Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finance and Operations: Blue Ribbon Technology report

technology: Allen "as long as you're seated, you're prepared to hear some updated numbers on how much it would cost"
Walton: huge investment in technology last year: five year lease
by April, replaced all computers in district
33 schools have building-wide wireless; 14 schools do not (may have three to five access points)
approaching 10 years old; speed has increased to six times
wireless can't handle number of devices; wasn't built to handle that number of them
wireless for those that don't have it, plus bring schools that do have up to more dense coverage
$565,000 annually (on average)
dense coverage of 20 to 25 devices in every classroom citywide
also requires refreshing of technology; Worcester Tech, for example, is looking at that now
used to be nice, now is an expectation
have to have wireless first, plus decent capacity in district's capacity
question is do we want to do a district provided device, or a BYO device, or a combination?
what would be the standard device? Policy changes?
WPS have applied for $4.4 million
we have been approved for webhosting, telephone, and cellular
waiting for network and priority 2 parts, rewiring 23 buildings for improved wireless and basic maintenance
may not get priority 2
we can't rely on priority 2 funding
"there's some very good news in here"
School Committee acted quickly on technology intergration specialist, database trainer, network technician, plus funding of lease
student cellphone policy changed as recommended
still to be addressed on training and professional development
train the trainer model: two weeks of professional development for someone from each school, would be $142,000
also recommend adding additional staff: ideal world would have a technology person in each building ($3M annually)
educational technology liaison (as we have curricular liaisons)
5 network technicians & 7 computer technicians
recommendation to phase this in over 11 years: train the trainer, then add $142,000 (or so) per year
Foley: giving us a sense of the landscape out there
if we were going to fund technology at an appropriate level: given constraints of our budget, what can we do on here?
schools that don't have building-wide wireless are those that don't qualify for Erate due to lower percentage of free and reduced lunch meeting
Allen: FY15 budget report for meeting of Feb 6 will include
majority of communities still spending 120% of foundation budget
"what foundation budget dollars actually get you"
"what that actually yields in services to the school community"
Novick: priorities in hiring? computer technicians then network technicians
are any of our schools ready and willing to pilot a BYO device? Not convinced on one to one, but could be a tryout
Ramirez: support in place before train the trainer
Walton: we've gotten by for many years with refurbished computers
about three schools a week getting new computers
having new computers is going to make a real difference "instead of putting out fires"
be in a much better place technology-wise
using Discovery, YouTube for education, software, web-based email and other features
"maximizing the stuff that we already have"
Foley recommends referral to administration for budget

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