Below is a transcript for a recent talk I gave before the first day of school. There were some great speakers beforehand and it is truly awesome to be apart of a team this dedicated (and funny) to giving high quality presentations. Still much to learn… 

This past year was my first year with the district and I grew a great deal professionally. I have had the privilege of working side-by-side with many of you.

With my position relatively new to the district, I want to continue to grow the department and evolve in my role to support our strong curriculum with effective technology.

This past year provided time for listening and understanding the technology needs that best fit our staff and students.

In particular, we heard concerns from you and our parents surrounding our old student information system, iPass, the use of the website as an effective communication tool and an increase in devices needed to support greater tech integration.

Over the summer, we began to address these concerns by transitioning to SchoolBrains, revamping the website and purchasing equipment where the impact would be most effective.

The data transition has been bumpy and through no fault of anyone in the district, we haven’t been able to meet the necessary deadlines. I want to acknowledge the frustration this may have caused. SchoolBrains will be a solid backbone for district data and state reporting for years to come. Over the first couple days of school, there will be a tech team presence at each building to make sure attendance and scheduling concerns are addressed as soon as possible.

With feedback from parents and staff, we’ve developed a website we can all be proud of. It is capable of communicating necessary, day-to-day information to parents, but also highlighting and showcasing you, our students and the great things taking place in your classrooms.

This might be a good place to remind you that we have worked to develop a platform to showcase student work as well, using a customized digital portfolio for K through 12 students.

A large effort was made to purchase the right technology. We were able to increase Google Chromebook access from “K” through eighth grade. Library spaces at both elementaries, and middle schools received mini-makeovers with new technology. We were able to supply over 20 teachers with an updated laptop and provided our new teachers with a laptop as well. Computer labs at the elementaries received hardware and software updates that will make for a better experience. District and building servers have received substantial upgrades, which will allow for speedier Internet connections, better security and access for greater amounts of devices this year and in the future. We also were able to cover 50-district printers under a new toner/service contract with Xerox.

I want to take this time to highlight our district staff and some changes in the department.

Phyllis Maynard is now our Data & Education Technology Specialist. She will be tasked with managing SchoolBrains, supporting the new website, as well as leading Tech trainings. Andrew Collins, who will remain at Swallow Union as a computer specialist, will also be taking on a district role when he doesn’t have classes, supporting media relations and technology use.

Gary Babin and Joe Bisbee will be working to support BYOD at the Middle School in addition to network and systems administration for the district.

Our department is here to support you and to find appropriate, innovative and creative ways to incorporate technology into the curriculum. In addition to our district tech staff, we have dynamic integration specialists, librarian and library paraprofessionals and computer specialists with plenty of knowledge to share!

As a final note, we will continue to listen to you and invite your feedback so that myself and the department can improve and support you better!

One thing I would like you to ponder when collaborating with your grade level or department….what are your technology aspirations for the year?

Your edtech department is looking forward to another great year. Thank you!

We had a special drone appearance as well!