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PinnedWinter Technology Newsletter (note:Network will be unavailable on President's Day)
Posted by Brenda Summers on January 26, 2015 at 3:21pm

Equipment Replacement During Mid-Winter Break

Presidents’ Day, February 16th during Mid-Winter Break – Core Switch Replacement 8:00 am – 2:00 pm: The core switch is the device through which all of our network connections flow.  The current model is about 10 years old and needs to be replaced.  All network services (e.g., email, network file and folder access, internet access and district phones) will be unavailable on Monday, February 16th between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm when District schools and offices are closed. A great deal of planning and testing is going into preparing for this change.  We expect the changeover to be smooth and the only difference you may experience on a daily basis is that some network activities will be faster. Using Presidents’ Day for the switchover allows the new core switch to be active and tested the week of mid-Winter break so that we can resolve any glitches while students and teachers are out on break.  Two main advantages of the new core switch are its speed and efficiency.  For example, the network slowness experienced due to the large Microsoft updates that occurred as staff connected to the network after the December winter break would be reduced greatly.  Additional details on the switchover will be provided in February.

Wednesday, February 18th – Internet Firewall Replacement 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm This equipment helps protect us from hackers trying to break into our network.  During this two-hour period access to internal files and email to RSD staff will be available.  However, access to the Internet, including sending email to non-RSD addresses, will be unavailable.  If you do send an email it will leave our network after the firewall is replaced.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC): As in past years the Assessment Department and Technology Services are collaborating in preparation for online assessments.  On January 21st we conducted a ‘Wi-Fi load’ test at four elementary schools.  The schools each had at least three classrooms near each other, and with all students using laptops, they simultaneously logged onto the same online program (i.e., Dreambox) to test the ability of our network to handle this type of load.  All students were able to use Dreambox simultaneously and other district users did not notice this network activity. Technology Services has collected data to help us tune the network to increase performance in the future.  In February some schools will take the Interim Assessment Blocks (IAB) and we will monitor the assessment process under normal testing conditions.

Listen and Learn Tour: In November and December Technology Services staff went out to meet and listen to school staff across the district about their ideas, vision, and concerns about integrating technology in support of teaching and learning.  We visited Lakeridge, Nelsen and Honey Dew in November and Renton High School in December. Over 25 staff took time out of their busy schedule to share their thoughts.  Later in January Technology Services will provide a summary of the comments and a survey for all staff to provide feedback on the topics.

Canvas Learning Management System: Canvas, our new web-based Learning Management System, is being prepared for piloting with classrooms in late winter and spring.  Canvas allows for course curriculum, lesson plans, student assignments, quizzes, communication tools, discussion groups, and more.  The classroom pilots will examine if it meets teacher and student needs before we move to a full implementation. 

Website Updates: On October 15th the new RSD website was launched.  It has many ‘modern’ features and tools to share information with all of our stakeholders.  It also provides more flexibility in updating and enhancing the site. A number of staff offered suggestions (Thank You!) that have been implemented.  In the footer of each webpage is a ‘Questions or Feedback’ link for your use. A link to the list of changes made and suggestions for future enhancements is on the Start page (top right-hand column), Website Fixes/Changes and Planned Enhancements.  Your suggestions make the site better.


PinnedFall 2014 Laptop Roll-Out – 1,623 Laptops in 101 COWs
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 11:19am

Technology Services (TS) and the Department of Learning and Teaching (DLT) collaborated on defining technology needs for the upcoming school year to support curriculum and instruction. The instructional focus at the elementary schools is on implementing an online typing program, Writers Workshop, Dreambox, Math Lab classroom, online assessments and other instructional programs as appropriate.  In the secondary schools the focus is on intensified Algebra (HS), Springboard ELA (MS), online assessments and other instructional programs.

Elementary Schools – Each school will receive two classroom sets of 13” HP touchscreen laptops. Each set consists of 30 laptops divided into two COWs of 15 laptops. The total is four new COWs per school and 60 computers. A school losing its computer lab will receive an additional classroom set of laptops and two COWs. Computer mice and headsets will be provided as needed. Total – 930 laptops; 62 COWs.

Middle Schools and Comprehensive High Schools – Each school will receive three classroom sets of 13” HP touchscreen laptops. A set consists of 36 laptops split into two COWs. Each school receives six new COWs and 108 computers. Total – 648 laptops; 36 COWs.

Middle Schools – Resource Learning Center.  Each middle school will receive one set of 13” HP touchscreen laptops including 15 laptops and one COW. Total – 45 laptops; 3 COWs.

Cost – about $1.2 million for 1,623 laptops and 101 COWs

Print/Copy Accounting
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 11:42am

The Xerox copy accounting system has been expanded to include desktop printers this school year. All staff were provided a unique personal identity number (PIN) and instructions to be used when accessing the Xerox copy equipment. This replaces the proximity/swipe card identification that was previously used but turned out to be a poor indicator of identity because the cards often changed hands, creating inaccurate reporting and confusion.  

As with previous years staff are provided a reasonable amount of “credit” that is used to make copies. This year, those credits will become actual building budget deductions. Use of district printers is also tied to the accounting system and will collect the same data the Xerox equipment does—staff name, number of prints color, number of prints black/white, number of sheets of paper, etc.  Staff do not need to enter a PIN when sending jobs to a printer, but credit will be deducted from their available balance. The amount of credit has not been set yet, but it is currently generous so the system installation can be completed while staff are using it.

In the next few weeks additional “credit” information will be available to staff and the building Office Manager will again be provided with a tool for making credit balance adjustments when necessary.

Benefits of Reimaging Computers
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 11:38am

Over the summer we re-imaged all staff and student computers.  Re-imaging is a process where the computer gets a new fresh Windows installation with the latest Microsoft security patches. This new image also includes an update to Microsoft Office 2013 and all critical software updates.  Office 2013 will continue to default all files to the user’s home directory or ‘w: drive.’  

This imaging update also replaces file synchronization (which caused problems at the end of last year) with Direct Access for laptop users. Direct Access allows you the same experience working on your laptop remotely from home, the coffee shop, etc. to access files, websites and applications as you experience in your school or district office. Technology Services is very happy to provide this new service since it allows the security we require while making it easier to access the tools and resources you use. 

Re-imaging is a critical task that will be an annual summer event for all computers. Information on the process will be distributed later in the school year.

Email – Customizing your name in your email address
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 11:33am

Your name in your email address is based upon your legal name that is entered into Skyward by Human Resources.  If everyone knows you as ‘Beth,’ but legally you are ‘Elizabeth,’ you can have ‘Beth’ appear in your email address.  You can also customize your last name. 

For example, staff with a hyphenated last name may professionally only use one of the names.  In other cases the capitalization may be incorrect. The following instructions allow you to customize your first and/or last name.  This will not change your legal name in the HR records and you will still be required to enter your legal name in accessing benefits and payroll related sites.


“Work At Home” Software Available for RSD Staff Use
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 11:23am

The RSD software license with Dell allows us to offer our staff Microsoft Office and/or Windows operating system for use at home for $10. Staff is limited to purchasing one operating system and one version of Office until a newer version is released, as long as you are the primary user of the device the software will be installed on.

This is a one-computer install media (it is on a DVD, no electronic download available). Just click on the appropriate link below to print the User Agreement. Complete & sign the form, attach your check payable to “RSD” and send through district mail to “Technology Services” (please don’t send cash). Your software will be sent to you at your building through district mail services.

Beginning with the 14-15 school year, the district will be transitioning to Microsoft Office 2013 as our standard. It is available for staff to purchase for home use.

 Available at $10 per disc.

Comcast Wi-Fi
Posted by Brenda Summers on August 29, 2014 at 10:52am

 “Do You Have Comcast High Speed Internet at Home?”  If so, you will be interested in the following….

Comcast has launched a new service to give their high-speed internet customers access to the internet while away from their homes. This is accomplished by broadcasting an additional Wi-Fi network name from the Wi-Fi gateway they lease to their customers.

Using a mobile device, customers can search for xfinitywifi or cablewifi network names and sign-on one time with their Comcast account information. Subsequent sign-on will be automatic. Comcast provides information as well as a search tool to find businesses broadcasting the Comcast Wi-Fi signal: http://www.comcast.com/wifi/default.htm .


Fall 2014 Laptop Roll-Out
Posted by Brenda Summers on June 17, 2014 at 9:40am

Fall 2014 Laptop Roll-Out

Technology Services (TS) and the Department of Teaching and Learning (DLT) have been collaborating on providing the technology needed to support curriculum and instruction. The following is the first phase of laptops/COWs for the 2014-15 school year.  Additional planning between DLT and TS will take place to plan the second phase of computer roll-outs for the 2014-15 school year. The first roll-out will take place in September or October depending upon equipment availability.


Grade Levels

Instructional Focus


Two classroom sets of small laptops such as the ‘netbook.’  Each set consists of 30 laptops divided into 2 COWs of 15 laptops.  Four new COWs per school and 60 computers.


A school losing its computer lab will receive an additional classroom set of laptops and two COWs.


Computer mice and headsets will be provided as needed.


Total – 930 laptops

                                                            62 COWs  


These will support:

-Online typing program

-Writers Workshop


-Math Lab classroom

-Online Assessments

…and other instructional programs as available.



Middle Schools and Comprehensive High Schools

Three classroom sets of small laptops such as the ‘netbook.’ Each set consists of 36 laptops split into 2 COWs. Six new COWs per school and 108 computers


Computer mice and headsets will be provided as needed.


Total – 648 laptops

36 COWs


These will support:

-Intensified Algebra (High School)

-Springboard ELA program (Middle Schools)

-Math Lab classroom

-Online Assessments

…and other instructional programs as available.




Middle Schools

One set of 15 small laptops to each Middle School for use in their Resource Learning Center.


Total – 45 Computers

3 COWs

Support Resource Learning Center programs.

Total Number of Computers – 1623





Student Email
Posted by Brenda Summers on June 16, 2014 at 2:01pm

To Staff:

Students who will be returning to the district next year will have access to their student email accounts until passwords for student accounts are reset on August 15, 2014. In the fall students regain their access to student email once they login at school. High school seniors will lose access to their email after graduation. Senior accounts will be deactivated when the school registrar changes the student status in Skyward to “Graduate”.

To Students:

Your district provided student email accounts will remain open to you until August 15th, 2014. On that day passwords for all students will be reset. At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year you will regain access to you district email account.

Summer Technology Training
Posted by Brenda Summers on June 16, 2014 at 1:58pm

Instructional Technology is excited to offer a wide variety of technology training again this summer. The Staff Portal has been re-opened to allow for additional staff registration. Please visit the Staff Portal at http://hrm.rentonschools.us/Default.aspx?tabid=1 to sign up. Classes will be held at KEC and run from 9:00 am-12:00pm or 12:30 – 3:30 pm. Classified staff are welcome to attend the technology trainings as well. If you are a Classified staff member and would like to attend any of the trainings, please email Jody Hanawalt at jody.hanawalt@rentonschools.us to register. 2014-2015 Tech Hours can be earned beginning August 1, 2014 if all eight 2013-2014 Tech Hours have been collected. Classified staff can earn training hours by attending these classes. To see the full listing of summer trainings, please visit the link to our catalog at: http://www.rentonschools.us/Departments/Instructional_Technology/2014SUMMERTECHTRAINING