District Technology Plan - July 1, 2009-September 30, 2010

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Prepared Date: November 1, 2008
Plan Start Date: July 1, 2009
Plan Expiration Date: September 30, 2010
Approval Date: May 12, 2009 by the Kentucky Department of Education

Contents

Acknowledgements

The people listed below have been instrumental in the development and revision of this technology plan.

District Technology Advisory Committee

The Paducah Public School's District Technology Advisory Committee provides guidance and advice to the district on issues related to information

technologies.

Other Staff

Superintendent's Cabinet

District Technology Vision and Goals

Paducah Independent School District's Technology Vision

At the dawn of the 21st Century, the ability to effectively use telecommunications and other information technologies is widely recognized as an essential skill of every citizen. Students of the Paducah Independent School District will develop these skills through a learning partnership of school and community.

These skills will help to prepare all of our students to compete in a global economy and to live and work in a diverse world. Technology as a tool will be integrated into instruction at every level of education. All students will be encouraged and, at some levels, will be required to provide evidence of the ability to use technology to produce a quality product. Student, parent, and staff access to learning technologies, both during and after school hours, will be an expected fringe benefit of being associated with the Paducah Independent School District. Properly trained staff will be available to assist both students and parents during and after school hours.

An administrative revolution will also take place within the school system. Communication between teachers and parents will be enhanced through the use of new technologies such as email and voice mail. Community access to school district records will be enhanced through the use of these administrative technologies while still maintaining security and confidentiality.

Background and Context

A major strand of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) is the technology component, known as the Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS.) The major goal of KETS is to provide students, teachers, and administrators with access to the latest computer and telecommunications technologies in an equitable fashion throughout the Commonwealth.

In the 1992-93 school year, the Paducah Independent School District, like most school districts in the state, began an aggressive program of technology purchases, professional development activities, and migration of many manual administrative systems to computer-based replacements. Today, the district has in place approximately 1100 computers. With only a very few exceptions, all computers are connected to local area and wide area networks, which, in turn, are connected to the global Internet. A wide variety of classroom and instructional activities are based around and are dependent on this technology. As the implementation of our technology plans and the development of our staff progresses, this dependence on technology for classroom instruction will continue to grow.

On the administrative side, systems such as student records, student attendance, school and student accountability data, district financial operations (payroll, purchasing, accounts payable, accounts receivable), district personnel records, communications, and virtually all district and school record keeping are dependent partially or wholly on the ready availability of computer and telecommunications technologies.

The Paducah Independent School District has spent millions of dollars building and installing a state of the art Information Technology (IT) system. The system we have built is comparable in size and complexity with the very largest businesses in our area. It is essential that we maintain this investment both to be fiscally responsible and to ensure the smooth functioning of administrative and educational uses of our IT resources.

The Role of Information Technologies in Education

Over the last few decades, information technologies have had an enormous impact on all aspects of our society. Advances in telecommunications and computer technologies have changed all entertainment, business, government, industry, and education institutions profoundly. In K-12 education, information technologies have become indispensable at all levels, from the classroom to the board of education.

The ways in which these technologies are used in education are similar to their use in business and industry. However, because of the unique function of education in our society, information technologies themselves also function uniquely.

Personal Productivity Tools

Personal productivity tools include such applications as word processing, spreadsheets, and email. These types of tools are common to both education and business. In the educational environment personal productivity tools also include such tools as electronic grade books as well as other classroom and school record keeping programs. These personal productivity uses of technology have transformed our society and make daily impacts on how students, teachers, and school administrators work and communicate.

Administration and Management

In virtually all organizations, modern school districts included, information technologies are widely used to administer and manage the organization. Such use includes tools such as the finance system and personnel management systems. In education, an important and unique management tool is the school and student management record keeping system.

Pedagogy

It is in this area of pedagogy that the use of information technologies differs significantly between school districts and all other types of organizations. The use of technology actually impacts instruction in two different ways. First, technology is used as an instructional tool, allowing teachers to more effectively teach. In this respect the technology is functioning in the same role as in other organizations, as when a computer is used to perform a specialized business function.

The unique aspect of K12 education is that not only are students taught WITH technology, but that students are also taught HOW to use technology. Parents and society as a whole expect that schools will teach students the use of modern information technologies.

District Technology Strategies and Goals

Ultimately, all of the district's information technologies are simply tools to assist us in meeting the district's educational mission and goals. Thus, the strategies and goals discussed in this section should be viewed simply as means of achieving the district's educational goals.

On January 7, 2005, the United States Department of Education released the National Education Technology Plan. The plan's seven major action steps fit so well with the district's overall vision that Paducah Independent School District has adopted them as our overall district strategies and revised and adapted them with specific district goals in each strategy.

A. Strengthen Leadership

For public education to benefit from the rapidly evolving development of information and communication technology, leaders at every level - school and district - must not only supervise, but also provide informed, creative and ultimately transformative leadership for systemic change.

Goals:

  1. All administrators will meet the state mandated Technology Standards for Administrators.
  2. Administrators will regularly be offered professional development opportunities in technology.
  3. Administrators will be encouraged to develop technology partnerships with the business community.
  4. Administrators will be given the tools and training to enable them to accurately observe, evaluate, and improve the technology skills of their subordinates.

B. Innovative Budgeting

Needed technology often can be funded successfully through innovative restructuring and reallocation of existing budgets to realize efficiencies and cost savings. The new focus begins with the educational objective and evaluates funding requests - for technology or other programs - in terms of how they support student learning.

Goals:

  1. Periodically analyze current district budgets with an eye towards reallocating some funding from sources other than the technology budget to purchase technology.
  2. As part of the Comprehensive District Improvement Planning (CDIP) process we will look for ways to more effectively incorporate technology initiatives within the educational improvement goals and activities.

C. Improve Teacher Professional Development

Teachers have more resources available through technology than ever before, but some have not received sufficient training in the effective use of technology to enhance learning. Teachers need access to research, examples and innovations as well as staff development to learn best practices.

Goals:

  1. All Paducah teachers will meet the state mandated Kentucky Teacher Standards - Standard 6.
  2. Maintain and expand the Technology Resource Teacher program.
  3. Teachers will regularly be offered professional development opportunities in technology, including online courses.
  4. The district's teacher evaluation instrument will include technology indicators.

D. Support e-Learning and Virtual Schools

In the past five years there has been significant growth in organized online instruction (e-learning) and "virtual" schools, making it possible for students at all levels to receive high quality supplemental or full courses of instruction personalized to their needs. Traditional schools are turning to these services to expand opportunities and choices for students and professional development for teachers.

Goals:

  1. Support students in our system that want to take courses through the Kentucky Virtual High School as long as such courses meet district and school standards and requirements.
  2. Implement a district, online, Course Management System (CMS) that allows teachers to provide online instruction that can supplement or replace classroom instruction.
  3. Install, maintain, and upgrade the IT infrastructure to ensure that student and staff access to e-learning resources is seamless and transparent.
  4. Ensure that our students have the requisite skills and competencies to utilize technology in learning and in life.

E. Encourage Broadband Access

Most public schools, colleges and universities now have access to high-speed, high-capacity broadband communications. However, broadband access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year could help teachers and students to realize the full potential of this technology and broadband technology needs to be properly maintained.

Goals:

  1. Maintain high-speed connections between all schools and the central office.
  2. Explore ways in which teachers and students can take advantage of district broadband connections outside of the normal school day.
  3. Investigate opportunities through the Connect Kentucky initiative to provide low cost, broadband connections to the Internet to our parents and students.

F. Move Toward Digital Content

A perennial problem for schools, teachers and students is that textbooks are increasingly expensive, quickly outdated and physically cumbersome. A move away from reliance on textbooks to the use of multimedia or online information (digital content) offers many advantages, including cost savings, increased efficiency, improved accessibility, and enhancing learning opportunities in a format that engages today's web-savvy students.

Goals:

  1. Provide all teachers access to online, indexed, digital video resources.
  2. During each textbook cycle, determine if we can replace or supplement some textbooks with digital content.
  3. Provide students and staff with access to the most efficient and up to date technology resources.

G. Integrate Data Systems

Integrated, interoperable data systems are the key to better allocation of resources, greater management efficiency, and online and technology-based assessments of student performance that empower educators to transform teaching and personalize instruction.

Goals:

  1. Implement a district Identity Management solution that synchronizes staff and student identity information among the multiple administrative and instructional database systems in the district.
  2. Implement a "data warehouse" system with customized "dashboard" front ends to give students, parents, teachers, and administrators access to a broad range of student and school data.

Technology Initiatives and Action Plans

To meet the technology strategies and goals discussed above and the district instructional goals as outlined in the Comprehensive District Improvement Plan (CDIP), we will develop specific initiatives. Many of the initiatives will address short term, specific needs. Others will be longer term and will address anticipated long range requirements. From these initiatives will come specific action items which will be included in the district's Comprehensive Improvement Plan. These initiatives will be regularly revisited, revised, and, as they are completed, removed from the plan.

Infrastructure

In 2004, the district adopted a relatively new technology, called a Fiber Channel Storage Area Network (SAN), that has many advantages over older, server-centric file storage systems. In a SAN environment, a large array of hard disks is shared among many servers. This reduces the cost of the individual servers and improves overall system management and efficiency. Although the initial cost of a SAN system is on the same order of magnitude as simply replacing and upgrading all of the district's individual files servers, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which includes all support and equipment costs over the life of the equipment, will be significantly less.

Many of the district's administrative and instructional activities now depend on software and storage on file servers and locally hosted web services. As new software is acquired, older servers cannot meet the needs of the district. Because of this, server and storage equipment realistically has a useful life of no more than five years. Accordingly, the district is committed to leasing our server and storage equipment rather than purchasing it outright and, at the end of each five year lease cycle, replace the equipment with new and enter into another five year lease cycle. In effect, we need to view the regular, ongoing lease payment for servers and storage as an "information utility" cost and part of the cost of operating a school district in the 21st century.

Action Item(s):
  • At the end of each lease period, replace existing servers and SAN with new, leased equipment.
    Goal(s) Addressed: B1, F3

With high-speed connections to the Central Office from all locations and moving all servers back to the Central Office there needs to be a true data center in part of the Central Office. A data center is separately enclosed, and has separate HVAC and environmental controls. Ideally, a data center will also have separate fire control and suppression systems.

Action Item(s):
  • Move all servers and Central Office switches into the Central Office data center.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3
  • Install an appropriate fire control and suppression system in the Central Office data center.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Currently, every location in the district has its own telephone key system with multiple telephone lines coming into each system. As we put into place a high-speed, high capacity WAN, we should begin moving to a single telephone system at the Central Office, replacing the separate key systems. Such a move would enable us to significantly reduce the total number of telephone lines in the district, reducing our annual telephone bill by thousands of dollars a year.

Action Item(s):
  • Research new voice technology options and develop a comprehensive plan to replace and consolidate the district's current voice technology system.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3
  • Replace the 10 separate key systems in the district with a single system at the Central Office.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Video distribution systems provide the ability to receive video signals from a variety of sources and to distribute those video signals to video connections in the classrooms. Sources can be cable TV, satellite TV, cameras, VCRs, and DVD players. Since the video distribution system is located in the Library Media Center we can install VCRs and DVD players in the LMC rather than in each classroom. We can also use cameras in classrooms as sources to transmit video from the classroom to other rooms. When the district installed the local area networks (LANs) in all of our buildings, we included cabling specifically to permit the use of video distribution systems. Currently three of our schools, Clark, Morgan, and McNabb have video distribution systems in place.

Media retrieval systems use software on teachers' PCs, combined with hardware and software controllers attached to the video distribution system, to allow teachers to schedule and control the timing and content of video distributed to the teacher's classroom

Action Item(s):
  • Install video distribution systems in all remaining locations.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F2, F3
  • Install media retrieval systems in all locations.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F2, F3

So that staff and student workstations are capable of running new instructional applications and services they must all be replaced on a reqular cycle. Business and industry try to replace desktop computers every three or four years. Although that would be ideal, school districts simply do not have the necessary resources to replace 25% of the computers each year. In Paducah's case, such a replacement cycle would cost in the neighborhood of $150,000. In the Kentucky State Master Plan for Technology, a replacement cycle of 6 years is suggested.

Action Item(s):
  • Replace 1/6th of all student and teacher computer workstations each year.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Instructional Technology

Instructional technology is the use of technology FOR instruction. In this context, we are primarily addressing the software applications that can be used to supplement and enhance classroom instruction. The Paducah Independent School District has made a significant investment in obtaining and maintaining these resources.

The district has several instructional technology applications available to students in the district. These applications are web based, either running on district owned and managed servers or hosted by the software vendor.

Compass Learning Odyssey is used primarily by the elementary schools and Paducah Middle school to provide reinforcment and assessment of student skills in reading, math, and science.

Plato Web Learning is used primarily in the middle and high school for Credit Recovery programs and to reinforce and assess student skills in reading, math, science, and social studies.

Renaissance Place is the web based, integrated application that encompasses programs such as Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math. These programs are used at all grade levels to reinforce student skills in reading and math.

Action Item(s):
  • Maintain and update these resources through the purchase of annual support contracts.
    Goal(s) Addressed: B2, D3, F3
  • Investigate ways in which these resources could be used by staff, students, and parents outside of the normal school day and develop a plan to make these resources available.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, E2, F3

New Technologies

Wireless network technologies have, over the last several years, finally matured to the point where they can be expected to perform nearly as well as wired networks. As we begin using more laptop computer, pocket pcs, smart phones, and other types of handheld devices in our schools and district offices the advantages of wireless networks will grow significantly. By taking a district-wide approach to wireless adoption, we can install centralized security switches, allowing us to use lower cost, "thin" wireless access points (WAPs) in classrooms.

Action Item(s):
  • Install wireless networks in the district, beginning with the Central Office and library media centers in the schools, but expanding to a full, district-wide installation as financial resources become available.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Handheld devices such as PDAs, Pocket PCs, "Smart" phones, etc. are becoming valuable tools for both administrators and classroom teachers. Such devices have already been used in Paducah Public Schools as part of Cooper-Whiteside's Reading First grant. The district has also issued Dell Axim pocket PCs to key school and district administrators specifically for the use of the eWalk classroom observation software. Besides the use of such devices by teachers and administrators, there are potentially wide-ranging student uses of these devices. As wireless networks are installed in the district, handheld devices with the ability to connect to those networks will become even more useful.

Action Item(s):
  • Prepare an analysis of current district uses of handheld devices and present the analysis to the district management team.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A4, C4, D3, F3
  • Develop additional pilot projects for the use of these devices by students, teachers, and administrators.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A4, C4, D3, F3

Video content that has been digitized, indexed, and correlated with state standards can be a valuable instructional resource. Teachers have found that today's students, having grown up with TV and video, can often more easily grasp some concepts when these concepts are presented with supplemental video clips. In 2005 Kentucky Educational Television (KET) partnered with Discovery Education to provide all schools free access to thousands of indexed, digital video content. KET and Discovery Education are working with the Kentucky Department of Education to align this video content with Kentucky's core standards and curriculum. This resource also provides teachers with access to online professional development resources.

Action Item(s):
  • Continue to offer indexed, digital video content to classroom teachers and regularly review and analyze the use of that content.
    Goal(s) Addressed: C3, F1

New audio/visual technologies such as computer projectors, document cameras, interactive whiteboards and pads, and student response systems combined with the teacher's computer and connected to the Internet are being referred to as 'Smart Classrooms'. The combination of these technologies with new methods of instruction have the potential to excite both students and teachers and improve learning.

Action Item(s):
  • Work with the Technology Resource Teachers in each school to implement pilot projects incorporating some or all of these Smart Classroom technologies.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Interactive distance learning can refer to any number of different technologies, including, but not limited to, online computer-based instruction and interactive TV. Kentucky has set up the Kentucky Virtual High School and several Paducah students take classes through the KVHS each year.

Action Item(s):
  • Establish our own eSchool through the use of web servers and course management systems (CMS).
    Goal(s) Addressed: D2
  • Install interactive video teleconferencing hardware and software in the district.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D2


Terminal server technology allow us to use older computers and low cost diskless workstations to use the latest multimedia applications.

Action Item(s):
  • Regularly look at the feasibility of moving high-resource requirement applications to terminal servers.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3

Student Technology

As was discussed above, education is unique in that not only do we use telecommunications and information technologies to more effectively perform our jobs (educating the students of Paducah) but we also must teach our students how to use information technologies themselves. In our elementary schools we use several technology based software products in support of instruction; Compass Learning Odyssey and Renaissance Place the most prominent among them. Students must know basic typing skills as well as basic computer skills such as the use of the mouse. In middle and high school, students are also expected to use technology and the Internet for research and writing tasks.

In 2006, the Kentucky Department of Education revised the state's Program of Studies which included, for the first time, technology content standards. These are the minimum content standards required for all students for the required credits for high school graduation and the content standards for primary, intermediate, and middle level programs that lead up to the high school graduation requirements

Action Item(s):
  • Incorporate the goals and academic expectations of the Technology components of the Program of Studies into the district's curriculum.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D4

The Student Technology Leadership Program is a project-based learning program that empowers students in all grade levels to use technology to learn and achieve. The state established the STLP program in 1994. Paducah has been actively involved with local STLP programs since that time. Currently all 5 schools in the district have active STLP groups.

Action Items(s):
  • Provide financial and technical support to the district's STLP programs.
    Goal(s) Addressed: F3

Technology Management

As more and more of our instructional and administrative systems move to computers, we find that in many cases we have multiple people entering the same data into multiple databases. This often results in invalid or incorrect data. For example a student might be listed as John Smith in one database and J. A. Smith in another. This can cause problems when trying to report on our data. As a district, we need to develop systems that first, insure that all of our data is accurate and, second, that data shared between multiple databases is entered once and then automatically synchronized between all databases.

Action Item(s):
  • Move towards a complete, secure identity management solution beginning with synchronization between our two network directories, Novell Directory Services (eDirectory) and Microsoft Active Directory.
    Goal(s) Addressed: G1

Over the last several years, we have seen a greater emphasis on "data driven decision making" in public education nationwide. As analyses are done, we find that school districts, in general, tend to be data rich and information poor. That is, we collect vast amounts of data, but we do not have systems to adequately coordinate, validate, and report on the data that we have. Once our data systems are improved, we need to develop systems that allow teachers and administrators to easily and quickly retrieve, correlate, and report on data.

Action Item(s):
  • Move towards a single, web-based interface to all school and student data beginning with a web page that simply links to existing data sources.
    Goal(s) Addressed: G2

Various local, state, and federal policies, rules, regulations, and laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require that school districts make accomodations for those who have disabilities.

Action Item(s):
  • Ensure that the district's websites meet internationally accepted standards of Web Accessibility.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3, F3
  • Ensure that the necessary accomdations and assistive technology is made available to special needs students.
    Goals Addressed: D3, F3

The two fires that the district experienced recently have raised the awareness of the need for a district-wide, business continuation (disaster recovery) planning effort. A true business continuation plan deals with much more than simply backing up critical data on computer systems. Although we currently back up most critical data (e.g. financial, student data, etc.) we are not 100% sure that all data which should be backed up is being backed up. Also, we do not have plans in place for continuing operations in the wake of a disaster with minimal downtime. How long would it take the Central Office to be back functioning if we experienced a major fire in the building? We need to put together a cross-disciplinary task force to develop our business continuation plan, as soon as possible.

Action Item(s):
  • Organize a task force to develop a BCP for the district.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3

Virtually all of the district's computers are connected to local area networks (LAN). In turn, these LANs are connected together into a district wide area network (WAN). That WAN is then connected to the global Internet. These connections provide every computer in the district access to global resources. However, the same connections then make every computer potentially vulnerable to security threats from anywhere in the world. Over the last several years we have seen an increase in destructive Internet worms and viruses, and an increase in hacking and hacking attempts (both from inside and outside the district). Rather than always playing catch up, it is vital that the district adopts proactive strategies to ensure the security and integrity of all of our information technology systems and data.

Action Item(s):
  • The district will develop and implement IT security policies and procedures including, but not limited to, periodic security audits.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3

As computers and other technology become obsolete or completely inoperable, we must dispose of them in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Because of the materials that computers, and especially monitors, contain, they cannot be disposed of in standard landfills but must be treated as hazardous waste.

Action Item(s):
  • Develop a plan for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of obsolete IT resources.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3

Technology Support

Maintaining and supporting information technologies is essential to ensuring that the technologies are available when needed for both administrative and instructional uses. Refer to Supporting and Maintaining Information Technologies, for a more in-depth analysis of the district's maintenance and support needs.

There is always need to make changes, repairs, and upgrades to our existing cabling infrastructure. The district needs to budget for such changes and repairs.

Action Item(s):
  • Budget for cable changes and repairs.
    Goal(s) Addressed: B2, D3

Good documentation of all IT systems and well planned and organized SOPs are essential to the effective operation of all information technologies. Particularly if a member of the IT department leaves or is out of the district for an extended period of time, documentation and SOPs can allow others to keep systems in operation.

Action Item(s):
  • Develop a single, online repository of IT documentation with clear document control procedures.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3
  • Develop a manual of IT Standard Operating Procedures.
    Goal(s) Addressed: D3

Staff Training and Professional Development

Studies have shown that effective professional development is the key to effective use of technology and its integration in instruction. Paducah Public Schools is committed to providing the necessary professional development opportunities to ensure that our teachers and administrators can effectively use technology to improve student learning.

Paducah’s technology resource teachers (TRTs) work with other teachers and administrators to improve student learning and achievement through the effective use and incorporation of technology in instruction.

Goals:

  1. All teachers and administrators in Paducah will meet the Teacher and Administrator technology standards.
  2. TRTs will continue to develop and improve their own skills in the use of technology in instruction.
  3. Regularly survey, though various paper and electronic instruments, teacher and administrator progress towards meeting the state technology standards.
  4. Work with school leadership and colleagues to develop methods for principals to effectively assess a teacher’s use of technology in instruction.
  5. Develop a repository of specific technology integration activities and resources.

Central to our technology professional development strategies are our Technology Resource Teachers (TRTs). The TRTs are classroom teachers with a demonstrated ability to integrate technology into the curriculum and the skills and ability necessary to train other teachers and administrators in technology integration. Being classroom teachers, the TRTs know firsthand what can be done with technology in the classroom. Being a member of the school's faculty, the TRTs will be able to more easily determine the technology PD needs of the staff in their school.

Because of the nature of the position, TRTs will primarily be responding to specific needs of specific teachers for assistance in the use of technology in instruction. The initiatives listed below are not presented as the only activities that TRTs will work on this school year. They are simply areas where all the TRTs agreed that there is a need for teacher development as well as the opportunity for widespread use in the schools.

Action Item(s):
  • Each school will have a School Technology Resource Teacher (TRT) who will train and assist teachers and administrators in the effective integration and utilization of technology in instruction.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A1, A2, C1, C2, C3
  • The School Technology Resource Teacher (TRT), with the assistance of the School Technology Committee will annually analyze teacher progress towards meeting the Teacher Technology Standards and will work with the school administrator and district staff to develop professional development strategies to assist teachers in meeting the standards.
    Goal(s) Addressed: C1, C2, C3, C4
  • TRTs will provide additional training and instruction in the areas of Internet safety and the ethical use of technology resources to both staff and students.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A1, A2, C1, C3

In addition to our Technology Resource Teachers, we look to improve the technology skills of our staff through other resources. Examples of these resources would be online Tech Help articles, attendance at conferences and workshops, access to online tutorial resources, and the development and implementation of new, district-wide technology PD activities.

Action Item(s):
  • Expand our Tech Help article resources to include more of our most frequently used applications and services.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A1, A2, C1, C3
  • Establish a pilot project to make available to staff online tutorials on technology subjects.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A1, A2, C1, C3
  • Put together a committee to develop new, district-wide technology PD activities.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A1, A2, C1, C3

As in all areas of 21st century America, the 'business' of education depends on telecommunications and information technologies. Diverse areas such as finance (payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc.), personnel, facilities planning and management, and student recordkeeping depend on information technologies. The staff who use these technologies need professional development to more efficiently provide these vital support services to the staff and students of Paducah Public Schools.

Action Item(s):
  • Do a needs assessment to determine what professional development activities are most needed by the administrative and support staff of the district.
    Goal(s) Addressed: A2, A4
  • Implement staff professional development activities to address the highest needs determined by the needs assessment.
    Goals(s) Addressed: A2, A4

Current Technology and Technology Resources

The Paducah Independent School District is committed to providing robust, up-to-date technology resources to the staff and students of our district. Over the years, funding for technology has come from a variety of funding sources. The most important of these sources have been the District General Fund, the sale of bonds, Kentucky EdTech offers of assistance, and various Federal Title programs. Wherever possible the district has leveraged these funds by applying for Universal Service Fund (eRate) discounts on eligible products and services.

Computers

Currently the district has roughly 1140 computers available for students and staff. Of these computers roughly 1135 are running modern operating systems (Windows XP or 2000) and are fully networked with access to the Internet. Every teacher has a networked computer on his or her desk. We currently have a ratio of approximately 3.25 students per computer.

Local Area Networks (LAN)

Beginning in the summer of 1998, Paducah Public Schools, through a $2 million bond sale, installed Ethernet networks in all district facilities. As part of the project, new electrical service was installed in all facilities. This new electrical service was designed for use strictly by the district’s technology, providing clean, filtered power at each location where there was a network data drop. Over a two-year period, all district facilities were fully networked. Each classroom was configured with 6 student data drops, 1 teacher data drop, 1 telephone drop, and two extra drops for future digital video input and output.

In the initial installations, the data drops were connected via Category 5e cabling to 10 Mb/s switches. Intermediate distribution closets (IDF) were connected to the main distribution closet (MDF) via 100 Mb/s fiber optic cabling. Over the last two years we have been upgrading our network electronics and closet connections. As of today, all 5 of our schools and the Central Office have been upgraded to 1 Gb/s (1000 Mb/s) network switches. Those schools have also been upgraded to 10 Gb/s fiber optic cabling between the IDFs and the MDF.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

As each of our school LANs were built in 1998-1999, they were connected to the District Office (the district hub site) via T1 lines (1.5 Mb/s). In 2003, the district upgraded to leased, fiber-optic cabling, providing 100 Mb/s connections to our 6 schools. In October of 2007, the district upgraded all connections from the schools to the district office to 10 Gb/s.

Telephones

At the same time as we constructed our school LANs, we installed telephone key systems in every district facility. With the voice cabling that was run at the same time as the data cabling, every classroom in the district was equipped with telephone service and a telephone set.

Technology Tools Readiness Survey

Each December, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has each school district do a survey of technology resources in the district. The links below will take the user to the most current versions of this survey.

Technology Tools Readiness Survey - 2008 (Microsoft Excel format)

Technology Tools Readiness Survey - 2008 (Adobe PDF format)

Key Statistics from the Survey

Total Number of Classroom Teachers - 225

Total Number of Students (Average Daily Attendance-ADA) - 2624

Group Number of Workstations Percent of Total Workstations Ratio (members to workstations)
Students 811 71% 3.24 to 1
Teachers 235 21% 0.96 to 1
Administrators 94 8% N/A

Technology Funding and Budget

District information technologies funding comes several sources.

Information Technologies Department

The Information Technologies department has a budget of roughly $300,000 for fiscal year 2009-2010 (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010). Of this amount, approximately $130,000 is used for IT department staffing. The balance is used for technology equipment purchases and technology maintenance and repairs.

EdTech Funds (State Offers of Assistance & District Matching)

Each year, the Kentucky Department of Education makes offers of assistance for technology funding which districts then match. In fiscal year 2008-2009 the state offer of assistance was approximately $11.25 per Average Daily Attendance (ADA), resulting in an offer of $29,522. When matched by money from the district General Fund, this gave the district $59,044. We anticipate the same or a slightly higher offer in FY 2009-2010. With carryovers from the current fiscal year, we estimate that we will have approximately $75,000 in the EdTech account. EdTech funds are used for student and staff workstations and other equipment, software, and staff professional development.

Title II-D – Enhancing Education Through Technology

This is a federal program that provides funds for hardware, software, and personnel costs to improve student performance through the use of technology. For 2009-2010 the district will receive $16,492. The district uses these funds primarily for technology professional development and student achievement through our Technology Resource Teacher and Student Technology Leadership programs.

Construction, Building, Capital Outlay Funds, and District Contingency Funds

For major projects, such as new or upgraded network electronics and cabling and Smart Classroom technologies, the district uses a variety of construction, capital outlay and contingency funds. The district has indentified approximately $579,000 of technology upgrades in the Long Range Facilities plan. Of that amount, roughly $300,000 has been budgeted for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Other Funding Sources

Technology expenditures are made from a variety of other sources. For example, roughly $50,000 to $60,000 per year is spent of telephone costs out of the general fund. Individual schools and departments use their funds for some acquisition of technology. Finally, there are expenditures for technology from a number of special programs such as Title I and Perkins Vocational Funds.

Universal Service Fund (eRate) Discounts

The USF or eRate program of the federal government provides schools districts with significant discounts on eligible telecommnunications and information technologies expenses. The district is required to pay the undiscounted portion of these expenses from the funding sources discussed above and then the eRate program pays the balance. This program has been a significant source of funds for the district's telecommunications and information technologies projects over the last 9 years.

Technology Budget Summary - 2009-2010

Budget Categories General Fund Title IID EdTech (KETS) Construction Other Funds
Technology support and management staff $130,000 - - - -
Network server and storage lease $37,000 - - - -
Network infrastructure and equipment upgrades $90,000 - - $300,000 -
Technology repairs, maintenance, & maintenance contracts $45,000 - $5,000 - -
Staff and student workstations and other technologies - - $53,000 - $20,000
Software and software maintenance and support - - $10,000 - $15,000
Technology Professional Development - $11,000 $5,000 - $10,000
Student Technology Leadership Program Support - $5,000 - - -
Total $302,000 $16,000 $73,000 $300,000 $45,000

Planning Process and Evaulation

Process

As with any plan, this plan will never be completely static. Encompassing, as it does, broad strategies as well as specific, short-term activities, the process of evaluation and revision is ultimately a continuous one. However, we will do formal evaluations and revisions on a regular basis.

The District Technology Advisory Committee meets regularly. At each meeting the Director of Information Technologies will present a status report on progress towards meeting the technology plan goals and initiatives. The Director will also make recommendations on any revisions or additions to the plan that he believes are needed. The committee will review the director's report and recommendations and make any necessary revisions to the plan.

Planning and Evaluation Timeline

Appendices

Information Technologies Department

Supporting Technology

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