Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bold Moves in 2016-17 – IT will support you!

Guest Blogger: Dr. Robert Smiley, CIO, School District of Janesville


First, welcome back!  It is an exciting time to have everyone returning from the summer holiday. 

We heard Dr. Schulte and Dr. Ehrhardt challenge all of us to make Bold Moves this year – to stretch ourselves in our professional practice to advance student achievement.  Schools have set the stage for Bold Moves this year with several schools going 1:1, while others are taking Personalized Learning to new levels.  Many schools are adding STEM devices, including coding and robotics; and all schools are working to advance digital literacy.  

None of this would be possible without Dr. Schulte’s and Dr. Ehrhardt’s enthusiastic support of IT. This past year has been one of phenomenal growth as Dr. Schulte has addressed important technology upgrades and expansions, including additional Chromebooks and iPads. Dr. Ehrhardt’s leadership is unparalleled as he works to open understanding through data and the use of EduClimber, not to mention his work to align curriculum and instructional practices that include technology as a primary focus.  

It takes all of us - everyone - to make education possible, including the Technical Staff, the Innovation Specialists, and the Campus Coaches.   A short back-to-school blog can't capture all of the IT work done this summer, but there are several highlights and staff to recognize:

Brad Dionysius and John Shannon led the work to replace the oldest workstations at Craig and Parker, while Jake Slaback and Cassie Anderson have focused on replacing the oldest iPads, and implementing a new way to manage them.  Sean Tanner focused on developing the functionality of the BMC HelpDesk software.  Deb Mundth led the effort to install the new Smart Panels, along with technology upgrades in the Board Room and in Craig’s Auditorium.  Chris Schulte, Michelle Giuca, Gayle Holcomb, and Tina Roehl worked on all things Infinite Campus and EduClimber related, including the new HS Gradebook setup.  Larry Danks and Ryan Curless addressed network operations and management, including a data center redesign and rebuild, while Kathy White and Shelley Gard have each been focused on their own areas of Assistive Technology and Innovative practices.   

Over the summer, we improved Online Registration to make it easier for parents.  A huge thank you to Wendy Nelson, Teresa Terrell, Teresa Behm, Rita Davidson, Becky Lee, Connie Stratton, and Gretchen Furhman, who processed the thousands of applications received this summer.  Never has online registration gone so smoothly.   

A special shoutout to Deb's cleaning crew who cleaned and scrubbed computer labs and Chromebooks for the start of school.  If you see any of these staff, please take a moment to thank them - they have all done an outstanding job!  Kris Winchell, Billie Jo Calkins, Teresa Amundson, Michelle Johnson, Tanya Morgan, Tina Pollard, Kim Vandenberg, Katie Lilla, Elizabeth Gorman, Theresa Gagg, Julie Kravick, Bobbie O’Leary, Sue Showers, and Julie Lindgren. 

We are also grateful that we've had the help of two HS interns this summer - Travis Duffy (Craig) and Jeff Waite (Parker).  They've done an outstanding job.  Please take a moment to thank them when you see them, and encourage them to reach for the stars.  They both have a great future ahead of them.  

Certainly not last or least, Paula Stratton is helping us out in IT while we work to fill an empty position.  She has brought her background and experience to the department, helping to organize and smooth out operations.  We are grateful to have her working with the team.  

None of this work would have any meaning if it weren’t for you and the students.  We are all focused on providing the best technical service and technology experience possible.  We want to be timely and accurate with our answers, and responsive to everyone's questions.  To help us serve you, you are encouraged to complete a HelpDesk ticket for any problems or questions you may have. Remember, you also have additional supports in your Innovation Specialists and Campus Coaches in every school.  

A new year offers many new beginnings for each of us.  Make technology a foundation for your professional Bold Moves in 2016-17.  Go ahead – make your move.  Make it Bold.  Reach to be your professional best and IT will have your back.   

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