Technology Services News Updates

November 16, 2010

Windows 7 Comes to Northside!
Communications Arts High School became the first campus in the District to receive new computers (nearly 340 of them) with the Windows 7 operating system last month. Technology Services worked closely with the CAHS teachers and administration on this pilot project, which was deemed a success by all involved. Both before, during and after the deployment, focus groups addressed functionality and usability of the new operating system, application testing to ensure that instructional and operational software worked correctly, desktop security, infrastructure components, computer performance, and training materials.

The District is transitioning to Windows 7 from Windows XP largely because Microsoft will be ending support for the older operating system, and also because compatible hardware drivers for XP are becoming less and less available. As added benefits, Windows 7 makes our computers start up faster and makes teacher-laptop/docking more seamless.

Bond 2010 includes $940,000 for Windows 7 licenses for older eligible computers, while new computers are now purchased with Windows 7. Due to the success of the CAHS project, Windows 7 will next be deployed at Westwood Terrace, Raba, Neff, Powell, Cable, HCHS, Rudder, Krueger, Stevens, Clark, Marshall, Jay, Lieck, and Mireles.

September 20, 2010

Updates for NISD Department Directors
Read the latest updates for departments about IE 8, Wake-On-LAN, Office 2007 and more.


June 30, 2010

Critical Network Upgrades Completed
This past weekend, Infrastructure Services staff successfully completed a highly complex months-long project that resulted in the replacement of four core network switches at our primary Data Center, along with the replacement of two firewalls. Core switches are the heart of the network, connecting all facilities and ensuring that students and staff have high-speed, balanced connectivity to network resources and the Internet. Firewalls protect network resources from unauthorized users and keep NISD data safe and secure.

This project was funded by the 2007 Technology Bond Program and was much needed due to aging worn out equipment.

Results of 8th Grade Technology Literacy Assessment
In accordance with District goals, and the Texas STaR Chart/NCLB reporting requirements, Northside ISD once again administered the annual online Technology Literacy Assessment at all middle schools. Over 6,115 eighth graders were tested during the month of May. This year, 79% of students met or exceeded the proficiency scale score of 220. This student proficiency rate is an increase of 6% over last year’s results. We are still awaiting state and national results, but believe NISD students will compare favorably with those. More information about the assessment, including individual campus results, is attached. Each campus received detailed performance data for their campus and for each individual student.

Results of Voluntary Teacher Technology Literacy Assessment
All middle school principals were offered an opportunity in February 2010 to volunteer their teachers to participate in a Teacher Technology Assessment pilot. Three campuses volunteered: Vale, Jones, and Neff.
Overall, 218 teachers completed the assessment. 88% of the teachers met or exceeded the proficiency exam score of 300. Of these, 23% scored at the “Advanced” level, 65% at the “Proficient” level, 11% at the “Basic” level, and 1% at the “Below Basic” level. All three campuses achieved an individual campus rating of “Proficient.” More information about the assessment is attached. Each campus received detailed performance data for their campus and for each individual teacher.


June 17, 2010

eCamp 2010: Hiking to New Heights
Northside's seventh annual summer technology conference, eCamp 2010, was held last week at Stevens High School. Attendance increased by 28% this year! Northside teachers, librarians, counselors, and administrators were able to select from a rich menu of 123 workshops, provided by CITs, Technology Services staff, and NISD teachers. Over the three-day period, approximately 2,094 session participants learned more about how to use technology to differentiate instruction and engage students in learning.

Digital Media Fair 2010 Showcases Winning Projects!
The 8th Annual Digital Media Fair attracted 1,090 outstanding student entries from 49 campuses this year. Nearly 600 students received trophies and medals to recognize their creation of digital media products connected to school subject matter at this month’s Digi Awards ceremonies. In addition to the traditional categories derived from Technology Applications TEKS such as Desktop Publishing, Digital Graphics, Video Production, Multimedia, and Web Publishing, a Web 2.0 category and wikis and blogs were also included. In addition to student and classroom awards, Campus Sweepstakes trophies were presented to high-achieving campuses. Powell Elementary School won the Sweepstakes trophy for Grades K-2, while Rhodes Elementary School won the Sweepstakes trophy for Grades 3-5. At the Secondary level, Jordan Middle School and Stevens High School won Sweepstakes trophies for Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12, respectively. Brian Woods, Betsy Wynn, Kelly Smith, and Joyce Stevens were on hand to present the awards and congratulate the K-12 "Digi" winners!


June 8, 2010

Re-purposing Older Computers at Deployment Time
Historically, campuses have been permitted to repurpose an unlimited number of older computers at deployment time as long as they had a reasonable plan for their use.

RECOMMENDATION APPROVED BY CABINET, 6/8/10:
Beginning with deployments in summer 2010, campuses may only repurpose a finite number of computers on the network.
The finite number will be: no more than the number of classrooms + 5 (less than this is fine).
With this rule in place, each campus can take advantage of wired connectivity capacity (as space and need allow) and still have significantly more computers than they've ever had before due to UPDATED Technology Bond Standards. As always, only computers within their support life cycle can be put on the network; others may be used in stand-alone fashion (i.e. not on the network).

RATIONALE:
1. UPDATED Technology Bond Standards will result in significantly more new computers for campuses than ever before. (See attached summary.)
2. The cost of repurposing older computers is significant (hundreds of thousands of dollars annually).
3. The performance of 5-6 year old computers is lacking when compared to newer computers (slow, cannot run newer software, etc.), but their parts can often be put to good use.
4. Each classroom is potentially pre-wired/cabled for five network devices.
5. Each classroom will have four network devices (1 phone, 1 teacher workstation, 2 student workstations) according to the UPDATED standard, so there is capacity for one more device per classroom. However, please note that it is not a requirement to add another computer to each classroom if it does not meet campus needs.


April 29, 2010

Server Virtualization Project will “Serve” NISD well now and in the Future
We recently purchased 17 servers in order to implement the first phase of the Server Virtualization Project in our two Data Centers. This project is vitally important as NISD continues to grow in student enrollment, numbers of schools, numbers of computers, and numbers of new software applications for instructional and operational use.

Server Virtualization is a method of dividing a single server so that it acts like multiple unique servers, each running their own operating systems and software programs. The Server Virtualization Project will help NISD:

  • Save energy by reducing electrical power and cooling consumption in the Data Centers
  • Reduce the need for more and more physical space over time by consolidating servers where possible
  • More efficiently utilize resources of the servers that are implemented, such as taking full advantage of processing power and hard drive space that might otherwise be under-utilized
  • Allow us to “catch up” with server hardware lifecycles by reducing the need to continually buy new servers to replace obsolete servers
  • Reduce costs for campuses and departments when implementing server-based software. For example, space on a virtual server in one of our Data Centers can cost as little as $2,000 instead of the usual $4 - $9,000 for a physical server to host a single software application.
  • Improve redundancy without always purchasing additional hardware, so that software applications and services on the network are available to users without interruption
  • Bring applications “up” more quickly in the event of a natural disaster (i.e. Disaster Recovery)
  • Provide scalable Data Centers that will grow with NISD

This project is funded by Bond 2007 Technology Infrastructure line items.


April 12, 2010

2008-2011 Technology Plan Annual Update
In accordance with federal and state requirements, the previously approved NISD 2008-2011 Technology Plan was recently reviewed and updated in the TEA ePlan System. The original plan included a total of 46 strategies (i.e. activities), 39 of which have been completed to date, to be concluded by the end of the third year of the plan in June 2011. A brief summary of this year’s annual review and update is attached.


April 8, 2010

eSchool News Touts Northside ISD!
eSchool News, a nationally published educational technology news magazine, featured Northside ISD's classroom digital projector project in an article entitled, "Expanding school district gets a boost in interactive technology." This 3.5 year project, funded by Bond 2007, is scheduled to be complete in November 2010.


April 5, 2010

10 Quick Updates
As always, there's a lot going on in Technology Services! This is definitely news you can use on topics such as the IE 8 upgrade, data warehouse status, eCamp, Digital Media Fair and more.


March 29, 2010

District-wide Community Notification System Coming in August!
As reported in BoardTalk, we will be purchasing a District-wide Community Notification System (CNS)! SchoolMessenger CommSuite is the name of the product. Attached is information presented to the Board last week about the system. This web-based system will replace any and all current notification/callout systems that campuses currently use. To that end, you should not / need not pay for continued maintenance and support on your existing callout system (if you have one).

The next steps for this project are:
1. Sign a contract
2. Kickoff meeting with the vendor to prepare for implementation
3. Small pilot TBD (C.O. level messaging, possibly a campus or two, maybe summer school)
4. Initial training at Administrator Institute


March 22, 2010

NISD WiFi + Personal Laptops = Learning Opportunities
As of this school year, all middle and high school students have been allowed to bring personal laptops to school and connect to the District's wireless public network (called NISD WiFi). Students may access a wide variety of educational digital resources on the Internet for learning and class work via NISD WiFi. NISD WiFi is also available for guest speakers, mentors, visitors, and others, as well as employees. The use of NISD WiFi has grown steadily since the beginning of the school year, as shown in the attached chart.

The bring-your-own-laptop concept takes some getting used to for both teachers and students! The attached two documents (Student Laptop Tips, Connection Directions) are examples of some of the help provided to teachers to facilitate best practices for NISD WiFi in the classroom. It is anticipated that NISD WiFi will become increasingly popular as teachers and students become more accustomed to its use in the classroom.

Many school districts are interested in following NISD's lead in implementing a public WiFi and allowing students to bring personal laptops. NISD technology staff recently presented information on this topic at state conferences and hosted on-site visits from several school districts wanting to learn more about this initiative.


February 12, 2010

Winter Q.U.A.D. (Quality, Usable, Accurate Data) Conference
The Winter Q.U.A.D. Conference, held February 2-4, attracted 570 session participants from across the District! Presenters provided 19 workshops focusing on student attendance, budget and finance topics, grade reporting, Special Education Management System data, discipline data and more.

Q.U.A.D., offered four times per year, is a continuing effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of data in student and administrative information systems that guide decision-making. The audience for Q.U.A.D. training includes attendance secretaries, registrars, data processors/grade reporting secretaries, counseling secretaries, and others. Administrators are welcome as well. The next Q.U.A.D. Conference is scheduled for May 4-6, 2010. For more information, visit http://intranet.northside.isd.tenet.edu/class/quad_workshops.php (intranet only).

5-Digit Dialing
When NISD initially implemented a new telephone system in 2003-2004, the dialing plan was configured to allow for 4-Digit dialing for calls placed from an NISD phone number to another NISD number (397-XXXX). Because of our growth, we no longer have enough available numbers to assign to new campuses using a 397 prefix. Beginning in spring, 2010, we will implement 398 -XXXX numbers and a 5-Digit dialing model in preparation for the opening of Brennan HS, Briscoe MS, Martin ES, Behlau ES, and Henderson ES.

To minimize the impact of this change, a “phase-out/in” approach will be used to implement the new intra-NISD dialing scheme. Beginning on March 22, 2010 (Monday after Spring Break), both 4-Digit and 5-Digit dialing will be possible. The change requires phone system reconfiguration which will be done during Spring Break. A deadline of May 31, 2010 is the date when 5-Digit dialing will be required and 4-Digit dialing will no longer function. This will provide a 10-week “phase-in” period for District users to acclimate to using 5-Digit dialing. This change will NOT impact classroom extensions because classroom extension numbers cannot be called directly from outside the campus.


January 8, 2010

2009-2010 Parent Connection Participation as of January 5, 2010
Now in its fifth year, Parent Connection remains a very popular online tool. There are currently 67,842 Parent Connection accounts (not counting the eight special schools) representing our approximately 91,000 students. This equates to a 75% participation rate!

The schools with the top ten participation rates at this time are:
1. Stinson MS
2. Rawlinson MS
3. Health Careers HS
4. Jones MS
5. Jefferson MS
6. Warren HS
7. Brandeis HS
8. Stevenson MS
9. Hobby MS
10. Marshall HS

Parent Connection allows parents to review their child's current grades, assignments, attendance data, and longitudinal academic data (school enrollment, courses, absences, grades, TAKS results, current year discipline data, etc.), as well as e-mail teachers and make cafeteria payments, on the Internet. All Parent Connection users must create a new account each school year and are able to access only the data that pertains to their own child. Students may also create their own accounts.

Parents without Internet access at home or work are invited to use their school’s library computers to access Parent Connection. Some schools offer parent classes in the evenings on the use of Parent Connection.


October 20, 2009

Educational Technology Stimulus Funds to Benefit NISD
We recently completed the application and budget submission process required to receive additional Title II Part D stimulus funds. The purpose of Title II Part D is to enhance student achievement and education through the use of technology. We expect to receive $369,604 in this round of funding. The money will be used primarily to replace obsolete computers in the International Language Labs at Taft, Marshall, and Clark and to provide staff development and support for the implementation of the Middle School Technology Applications curriculum TEKS. A detailed spending plan will be shared on the NISD Stimulus Funds website.

iPods in the Classroom
A new initiative this year is to rotate four mobile carts with 40 iPods each to all-level classrooms, providing staff development and support for teacher-created lessons and best practices for student use. The first stop for one of the carts was Holmes High School, where teachers and students alike have enthusiastically embraced this technology! A video clip recently aired on their morning video announcements showing the iPods being used in an Algebra I classroom.

Technology Committee
The Board Technology Committee met on October 15. The recent Data Center study and related recommendations were discussed, as well as a recommendation for a new Data Warehouse.


October 9, 2009

NISD Tech Beat Mini-Conference
Technology Services is hosting a half-day Fall Technology Mini-Conference for NISD teachers, librarians, and administrators. The event will be held at Warren High School, Saturday, November 14th, 8:30 - 11:45 a.m. Ten different 1.5-hour sessions will be offered, each of them repeated, for a total of 20 sessions. The program is attached. Pre-registration is through the NISD Electronic Registration Online (ERO) system.


September 17, 2009

NISD Technology in the News

The Texas School Business Alliance, which highlights the successes and best practices of school districts, school campuses and administrators in Texas, has recognized Northside ISD for innovative technology initiatives. See http://www.texasschoolbusiness.com/www/docs/10.1394/northside-isd-allows-student-laptops.html for the article.

Univision-San Antonio recently highlighted the instructional use of ceiling-mounted projectors in NISD classrooms. See http://www.univision.com/video/buscar.jhtml?query=%22Projectores%20contribuyen%20a%20la%20educacion%22%20#p for the video (in Spanish).

The KLRN Education Newsletter recently highlighted NISD's use of Apple iPods in Education, in tandem with the Discovery United Streaming product. See the article at http://www.klrn.org/Learning/Newsletter/sept2009.html .


September 4, 2009

NISD Student Connection
The NISD Student Connection site (www.nisd.net/students ) is now live! There are links to the site from the NISD home page and from the NISD Flu Updates page. The purpose of Student Connection is to provide students with access to online curricular resources and tools, as well as other important information. If you have suggestions for additional information that would be appropriate for Student Connection, please let us know!


August 12, 2009

Student Logins (secondary only)
Due to long-standing popular demand from middle and high school campuses, we are pleased to announce that secondary students will now be required to log in to campus computers using a unique ID and password! This will go into effect the first day of school at “AD” (Active Directory) campuses, only. (If you are a Novell campus, nothing will change until you migrate to AD.)

Very important points for campuses to know:

  • The generic student/no-password network account will no longer exist. However, we will provide an alternative means for guests to log in.
  • The speedy return of student AUP forms is imperative, as this is what triggers a student’s network account creation! We have developed a new form/badge scanning method to speed up the data entry of AUP permissions into Region 20.
  • A student’s ID and password will be the same that he/she has used in the past for student storage/sFiles. This will also be the same credentials they use for NISD WiFi if they bring a personal laptop to school.

Benefits of student logins:

  • Provides relief from malicious student-to-student file tampering
  • Provides ability to track inappropriate use (as well as all computer activity) by individual student account
  • Provides better control over students who have not signed an AUP agreement (or whose parents do not want them to use computers
  • Provides secure network file storage in a Home Directory (H: Drive) for students, just as employees experience. This is more efficient and easier / faster to use that web-based student storage/sFiles (which will still be available for students to use from home)
  • Mirrors “real life”: prepares students for the workplace / college and provides opportunities to teach digital citizenship

August 7, 2009

Students May Bring Personal Laptops to School
Middle and high school students may bring personal laptops to school this fall. There's a nice news story on this at http://www.nisd.net/news/articles/664/en .

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • The handbook and Student AUP specifically say "laptop" ...no smart phones, iPhones, iTouch iPods, etc. allowed during the school day per District Board Policy. Other names for laptops that would be fine are "notebook" and "netbook." Basically, it comes down to size - not something that fits in a pocket, not something that has keys on which you poke instead of type, etc.!
  • Students will log in to NISD WiFi with the same ID and password as they have used in the past for Student Storage/sFiles. Remember, though, that a student will not have an account created in the system until he/she has returned a parent-signed AUP form AND permission has been entered into Region 20!
  • NISD WiFi is secure and provides the same filtered Internet access as students experience when using District-provided computers. For example, sites such as YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, gaming and entertainment sites, etc. are blocked for students, whether using a personal laptop or a District computer.
  • Technology Services will provide a one-page instruction sheet for students and staff on how to connect their personal laptops to the NISD WiFi.
  • Laptops connected to the NISD WiFi cannot access District printers. So, for example, a student would need to save his/her file on a flash drive and then use a District computer in order to print at school.
  • Your CIT is a great resource to help teachers and students use laptops for learning! They will have recommendations for online curricular resources and free Web-based applications that could be accessed from any laptop.

July 29, 2009

Technology Presentations
Technology Services' staff were delighted to offer six presentations at Administrator Institute this week. These are all posted on our website at http://www.nisd.net/technology/press.htm and provide lots of great information. The topics are:

  • Classroom 2.0: Connect, Collaborate, Create, and Communicate
  • E-Mail Overload: Stop the Madness!
  • Internet Filtering in NISD: Who, Why, What, How and When
  • The INTERNET: Friend, Foe, or Both?
  • RSS Technology
  • R-TIME: Understanding the Technology Purchase Process

July 17, 2009

Report on NISD iPod Initiative
One year ago Technology Services purchased a mobile cart of 20 iPods for the Special Schools iPod Initiative. What has been accomplished since then is extremely unique - not just the iPods themselves, but using them with this particular population of students. We plan to replicate the “special schools” iPod model for all schools in 2009-2010. We anticipate that this initiative will be very popular with both teachers and students! A full report is attached.

Results of 8th Grade Technology Literacy Assessment
In accordance with District goals and the new Texas STaR Chart/NCLB reporting requirements, Northside ISD expanded its online Technology Literacy Assessment this year to include all middle schools. Over 5,600 eighth graders were tested during the month of May. The results show an NISD average student proficiency rate of 73%, indicating the percent of students who met or exceeded the proficiency scale score of 220. More information about the assessment, including individual campus results, is attached.


June 12, 2009

eCamp 2009: Technology - True Adventure!
Northside's sixth annual summer technology conference, eCamp 2009, was held last week at Stevens High School. Northside teachers, librarians, counselors, and administrators were able to select from a rich menu of 118 workshops, provided by CITs, Technology Services staff, and NISD teachers. Over the three-day period, approximately 1,638 session participants learned more about how to use technology to differentiate instruction and engage students in learning.


June 2, 2009

Digital Media Fair 2009 Sets New Records!
This year's Digital Media Fair set records in both the number of campuses represented and the number of submissions received. 1,200 student entries from 74 campuses were received. This year, for the first time, a Web-based project upload allowed for online project submission, rather than delivery of hand-labeled media. In addition to the traditional categories derived from Technology Applications TEKS such as Desktop Publishing, Digital Graphics, Video Production, Multimedia, and Web Publishing, a new Web 2.0 category was also included. In addition to student and classroom awards, Campus Sweepstakes trophies were presented to high-achieving campuses. Grades K-2 trophies were presented to Lawrence Powell Elementary and Frances M. Rhodes Elementary. Rhodes also won the Sweepstakes trophy for Grades 3-5. At the Secondary level, Ed Rawlinson Middle School was recognized, along with John Paul Stevens High School. Dr. John Folks, Kelly Smith, and Joyce Stevens were on hand both evenings to present the awards and congratulate the K-12 "Digi" winners!

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce third quarter 2008-09 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and notification to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


April 29, 2009

eCamp 2009
It's time for NISD employees to gather around the "Cyper-Campfire" once again and join us for eCamp 2009, June 9 - 11 at Stevens High School! eCamp is Northside’s annual summer technology conference. There are 118 sessions that include various technology applications and ways to integrate technology into the content areas. Our goal is to offer staff development sessions that teach how to use technology in order to facilitate experiences that maximize student learning, creativity, and innovation - preparing students for success in the digital age. All sessions provide teacher choice and CPE credit and several have been designated for GT credit. Registration begins May 1. Session information can be found on the NISD intranet.

Digital Media Fair
Judging for the 2008-09 Digital Media Fair is now complete! The prestigious seventh annual "Digi Awards" will be held on May 20 (elementary) and May 21 (secondary) at Warren High School at 6:00 p.m. Students from across the District and across all grade levels will be recognized for their work in 90 different categories, connected to school studies and learning. Student projects are judged on their content, originality, purpose, age-appropriate complexity, graphic design, technical quality, copyright compliance, and grammar and spelling (if applicable). Trophies and medals will be awarded to recognize and celebrate students' work in the creation of digital media products (video animation, digital graphics, web publishing, desktop publishing, etc.). See http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/mediafair for more information.


April 20, 2009

2008-2011 Technology Plan Update
In accordance with federal and state requirements, the previously approved NISD 2008-2011 Technology Plan was recently updated in the TEA ePlan System. A brief summary of the updates follows.

The status of ten strategies was changed from “planned” or “in progress” to “complete.” These strategies relate to the completion of the:

  • SIRSI library management system upgrade, including Federated Search
  • middle school Technology Literacy Assessment pilot
  • NISD WiFi to use personal laptops to access the Internet (all employees, Brandeis and Vale student pilot)
  • expanded use of webinars across the district for virtual meetings and staff development
  • R-TIME process and electronic system for new technology evaluations and acquisitions
  • middle school and special school Integrated Security Management System
  • 8e6 system and differentiated Internet filtering
  • acquisition of an Enterprise Content Management System
  • wireless network at all facilities for all network services (employees)
  • VoIP hardware and software upgrade

The status of eight strategies was changed from “planned” to “in progress.” These strategies relate to the on-going work of the:

  • exploration of an enterprise callout systems
  • acquisition/implementation of a campus visitor management system
  • exploration of a vehicle tracking system
  • pre-acquisition planning for a new Student Information System
  • implementation of synchronized passwords
  • upgrade of the Wide Area Network (5 core switches) and Data Center servers
  • installation of servers for new instructional & operational apps, including online curriculum
  • cabling/wiring, MDF/IDF campus upgrades to support re-purposed computers and other additional technology

As this is a three year plan with two years remaining, several other strategies in the Plan continue to remain in the “in progress” phase.


March 27, 2009

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce second quarter 2008-09 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and notification to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


March 26, 2009

Telephone System Upgrade
After several months of planning, the District’s VoIP (Voice over IP) telephone system was successfully upgraded over spring break. The result is a much more efficient and robust system that provides better performance, reliability, and security. Although the majority of the VoIP system is “behind the scenes” (servers, software, etc.) and transparent to users, this upgrade definitely provides a better level of service for all concerned. Kudos to Technology Services' staff members Michael Back and Everett Lewis for leading this upgrade effort, which was extremely complex and took a lot of research, skill, and work to complete! A summer upgrade of the voicemail portion of the system is planned, which will also result in enhanced performance, functionality, and reliability for users.


March 23, 2009

R-TIME Statistics
There are currently 1,622 items on the R-TIME approved Software list, 1,092 items on the approved Hardware list, and 1,229 items on the approved non-technology Supplementary Instructional Materials (SIM) list. These lists enable staff to go ahead and originate a P.O. (in compliance with Purchasing Department policy) without having to wait.

In the 21 work weeks since R-TIME launched, there have been 875 new requests for technology and instructional materials evaluation. This averages 8.4 per day or 42 per week.

  • 79% (897) of these new request were for technology (421 for software, 266 for hardware) and 21% (188) were for non-technology instructional materials.
  • 74% (647) of them have been decided thus far (75% approved, 25% denied), taking an average time of 19.5 days for a final decision. Category details are as follows:
Category Completed Requests Average Days Approved Disapprove
Hardware 199 19.06 114 85
Software 298 26.82 223 75
SIMs 150 12.55 150 0


Campus response to the R-TIME process and system has been very positive.


February 25, 2009

"Laptops for Educators" Update

Instead of desktop computers, educators at Brandeis HS, Vale MS, and Forester ES received:
* wireless laptop computers, with secure wireless printing
* classroom docking stations (provides battery recharging, connectivity to wired network and ceiling-mounted projector)
* accessories (external numeric keypad, laptop bag, cable lock)

This pilot has been continually evaluated since August, to determine whether or not to expand the model to other schools. The pilot was not without challenges! Campuses were very unhappy for the first 2 ½ months, but things gradually improved over time (e.g., software installations, training/acclimation, wireless, AD network environment, cable locks, etc.). All three campuses are currently very satisfied overall, as indicated by preliminary survey data, attached.

We have met with the principals of all four schools that will open this summer, as well as the principals of the two high schools that will be receiving a technology replacement this summer. We discussed the topic again in Cabinet yesterday, and the consensus at this time is that we would like to go forward with laptops at Warren HS, O’Connor HS, Garcia MS, Hoffmann ES, Kuentz ES, Langley ES this summer.

We will make some needed adjustments in deployment processes and equipment, based on lessons learned in the pilot. We are very happy and excited to be able to go in this direction!


February 24, 2009

NISD Launches SchoolCentral Notification System Pilot

The SchoolCentral notification system enables the District and four pilot campuses (Beard, Brauchle, Rawlinson, Stevens) to send short, quick messages via cell phone text messages and/or e-mail to parents, community members, and students who voluntarily subscribe via an online self-registration process. Each end-user may subscribe/unsubscribe to one or many “groups” and manages his or her own account. There is no cost for the District and campuses. There is also no cost for parents and other end-users who register; however, standard messaging/other charges may apply and are dependent upon the individual end-user’s cell phone service plan.

The system provides District-wide groups to which end-users may subscribe (e.g.. Emergency Alerts, Academic Alerts, and Activity/Event Reminders). Only 3-4 C.O. staff members have the ability/authority to send messages to the subscribers of these groups. Each pilot campus is able to create its own groups (e.g. schoolwide, football, PTA, Honor Society, band, Mrs. Smith’s 4th Grade Class), managed by appropriate staff. Administrators/authorized staff can send a notification by logging in to the website or directly from their own cell phone. Groups can be public or private, but most are public.

After a “soft launch” on January 23, there are already over 780 users and 71 groups in the system. NISD will begin sending out District-wide messages in March. This pilot will be assessed on an on-going basis; other campuses may be added at a later date.

See www.nisd.net or Parent Connection for more information.


January 30, 2009

Update on Brandeis High School Library Initiative
From wireless Internet access to comfortable furniture, the Brandeis High School Library is becoming the kind of place
where students want to “gather and hang out” - even outside of normal school hours! Nearly 980 students - an average
of 82 per week - have visited the library between 4:30 and 8:00 p.m. during the last 12 weeks. Students enjoy Movie
Classics nights, snacks, Scrabble, framed student art work and much more as they collaborate, study, learn, and socialize
during the library's expanded hours. Library staff, led by Librarian Jennifer Langford, is on hand to work and visit with the
students, assess their needs, and gather ideas to improve service.

The attached document provides some "after-hours" statistics. Also provided is a sample flyer about a recent Movie
Classics event. Students and community members have been encouraged to take advantage of the library's resources
and activities during the evening via morning announcements, the school website, flyers, the school marquee, and face-to-face
face during class visits. A new cafe is scheduled to open the first week of February and many more activities are in the
planning stages for the spring.

This library model will be evaluated throughout the school year and, if successful, could possibly be replicated at other
high school campuses in the future.


January 23, 2009

R-TIME Statistics
There are currently 1,514 items on the R-TIME approved Software list, 1,069 items on the approved Hardware list, and 1,166 items on the approved Supplementary Instructional Materials (SIM) list. These lists enable staff to go ahead and originate a P.O. (in compliance with Purchasing Department policy) without having to wait.

In the 13 work weeks since R-TIME launched, there have been 591 new requests for technology and instructional materials evaluation. This averages 9 per day or 45 per week.

  • 80% (470) of these new request were for technology (293 for software, 177 for hardware) and 20% (121) were for non-technology instructional materials.
  • 64% (381) of them have been decided thus far (72% approved, 28% denied), taking an average time of 12.5 days for a final decision. Category details are as follows:
Category Completed Requests Average Days Approved Disapprove
Hardware 119 14.02 65 54
Software 175 15.04 122 53
SIMs 87 9.00 87 0


Campus response to the R-TIME process and system has been very positive.

Equipment from eInstruction
This past fall CITs and teachers were invited to participate in a promotional program from eInstruction called "I Want a
Clicker!" eInstruction encouraged campuses to host a demonstration of their popular Classroom Performance System
(CPS) clicker system. In exchange, eInstruction gave the campus a 32-unit clicker system absolutely FREE - a $1,995
value! Northside responded to the promo in a huge way, with 32 campuses hosting a demo and receiving a free system.
eInstruction's CPS is an interactive assessment tool used in the classroom consisting of software, student response pads,
and a wireless receiver. Students use the response pads to answer questions that are created and personalized by the
teacher. The system captures student response data in real time, while engaging students in the learning process and
providing instant assessment results and trends.

Revised Projector Installation Schedule
A newly revised Projector Installation Schedule is posted at http://www.nisd.net/technology/projector_schedule.pdf .
Some adjustments were necessary due to streamlined efficiencies and workforce ebbs and flows.

Revised Deployment and AD Migration Schedule
A newly revised Deployment and AD Migration Schedule, through December 2010, is posted at http://www.nisd.net/technology/AD_Schedule.pdf. Some adjustments were necessary due to technical difficulties and the desire to develop to process improvements.

December 19, 2008

Employee Recognition Program
As part of the department’s Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce first quarter
2008-09 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at
www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology
Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and notification to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet,
Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


December 3, 2008

District Wireless Deployment Complete!
The District wireless deployment is now complete! Kudos to Technology staff - including Ernest Vasquez, Joe Delgadillo, Michael Bohler, and George Ortiz - and Facilities staff for their efforts in making this project a success. Northside ISD is the largest school district in the nation to go completely wireless. Internet coverage and NISD network access is available throughout all campuses, including classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and outdoor common areas to support a wide variety of instructional and administrative applications. This deployment has also made possible our NISD Wi-Fi initiative, whereby staff (if they want to or need to) can now use their PERSONAL laptops at work to access the filtered Internet and Web-based applications (e.g., CMS, gradebook, Lotus Notes Web, R20 iTCCS "from home" connection, SEMS, ERO, online research databases, etc.). NISD Wi-Fi is also being piloted for students at Brandeis High School and Vale Middle School.


October 10, 2008

Survey of Online Learning Programs in Texas
The Legislative Budget Board staff is developing a report on the new Texas virtual school network administered by the Texas Education Agency and other organizations. We were recently asked to provide the legislature with information on this topic, as it pertains to NISD, by completing a Survey of Online Learning Programs in Texas.


October 8, 2008

Parent Connect Usage
After the first six weeks of school, there are 36,466 Parent Connection users. This number will continue to grow significantly. Attached is a report, by campus, of Parent Connection usage. Campus administrators, also, are able view how many Parent Connection accounts there are for their school and how many users have logged in to Parent Connection in the previous 10 days. We know that some schools (e.g., Carlos Coon, Powell) are conducting hands-on classes for parents in the evenings on Parent Connection. Parents who do not have computer access at home or in their workplace are invited to use the computers in the school library to check Parent Connection.


September 25, 2008

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce fourth quarter 2007-08 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and notification to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


September 15, 2008

Fall Q.U.A.D. (Quality, Usable, Accurate Data)
In a continuing effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of data in student and administrative information systems that guide decision-making, Technology Services is once again coordinating Q.U.A.D. workshops. The Fall Q.U.A.D. Conference, held the week of September 8, attracted 407 session participants. We provided 27 sessions focusing on attendance issues, receiving and transferring student records, Leaver procedures, Special Education Management System data, discipline data, the TREx (Texas Records Exchange) system, and Cognos reports. The audience for Q.U.A.D. training includes attendance secretaries, registrars, data processors/grade reporting secretaries, counseling secretaries, and others. Administrators are welcome as well. The next QUAD Conference is scheduled for January 13, 14, and 15, 2009.


September 10, 2008

Texas Education Agency's 2008 Survey of Districts’ Readiness for Online Testing
The District and each of 102 campuses recently completed an online survey intended to determine the feasibility and cost of converting the state assessment program to a computer-based format (i.e., online TAKS, online EOC, etc.). Participation in the survey was mandatory for all Texas school districts and charter schools as a legislative requirement of Senate Bill 1031. A report to the legislature concerning the results of this survey will be provided by TEA to the Texas Legislature by December 1, 2008.

Rapid reporting was the original vision (and largest perceived advantage) of online state testing, but this has not come to fruition thus far. We anticipate astronomical costs for equipment purchases and staff needs to support online testing. For example, assuming a 2-week online testing window, we estimate it would cost the District $31.6 million in equipment, software, support personnel, and training to support 100% online state testing by the 2011-2012 school year. Overall, we do NOT perceive that the advantages of online state testing will outweigh the challenges for the District.

We also shared the following points with regard to moving to an all-online state testing program:
a. We need significantly increased state funding to provide computer access for students (1-to-1 or 2-to-1) to support online testing.
b. Online testing causes a loss of instructional technology/computer resources for students (i.e., the labs are unavailable for anything but testing for many days/weeks).
c. We would like to see a more aligned collaborative effort at the state level between testing staff and technology staff to facilitate implementation, training, communication, product testing, etc.
d. High-end computers must be utilized to accommodate the latest test client software, players/plugins, etc.; continual need to upgrade the testing software due to new releases from the vendor is very time and effort intensive.


August 15, 2008

Parent Connection Update
Campuses are again promoting the popular NISD Parent Connection web site, including the following updates:
  • Parent Connection opened for account self-registration on Monday, August 11. Grades and attendance,
    however, will not be available for parents until Tuesday, September 2. This will allow time for secondary schedules to
    stabilize and for teachers to enter some grades.
  • NEW: Current-year discipline data will be available for parents at all schools. This data will NOT be visible to
    teachers, but can be seen by administrators.
  • NEW: Online cafeteria payments will be available for parents at 30 schools in August, with more to follow as the
    new cafeteria point-of-sale system is expanded to more schools. Additional information on this topic can be found on the
    Parent Connection website.
  • A parent help guide, in both English and Spanish, is available on the Parent Connection login page.
  • News and information especially for parents is added to Parent Connection throughout the year, so parents are
    encouraged to review the site often.
In addition to this update, two helpful documents were provided for principals to use: “Parent Connection FAQ for
Administrators“ and “What Teachers and Staff Need to Know.” Also, there is a report in the gradebook for administrators
to view how many Parent Connection accounts there are for their particular school and how many users have logged in to
Parent Connection over the previous 10 days.

July 18, 2008

New Reporting Requirements Regarding Technology Literacy Skills
Attached is a memo from TEA outlining new reporting requirements for NCLB Title II Part D related to the assessment of technology literacy skills for students and staff. We plan to complete a stakeholder review and update of the NISD Employee Technology Competencies, then explore assessment options to satisfy NCLB requirements in the coming months.


June 17, 2008

16% Attendance Increase as NISD Staff Gathers 'Round the eCamp 2008 Digital Campfire!
Northside's fifth annual summer technology conference, eCamp 2008, was held last week at Stevens High School. Northside teachers, librarians, counselors, and administrators were able to select from a rich menu of 130 workshops, provided by CITs, Technology Services staff, and NISD teachers. Over the three-day period, approximately 2,546 session participants learned more about how to use technology to differentiate instruction and engage students in learning.

Campus Participation Up by 32% at Digital Media Fair 2008!
More than 800 Northside students, representing 66 campuses, were recently cheered on by family, friends, and teachers as they accepted their awards at the sixth annual "Digi Awards!" Over 1,089 exemplary entries were received this year. Students from across the District and across all grade levels were eligible to submit work in nearly 100 different categories, recognizing and celebrating their work in the creation of digital media products (video animation, digital graphics, web publishing, desktop publishing, etc.) connected to school studies and learning. Student projects were judged on their content, originality, purpose, age-appropriate complexity, graphic design, technical quality, copyright compliance, and grammar and spelling (if applicable). Dr. John Folks, Dr. Linda Mora, Kelly Smith, and Joyce Stevens were on hand to present medals and trophies and to congratulate the happy winners.


May 29, 2008

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce third quarter 2007-08 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


April 18, 2008

eCamp 2008 Program
All Northside ISD employees are invited to gather 'round the "cyber campfire" at eCamp 2008, to be held
June 9-11 at Stevens High School! This District-wide summer technology conference will include professional
development sessions for all knowledge-level computer users. Over 145 sessions will be offered during this three day
event. 38 sessions have already filled up after the first week of registration! For more information and to register, please follow the eCamp link on the NISD intranet


April 9, 2008

District Technology Plan Approved by TEA
We have received notice that our 2008-2011 Technology Plan has been approved by the Texas Education Agency. This is excellent news, since approval is required in order to receive technology-related federal funds (E-Rate, Title II Part D, etc.) under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

Our plan is consistent with the goals of the NISD Strategic Plan, the Technology Bond Program, the Texas Long-Range Plan for Technology, NCLB, and the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support (i.e. E-Rate) Program. The plan underwent a regional peer review and approval by ESC Region 20 prior to being reviewed and approved by TEA.

Software Inventories / Audits (in conjunction with Technology Bond Deployments and Active Directory Migration)
Periodic software inventories / audits are essential when it comes to following the letter of the law and software licensing agreements. Technology Services is conducting software inventories / audits in conjunction with Campus Technology Bond Deployments and the Active Directory (AD) Migration. As predicted (and understandable), this change can cause consternation for users if they feel that they are "losing software" and do not understand the legal rationale and ramifications. Information on this topic has been shared with Cabinet, Principals, and campus staff. Detailed information is also published on our web site at http://www.nisd.net/technology/projects.htm .


April 4, 2008

Technology Literacy Assessment Pilot
Eighth grade students at Jordan Middle School have been selected to participate in the Texas Education Agency’s new online Technology Literacy Assessment Pilot. The online assessment takes approximately 50 minutes to complete and will measure students’ technology proficiencies in accordance with the Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and the No Child Left Behind Goals for Enhancing Education Through Technology.

Although Jordan is the only Northside campus included in the state’s pilot, we hope to be able to administer the same online assessment to students at other interested middle school campuses through a local initiative. Utilizing a common assessment will help campuses and districts improve how the Technology Applications curriculum is taught in middle school, guide professional development efforts, strengthen efforts to purposefully infuse technology into the curriculum, and better individualize instruction for all students.


March 25, 2008

Digital Media Fair Coming Soon!
Mark your calendars: This year's annual "Digi Awards" will be held at Warren High School on May 21 (elementary) and May 22 (secondary). The program begins at 6:00 PM, with refreshments following the ceremony. Trophies and medals will be awarded in nearly 100 different categories to Northside students, recognizing and celebrating their work in the creation of digital media products connected to school studies and learning. Student projects may be submitted January 22, 2008 through April 1, 2008. Visit http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/mediafair for more information.


March 7, 2008

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce second quarter 2007-08 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!


February 19, 2008

Web-based Textbook Management System Will Help Campuses
Administrators at Marshall, Rawlinson, and Hatchett are currently testing a new online textbook management system that is expected to launch district-wide in the fall. The system, TIPWeb from Hayes Software, includes a number of features and reports that streamline textbook management for both campuses and the District Textbook Office. For example, campuses can see their textbook inventories online and order textbooks as needed, based on student enrollment and other factors. The system streamlines shipping and receiving operations so that textbooks can get into the hands of students faster. Secondary campuses have the capability to check textbooks in and out more efficiently, using a handheld scanner and barcodes that are placed on each textbook. Knowing what textbooks are still outstanding in a timelier manner at the end of the year will enable campuses to improve collections for lost textbooks.

Training for campus administrators and their administrative support personnel on the use of the new system is planned for May and August, as well as throughout the year as needed. The new system, including servers and software, was funded by an Improvement Package approved by the Board last spring.


January 11, 2008

Technology Committee Meeting
The Technology Committee met on Thursday morning this week and the attached information packet was discussed. There is lots of excitement and some positive media attention already regarding #1 and #2!

1. Technology Changes for Brandeis High School, Vale Middle School, and Forester Elementary School
2.
Personal Laptops on the District’s Wireless Network
3.
NISD 2008-2011 Technology Plan (Draft)

Anytime, Anywhere Information
Northside students, teachers, and families district-wide logged 4,049,731hits to Britannica Online School Edition in 2007. This represents an average of 337,477 pages accessed per month. This great resource, just one of many online database collections provided in Northside, includes full text articles, web links, videos, images, learning materials and teacher resources. Visit http://library.nisd.net/Library/Resources/Online%20Databases.htm for more information about other district-wide online databases for research and information acquisition purposes.

December 14, 2007

Technology Committee Agenda
Attached is the agenda for the Technology Committee meeting on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in the Superintendent’s Office.

CMS Usage High
Teachers’ use of the Curriculum Management System (CMS) to access student data and instructional resources remains strong! Even with time off for the Thanksgiving break, teachers visited the site 30,738 times in November and collectively spent 5,297 hours using this powerful resource. The following table provides usage data by campus level:

CMS November Usage Data
# of Visits
# of Hours
High School Total
11,338
2,092
Middle School Total
9,984
1,728
Elementary School Total
8,997
1,378
Special School Total
417
100
TOTALS
30,736
5,297


December 7, 2007

Employee Recognition Program
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce first quarter 2007-08 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet, Directors, and Principals. Congratulations to all!

Parents to See More Information Online
We are excited to be able to pilot two new components in NISD’s popular Parent Connection: student discipline data and online cafeteria payments. The student discipline component will be piloted with parents of students at Clark, Rawlinson and Locke Hill beginning January 22. Online cafeteria payments will soon follow, beginning with NISD employees who are parents of students at Jefferson, Galm, Holmes, Jones, and Meadow Village. Parents will be receiving letters in the mail soon with additional details.


November 2, 2007

Interested in Taking Technology Classes?
Technology Training & Development provides nearly 50 free classes each semester for general employee audiences. Trustees are also welcome to join in the learning and fun! Friendly instructors offer everything from beginning word processing to advanced graphics and animation, with everything in between. Review the schedule at http://www.nisd.net/technology/training/courses/index.htm#training to find classes that suit your needs and interests. You may call Elizabeth Langer (397-8119) or Sandy Roe (397-8666) to reserve your spot in any of these classes.

Projects-at-a-Glance
A new addition to the Technology Services web site is a Projects-at-a-Glance document. This document provides a high-level view of current projects and will be updated whenever adjustments are made to projected timelines or new projects are added. Check it out at http://www.nisd.net/technology/project_glance.pdf .


September 7, 2007

Parent Connection Provides New Features
Over the summer, several enhancements were made to Northside’s Parent Connection (www.nisd.net/parentconnection) to make the web site even more convenient for users. For example:

  • Parents now have the ability to access the records of multiple children through one single login.
  • Parents can set up email and text message “triggers” so that they will be notified if a grade falls below a particular level, or their child has excessive absences or tardies.
  • Direct teacher email links are now provided.
  • More than one account can be set up for a single student so that, for example, a mother, father, and student can have their own unique views and triggers.
  • Parents can now directly access Northside’s Curriculum Management System (CMS) without having to log in separately. The Curriculum Management System contains students’ current and historical academic records, longitudinal enrollment information, and test data.

Parent Connection is a great way for parents to stay on top of their child’s daily progress. Many times, the parent can intervene before little problems become big problems since they can access grade and attendance information so quickly. We encourage all parents to use Parent Connection, day or night, at their convenience, to stay informed.


August 24, 2007

Topic at CAHS Retreat
Kelly Smith and Joyce Stevens were the featured speakers last Friday at the Communications Arts High School faculty retreat. Their topic was Growing Up in the Light: Meeting the Challenges of Gifted Students with Technology. You may be interested in viewing their presentation (intranet only, at http://intranet.northside.isd.tenet.edu/InstructionalTech/CAHS2/CAHS1.ppt ), as it contains nearly 20 examples of NISD high school student work (blogs, videos, podcasts, interactive animations, etc.). The ideas and concepts presented and discussed apply not only to gifted students, but really to all 21st century learners.

A few of the student products are in a format that may require you to download the Shockwave browser plugin at http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi? .


June 8, 2007

eCamp 2007 : NISD Staff Gathers 'Round the Digital Campfire!
Northside's fourth annual summer technology conference, eCamp 2007, was held this week at Stevens High School. Northside teachers, librarians, counselors, and administrators were able to select from a rich menu of 119 workshops, provided by 98 different presenters (primarily CITs and Technology Services staff). Over the three-day period, approximately 2,200 session participants learned more about how to use technology to engage students and differentiate instruction. The eCamp 2007 program is attached.

June 1, 2007

Kudos to Staff!
As part of the department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce third quarter 2006-07 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet and Directors. Congratulations to all!

Techno Savvy Students Shine at the Fifth Annual Digi Awards!
More than 850 Northside students, representing 50 campuses, were recently cheered on by family, friends, and teachers as they accepted their awards at the fifth annual "Digi Awards!" This Digital Media Fair event recognizes and celebrates student work created through the use of technology. Dr. Linda Mora, Kelly Smith, and Joyce Stevens were on hand to present medals, trophies, and certificates and to congratulate the happy winners. More than 75 first place projects were showcased during the event, held in the Warren High School auditorium on the evenings of May 23 and 24.

Over 1,135 entries were received for this year’s Digital Media Fair. Students from across the District and across all grade levels were eligible to submit work in 14 categories and 3 large team categories ranging from desktop publishing to video animation and web publishing. Student projects were judged on their content, originality, purpose, age-appropriate complexity, graphic design, technical quality, copyright compliance, and grammar and spelling (if applicable).


May 18, 2007

Book Mobile Fosters Summer Reading!
The San Antonio Public Library has selected the Murnin Elementary parking lot as a summer Book Mobile stop. This is a fabulous opportunity for our students and families, as there is not a public library close by in that area. The Book Mobile will come every three weeks from 1:00-4:00 and bring about 2,500 books. If families go online, they can also make requests for specific books and audio/visual materials to be brought for the next visit. The Murnin Book Mobile dates are June 20, July 11, August 1, and August 22.


May 11, 2007

Hewlett-Packard "Purchase Edge" Program
Twenty-nine new laser printers will be distributed to four campuses this summer - at no cost to the district! This is possible due to our participation in the H-P Purchase Edge Program and will result in a savings of $35,148.

The H-P Purchase Edge Program allows Northside to accumulate points by purchasing printing supplies through approved and awarded vendors. These points can then be used to acquire H-P products at no cost. Since joining the program in May 2005, Northside has accumulated 270,623 Purchase Edge points.

The campuses receiving the printers this summer are Oak Hills Terrace, Jefferson, Driggers, and Aue. The printers come with a 3-year extended warranty.


April 25, 2007

Northside to Become First District in Bexar County to go Wireless
Northside ISD will become the first district in Bexar County to go completely wireless, giving students, teachers, and staff access to the Internet anywhere and any time at all campuses. (more...)


April 13, 2007

Cafeterias Getting More High Tech!
The Child Nutrition and Technology Services departments have begun piloting a Point of Sale (POS) system this week in school cafeterias to replace the current food line terminal /mainframe system. This new system has the potential to offer several enhanced services and efficiencies to NISD students, staff, and parents.

The POS system uses a "touch screen" similar to the ones used at McDonald's, Wendy's, etc. When a student goes through the breakfast or lunch line with his/her unique student ID number, the cashier will be able to process the student in only three to four seconds - three times faster than the current system. The cashier will also be able to get food allergy alerts on particular students via a pop up window, view spending limitations set by parents, and eventually see a photo of each student. The new system will enable Cafeteria Managers to monitor cashier stations at any given time and interfaces with the "back of the house" food warehouse inventory system. The new system will eventually interface with Parent Connection, to provide parents with information on what their child purchased each day, as well as enable them to make online payments to the cafeteria.

The schools piloting this new system include Holmes HS, Anson Jones MS, Mary Hull ES, Passmore ES and Meadow Village ES. The Holmes and Jones environment will be wireless, giving them the option to set up a POS station outside of the serving line (e.g., courtyard) at will.

Assuming that the pilot is successful, other schools will be added during the next year.


April 5, 2007

Digital Media Fair
Please join us on May 23 and 24 at Warren High School at 6:00 p.m., where trophies and medals will be awarded to over 240 Northside students recognizing and celebrating their work in the creation of digital media products connected to school studies and learning. Student projects at all grade levels and all campuses may be submitted January 16 through April 9 for consideration. Visit http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/mediafair for more information.

eCamp (intranet only)
All Northside ISD employees are invited to come gather 'round the "cyber campfire" at eCamp 2007, to be held June 5-7 at Stevens High School! This District-wide summer technology conference will include professional development sessions for all knowledge-level computer users. Over 120 sessions will be offered during this three day event. Follow the link on the NISD intranet for more information and to register.


March 9, 2007

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program
As part of the department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce second quarter 2006-07 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet and Directors. Congratulations to all!


February 7, 2007

Conference Presentation Highlights Technology Immersion at BCHS
Educators from across the state had an opportunity this week to hear about some of the great new things happening at Business Careers High School! Kelly Smith, Gerri Berger, and Joyce Stevens presented "Taking the Lead with Laptops: Wireless 1:1 Initiative" at the Texas Computer Education Association's state conference in Austin. The 90-minute session was very popular and well received by the audience. You may view the presentation online at http://www.nisd.net/technology/tcea07/bchs.ppt .

Technology Committee
The notes (pending approval) from the February 5 committee meeting are attached. Also included from the meeting are:
1. The slideshow presentation
2. Our self-assessment related to the recommendations contained in the Texas Long-Range Plan for Technology 2006-2020 (The district is in very good shape!)
3. Status report on the NISD/Elert Technology Master Plan 2002-2012 (Almost everything is complete!)
4. Internet safety and filtering information
5. Information on safe image searches on the Internet
6. Technology Services organization chart


January 12, 2007

Technology Committee Agenda
Attached is the agenda for the Technology Committee meeting on Monday, February 5, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. in the Board Room.

Electronic Gradebook Update
As you may know, the district-wide implementation of the Gradespeed elementary gradebook this school year has been very successful. Plans are now underway to expand this solution to all middle schools and high schools, beginning in August 2007. The new product will be a major improvement for teachers, in terms of performance, ease of use, accessibility, and functionality. Training will be provided to all educators, beginning in July. The Secondary Gradebook Committee, comprised of staff from campuses, Administration, Instruction, and Technology, continues to meet frequently to provide leadership, direction and support for this exciting initiative.

Online Testing Update
The Texas assessment program continues to expand its use of computer-administered testing. Online testing has advantages such as easier data capture and data management, a more motivating test environment for students, and reduced material handling requirements for test administrative staff. However, it does create some challenges for districts in terms of logistics (e.g., lack of computer access, scheduling, etc.) and technology infrastructure preparation (e.g., configuring servers and workstations, installing secure testing software, etc.). According to TEA, within three years it is possible that some of the state assessments will be administered exclusively online.

To date, NISD has been very successful in its small-scale online testing efforts. We continue to gradually expand our online testing program, with current plans for online testing this spring as follows:

  • February 20: Grade 10 ELA TAKS, Business Careers only, all 10th graders.
  • March 5-30: RPTE II Field Testing, Grades 2-12, 69 campuses. Campuses will be given a one week window to schedule the test, to be completed in 1-2 days.
  • April 9-13: Grade 8 Social Studies TAKS, Rawlinson (457 students) and Pease (391 students) only; Grade 10 Social Studies TAKS, Business Careers only, all 10th graders.
  • April 23-May 18: End-of-Course Field Testing, Biology and Geometry; 6 campuses, 300 students each location.

The Online Testing Committee, comprised of staff from Instruction and Technology, continues to meet frequently to provide leadership, direction and support for this ongoing initiative.


December 4, 2006

United Streaming - Top Videos & Top Views

The report is in for the most popular streaming videos, delivered straight to the computer desktop, from August through mid-November. Over the three month period from August to October, there were nearly 50,000 views of United Streaming video clips and content. The top four high schools in usage statistics were Taft, Stevens, Marshall, and O'Connor, the top four middle schools were Rawlinson, Luna, Stevenson, and Connally, the top four elementary schools were Murnin, Valley Hi, Northwest Crossing, and Beard, and from the Special Schools, the highest usage statistics were at Holmgreen Center.

Among the campuses with the highest total views for August were: Stevenson MS - 246, Jordan MS - 217, Lewis ES - 212, Stevens HS - 205, Rawlinson MS - 175; for September were: Rawlinson - 1269, Stevens HS - 777, Northwest Crossing - 634, Valley Hi - 546, Taft HS - 503; for October were: Taft HS - 1525, Murnin - 1518, Luna ES - 1111, Stevens HS - 1079, Connally - 810.

Here are a couple of samples at the secondary level: Events Leading Up to War [The Revolutionary War Series] and Making the Thirteen Colonies [New England Colonies]. At the elementary level, these were a few of the most frequently accessed videos: Closer Look at the Moon [A Space Science Series], Africa: People and Places, and U.S. Celebrations.

It's wonderful to see our campuses making such great use of technology-infused instsructional materials which directly support the TEKS!

Recognition
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce first quarter 2006-07 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet and Directors. Congratulations to all!


October 26, 2006

Quick Technology Updates
As always, there's a lot going on in Northside with regard to technology! Here are a few updates that may interest you:

  • This week we worked with department directors and Cabinet to kick off the district Data Warehouse Initiative. The data warehouse will support decision making and information management throughout our district and departments and campuses. In other words, the data warehouse will provide the building blocks that enable staff to get the right information at the right time in order to do the right thing!

  • Also this month, we have begun the process of selecting a new Business/HR Information Management System, in collaboration with Mr. Torres and Mr. Miller. A robust business/HR system will provide school and district administrators and support staff with the ability to easily access and manage both summary and detailed fiscal and employee information.

  • In recent weeks we have also begun the process of selecting an Enterprise Document Management System. This system - the first of its kind in Northside - will provide school and district administrators and support staff with the ability to securely track, store, retrieve, and manage electronic documents and images.

  • Administrators are invited to join Academic Technology Services on November 1 for the Technology Puzzle, an update on educational technology in Northside. Breakfast or lunch will be provided. See the attached flyer for more information! You need not register - just come on by!

  • We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to share lots of technology-related information in three different segments of InsideNorthsideRadio. Visit the radio show link on the Northside homepage to hear about new technology being used throughout the district, Internet safety, and the BCHS Laptop Initiative.

September 20, 2006

Recognition
As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce fourth quarter 2005-06 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at http://www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff, Cabinet and Directors. Congratulations to all!

Shared Vision
Technology Services is made up of a diverse group of 134 staff members from six different service areas. Over the past several months, we have worked together to develop and articulate a compelling shared vision for our organization. This shared vision represents who we are and what we do. It is our guiding image for success. It helps create a culture in Technology Services that brings us together for the common good and values the full and effective participation of all staff. Visit http://www.nisd.net/technology/shared_vision.jpg to see our new shared vision graphic!


September 1, 2006

Quick Technology Updates

As always, there's a lot going on in Northside with regard to technology! Here are a few updates that may interest you:

  • The new district-wide Elementary Gradebook was officially launched on August 21! Training was provided to 2,834 teachers, 165 administrators, and 57 Attendance Secretaries prior to the first day of school. The gradebook is Web-based, so it may also be used from home if Internet access is available. Besides recording grades and attendance, educators may also view important information such as parent contacts, special programs, and TAKS mastery that is automatically included in the gradebook. Teachers may also record information such as textbook numbers, field trip permission, and tutoring groups in the gradebook. Overall, this new tool is overwhelmingly popular and its implementation has been very smooth.

  • NISD's popular Parent Connection (http://www.nisd.net/parentconnection ) will soon have a new look and offer additional information for parents! Beginning September 12, parents of students in grades one through twelve will have real-time online access to:
    • their child's daily grades and attendance records for the 2006-07 school year, directly from teachers' gradebooks
    • their child's longitudinal enrollment and academic data, directly from the District Curriculum Management System (school enrollment, total days absent, course enrollment and teachers, course credits and cycle grades, TAKS and other standardized assessment results)
    • important news and announcements especially for parents

  • In the three weeks prior to school, 5,481 teachers and 330 administrators participated in a refresher course in using the Curriculum Management System (CMS). The CMS was updated in July and now is even more user-friendly so that educators can analyze student performance data and access curriculum in order to increase student success. Instructional units lesson plans, and other teaching resources will be added to the system this fall to help teachers be even more successful in the classroom.

  • As you may know from news reports, there is a recall on some models of Dell laptop batteries due to fire hazard concerns. There are approximately 147 batteries in NISD that may be affected. Technology Services has registered all possibly affected batteries with Dell and replacements have been ordered. We are working to quickly identify the specific users/locations of the affected batteries. Once identified, each user will be contacted and arrangements made for a technician to swap out the affected battery. In addition, users may go online to determine whether or not their battery is affected (instructions are posted on the intranet at http://intranet.northside.isd.tenet.edu/pdf/dellrecall.pdf ). If their battery is affected, users may submit a Technology Work Order to get the battery replaced. Batteries should not be used while awaiting a replacement. However, the laptop may be used with the AC adapter power cord originally provided with the laptop. Trustees' batteries from district-provided laptops are NOT included in the recall.

July 28, 2006

Business Careers High School Update

The wireless one-to-one laptop initiative at Business Careers High School continues to move forward as planned! Since our last update in March, we are pleased to report the following activities:

  • Several writing teams, made up of BCHS teachers, high school CITs, and C.O. staff, worked all through the month of June developing technology-infused activities, projects, lesson plans, and instructional materials for ninth and tenth grade social studies, ninth and tenth grade English, and all business and technology courses.
  • All BCHS teachers and administrators participated in a week-long “Wireless Retreat” the last week of June (see attached photos). The goal of the retreat was to help BCHS educators understand, teach, and motivate digital learners. Staff members received their laptops and accessories, as well as training, tools, tips, tutorials, and strategies for success! Monthly follow-up staff development sessions are planned for the 2006-07 school year.
  • Preparations are well underway for students to receive their laptops and learn the basics of care and use of the laptops during two-hour Student Orientation sessions on August 10, 11, 15. Parents are also invited to attend these sessions with their children!
    Wireless connectivity has been installed and is operational throughout all BCHS classrooms and teacher workrooms, as well as the Holmes/BCHS library, cafeteria, auditorium and selected outdoor areas.
  • 740 laptops (Gateway M465-E) were ordered, received and imaged with the BCHS software set. A specialized electronic inventory control process has been developed to track the laptops. Carrying cases for students and staff have also been selected and received.
  • BCHS classrooms and work areas have been readied for the start of school (digital projectors, printers, laptop carts, battery charging stations, technology support service room modifications, computer lab workstations repurposed to Holmes classrooms, etc.).
  • Two of three evening Parent Orientation sessions have been held where parents and students learned more about the laptop program and how it will work. The last parent session will be August 3rd.
All in all, this initiative has created a lot of excitement, positive energy, and activity among everyone involved, particularly the 580+ students that plan to attend BCHS in the fall!

July 21, 2006

Use of Textbook Funds

In response to a request by State Board of Education Chairwoman Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion that prohibits the use of textbook funds to purchase computer hardware and other equipment. “Funds set aside for textbooks, including electronic textbooks, must be used exclusively for the purpose of conveying information, including curriculum content, to students, and such funds may not be used for the purchase of hardware or other equipment defined as “technological equipment,” said Abbott. Some of the legislators were pushing the use of textbook funds for technology purposes and the State Board was opposed to this action.

It's important to note that this decision does not limit us to the purchase of "just books." The AG states that "textbook" is defined as "a book, a system of instructional materials, or a combination of a book and supplementary instructional materials that conveys information to the student or otherwise contributes to the learning process, or an electronic textbook." In Northside, we believe that online instructional materials can definitely enrich the learning experience (e.g. more interactive, engaging, relevant, up-to-date, etc.) and use these types of materials when possible and appropriate.

We also believe in increasing access to technology for students (e.g. mobile wireless laptop carts, computers in classrooms and libraries, etc.). Fortunately, our Superintendent, Board, and voters support the use of bond funds and other local funds to purchase hardware for student use. If that wasn't the case, the AG's ruling might have been difficult for us!


July 10, 2006

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program

As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce third quarter 2005-06 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm. Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff. Congratulations to all!

Executive Summary Progress Report, District Strategic Improvement Plan 2005-06 Major Activities
Presented to the Board, June 27, 2006


June 15, 2006

eCamp 2006 : Engaged Digital Learning for NISD Staff!

Northside's third annual summer technology conference, eCamp 2006, was held during the first week of June at Stevens High School. Northside teachers, librarians, counselors, administrators and paraprofessional staff were able to select from a rich menu of 160 workshops. Over the three-day period, nearly 1,800 session participants were engaged in digital learning!

Below is a brief selection of class titles with participant feedback:

  • Science Safari
    "I learned different ways to address science TEKS using technology; ideas for using technology to enhance science instruction!"

  • Lights, Camera, Science!
    "I learned how to add pictures and sound to a PowerPoint presentation and how to use this with an astronomy lesson."

  • American History Websites
    "I learned so many helpful online teaching aids that will increase student interest in history!"

  • No Fear Computer Basics
    "Most helpful was the CD burner. I never knew how easy it was to burn a CD. I have never burned a CD before, and now I know!"

  • Around the Earth in 90 Minutes (Google Earth)
    "I learned how to travel everywhere without using any gas; how to fly to a destination; how to request directions; how to set up a site seeing tour, etc."

  • Digital Books
    "I learned about all kinds of ways we can incorporate the video camera in the classroom, making e-books, book walks, use as a center tool, etc."

  • Make Your Photos tell a PhotoStory
    "I learned to make videos for curricular impact - how to build/write/publish a story from pictures; that I still have so much to learn - but this is so much fun and do-able!"

  • Mail Merge Masterpieces
    "I learned how to use CMS data or any Excel documents to create mail merge certificates, labels, how to use logos, and how to format data."

  • Claymation: It's Not just for Kids!
    "I learned how to create an animated PowerPoint using Claymation; how to incorporate different facets of the curriculum using Claymation."

  • Creating Virtual Field Trips
    "I learned how to reach outside the classroom and expose students to the world by using MovieMaker to create virtual field trips."

  • I Love Tests: Online Assessment with United Streaming
    "I learned how to create quizzes on United Streaming and how to add video to the quizzes; this is going to be very useful!"


June 9, 2006

Curriculum Management System Usage

The attached report reflects 30 weeks of usage statistics for the Curriculum Management System (CMS), from the end of October through the end of May. The data indicates that an average of 3,299 educators visited the site weekly throughout the year, spending an average of 18 minutes per visit and viewing an average of 157 pages of information per visit. The CMS was highly available, with absolutely no unscheduled down time during this time period.

The CMS contains students’ current and historical academic records (cycle grades and attendance, course credits, etc.), longitudinal enrollment information, standardized assessment data, and benchmark assessment data. This data is used by educators to make instructional decisions in order to help every student achieve academic success. Next year, the CMS will also contain a vast amount of NISD curricular and instructional timelines, units, materials, and resources.


June 2, 2006

Students Shine at the Fourth Annual Digi Awards!

More than 315 Northside students, representing 50 campuses, were recently cheered on by family, friends, and teachers as they accepted their awards at the fourth annual "Digi Awards!" This Digital Media Fair event recognizes and celebrates student work created through the use of technology. Dr. Folks, Karen Freeman, and Kelly Smith were on hand to present trophies and medals and to congratulate the happy winners. More than 70 first place projects were showcased during the event held in the Warren High School auditorium.

Over 1,060 entries were received for this year’s Digital Media Fair. Students from across the District and across all grade levels were eligible to submit work in 11 categories ranging from desktop publishing to animated digital video and web publishing. Student projects were judged on their originality, purpose, content, age-appropriate complexity, graphic design, technical quality, copyright compliance, and grammar and spelling (if applicable).


May 12, 2006

Web Warning

MySpace continues to be in the news almost daily. Parents, educators, and law enforcement officials are concerned - often with good reason - about the use of MySpace and similar social networking websites by children and teens. Social networkingwebsites offer an interactive network of photos, blogs (online journals), user profiles, groups, and e-mail to users. The increasing use of social networking sites, particularly by our middle school and high school students, has the potential to put them in danger. Unwanted contacts from strangers pose a new digital-age threat, as students post pictures and information to network with existing friends and meet new friends. Students may share information directly, not thinking about the implications of predators - or they may inadvertently share information via a photo in front of their school or a photo with a school jersey or spirit attire.

  • To help protect children from the dangers of social networking, Northside ISD is taking the following steps:
  • Offering a web resource, Social Networking Web Warning, at www.nisd.net/webwarning, to help educate parents about the risks associated with social networking sites. This site shares online news articles and video clips on this hot topic, as well as an online collection of parental advice, tips, and guidelines.
  • Continuing to block social networking sites such as MySpace from our District computers
  • Adding a social networking component to our annual student Acceptable Use training
  • Continuing to take the opportunity to discuss these issues at parent and community meetings and inform parents through Lessons, the NISD Website, Parent Connection, etc.

NISD’s eCamp 2006

All NISD employees and Trustees are invited to come gather 'round the "Cyber-Campfire" at Stevens High School on June 6, 7 and 8 for NISD's eCamp 2006! This annual summer technology conference will include over 160 technology professional development sessions for all knowledge-level users. To find out more and register online, you may visit http://pave2.pavenet.org:591/ecamp/index.htm# . Please see the attached flyer for more information.


April 27, 2006

The minutes of the April 20 Technology Committee meeting, as well as the presentation made at the meeting, are attached.


April 7, 2006

Digital Media Fair

Approximately 2,000 entries were received this week for the 4th Annual NISD Digital Media Fair! The purpose of the Digital Media Fair is to recognize and celebrate students’ work throughout the year in the creation of digital media products connected to school learning. Through the creation of digital media, students learn to think imaginatively, communicate and express themselves creatively, become excited about learning, and acquire and practice important visual literacy skills. Mark your calendars for May 24 and 25, 6:00 p.m., for this year's “Digi Awards” at Warren High School. Trophies and medals will be awarded to approximately 240 Northside students. Please visit http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/mediafair for more information.


March 31, 2006

United Streaming Update

The District implemented United Streaming, a digital video-on-demand product from Discovery Education, last October. This resource has proved to be a very popular tool for teachers and students! 3,368 different videos have been viewed - most of them multiple times - in six months, resulting in 110,844 "total views." Usage statistics are reported by district, by campus, and by video.

United Streaming is a research-based instructional resource that is used to engage students in enriched learning experiences for student success. It includes over 4,000 full length educational videos, 40,000 video content clips, 18,000 images, and a variety of teacher materials. All media and materials are aligned to TEKS, updated daily, and delivered to the computer desktop (video may be downloaded or "streamed" live). Not only can this content be used by all NISD educators, but it can also be used by students in the creation of their own digital media connected to their learning. Professional development is offered for all teachers, campus technologists, librarians, and administrators on the use of this tool for teaching and learning.

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program

As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce second quarter 2005-06 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm. Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff. Congratulations to all!


March 3, 2006

Quick Technology Updates

 As always, there’s a lot going on in Northside with regard to technology! Here are a few updates that may interest you:  

  • Thanks to bond funds, 100% of NISD campuses will have Windows XP as their computer operating system by the end of April! A project to upgrade the last several “non-XP” schools, consisting of some elementary and special campuses, is currently underway. This is a big milestone for the District, as we have had a mixture of Windows ‘95, Windows ’98, and Windows XP for several years. A uniform operating system offers many advantages for instruction, teacher training, and technology support.  
  • The wireless one-to-one laptop initiative at Business Careers High School for 2006-07 is well underway! Recent activities include forming curriculum writing teams, developing a professional development plan for teachers, releasing RFPs for the laptops and infrastructure equipment, planning student and teacher focus groups to assist in the selection of the laptops and backpacks, recruiting students, and planning student and parent orientations. In addition, a group from BCHS, Curriculum & Instruction, and Technology Services recently visited Pleasanton ISD and Irving ISD to learn more about their student laptop implementations.  
  • Teachers from 65 campuses recently received training in using the Curriculum Management System to access and utilize benchmark assessment data. The training took place on the February 17 Early Release day and the February 20 Staff Development day and received rave reviews from participants, who are using the benchmark data to individualize instruction and increase student achievement. Similar customized training has also been provided for campus administrators and counselors. All other campuses will receive this training on the April 7 Early Release day.  
  • After many months of research, gathering campus input, and refining requirements, Elementary Instruction and Technology Services recently released an RFP for an Elementary Electronic Gradebook. The gradebook will be implemented at all elementary schools in August, 2006 for teachers in grades one through five. A Parent Connection component will be included.  

 February 10, 2006

Q.U.A.D. (Quality, Usable, Accurate Data) Workshops

Three hundred participants recently completed Q.U.A.D. staff development workshops, in a continuing effort to ensure the quality and accuracy of data in student and administrative information systems that guide decision-making! Sixteen sessions, led by 13 instructors from five departments, were provided February 1 – 3 at Taft High School. Some of the most heavily attended sessions were Resource Planning Updates, Purchasing and Accounts Payable Procedures, Special Ed Maintenance System Updates and Reviews, and TEA Auditing and Scheduling 2006-2007. Q.U.A.D. is designed primarily for staff members who are responsible for data entry into Region 20 (attendance secretaries, registrars, data processors/grade reporting secretaries, counseling secretary, etc.). Q.U.A.D. workshops are held every year in August, October, February, and April. For more information, please visit the Q.U.A.D. intranet site at http://intranet.northside.isd.tenet.edu/class/quad_workshops.php .

PAVE (Pathways to Advance Virtual Education) Update

Seventy-three NISD elementary teachers recently completed their coursework from Walden University to earn a Masters of Education Degree with a focus on Integrating Technology in the Classroom. A reception was held the evening of February 7 at the Northside Activity Center to recognize the graduates and celebrate their achievements. The keynote speaker was Dr. David Thornburg, a renowned researcher and provider of staff development in the areas of educational futures, multimedia, communications, and whole mind education. PAVE is a grant-funded program which also includes 38 middle school teachers and 20 high school teachers who will complete their coursework within the next 18 months.

Technology Town  Hall

Technology Services hosted a very successful Town Hall meeting on February 8, especially for campus administrators, to discuss technology-related topics! Other Town Halls are planned for district administrators, teacher representatives, classified/auxiliary staff, and counselors. The purpose of the Town Hall meetings is to facilitate a deeper understanding of campus and department needs in order to continue to provide exemplary service and support. The goals of the Town Hall meetings are to:

  • Provide a public forum for NISD staff to share concerns, ideas, and suggestions for improvement in the Technology Services areas
  • Provide staff the opportunity to discuss technology-related issues that are important to them
  • Hear staff perceptions and experiences with NISD technology
  • Raise awareness and increase understanding of District technology initiatives and practices.

February 3, 2006

Update on Bond 2004 Technology and Security Projects

This past Wednesday night Kelly Smith presented an update on Bond 2004 Technology and Security Projects to the 2004 Citizens’ Bond Advisory Committee. Attached is a copy of the report. Please take time to review this report. We also showed them the security camera system at Jay and they were very impressed.


January 27, 2006

Interactive Video Conferencing Brings World into the Classroom!

Technology Services, in partnership with the Region 20 Education Service Center and AT&T, will expand interactive video conferencing capabilities beginning February 1 at five campuses. Multi-way interactive video conferencing will provide students at Esparza, May, Stinson, Ross, and Oak Hills Terrace with a wide variety of content-driven learning opportunities. These will include conversations with experts in various fields of study and work, collaboration with students and teachers from around the world, exploration of far-away places, participation in hands-on activities in science and math, and more. Prior to recent technology infrastructure developments, students and teachers would have to travel to the NAC Video Conferencing Center to experience these types of interactive learning opportunities.

The focus of the activities at Esparza, May, Stinson, and Ross will be related to the Dual Language Program, while Oak Hills Terrace activities will center on the NASA Explorers Program. Campuses will connect to Region 20 via the NISD network, then Region 20 technology will “bridge” to the host site. Interactive video conferencing services are included in NISD’s netVision membership and video services contract with Region 20. Various grant funds were used to purchase video conferencing equipment at each of the five campuses.

Braun Station Students Create Unique Video Announcements

Like many K-12 campuses, the students at Braun Station really enjoy an active involvement in morning video announcements. However, the Braun Station newscast is a bit unique. The Braun Station News crew (two teams of ten 5th-graders, led by the CIT) uses a Picture in Picture video processor which allows the students to use two cameras - one focused on the student anchor, and another focused on a signing interpreter, since Braun Station is a regional elementary school for the hearing impaired. The signing interpreter shows up as a small image in the lower corner of the larger overall picture. Students operate the cameras, serve as anchor and weather broadcaster, control the computer introduction and computer script, and switch between the introduction and cameras. The Braun Station News (BSN) has been an overwhelming success, heralded by administrators, staff, students, and parents.


January 13, 2006

Distribution of Used Computers for Intervention Purposes

Twenty-three elementary and special campuses will soon be receiving some used-but-still under-warranty computers to use in their classrooms! These computers will be used to help students master concepts in mathematics, reading, language arts, and science. The attached document indicates the numbers of computers that campuses will receive. These computers, as well as network connectivity for them, will be provided at no cost to the campuses.

The computers became available from NISD secondary campuses due to an aggressive technology deployment schedule. The deployment schedule for some secondary schools was accelerated in order to prepare for the Curriculum Management System, assist with interventions, take advantage of the desktop management and security features of Windows XP, and synchronizes the deployment of technology in the labs with the rest of the campus. Since many of the displaced computers were not obsolete (4-5 years old), campuses happily repurposed most of them to classrooms. However, approximately 250 computers District-wide became available for use by elementary campuses. Elementary principals were invited to submit a short proposal in order to gain some of these used computers.

Online Testing Continues

Following a very successful online testing experience for TAKS Exit Level last month, we will be conducting a different type of online testing this month with some of our students displaced from the hurricanes. Louisiana is offering administration of their Graduation Exit Examination (GEE) test - online only - January 23, 24, 25, 26, 27. Northside will be administering the test online to approximately 20 eligible students from across the district at the Northside Learning Center, according to the recommended schedule from Louisiana and TEA. Transportation from/to the campuses and NLC will be provided, or students may transport themselves. Lunch will be provided at no charge, or students may bring their lunches.

Students are eligible for this round of testing if they are former Louisiana public school students displaced due to Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita, and they plan to graduate this year (2005-2006) or next year (2006-2007). Displaced students who have completed course requirements but need to retake the GEE are also eligible. Additional GEE online testing opportunities are planned for March and May.


January 6, 2006

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program

As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce first quarter 2005-06 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm. Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff. Congratulations to all!


December 9, 2005

School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Evaluation

100% of Northside campuses recently completed the online Campus STaR Chart for the Texas Education Agency. All campuses must complete a Campus STaR Chart annually in order for NISD to be eligible for federal E-Rate funds. TEA also incorporated a new requirement, the Teacher STaR Chart, this year. Over 4,830 Northside teachers (approximately 96.5%) successfully used this instrument over the past two months to provide input for their Campus STaR Chart.

The STaR Chart provides an opportunity for campuses to evaluate their progress in four key areas related to technology:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Educator Preparation & Development
  • Administration & Support
  • Infrastructure  

Campuses are encouraged to use the data from the campus and teacher STaR Chart assessments to focus resources and efforts in planning for the coming year.


December 2, 2005

Online Testing Opportunity

Northside ISD high school students will be able to take advantage of TEA's new, online retest opportunity for TAKS Exit Level next week (December 6-9). Mathematics, science, and social studies tests will be administered during this extra retest opportunity, which is offered in an online version only. All high schools are participating, including special campuses and programs. District-wide, approximately 365 students will take the online mathematics test; approximately 340 students will take the online science test, and approximately 85 students will take the online social studies test. One  

to six labs at each campus have been readied to accommodate the student testers. The Web-based testing system is designed for ease of use and provides a secure online testing environment for students.

Many districts in Texas do not have the technology infrastructure to support online testing. We are very fortunate that NISD does have the technology and other necessary resources to participate in this administration, so that our students are able to make use of every available opportunity to pass all tests they need for graduation.


November 18, 2005

Friends of NISD Libraries

We are in the process of forming a "Friends of NISD Libraries" organization! The mission of this group will be to promote and support the vital role of the school library in the educational experience. The organization's goals, thus far, are to:

1. Educate the community (parents, students, employees, community residents) about library services that impact

reading, critical thinking, and lifelong learning essential to a democratic society.

2. Support activities of the NISD libraries.

3. Advocate for school libraries at all political levels (campus, city, state, nation, etc.).

The 12+ founding members continue to draft and refine their goals and objectives, and will be accepting members in the future. Interested Trustees may contact Jana Knezek, Director of Library and Textbook Services, for more information.

Web Gradebook for Secondary Teachers

The District will soon be implementing a companion piece for the Grade2 gradebook that will allow secondary teachers to update their gradebooks wherever Internet access is available! We are in the process of installing the "Web Gradebook" software, testing the product, and developing training materials. This will be followed by staff development for CITs and CATs. Optional staff development for teachers will begin after the Thanksgiving break. We anticipate that teachers will be excited about this "anytime, anywhere" access, as it will give them more flexibility in when and where they can update their gradebooks.

Security Management Schedule

Attached is the schedule of security system installations at the high schools. The schedule is subject to change, but should be fairly on target. We will provide a more detailed update on this project at the joint Building and Technology Committees meeting.


November 11, 2005

Acceptable Use Training for Employees

We are pleased to report that 8,561 employees successfully completed NISD's new Online Acceptable Use "e-learning" course this fall! The online course was designed to help employees better understand all policies and administrative regulations governing the use of the NISD computer system, as presented in the employee handbooks. Acceptable Use knowledge and skills are also an essential part of the NISD Technology Core Competencies for employees.

All District employees with access to technology were required to participate in the online course between September 1 and October 15. As this was an online course, employees could do the course at their own pace, according to their own flexible schedule, wherever Internet access was available. The course consisted of five instructional modules, with information presented in both video and text formats. Each module concluded with a brief quiz. The course took approximately 30 minutes for an employee to complete. Employees' completion of the course was tracked and reported to supervisors.


November 4, 2005

Digital Video-on-Demand for Instruction

The District will soon be implementing UnitedStreaming, a digital video-on-demand product from Discovery Education. This research-based instructional resource includes over 4,000 full length educational videos, 40,000 video content clips, 18,000 images, and a variety of teacher materials. All media and materials are aligned to TEKS, updated daily, and delivered to the computer desktop (video may be downloaded or "streamed" live). Not only can this content be used by all NISD educators, but it can also be used by students in the creation of their own digital media connected to their learning.

We anticipate the installation of the UnitedStreaming product on NISD servers in November. Following installation and testing, a brief demo will be provided for Principals, Academic Deans, and C.O. C&I staff. This will be followed by professional development for CITs and librarians and optional professional development for teachers and others.

Funding for the UnitedStreaming product was approved by the Board last spring via an Improvement Package. For additional information about the UnitedStreaming product, you may wish to visit http://www.unitedstreaming.com/publicPages/benefits.cfm .

PAVE (Pathways to Advance Virtual Education) Update

Northside ISD currently has 131 classroom educators participating in the grant-funded PAVE program. Each PAVE participant will earn a Masters of Education Degree from Walden University with a focus on Integrating Technology in the Classroom. There are 73 participants from elementary schools, 38 from middle schools, and 20 from high schools. Besides completing their online graduate coursework, participants are required to demonstrate technology proficiency with Microsoft Office, Inspiration, Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Their leased laptops are also equipped with: Camtasia Studio and SnagIt, Imagematics Still Motion Creator, Photoshop Elements, and Virtual Painter. Participants are well supported with professional development and technical assistance by Technology Services staff throughout their participation in the program. PAVE participants are required to maintain an electronic portfolio and, upon completion of the program, must document 100 "give back" hours to the District, which may include educational products created and posted on their Web sites, as well as "ed tech" mentoring provided to others. The attached document provides an overview of numbers of participants per campus.


October 21, 2005

Bilingual Library Material (Data and 5-Year Plan)

Library Services is pleased to report that the 17 elementary bilingual campuses are making steady progress towards library collection development to support bilingual/ESL students! Overall, the District has increased from nine Spanish and/or bilingual books per bilingual/ESL student to 16.1. This effort is part of Library Services’ 5-Year-Plan for Bilingual Library Material, where the goal is that each bilingual campus will have the same number of Spanish and/or bilingual books per bilingual/ESL student as books per student. Attached is data regarding campus and District growth in this area and also the 5-Year-Plan for Bilingual Library Material. We are currently in the fourth year of the five year plan. In addition, two of the bilingual elementary campuses have achieved "Exemplary" status and three are "Recognized" according to new Texas State Library standards related to library items per student.


October 14, 2005 

Project at Jay High School

The attached article appeared recently in the national publication of the Purple Martin Conservation Association, highlighting the Purple Martin project at Jay High School. A "nestcam" is used to broadcast real-time pictures of the bird colony to Jay classrooms over the school's video distribution system. The article discusses the educational benefits of having the colony on campus and includes some great pictures.

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program

As part of the department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce fourth quarter 2005 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm. Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff. Congratulations to all!

Digital School Boards Survey 

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), Center for Digital Education (Center), and Converge Online magazine have launched the nation's second annual Digital School Boards Survey. The purpose of the survey is to showcase exemplary school boards' use of technology to communicate with the public and govern the district. Top-ranked school boards will receive the Digital School Boards Survey award and will be featured on the Center's and NSBA's Web sites and in Converge Online. Survey results will be compiled and sent to participants. The Center is a national research and advisory institute providing education, government, and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. In addition to the Digital School Boards Survey, the Center conducts the Digital Community Colleges, Cities, Counties and States Surveys -- all national studies that serve as benchmarks for excellence in IT applications and initiatives. Each of our studies is sourced by the media (including The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine), governments, education, and the general public. All U.S. school board governments were invited to participate in this survey. 

Last August I asked Kelly Smith to complete a national survey explaining how our Board (and District) uses technology to communicate with the public and govern the district. Kelly has received a phone call that the Northside ISD Board of Trustees won 6th place (out of 250+) in the large school division! Details will be mailed to Kelly and a press release will be sent on October 24. We will pass this on to you as soon as it’s received. Congratulations!!


September 23, 2005

 Portable Connections – Technology

 At a recent Building Committee meeting a question was asked concerning technology access in portables. At the present time, portables allocated to schools built after 1995 have all technology functions as the main facility. These media include Intercom, Video (Broadcast), Voice and Data which include computer use, an internet connection and VoIP phone system.

 At campuses built prior to 1995, the portables are generally serviced via wireless technology, which include computer use, internet and phone service. Intercom service is also available, but there is no video available. Currently, there are no plans nor funding identified in the Bond issue to provide video (TV) capability to all portables.


September 16, 2005

Internet Safety and Filtering

The Internet is an important teaching and learning tool used in Northside ISD classrooms, libraries, and offices. The Internet can, however, provide students with access to inappropriate material. In an effort to improve communication to users on Internet Safety and Filtering, a new document about this topic has been added in the Technology Management area of the Technology Services website. The address is http://www.nisd.net/technology/filtering.pdf. We continue to strive to make it difficult, if not impossible, to access inappropriate websites.

Parent Connection

Parent Connection successfully launched for all secondary schools on September 12 and is generating lots of cyber-traffic! Parent Connection enables students and parents to view daily grades and attendance online. Librarians and CITs are reaching out to parents that do not have Internet access at home in a variety of ways. These include extended library hours, parent training classes, and communicating with the San Antonio Public Library about this exciting new tool that parents may wish to use in the public library. This is a great tool and one that will certainly help us in our effort to have more parent involvement and provide information to them.

Famous Author Plans Visit to Cody ES as a Result of Technology Project

Last spring the CIT at Cody Elementary School and a 4th grade teacher collaborated on a technology-rich author study unit. At the end of the project the students wanted to get an author to come to their campus. The author they chose, Robert Munsch, is the best-selling author of 42 children’s books, including Goodnight Moon and Love You Forever.

The students knew from his website that Mr. Munsch, who lives in Canada, does not schedule school visits. They wrote to him, anyway, and he replied that he would “stop by" the next time he was in town. Not satisfied with this response, the students created, edited, and mailed a digital video for Mr. Munsch of the top ten reasons he should visit San Antonio and Cody Elementary.

Last Friday a package arrived at Cody Elementary. It contained some books and a very cleverly written letter from Mr. Munsch. The end of the letter said, " So does San Antonio have any volcanoes? I would definitely come if it had volcanoes; also, a good Mexican Dinner that was not a restaurant dinner would be neat; and somebody to help me learn the states of Mexico and also how to say them would be a great help. It would also help if January 11, 2006 was a good day to be there."

Needless to say, there are some very excited – and persuasive – children at Cody Elementary


August 12, 2005

Technology Services "Voice of the Customer" Survey Results

The results of the 2005 Technology Services "Voice of the Customer" Survey are in! Survey results will be used to monitor and adjust programs and services to continue to support end-user needs. Many items addressed by survey respondents are already underway. Read all about it at http://www.nisd.net/technology/survey05.pdf .


July 29, 2005

Technology Committee (Minutes and PowerPoint)

Attached are the minutes from the Technology Committee meeting on July 21, 2005. Also provided for your information is the PowerPoint that provides detailed information on the items discussed at the meeting.


June 24, 2005

eCamp: A Delightful Learning Experience for NISD Staff!

eCamp, Northside's four-day summer technology conference for employees, was held at TaftHigh School the first week of June. We are pleased to report a 33% increase in participants over last year, with nearly 2,400 session participants!

eCamp included technology training and professional development sessions for all levels of content areas, skills and interests. Participants included teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, librarians, and other professional and paraprofessional staff.

Below are samples of the 168 sessions offered, along with participants’ evaluation comments:

§         Multiple Intelligences & Multiple Technologies

“I learned great ideas to use immediately with large or small groups using a lot of easy, short activities and different programs for various curriculum applications and to incorporate technology and teach to more learning intelligences than just my focus.”

§         Moviemaker for Any Educational Setting

“I learned a tremendous amount! I am very excited to go back and try this on my own! The class gave me the skills and confidence to try this with my students so that they can create, edit and produce video.”

§         TEKS, TIPPA and Science

“I learned how to integrate science and technology and that technology use is curriculum driven. I did my first slideshow and brochure and am more confident about reaching a bigger TIPPA goal with my students.”

§         Online Teacher Tools

“I learned so much about online tools that I was unaware of...numerous resources quite helpful for teachers to utilize in the classroom…can’t wait to begin using some of them. I really found this workshop to be very beneficial for all NISD teachers.”

§         Excel Extras

”I learned so many extremely helpful things to do in Excel – create pictographs, timelines, crossword puzzles, self-check skills sheets…many great, new ideas and info for classroom use. Awesome!”

§         It’s News to Me

“I learned all about how to get started with helping students use Publisher to produce a classroom or school newsletter…steps in writing articles, inserting pictures from the digital camera, the basics of the program and more. Who would have thought?!”

§         Technology Turning Points

“I learned how teachers and principals can pull data from the Curriculum Management System – to be used for planning, conferencing, formulating curriculum and staying ahead of the game! Thank you for everything, it was great!”

Parent Connection Survey Data

The Parent Connection pilot that allowed Clark, Rawlinson, Stevenson, and Warren parents to monitor daily grades and attendance online for their students concluded May 20. Teachers, parents and students were asked to share their experiences as participants in the Parent Connection pilot by completing an online survey.

Complete results from the surveys are attached (Parent/Students, Teachers). Here are a few highlights:

Parent/Student Survey

  • 334 parents and students responded to the survey
  • More than two-thirds of the parents and students gave Parent Connection an overall grade of “A”; 89% gave an “A” or a “B”
  • More than half of the parents and students estimated that they used Parent Connection four or more times per week
  • Over 92% of the parents and students agreed or strongly agreed that the implementation of Parent Connection was highly successful
  • Over three-fourths of the parents and students agreed or strongly agreed that Parent Connection increased meaningful communication between parent and teacher regarding student progress/achievement

 Teacher Survey

  • 104 teachers responded to the survey
  • More than half of the teachers gave Parent Connection an overall grade of “A”; 75% gave an “A” or a “B”
  • 90% of the teachers agreed or strongly agreed that the implementation of Parent Connection was highly successful
  • 84% of the teachers agreed or strongly agreed that Parent Connection did NOT significantly increase their workload
  • Over three-fourths of the teachers agreed or strongly agreed that Parent Connection increased meaningful communication between parent and teacher regarding student progress/achievement

As a result of this successful pilot, Parent Connection will be launched at all middle schools and high schools in the fall.


June 3, 2005

Technology Honor

Kelly Smith has been named a finalist for the 2005 Public School Chief Information Officer of the Year Award. Kelly is one of only three finalists in the nation for this prestigious award. The finalist status includes a special recognition with a presentation at the EduStat Summit in New York City on June 9 of this year. As a finalist she will also be featured in the August 2005 publication of Public CIO Magazine. We are proud of Kelly and she is doing a great job for the district!

Technology Leadership Salute District 

National education leaders have taken notice of outstanding initiatives that blend technology and instruction in Northside ISD. The National School Boards Association recently announced that Northside ISD is one of only three school systems across the nation designated a Technology Leadership Salute District for 2005. This is the 14 th year of the NSBA Technology Leadership Salute District Program. Northside ISD is the third school district in Texas selected to receive the honor. Houston ISD (1998) and Dallas ISD (1992) have been past honorees. The District will be recognized with the Technology Leadership Salute at a keynote session during the National School Boards Association Technology conference in Denver in October. Superintendents of the districts being recognized are asked to say a few words after receiving the award, so I will probably go to Denver for the day of the award.

Attached is a press release sent by Communications to TV stations and newspapers.


May 20, 2005

Streaming Media Content

At the May 10, 2005 Board meeting a question was raised relating to the improvement package for Streaming Media Content. Kelly Smith has researched this and provided the following information. The question concerned the cost of UnitedStreaming (4,000 full length educational videos; 40,000 video content clips; 2,500 images; teacher resources and assessment creator; all aligned to TEKS, updated daily, and delivered to the computer desktop) for $54,000 annually versus how much the District currently spends annually on education videos.

For 2004-05, schools spent $153,639 for educational DVDs and videotapes. This translates into 6,365 items district-wide, many of which were possibly duplicates. In addition, new school startup expenditures for educational DVDs and videotapes for Hatchett, Ott, and Luna were $95,028 (a total of 3,084 items). The 2004-05 total costs, then, were $248,667 for 2004-05 district-wide.

According to Kelly, it is very likely that the district will realize a savings in dollars spent for educational DVDs and videotapes, once teachers, librarians and CITs begin to make effective use of the UnitedStreaming content. Additionally, the UnitedStreaming content may be used by students in the creation of their own digital media connected to their learning. This is a huge advantage and a resource that we have never before been able to offer to students. I think that the $0.70 per student approximate cost of this valuable resource will be worth every penny and then some.


April 21, 2005

Campus Technology Deployments Update

By early May, twenty-nine campuses will have received new technology in classrooms, labs, libraries, workrooms and offices since just last June. This translates into 4,901 computers and 2,574 printers for students and staff!

In addition to campus technology deployments at new schools this summer (Stevens HS, Krueger ES), five high schools will receive new technology campus-wide and all high schools will receive new equipment for their Journalism and Photography labs. That will result in an additional 3,090 computers and 1,174 printers when school opens in August! The attached document provides data by campus.

Campus technology replacements are funded by the Technology Bond Program. Along with the equipment, students, teachers, administrators and other campus end-users receive extensive education in the effective use of the technology. Students must demonstrate mastery of clearly defined technological skills required to support student achievement and lifelong learning through information acquisition, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. Likewise, employees are asked to demonstrate mastery of appropriate, clearly defined technological skills and competencies required for performance of their jobs.

Visit the Technology Deployment Website (http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/deploy) for more information related to the Bond 2001 and Bond 2004 campus-based technology deployments.

Parent Connection Update (Parent E-mails and Statistics)

As you know, at the end of March we began piloting “Parent Connection” at Stevenson, Warren, Rawlinson and Clark to allow parents to monitor daily grades and attendance of their students online. Attached are just a few examples of the positive e-mails that we have received on this topic from parents. We also received a lot of positive feedback at the last NCN meeting from teachers at the pilot schools. To my knowledge we have not received one negative e-mail about the “Parent Connection”.

Early numbers indicate that the usage of Parent Connection is high. The attached document provides some statistics regarding the numbers of hits to any and all of the Parent Connection pages by date and by evening hours, from both inside and outside the District. While we are not able to disaggregate this data by campus or by student at this time, the Parent Connection site obviously gets a lot of visitors!

Additional data regarding frequency of use, best features, suggested improvements, teacher and parent satisfaction, etc. will be collected in May.


April 8, 2005

Digital Media Fair

Over 1,800 entries are expected this week for the 3 rd Annual NISD Digital Media Fair. The purpose of the Digital Media Fair is to recognize and celebrate students’ work throughout the year in the creation of digital media products connected to school learning. Through the creation of digital media, students learn to think imaginatively, communicate and express themselves creatively, become excited about learning, and acquire and practice important visual literacy skills. Trophies and medals will be awarded to approximately 240 Northside students during the May 18 and 19 “Digi Awards” at the Northside Activity Center. Please visit http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/mediafair for more information.


April 1,  2005 

eCamp 2005

All Trustees and Cabinet members are invited to gather 'round the "cyber campfire" at eCamp 2005, to be held June 6-9 at Taft High School! This District-wide summer technology conference will include professional development sessions for all knowledge-level computer users. Over 155 sessions will be offered during this four-day event. For more information and to register, please visit http://pave2.pavenet.org:591/ecamp/index.htm .

Please Change Your Password

Confidential and sensitive information, including student and employee data, resides on the District network. The District requires that all users of the District’s electronic communications system adhere to basic security measures regarding passwords (see below). If you have not changed your password within the past 100+ days, please change your password at this time. Step-by-step instructions are attached.

 Password Security

  1. Change your network (i.e. Novell) password at least every 120 days. As long as you are not logging in as “Workstation Only”, the system will prompt you to change your password every 120 days. Be sure to heed this prompt, or the system will lock you out!
  2. Use passwords that are unique and not easily guessed. Recommended password guidelines are as follows:
    a. Minimum of 8 characters in length
    b. Alphanumeric
    c. Upper and lower case
    d. At least one special character (e.g. asterisk, number sign, @ symbol, or dollar sign)
    TIP: Use first letters of the words in a sentence that you can easily remember. “I love chocolate ice cream at 10 p.m.” translates into a password of ILCIC@10pm
  3. Do not share passwords. Passwords should not be easily accessible to others or stored near the computer.  

March 4, 2005

Technology Services Employee Recognition Program

As part of our department's Employee Recognition Program, Technology Services is pleased to announce second quarter 2004-05 individual and team award recipients! Read all about these outstanding staff members at www.nisd.net/technology/recognition.htm . Honorees receive certificates and are recognized via the Technology Services website, the "Wall of Fame" at NLC Building D, and an e-mail to all Technology Services staff. Congratulations to all!


January 28,  2005

Curriculum Management System Update

Since Board approval in March 2004, the Curriculum and Instruction and Technology Services departments have been working steadily and purposefully towards the spring launch of the much-anticipated web-based Curriculum Management System (CMS). The Northside “CMS Design Team” has been meeting weekly since April for project management discussions, preparation, and planning. In addition, the Design Team participates in a weekly conference call with staff from SchoolNet, the CMS vendor/developer. CMS development highlights include:

§         Student Profile view designed, to report demographic and assessment data to educators (current and 3-year historical)

§         Eleven test views designed to report assessment data (TAKS, SDAA / LDAA, RPTE, LAS, TPRI, Tejas LEE, ACT, PSAT, SAT, TAAS, AP)

§         Student information data sent for uploading

§         Student assessment data sent for uploading

§         Curricular Units and Instructional Units being prepared for uploading

§         CMS data warehouse set up

§         User Acceptance Testing (UAT) scheduled for March

§         Professional Development plan for 125 SchoolNet Certified Trainers (Instructional Specialists, Campus Instructional Technologists, Academic Deans, program coordinators, etc.) scheduled for April and July

§         Professional Development plan for End-users (administrators, teachers, specialists, counselors, librarians) scheduled for August, October and November

The purpose of the CMS is to facilitate standards-based teaching, learning and assessment so that educators can focus on meeting the needs of each and every student and increase student achievement.  We are really excited about the progression of this project and look forward to the training beginning in late spring.


January 7, 2005

Technology Planning and E-Rate

As required by state and federal law, Technology Services recently completed three key components in the technology planning process:

§         Assisted 100% of Northside campuses in the completion of the online Campus STaR Chart for TEA. The STaR (School Technology and Readiness) Chart provides an opportunity for campuses to evaluate their progress in integrating technology into the school curriculum and infrastructure. TEA incorporated a new instrument, the Teacher STaR Chart, this year. Although optional, approximately 20% of Northside teachers used this instrument to provide input for their Campus STaR Chart.

§         Developed and submitted a three-year District Technology Plan. All districts are required to have an approved technology plan to qualify for federal E-Rate and NCLB Title II, Part D funding. The plan may span one, two, or three years. Northside’s 2005-2008 Technology Plan will be undergoing a review and approval process by the Education Service Center and TEA in the coming months. Upon approval in the spring, the plan will be presented to the School Board.

§         Submitted E-Rate Application Form 470s to the Federal Communications Commission. This application seeks approximately two million dollars in E-Rate funds for the District to support Telecommunications Services, Internet Access and Internal Network Connections for 2005-2006. In December, Congress passed legislation to exempt the FCC E-Rate Program for one year from Anti-Deficiency Accounting requirements that were delaying the distribution of current and previous years E-Rate funds.

Campus Technology Deployments Update

Thanks to bond funds, careful planning, and an aggressive schedule, seventeen campuses have received new technology in classrooms, labs, libraries, workrooms and offices since just last June. This translates into 3,151 computers and 1,552 printers for students and staff! The attached document provides the data by campus.

Technology Services has implemented an integrated service delivery model to better respond to the needs expressed by campus administrators and staff. The "integrated service delivery" approach means that campus-based technology projects are coordinated, synchronized and collectively managed by technology staff from across all service areas, resulting in an efficient "deployment" of technology to the campus. The model emphasizes effective use of educational technologies through instructional best practices and training and development for teachers, administrators and other campus end-users.

Visit the Technology Deployment Website (http://www.nisd.net/cmptecww/deploy) for more information related to the Bond 2001 and Bond 2004 campus-based technology deployments, from start (data collection regarding existing equipment) to finish (post-deployment evaluation and feedback).