2017-18 Beginning of the Year Parent/Guardian Technology Update

We want to welcome back to the 2017-2018 School Year! Below is information from the district’s technology department that recaps some of the work/accomplishments from last year and offers a preview of the projects and initiatives that are scheduled for the year ahead.

We look forward to the upcoming year with you and your students!

Year Three of the Technology Plan

On June 13, 2017, the Board of Education approved the third year of the district’s current technology plan, which will be implemented this fall. The goals and strategies for this portion of the plan were developed with the help of our Technology Advisory Committee. They were also based on feedback provided by our students, faculty and staff during focus groups that were held at each of our buildings this spring. You can access some of the key takeaways from these focus groups by clicking here.  

The primary updates/changes for next year include:

  • A refresh of the 1:1 student devices and the first and second grade shared devices. The elementary devices will be refreshed with the new full-sized iPad, while the middle school devices will be refreshed with a Chromebook. These decisions were based on input we received during the focus groups described above, as well as on answers from students and staff to the following questions throughout the year:

    • What do we want students to know and be able to do?

    • What ways do we want students to demonstrate their learning?  

  • A refresh of the devices for all teacher assistants. The teacher assistant devices will mirror the ones being used by their students – i.e., middle school teacher assistants will have Chromebooks and elementary school teacher assistants will have iPads.  

Thanks to a variety of savings, revenue increases and donations, the total impact of the third year of the technology plan on the district’s budget will only be $24,131.

iLearn 1:1 Deployment Schedule (grades three to eight only)

Similar to last year, the technology department will handle the deployment/distribution of student devices for all 10 of our buildings. Below is the schedule that has been reviewed and approved by all of the building principals.  

  • Monday, August 28 - Julian

  • Tuesday, August 29 - Brooks

  • Wednesday, August 30 - Beye

  • Wednesday, August 30 - Hatch

  • Wednesday, August 30 - Holmes

  • Thursday, August 31 - Lincoln

  • Thursday, August 31 - Longfellow

  • Friday, September 1 - Mann

  • Friday, September 1 - Whittier

  • Friday, September 1 - Irving

Instructional Technology - 2017-2018  

We use a variety of technological tools and resources in our schools to enhance the skills, abilities and knowledge of our students, and prepare them to be adaptable and innovative in their learning. They help support the 4C’s framework that focuses on communicating, collaborating, creating and critical thinking. They also help us attain the ISTE standards, which were recently adapted to meet the ever changing expectations we have for our students and better prepare them to be college and career ready. Here is a video that provides examples of the types of experiences we strive for our students in D97.

Securly - Cloud Based Device Filtering

We will continue using Securly this year to help us manage our Cloud-based filtering to all student devices when they are being used outside of the district’s network. As a result, students will need their Google username and password to access the Internet or any Internet-based app when using their district device on a non-district network. For example, if students need to work in Google docs via a wifi connection while outside the district, they will need to go to Safari first. From there, they will be prompted to log in to Securly with their Google username and password. They will need to type in their entire email address, including the @students.op97.org. This information can be found in PowerSchool. Once they do this, they will be able to use Safari or any Internet-based apps on that network for a 24-hour period. After that 24 hours elapses, they will need to log in again through Safari to regain access to the network. They will also need to complete the login process if they switch to another non-district network. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Partnership with Oak Park Public Library

Our access to the databases that are managed by the Oak Park Public Library (OPPL) will be changing for the 2017-2018 school year. All students, faculty and staff who want to use the databases must have a library card that is issued by the Oak Park Public Library. Both the card number and a PIN number will need to be entered whenever people utilize this resource. Here is a link to information from the OPPL regarding all of the services and resources that will be available to our students via these databases

We are partnering with the OPPL on the creation and distribution of library cards for students who want/need them. As part of this process, we asked families via InfoSnap to let us know if they wanted us to provide OPPL with information that could be used to create library cards for their children, if they already had a card or if they chose not to share their information. Any children whose family authorized us to share their information with the library will receive their cards at school in the next few weeks.

Ongoing Two-Way Communication

The district’s Technology Advisory Committee, which was referenced above, will continue its work during the 2017-2018 school year. Last year, we collected feedback from students, staff and families in a variety of ways, including surveys, classroom visits and focus groups. This year, we plan to host additional focus groups with our students and staff, and will be adding sessions for families. We will provide details about the focus groups and updates on the work of the committee as soon as that information is available.

District Acceptable Use Policy and Reminder of App/Program Practice

On the first day of school, every student will be asked to bring home the district’s acceptable use form. These forms, which will be delivered to buildings prior to the first day of school, will need to be reviewed, signed and turned back into the school. Students in grades three through eight will not receive their district-issued iPad Mini until they turn in their form, which can be accessed by clicking here. Students in kindergarten through second grade should not be using any technology that require accounts until a signed AUP form has been returned. The form for students in kindergarten through second grade can be accessed by clicking here. We also cannot create any new student accounts until we have confirmation that these forms have been returned in accordance with the law, more specifically FERPA and COPPA.  

Canvas

This is the fourth year our middle school students, staff and families have leveraged Canvas as a learning management system for all of the course work. The system has helped enhance the quality and consistency of our communication regarding assignments, course information and grading. Here is a link to an FAQ regarding Canvas, and here is a link to the step-by-step directions for creating a “Parent Observer” account to link to your student(s).