SchoolCIO: Back Office Business

from Tech&Learning

Memphis City Schools (MCS) is going mobile to track tardiness, assign detentions, verify student identities and various other tracking tasks. All middle and high school students within the district have barcoded ID cards. School officials will use a device called the SoMo 650 from Socketmobile to either print an administrative slip (tardy, hall pass, detention) with the wireless printer connected to the device, or take other actions, including contacting a parent or guardian. MCS was looking for a solution to increase efficiency by implementing an automated system," says Sergeant Kenneth Pinkney, Director of Student Behavior and Intervention with Memphis City Schools. "(This) solution reduces paperwork and improves access to information." In addition to using the mobile devices within the schools, the various school security adminiszrators will have a SoMo 650 in each patrol car. Officers can access the software through the handheld computer, laptop, or desktop in the office.

The Saugus Union School District will receive $1.4M in funding from the Enhancing Education Through Technology Competitive Grant program to create the Student Writing Achievement Through Technology Enhanced Collaboration program. Approximately 1,700 fourth grade students will use Asus eePCs to access a Web-based, student-driven writing evaluation tool, and a collaborative learning environment, where students will engage in public posting, group projects, and peer editing and review. Teachers will each receive training and equipment necessary to lead the class, including a laptop, projector, printer, digital interactive pad, mobile cart for the netbooks, and appropriate wireless hardware to support the devices. The project works through partnerships with the California Technology Assistance Project (CTAP), Vantage Learning, Inc., and Digital Edge Learning.

Follett announced that one out of every four U.S. public schools now use the Destiny Resource Management Solution to manage library books, textbooks, media, and instructional assets. This is a jump of 82% from March 2007 to March 2008 according to company records. Districts using Destiny Textbook Manager grew 94% in the same period. Major districts that have recently adopted or significantly expanded Destiny include: Wake County Public School System (Raleigh, NC), Charleston County (SC) School District, Caddo Public Schools District (Shreveport, LA), and Providence (RI) Public School District.

Four Independent School Districts in Texas, Wichita Falls, Killeen, Pasadena and Midland have adopted Spectrum K12 School Solutions Inc.'s special education IEP software product Encore to track for students who need special services throughout their districts. The software provides a technology-based system of data, process, and compliance management that includes IEP software and Response to Intervention (RTI) software.

Poway Unified School District (CA), which serves 33,000 students in grades K-12, deployed the iPrism 100h Web filter this summer to run usage reports on specific machines or individuals to investigate suspicious online activity and trends. Before, the district's IT department spent up to six hours a week adjusting Internet access for teachers who needed to access sites, such as YouTube, to deliver lessons. With this product, administrators and educators can change settings at their discretion, saving time and allowing the IT staff to focus on critical tasks. As bandwidth needs for these educational tools accelerate, iPrism will be able to manage the increasing traffic and prevent any bottlenecks or network overload from impacting productivity. The product's Web filtering capabilities also ensure the school district continues to meet Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance requirements by effectively filtering and blocking inappropriate online material.