee.
    • Technology Schools Can Trust
  • The Case of Oregon
    • state-wide access to Google Apps for schools through the Oregon Virtual School District
    • Oregon negotiated a state-wide agreement with Google to address privacy and protection concerns for all of their schools
    • Accelerate Oregon – “a public-private partnership is dedicated to providing Oregon schools with the tools necessary to advance teaching and learning with Technology”
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Report of the Superintendent of Schools 2009

During the 2009 school year, new administrative job descriptions were adopted. This work culminated in the design and implementation of a superintendent evaluation process that will serve as a model for the evaluation of all administrative staff. The results of the superintendent evaluation were reduced down to specific organizational priorities. These priorities can be viewed on the BRSU website.

These priorities focus on strengthening our instructional systems, personalizing learning opportunities for students through the use of technology, and improving the efficiency of our operations. In terms of operational efficiency, the accounting services for the Manchester School District were shifted to the BRSU office in Sunderland. This change will save Manchester approximately $37,000 a year and will greatly enhance our financial reporting capabilities. The Mettawee School District transitioned their accounting services to the central office in 2008. Consolidating our back office operations saves money, streamlines audit processes, and provides greater oversight to board members and the public.

Another major structural change being implemented pertains to our early education programs. The supervisory union and its districts are navigating a new law, Act 62, which provides incentives for the expansion of early education programs. Based on these changes, we will be eliminating a full-time director position at the BRSU and some of the responsibilities for administering the school-based early education programs will be shifted to administrators in the schools.

We have made substantial progress in improving the efficiency of our operations, but there is still more work to be done in this area. Since 80% of our costs are attributed to personnel, our major strategy for achieving greater efficiency will be to seek opportunities to share personnel and services among our districts. I believe this points to the necessity for governance reform; our current structure of 9 districts and 10 boards is too cumbersome and inhibits our ability to respond to changing economic circumstances and declining student numbers. Governance reform is being considered at the state level, but our districts are not waiting for these decisions to be made in Montpelier. We are engaged in a serious review of our systems and will be organizing opportunities in the coming months for broad community input on this topic as our boards establish Ends policies.

Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), our districts have received additional federal “stimulus” funds. These funds have been received through federal formula programs and must be spent in accordance with the guidelines of these programs. We have received approximately $90,000 in Title I and $400,000 in IDEAB or special education. All of these funds are one-time funds and must be spent in two years. The Title I funds are being allocated to the three BRSU districts that are eligible to receive these funds (Currier, Mettawee, and Sunderland), and the IDEAB funds will be spent centrally to reduce the costs of our special education programs. Most likely we will use these funds to establish special education programs at the supervisory union level in order to reduce costs for sending students out of the district for these services. We will also be reviewing the transportation costs of these programs to see if it would be more cost effective to run our own transportation services.

In spite of these additional funds, all of our districts have struggled this year to adopt budgets that are both fiscally responsive and sensitive to student program needs. The majority of our districts, however, have been able to achieve decreases in their expenditure budgets which is no small accomplishment considering many of our fixed costs are increasing. We will need your continued involvement and support to ensure we can navigate these challenging economic circumstances while at the same time ensuring our children obtain a quality education. Thank you for your support.

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Technology and the Future of Education

The following notes were shared with BRSU boards as part of a presentation on understanding the implications of technology on education in September 2009.

Most people acknowledge that technology is having and will have a tremendous impact on education. This impact needs to be considered when developing plans for the future. I can categorize this impact in two areas: learning, and operations.



  • Digitization (information systems and record management) – huge opportunity
  • Flattening – fewer intervening layers between management and staff
  • Communication and collaboration across traditional organizational boundaries; increased stakeholder participation;
  • Potential for greater efficiencies and lower costs

“Death of Education, the Dawn of Learning”

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Amherst College Campus Electronics

BusinessWeek reports the following data gathered by Peter Schilling, the director of IT at Amherst College.  I wonder how these students got by in their public schools without access to these resources?  How did they learn this stuff if we didn’t teach it to them?  Hmmm . . .

  1. Percentage of first-year applicants who applied online in 2003: 33%.
  2. Percentage of applicants who did last year: 89%.
  3. Year that an incoming Amherst College class first created a Facebook group so that they could socialize and otherwise get to know each other prior to arriving on campus: 2006.
  4. By the end of August 2008 the total number of members and posts at the Amherst College Class of 2012 Facebook group: 432 members and 3,225 posts.
  5. Students in the class of 2012 who registered computers, IPhones, game consoles, etc. on the campus network by the end of the day on August 24th, the day they moved into their dorm rooms: 370 students registered 443 devices.
  6. Number of students in the class of 2012 who brought desktop computers to campus: 14.
  7. Number that brought iPhones/iTouches: 93.
  8. Likelihood that a student with an iPhone/iTouch is in the class of 2012: approximately 1 in 2.
  9. Total number of students on campus this year that have landline phone service: 5.
  10. Mac or PC? Of the four classes currently on campus the classes of 2009 and 2010 are more likely to own Windows, while the classes of 2011 and 2012 are more likely to own Macs.
  11. Total bandwidth to and from the Internet available on campus in September 2000: 3 megabits per second.
  12. Total bandwidth to and from the Internet available on campus today: 100 megabits per second for the Internet and 45 for Internet 2.
  13. Ratio of network bandwidth available per Ethernet port today to that which will be available when the current campus network upgrade is complete: 1 to 100.
  14. Percentage of College classrooms that have an LCD projector and a computer or laptop hookup: 85%.
  15. For students adding/dropping courses this semester, the number of requests for access to the electronic resources associated with courses: 564.
  16. The number of individual film titles in the College’s digital video streaming collection: 1,260.
  17. The number of times these films were watched last year: 20,662.
  18. Average number of emails received per day: 180,000.
  19. Percentage of email that arrives on campus that is spam: 94%.
  20. Percentage of storage space taken up by email, a system designed to send brief text messages, that is actually taken up the files attached to the emails: 95%.
  21. Ratio of the storage required for email and attachments for just the year 2007 to that of all of the preceding 5 years together: 1 to 1.
  22. Increase in the total number of College-owned computers in use on campus from 2005 to 2008: 413 for a 2008 total of 1,308.
  23. Total number of calls and emails to the IT Help Desk in 2007: 8,650.
  24. Average time required to close a help-desk ticket: 39 minutes.
  25. Based on the first 9 months of 2008, estimated percentage increase in help-desk tickets in 2008 over 2007: 11% (or 15.6 weeks of work for a staff member).
  26. Candidates for administrative and staff job openings who applied through the College’s web-based job applicant system in the first 10 months it was available: 4,037.
  27. Job applicants interviewed for 12 openings in IT in the last year who learned about our positions through postings in regional, national, or professional, publications, websites, or lists: 1.
  28. Estimated number of hours it would have taken to update the graphics, navigation, and organization of the 2005-2006 College web site (static HTML): 50,000.
  29. Hours it took to roll out the new web site in August 2008 (database-driven): 3.5.
  30. Total number of alumni who have logged in to the College web site: 7,354.
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