Technology Planning Summary:
The Souderton Area School District conducted a series of meetings in early 2009 as part of the Strategic Planning process to create a vision and action plan for addressing technology needs in classrooms, administrative offices, and throughout the district. The district looked at the learning needs of all students, the instructional settings and classrooms across the district, the instructional and teaching needs of our professional staff, and the current infrastructure and technology across the district.
The district concluded that teachers, learners, and education as an institution have changed over the years and we need to develop technology infrastructure and facilities that support meeting evolving 21st century skills. The district has a sound curriculum, effective instructional practices, quality teachers and a robust technology foundation. However, it was clear that the district would be changing and increased use of 21 Century technology skills would place an ever increasing burden of the current technology systems. It was also clear that increasing demands were being placed on the capture, analysis, and reporting of data, in an effort to make highly informed instructional decisions. Therefore, it would be necessary to address technology needs on two fronts. The first area to be addressed would be an overall upgrading and updating of the technology infrastructure. The second area of need would be building a “Culture of Quality Data” across all levels of the district.
Technology and Learning Philosophy:
SASD graduates will learn, work, and live in electronic, web-based environments after leaving our schools. Despite this complete immersion into electronic and digital environments upon graduation, our current programs and tools exist largely out of the electronic, web-based format.
The SASD’s long-range technology plan addresses a preferred future where customary learning and working in school reflects the electronic/web-based learning and working environments found in colleges and modern workplaces. A rigorous and relevant application of technology is no longer a goal of “classrooms of the future” as much as it is an imperative of the classrooms of the present.
Description: Upgrade and update the core networking infrastructure. The district will continually upgrade and maintain a network infrastructure that will support all district operations with limited down time and rapid recovery.
- Replace or upgrade network switching hardware in the buildings as necessary
- Upgrade the Network Operations Center (NOC) with proper power, security, cooling and dry fire suppression.
- Upgrade e-mail services
- Upgrade file storage system (SAN)
- Implement wireless network management and security services
- Provide for a redundant Internet Service Provider
- Develop a plan to implement a IPTV network to provide distribution of television and video resources to all classrooms
- Upgrade network infrastructure, including Internet and Inet2, as needed to support demand
- Upgrade MAN, WAN and LAN bandwidth as needed to support increased demands
Description: Upgrade and update the core support infrastructure. The district will provide hardware, software, services, and personnel to maintain and support district technology initiatives.
- Provide additional technology support personnel to provide first-level technical support
- Develop an online technical support problem management system
- Develop a Help Desk to provide immediate technical assistance to staff and students during all school/work hours
- Provide for Instructional Technology Specialists to provide instructional resources, coaching and staff development
- Expand web services via the SASD web site, SASD intranet, and SharePoint web portal
- Implement an online learning, communication and collaboration service
- Implement Home Access Center to provide parent access to student data
- Implement IP telephone system
- Develop an e-mail and file retention policy
- Implement document management system to electronically store and retrieve electronic files
- Implement online assessment system
- Implement online curriculum management system
- Upgrade library management system
- Upgrade food service system
Description: Upgrade and update the core learning infrastructure. The district will provide hardware, software, services, and support for 21st century learning.
- Transform all classrooms to “Smart” classrooms equipped with high-speed Internet/Inet2 access, LCD projector, speakers, interactive whiteboard, and other peripheral devices
- Provide students with appropriate access to laptop mobile computing
- Provide video conferencing capabilities at each building
- Develop a K-12 technology literacy skills scope and sequence
- Provide the equipment, software and resources needed to support the entire curriculum
- Provide online learning opportunities for staff and students (Distance Learning and Virtual Schools)
Building a Culture of Quality Data:
Description: Build a culture of quality data that will result in valid, accurate, integrated, well defined, and well managed data. Quality Data can then be used to inform decision making and improve instruction.
- Identify and develop the components of a quality data culture
- Address the factors that affect a quality data culture
- Policies and Regulations
- Standards and Guidelines
- Training and Professional Development
- Data Entry Environment
- Technology including Hardware, software and networking
- Timelines and Calendars
- Identify and develop the roles in a quality data culture
- Board Member
- Office Staff
- Technology Support Staff
- Data Steward
- Identify and develop the goals of a quality data culture
- More effective decision making
- Achieving AYP
- Program funding
- State and Federal reporting requirements
The Technology Department works together with Curriculum & Instruction to design and implement professional development activities to insure that technology training is available. The Directors of Curriculum and Instruction provide oversight on all professional development and honors the goals of the district strategic plan, technology plans, current research in education, recommendations from different committees and ad hoc groups, as well as the needs of faculty in all aspects related to training to improve teaching and learning.
The district has a variety of resources for providing quality technology professional development including two Instructional Technology Specialist, staff developers and teachers throughout the district that have honed their skills in particular technology areas and are willing to train their colleagues for a stipend. The instructional technology specialists work primarily in the elementary schools and staff developers are master teachers that provide coaching for teachers following the collegial coaching model. The district is also a recipient of the Classrooms for the Future grant and has taken advantage of rich professional development provided by the CFF Coach position and online resources. We have also been long time partners with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and have used their staff as training resources, as well as, teachers across the county as part of the Professional Development Consortium organized by the Intermediate Unit. The district also participates in the Pennsylvania Department of Education sponsored Keystones Technology Integrators program which provides extensive staff development opportunities in the area of instructional technology throughout the school year.
Time is always an issue when planning professional development activities so we use a variety of offerings to meet the individual needs and time restrictions of our staff. We offer whole group face-to-face training workshops during the summer, in-service days, before and after school. We also provide access to online workshops for those adults who prefer this type of learning environment and/or need training to be more flexible to meet their schedule. Staff are also encouraged to attend local conferences and seminars. We also offer small group face-to-face planning and training sessions during the school day by subject area and/or grade level. Lastly, we offer individual training to assist teachers in the planning and teaching of technology infused lessons.
The Souderton Area School District will regularly monitor the effectiveness of the educational technology plan. All stakeholders are involved in these monitoring activities. The Supervisor of Technology meets regularly with district administrators to review current status of the plan and to identify strengths and weaknesses so that corrections can be made in a timely fashion.
Network infrastructure and systems monitoring is done through the Supervisor of Technology as part of his regular duties and assignments. Monitoring of systems and their performance is also provided by the Networking Administrator as part of his regular duties and assignments. In addition, the district has a Database Administrator and Web Development Specialist that monitor and evaluate network systems, data driven decision making, web applications and services.
The Supervisor of Technology and Technology Department staff also survey parents, staff, and students to collect data on the accessibility of technology, reliability of technology, training needed and technical support provided to gauge best practices and areas needing attention and improvement.
The Supervisor of Technology is the PIMS Administrator for the district and has the responsibility to monitor data capture, data maintenance, and data reporting at the state level. The Database Administrator in concert with the Supervisor of Technology review data timelines, policies and procedures, as well as, data retention and reporting on the local and federal levels to insure quality data across the district leads to informed decision making and accurate on time reporting.
The Educational Technology Plan will be evaluated annually to determine if the activities were completed on time, within budget and had an impact on the goals set forth.
- Evidence of improved networking capacity and reliability
- Network logs
- Mean time between failures reports
- Length and frequency of down time reports
- Unanticipated vs. Planned outages
- Security logs
- Bandwidth usage logs
- Disaster recovery review and report
- Evidence of improved support and communications services.
- Increased opportunities for technology training
- Increased support personnel on site
- Helpdesk access, use logs, and knowledgebase development
- Number of web pages developed and maintained
- Web site search statistics
- SATV programming offered, Cable FiOS, On Demand, and Streaming
- Streaming video statistics
- Parent access to Home Access Center statistics
- Unified communications logs and statistics
- Evidence of improvements in the learning infrastructure
- Number of “Smart” classrooms installed
- Percentage of staff development that is technology related
- Classroom observation of students and teachers employing 21st century technology skills
- Student projects reflecting 21st Century technology skills
- Number of students and teachers involved with distance learning
- Technology skills being integrated into regular curriculum
- Implementation of a curriculum management system
- Evidence of a Culture of Quality Date
- Data is collected once and shared across systems and applications
- Data accuracy is insured via a set of clear business rules
- Data is stored and retained in a standard format
- Data reporting is accurate requiring less corrections
- A data calendar is established, published, and updated
- Data is available to all users for review, analysis, reporting and decision making
- Informed decision making and improved instruction
- Training opportunities based on the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) and NFES (National Forum on Education Statistics) planed courses are offered.