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Home • News • MISD News • Tech News: Summer 2004
 
From:Saturday, May 29, 2004 1:04 PM -0500
Subject:Tech News: Summer 2004 
To:
Congratulations on another successful school year!  As we take on new challenges at our school district, I know that we can accomplish anything because you expect the best out of our students, because of who you are, the profession you have chosen, and the district you have chosen to work in.  I feel honored to work with you and we will continue to help you in any way that we can.

It was tough to watch the awards ceremony as we lost a lot of good people that will be hard to replace.  Many friends have retired. However, I am encouraged by the fact that there are many good people still here!

Here is a short list of technology projects in the works at MISD for this summer and upcoming school year.  

Web site projects for next year:  (More details coming soon)
-  Alumni Site
-  Camp registration
-  Staff Development Registration
-  Swap Shop Online - Community Flea Market
-  eCommerce Site - Advertising, purchasing, fees, test registration, supplies, fund raisers,
-  Banner Community Ads
-  Video Streaming Events
-  Online Training
-  Online Surveys
-  New Design, navigation changes, new look

Upcoming Bond Projects:

Presentation Stations:  We are working towards installing a video projector into every secondary classroom that will be tied into your computer system.  In the process, we will begin moving secondary COWS (Computer On Wheels) into the elementary classrooms to add to their herd.

Elementary Teacher Computers:  Every elementary teacher will be receiving a new computer for their classroom use to replace their 5 year old computer.  The original teacher computer will remain in their classroom as an upgrade for their students to use.  There will be training on how to use your new computer because the operating system, OSX, will be a little different that OS9.  

Library Circulation System:  This coming fall, we are hoping to be moving to a new library circulation system.  The goal is to have this be a web based single server solution accessible from any workstation with an internet connection.  Several systems will be considered.

WAN Upgrade:  In an effort to increase our bandwidth across the District, we plan to upgrade our Wide Area Network this summer.  We will leave our existing network in place to provide some redundancy to our overall network.

Secondary Computers:  Several labs are going to be replaced this summer with new equipment for our students.  We will purchase over 100 new multimedia ready stations and recycle the previous stations into appropriate roles based on their capabilities.  This will benefit our students whose skills at this level demand better equipment.

Wireless Connectivity:  In order to increase our wireless connectivity within our schools  for our rolling wireless labs, we will dramatically increase the amount of access points throughout the schools.  I’m certain that there will be some minor tweaking involved once school begins and the carts are utilized.  

Campus Wireless Rolling Computer Labs:  After we complete the upgrade of your wireless capability at each campus, we will upgrade and add wireless carts at every campus.  Each cart should have enough laptops to fill a classroom.  We will also be upgrading your wireless printing capabilities as well.

ID Card System:  We are pursuing purchasing a system that enables us to support student and faculty ID’s.  The ID Cards would ultimately be used for security and identification, food service purchases, library checkout, and entry into secured areas.  You would also no longer be able to tell which students are on the free and reduced lunch program protecting their integrity, speeding up lunch purchases, and discretely allowing economically disadvantaged students to participate in the program. Our goal is for all students to use their ID’s to purchase meals.

Laptops:  Upon completion of the Tier 2 Technology Proficiencies, teachers will have the opportunity to receive a laptop that they can use at home and school.  This is the next step in changing old tools to new tools for teaching.  We hope that you will take advantage of this program to lessen the time you spend at school after hours developing lessons and grading papers. The more time you spend utilizing a computer for your work, the more proficient you will become. This is open to all teachers. You are very deserving of this opportunity and reward for your efforts.  More details coming soon.

MHS IP Phone System:  In an effort to combine the North and South campus together with a unified phone system for better communication and increase security for our High School, we will begin the task of installing a new phone system that works across our computer network.  All classrooms will have a basic phone system installed that can talk between buildings without using costly telephone lines. This will ultimately free up those lines for other uses. There are some other added features that we will go into more detail after the system is in place sometime this fall.

Completed Projects:

New Video Tech Lab:  Our new video tech lab will be capable of running the latest and greatest video editing software (Final Cut Pro) that the pros use.  Students have already created some great projects and are eager to tackle more.  We will also include sound authoring software and more tools to finish out the capabilities of this multi-purpose lab.  This lab will also have the ability to service music theory classes (attached USB piano keyboard), and multimedia classes.  The software and hardware in the lab is the same as those used in creating movies like “Open Range”, “Lord of the Rings”, and the TV series “24”.  After course completion, students will have marketable skills.

New Finance System:  Is up and running.  This system is much more robust than our previous system but like anything new, there was a learning curve and few bumps along the way.  Overall, the conversion went well.

New Webmastering Lab:  After seeing the need for better stations, the students now have computers capable of editing fully interactive web pages and more and the North Campus.  

Student Server:  Students have been creating great projects that have been demanding of server space.  In an effort to make their lives a little easier, and to allow them the ability to carry their work throughout the year, we have added a server with over half a terabyte of space.   
FYI:  A terabyte is 1000 gigabytes.  A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes.  A megabyte is 1000 kilobytes.  A CDROM can hold about 700 megabytes of information (about 650 floppy disks).  

New XP Lab for Business Computer Information Systems:  In order to keep our Business classes up to par with the latest and greatest, we moved those labs to Windows XP and purchased new lab computers running Windows XP.

Relocated Meadows Library Computer Lab:  We re-wired and re-located Meadows Library Computer Lab in an effort to make room for a new Children’s Library brought about by Project B.R.A.N.C.H.  “Bringing Reading Appreciation Closer to Home” MHS Problem Solvers.  If you get a chance, you need to go by Meadows Library this summer and take a look.  The lab turned out great as well providing more room for more computers.

Other Projects:

New Campus Servers:  Our present servers have reached capacity and are getting close to the end of their life.  New servers will be installed this summer with your same account.  They will have a lot more storage capacity and will be faster.

United Streaming Media Local:  One of the problems of utilizing the internet to its potential is that you run the risk of overusing its accessibility.  As we have seen the spikes in usage over the years, we have continued to add bandwidth.  If you are familiar with United Streaming, the possibility of us keeping up with bandwidth demands becomes less attainable. Download or streaming video on demand in its present form brings our internet access to its knees.  Therefore, we are pursuing bringing the media onsite to our network locally to speed up delivery.  This will give you the ability to search real time and receive information just in time for your class.  There will be more on this once installed.

WeatherBug Online:  We are purchasing licenses for schools to use the weather curriculum from AWS with access to our weather data and those of other schools across the nation for real time weather forecasting.  There are lessons in all subject areas with specialties in science, math, and geography.

Register for Summer Training:  It’s still not too late to register for summer training.  Go to http://db.midlothian-isd.net/summer_training.htm

OSX Upgrade: Elementary teachers and Vitovsky teachers will be moving to the new OSX operating system.  There is OSX training available this summer.  We will also offer training at the start of school.

Wish us luck that all orders arrive in a timely fashion and that the bids be low. Have a great summer!

Kirk Paschall
Director of Technology
Midlothian I. S. D.
100 Walter Stephenson Rd.
Midlothian, TX 76065
voice 972.775.8296
fax     972.775.2126