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Tech Plan

Swift River School

Technology Plan

2010-2015

  

District:                                       New Salem/Wendell

School:                                         Swift River School

                                                     

Principal:                                    Kelley Sullivan

                                                      sullivan@swiftriverschool.org

 

Address:                                       201 Wendell Rd.

                                                      New Salem, MA 01355

                                                      978.544.6926 (voice)

                                                      978.544.2253 (fax)

Date:            July 2014

 


Swift River School serves preschool and elementary age children in New Salem and Wendell. As the only public elementary school in both towns, it has 8 classrooms, accommodating 140 children from Pre-School to Grade 6. A complete profile of the school can be found at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education School Profiles Web site (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/profiles/general.aspx?topNavId=1&orgcode=07280000&orgtypecode=5&.)

 

This technology plan addresses the standards and benchmarks referenced in three Massachusetts Department of Education publications:

 

1) Massachusetts Technology Literacy Standards and Expectations

http://www.doe.mass.edu/edtech/standards/itstand.pdf

2) Assistive Technology GuideforMassachusetts Schools

http://www.doe.mass.edu/edtech/assistive/ATguide.pdf

3) Massachusetts STaR (School Technology and Readiness) Chart http://www.doe.mass.edu/boe/sac/edtech/?section=star

 

Benchmark 1: Commitment to a Clear Vision and Mission Statement

B1.A. Mission, Vision, and General Technology Goals

School Mission

Swift River School is a safe, compassionate and academically rich learning community where all students develop and apply knowledge, creativity and social skills.

School Vision

Swift River is known by the community as “our school.” We are a small, rural school where we greet, welcome and support all. Our community is inspired by enthusiasm for learning, creativity and social connections.

 

The student curriculum, both academic and social, is differentiated so that each learner is engaged in rich and meaningful work. Student achievement and sense of efficacy increase throughout the years.

 

Students and staff are introduced to the school’s social curriculum that provides rules and guidelines for engaging in collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution. These strategies are reinforced during directed activities and workshops, and then applied as situations arise naturally throughout the day.

 

Staff members are empowered to collaborate. They think together, share practices and critically analyze the life of the school and the achievement of the students. Professional knowledge is applied regularly and creatively and shared in a collegial environment during scheduled professional development time.

 

Swift River School offers a variety of workshops for families. Topics include academic and social curricula, e.g., Everyday Math and Second Step. The workshops develop a common language empowering all to be supportive contributors to the learning team.

 

The Swift River School community members - students, staff, families and townspeople work together to promote learning for all.

General Technology Goals

To develop a vision and policy for integrating technology across the grade levels.

Action Steps: To identify gaps between school and state technology curriculum.

Outcome: K-6 students will master basic technology literacy skills aligned with the Recommended Instructional Technology Standards of Massachusetts.

Goal 4, Swift River School Improvement Plan, 2009-10

 

Technology Goals for 2010-2015:

  • Expand the use of computers as cognitive tools that enhance, extend, amplify and restructure the way students think

  • Ensure that we have sufficient assistive technology tools to meet the needs of our learning challenged students

  • Explore new ways in which technology can help make learning more accessible for all students

  • Identify new ways to make more effective use of the Internet for teaching and learning

  • Identify and refine grade level competencies for fundamental computer skills, keyboarding, word processing

  • Replace aging Macintosh workstations with computers that meet the DOE’s specifications of Type "A" computers

  • Replace classroom computers running Macintosh OS 9.x Operating System with newer computers running OS X

  • Train teachers, instructional aides, and paraprofessionals to use a variety of technology tools for high-quality teaching and learning including e-mail, Internet, troubleshooting and assistive technology

  • Maintain and regularly update the school Web site with news and important information about the school

  • Ensure the school Web site includes an up-to-date list of places where students and staff can access the Internet after school hours

  • Continue to evaluate the school's technology resources in relation to district educational goals to ensure the technology line items in the budget include sufficient funding for staffing, hardware, software, professional development, technical support, annual maintenance contracts, and contracted services that meet the needs of students, teachers, and administrators at the school

  • Refine a formal plan for Technology Hardware and Software Upgrade and Replacement

  • Draft a formal Technology Curriculum Alignment Document proving the alignment of Swift River’s technology curriculum to the Massachusetts Technology Literacy Standards and Expectations

  • Complete and implement a formal Internet User Policy for Swift River School Staff

  • Acquire Smartboards for classroom installations to provide universal access to students and to bring interactivity to all curriculum areas

  • Obtain at least two document camera and projector set-ups on mobile carts for classroom use throughout the building

  • Install infrared audio systems in all classrooms PK - 6

  • Investigate speech to text software options for students

  • Begin a collection of audiobooks for student and teacher use; procure iPods to facilitate a lending program

Instructional Technology Goals for 2010-2015

Technology-based learning activities integrated with classroom curriculum transforms learning, helping students do their work more efficiently and quickly. Technology motivates interest and delivers instructional support. In our efforts to foster higher-order thinking, reinforce inquiry-based learning, and synchronize lab activities with instruction in the K-6 classrooms, we will continue to strengthen and develop our technology curriculum to align with content standards set by the state for all subject areas across all grade levels.

 

With the Massachusetts Technology Literacy Standards and Expectations as our guide for the technology program at the school, we teach students the skills they need to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of computers and applications, as well as an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software and connectivity (Standard 1)

  2. Demonstrate responsible use of technology and an understanding of ethics and safety issues in using electronic media (Standard 2)

  3. Demonstrate an ability to use technology for research, problem-solving, and communication. Students locate, evaluate, collect, and process information from a variety of electronic sources. Students use telecommunications and other media to interact or collaborate with peers, experts, and other audiences. (Standard 3)

 

We will incorporate computer technology into the curriculum at every grade level. We provide instruction in word processing, spreadsheet operations, electronic presentations, scanning, image editing, file management, keyboarding, and Internet research. Students learn to operate and take care of the equipment. They also learn about the social, ethical, and legal issues surrounding the use of technology (including copyright, plagiarism, and personal safety). We will continue to refine grade level competencies for fundamental computer skills and we will provide all students the opportunity to explore and experience existing and emerging technologies.

 

B1.B. Technology Team

Our current plan represents the collaborative efforts of the school's technology coordinator, the school principal, a classroom teacher, a SPED teacher, parents and a community member. Charged with the task of accommodating an increasingly diverse student population, we are united in the common goals of integrating technology more effectively to improve teaching and learning and providing more educational opportunities for all students.


B1.C. Budget-Technology Expenditures (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2015)

 

Administrative Technology

$7534

Instructional Technology

$30,504

Professional Development

$2100

Maintenance and Supplies

$8100

Networking

$11,000

Total

$59,238

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




We will continue to include line items for technology staffing, hardware, software, professional development, support and contracted services in the school/district operational budget whenever funds permit, leveraging the use of federal, state, and private resources to supplement our technology budget needs whenever possible.

Materials and Services Procured through the E-rate Discount Program

With the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an Order in May 1997 creating the E-rate program to ensure that eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to Telecommunication Services (local and long-distance telephone costs), Internet Access and Internal Connections (networking infra-structure and equipment). Under the program, schools receive discounts ranging from 20% to 90%.

Compliance with Chapter 30B of the MA General Laws with Respect to Technology Purchases (http://www.mass.gov/ig/igch30b.htm)

In general, Chapter 30B applies to contracts for supplies and services, surplus supply disposition, and the acquisition and disposition of real property. For supplies and services, with certain exceptions, Chapter 30B provides for:

    * Use of good business practices for contracts under $5,000.

    * Solicitation of three quotes for contracts in the amount of less than $25,000.

    * Competitive sealed bids or proposals for contracts in the amount of $25,000 or more.

Chapter 30B prescribes procedures for the disposition of surplus supplies with a value of $5,000 or more, and for the acquisition and disposition of an interest in real property with a value of $25,000 or more. Swift River is aware of Chapter 30B procedures and also of the role OSD (Operational Services Division) plays in overseeing the purchase of IT (Information Technology) Equipment, Supplies and Services for Hardware and Network Integration Services, Software and Telecommunications equipment. We have also complied with the requirement to acquire an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Registration Number (FRN) required for any person or entity conducting business with the FCC or applying for E-rate (see below) discounts. We understand that this number will be used as our unique identifier in all transactions with the FCC.

 

Since 1998, Swift River has received thousands of dollars in E-rate rebates and discounts. We will continue to apply for E-rate reimbursements and discounts for Telecommunication Services (local and long-distance telephone costs), Internet Access, Web hosting, and Internal Connections (networking infra-structure and related equipment) where applicable. Line items in the school's local budget pay for the non-discounted portion of previously listed items.

 

B1.D. Evaluation

 

Each year, the technology coordinator and principal evaluate the progress the school has made in implementing its technology plan in an effort to learn from past lessons, review our progress in meeting state and local technology benchmarks, and consider revisions in relation to changes in local curriculum, technology, policy (local, state, and national level), financial circumstances and any other relevant developments. To plan for next steps, we distribute a bi-annual parent survey inviting comments about the technology curriculum and present our technology plan to the School Committee. In addition, we consult with classroom teachers to determine both curriculum and instructional technology needs and technology professional training needs. Ongoing discussions take place throughout the year at staff meetings where teachers are invited to express their technology needs and make contributions to our Technology Plan.

 

The technology coordinator keeps an updated inventory of school hardware and software, ensures that all maintenance agreements with technology vendors are renewed and/or updated and stays alert to infrastructure needs. Finally, teaching staff regularly evaluates students' progress with respect to particular technology skills. Our measures include tests, projects, and informal observations of student behavior.

 

Benchmark 2: Technology Integration

B2.A Teacher and Student Use of Technology

Our current level of technology integration is impressive. All students and teachers have access to computers in their classrooms and the computer lab. We estimate that:

  1. a. Outside the Classroom: 100% of teachers use technology nearly every day for professional activities, lesson planning, administrative tasks, communications and collaboration.

  1. b. Within the Classroom: 100% of teachers use instructional technology with students each week for activities such as research, multimedia tutorials, data interpretation, image editing, and communications.

  2. 85% of students in grades 5 and 6 have mastered the skills listed in the Massachusetts Technology Literacy Standards and Expectations for Grades 5 to 8.

  3. 40% of teachers are working to meet the proficiency level in technology. Presently we have 45% of teachers at the proficient level and 15% at the advanced level. The TSAT will be administered again in June 2009.

  4. The district has a CIPA - compliant Acceptable Use Policy regarding internet use.  



Internet User Policy for Swift River Students

Bringing the Internet into the schoolhouse motivates learning, while opening new educational possibilities. Connecting students to the "web" encourages them to consult online references, obtain timely news updates, and take advantage of information available for research and other assignments. Students can collaborate and share ideas, asking questions of peers, scientists, authors, and professional "experts" all over the world. The benefits obtained from going online are many and varied. To ensure a happy, healthy, and productive Internet experience for Swift River students, while blocking access to inappropriate online information and preventing children from becoming the victims of predatory Internet users, Swift River recognizes the importance of online supervision and common sense advice. To this end, we have set certain guidelines for Internet use.

 

Students at Swift River may not:

1. Go online without adult permission and supervision;

2. Give out identifying information (such as home address, school name or telephone numbers) in public message areas, chat rooms, or bulletin boards;

3. Arrange face-to-face meetings with other computer users; or

4. Respond to messages that are suggestive, threatening, and otherwise inappropriate.

 

Students can access the Internet from all Swift River computers. Students use sites recommended by their teachers or the technology staff and are closely supervised as they research topics specified by their classroom teachers.

 

Smooth operation of the network depends upon proper conduct of users. Students must adhere to the Internet Use Guidelines to maintain Internet privilege. These guidelines are clearly outlined below in order to avoid any misunderstanding of the responsibilities associated with proper Internet behavior. Any student who violates these responsibilities will lose the privilege to access the Internet. Future access to the Internet may also be denied.

 

Security: Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. If you identify a security problem on the Internet, you must notify a teacher or the Technology Coordinator. Do not demonstrate the problem to other users. Attempting to log on to the Internet, as a system administrator will result in cancellation of Internet privileges. Any user identified as a security risk or having a history of problems with school computers may be denied Internet access.

 

Internet - Terms and Conditions of Use

1. Acceptable Use: The purpose of the school Internet program is to support research and education by providing access to unique resources and the opportunity for collaborative work. Your Internet use must be consistent with these educational objectives.

2. Privileges: Internet access is a privilege, not a right. Inappropriate use will result in cancellation of those privileges. The system administrator may close an account at any time. The administration, faculty, and staff of Swift River may request the system administrator to deny, revoke, or suspend specific user accounts.

3. Network Etiquette: You are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

a. Be polite.

b. Use appropriate language

c. Do not reveal your personal address or phone number, or the addresses and phone numbers of

friends and other students.

d. Do not use the network in such a way as to disrupt its use for others.

4. Vandalism: Any attempt to harm or destroy another user’s Internet files or computer data will result in cancellation of Internet access privileges.

 

Swift River makes no warranties of any kind for the Internet service it provides. The school will not be responsible for any damages realized as a result of Internet access. This includes loss of data resulting from delays, nondeliveries, or service interruptions. Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at your own risk. Swift River specifically disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy or quality of information obtained through Internet access.

 

Students and parents must read and sign a copy of Swift River's Internet User Agreement Form

Internet User Agreement Form

Student:

I understand and will abide by the above Internet Use Agreement. Should I commit any violation, my access privileges may be revoked and school disciplinary action may be taken.

User's Full Name (please print): ______________________________________

User's Signature: __________________________________________________

Date: _____________________

Parent or Guardian:

As the parent or guardian of this student, I have read the Internet Use Agreement. I understand that this access is designed for educational purposes and that the Swift River School has taken precautions to eliminate controversial material. However, I also recognize that it is impossible for Swift River Staff to restrict access to all controversial materials and I will not hold the school responsible for materials acquired on the network. Further, I accept full responsibility and supervision whenever my child's Internet access is not in a school setting.

I hereby give permission for my child to access the Internet.

Parent or Guardian's Name (please print): _________________________________

Parent or Guardian's Signature: __________________________________________

Date: _____________________

 

 


Overview of CIPA Compliance

"…CIPA was signed into law on December 21, 2000. Under CIPA, no school or library may receive discounts unless it certifies that it is enforcing a policy of Internet safety that includes the use of filtering or blocking technology (see below). This Internet Safety Policy must protect against access, through computers with Internet access, to visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or (in the case of use by minors) harmful to minors. The school or library must also certify that it is enforcing the operation of such filtering or blocking technology during any use of such computers by minors. The law is effective for Funding Year 2001 (07/01/2001 to 06/30/2002) and for all future years" (http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html).

 

We have a firewall (SonicWall) to protect our network. This Internet appliance is outfitted with a content filter that blocks inappropriate sites. SonicWall maintains and regularly updates its content filtering database. It automatically passes those updates through to our firewall device. Each year, to remain compliant with CIPA regulations, we renew our content filtering subscription and block access to inappropriate sites whenever necessary.

 

B2.B. Staffing

Swift River has a full-time equivalent technology coordinator.

 

The job responsibilities include:

 

  • Work with students and teachers to implement the technology curriculum

  • Maintain the school-wide network

  • Perform regular backups of mission critical data stored on various servers

  • Install Operating System updates, patches, and fixes

  • Install applications, software maintenance updates, patches, upgrades, and fixes

  • Annually write, update, and file (online) the school Technology Plan

  • Provide software and hardware training to teachers, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, administrators, and students

  • Purchase, set up and install new computers (and other hardware) and ensure all works well and connects to the school network

  • Set up all workstations for Internet

  • Maintain a firewall to keep out malicious intruders and safeguard network security

  • Implement Internet filtering in compliance with CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act)

  • Help teachers, instructional aides, paraprofessionals and staff with software and hardware problems and questions

  • Troubleshoot equipment problems and software glitches and obtain technical support if necessary

  • Ensure malfunctioning equipment is either repaired or replaced

  • Assist in the application for e-Rate funding from the Schools and Libraries Division for Internet access, telecommunications, and internal connections

  • Maintain an inventory of school computers with serial numbers and warranty expiration dates

  • Create, maintain and update the school Web site

  • Attend professional and MA DOE workshops and meetings to represent the school and keep up with important new developments in educational technology

  • Develop and teach technology projects aligned with classroom curriculum and Massachusetts’ learning standards

  • Provide teachers with strategies of how technology can be used to achieve the learning standards

  • Establish an environment encouraging creative and independent use of instructional technology

  • Coordinate and provide training to school staff in network and software use. Coordinate activities of outside vendors, consultants and trainers.

  • Model effective use of technology in the classroom and media center for teachers and students.

  • Facilitate the use of existing and emerging technology by staff and students.

Benchmark 3: Technology Professional Development

Technology Professional Development provided by our District

Swift River School staff believe that educators at the school should be prepared to meet the following technology standards and performance indicators:

 

  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts

  • Plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology

  • Implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning

  • Apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies

  • Use technology to enhance productivity and professional practice

  • Understand the social, ethical, legal, and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK–6 schools and apply that understanding in practice

 

The technology coordinator at Swift River School provides teachers, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, and administrators with regular, sustained, and ongoing technology professional development. Our Swift River teachers and professional staff continue to make great strides with technology integration activities designed to reinforce and enhance their classroom teaching.

 

To facilitate technology integration across the curriculum, we provide technology training, drawing on concepts of universal design and research-derived models to help teachers and staff:

 

  1. Plan, design, and implement effective technology-rich learning environments and instructional strategies

  2. Create lessons and implement instructional activities comprising methods and strategies for utilizing technology to maximize student learning

  3. Use computers to communicate, locate, and manage information and foster the learning of core educational content

  4. Utilize technology strategies in assessment and evaluation, and

  5. Harness technology to improve personal productivity and optimize professional practice.

 

Our professional development planning includes an assessment of school and teacher needs. It is based on competencies listed in the Massachusetts Technology Self-Assessment Tool.

 

We design our technology one-to-one mentoring to help teachers: 1) become more proficient with the applications and equipment they use, 2) solve problems, 3) learn to be more technology self-sufficient, and 4) take better advantage of applications they use on a daily basis.

 

We will continue providing regular, sustained and ongoing technology support and professional development training to staff following the one-on-one mentoring model that works so well at our school.

 

In 2010 - 2015, we will offer workshops for staff and expect 100% participation in these workshops. We will also provide hands-on interactive workshops delivered on an as-needed basis.

Topics Covered in Technology Training and Professional Development

Our goal is to give teachers and staff experience with a variety of technology tools, operations and concepts so that they may draw on this toolkit as they plan their lessons, design developmentally appropriate learning opportunities, and enhance instructional effectiveness.

 

Professional Development Workshops offered during the 2010-2015 school year will focus on:

  • Mac OS X, advanced use

  • Smartboard applications and use

  • Document camera strategies and lesson planning

  • Use of digital projectors as classroom tools

  • Getting to know Iworks, our new productivity tool

  • Another look at DataWarehouse and our way of looking at data

Professional Development Training Evaluation Form

To assess the effectiveness of our professional development activities and plan for future trainings, we administer an evaluation at the end of every workshop.

Benchmark 4: Accessibility of Technology

B4.A. Students per Instructional Computer

At Swift River School, the ratio of students to "A" type computer is 15:1. The ratio of students to Type A/B computer is 6:1. Eight of our 20 lab computers are Type A, hence the ratio of students to Type A computer while working in the computer lab setting is between 1:1 and 3:1.

 

With careful budgetary planning and leasing we purchased ten type A computers in July 2008. At the end of this three-year lease in July 2011, we plan to lease more computers to ensure a consistent turn over of machines. We will also purchase new computers as our budget allows beginning with the purchase of five new computers in Fall 2009 using E-rate reimbursement money.

 

Since 2005, each student in grades three through six has been assigned an AlphaSmart keyboard for his own use. Students are allowed to take AlphaSmart Keyboards home for homework use. We will maintain, repair and replace, when necessary, these keyboards to continue to have one-to-one use.

Replacement Cycle

Adequate availability of computer hardware and software is essential for successful implementation of Swift River's technology program. New system software and updated computer applications constantly add features that require more powerful computers with additional memory rendering some of our technology useless.

 

Computer repairs are costly so whenever we purchase new equipment, we also buy an extended warranty on parts and labor (if available) to safeguard our technology investment. Whenever possible we attempt to repair a device ourselves. When warranties expire and equipment stops working, it's often more economical to retire the equipment than repair it. Whenever we can, we disassemble older non-working computers to remove working components and keep those items on hand to use for replacement purposes.

 

We will draft a plan for Technology Equipment Upgrade and Replacement describing purchase, upgrade and replacement policies for computers. In July 2008, we added a line item to our local budget for $2500 for computer leasing. This will ensure that up to 10 workstations will be replaced every three years.

B4.B. Technical Support

At Swift River, we make a commitment to provide timely in-class technical support with clear information on how to access this support so that technical problems do not cause major disruptions in curriculum delivery. We offer application technical support on an as needed basis whenever teachers, instructional aides, paraprofessionals and staff ask questions about or have problems with software installed on their computers. When equipment malfunctions, our technology coordinator troubleshoots the issue and resolves the problem as quickly as possible, usually within two days.

Benchmark 5: Infrastructure for Connectivity

B5.A. Internet Access

We have a T-1 connection for Internet access. Computers in all classrooms and administrative offices can access the Internet through our school LAN (local area network), which supports data transfers rates of 10 or 100 Mbps (megabits per second). Network switches, router, and firewall are all adequate at this time.

B5.B. Networking (LAN/WAN)

  1. Swift River provides a minimum of 10/100 MB Cat 5 switched network and has implemented an 802.11g access node for wireless hookup.

  2. The school provides services for secure file sharing, backups, email and Web publishing.

 

B5. C. E-Learning Environments

We are aware of the benefits of distance learning technologies for:

  1. Student instruction (e.g., educational courses, field trips, and student-to-student projects)

  2. Professional development opportunities for teachers, and

  3. Health-related professional development courses for rural school nurses and other school professionals (school psychologists).

 

However, Swift River currently has no plans to implement any video conferencing or distance learning connectivity other than options available over our existing Internet (IP) network. We intend to revisit our views of distance learning (i.e., access to relevant and appropriate content and learning opportunities) annually to determine our needs and goals and assess new opportunities. The seeds of a high-quality Internet-based infrastructure capable of quality distance learning are already in place as the school has consistent and reliable bandwidth to support distance learning services and programmatic demands. Currently, however, the school lacks the necessary video-conferencing equipment (cameras, microphones, etc) to support this virtual learning environment.

Benchmark 6: Access to the Internet Outside the School Day

  1. Swift River maintains an up-to-date Web site with information for students, parents and staff.

 

  1. We post an up-to-date list of places on the school web site identifying where students and staff can access the Internet after school hours.