“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question... than we do from learning the answer itself.”
― Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three
                                         
                                               


Manchester School District 
Living Technology Plan 

   

Executive Summary

We strive to facilitate Student Centered Learning, and provide Equitable Access to all students.   Our focus is in creating learning environments that support learning outcomes as defined in the Manchester Academic Standards as well as the P21 Framework for 21st Century Student Centered Outcomes and Support Systems.


Strategic Overview


The MSD Technology Leadership Roadmap is a visual representation of the district technology initiatives.

Return to TOP
 
VISION, MISSION and ACTION PLANS
 
VISION: A collaborative shared learning environment that empowers educators and students to become co-learners in mastering the skills necessary to succeed as digital citizens in the 21st century workplace and society. 

MISSION: The mission of the TRC is to foster self-sufficient schools utilizing technologies which directly support Student Learning Objectives. Learners of all ages must have equitable access to information and technology resources to become problem solvers, researchers, team members, and both creators and consumers of new knowledge. Employing the P21 framework , technology will stimulate collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking (the 4Cs), enabling learners to embrace and understand new concepts and empowering them with the thrill of learning. We will align our 21st century learning initiatives to the Manchester Academic Standards. Support and professional learning for teachers will continue to shift toward job-embedded learning opportunities in 21st century learning environments. Improved operations at the district level will enhance communications between schools, homes and the community.
 
 
 
Action Plan: Access to Technology

For technology to impact student learning, our technology planning must ensure that appropriate resources are in place to support and maintain networks and equipment. Setting technology standards is crucial. Doing so will result in significant savings in staff development and support costs, as well as repairs. This will make it easier to upgrade and support the district's technology infrastructure and provide a more predictable operating budget.  We are working toward standardizing our software and hardware platforms so we can provide the best technology at the best price with the best support.
 
We have identified key infrastructure areas of priority focus.  These priorities have been brought before the Board Of School Committee IT subcommittee on January 12, 2012.  In April of 2013 the Board Of School Committee and Board of Mayor and Alderman approved a 2.8 million dollar bond for technology.   In addition to the key infrastructure areas of improvement the IT subcommittee also identified Telephone/Intercom, Professional Learning and Instructional computing as funding priorities.   
 

1.       Wired network infrastructure upgrade

Approximately 255 network switches will be replaced to bring them up to modern standards. 


Current progress: as of December 2015

All switches in the elementary, middle and high schools, have been upgraded to 1GB. 


2.        Dedicated internet access at each school

Cost effectively increasing the bandwidth in each school by providing dedicated access.


Current progress: as of December 2015

All schools have dedicated high speed internet access.   These connections will provide the bandwidth necessary to allowing collaborative 21st century tools to become integrated into the classroom learning environment.   Dedicated access also provides the district the granularity of content control needed to maintain a safe learning environment and to meet the compliance standards of CIPA(Child Internet Protection Act).  Having this granularity means that we can now provide age appropriate access tailored to each individual school.  Dedicated ComCast internet connections with firewalls have been installed in all schools. Elementary schools have Comcast broadband 150/20 connections. The middle schools have 100/100 synchronous fiber and the high schools have 250/250 synchronous fiber. Our plan includes increasing bandwidth each year to meet instructional demands.


3.        Instructional Computers For Student Use

Using the bond funding we will seek to install new computers for student use in as many classrooms as possible.  Our first priority will be to ensure that the district has enough computers to meet the Smarter Balanced testing requirements by 2015.  In addition to the testing computers we will ensure that all computer purchases are tied to an appropriate initiative guided by the Manchester Academic Standards as well as School Technology Goals and adequate training of teachers within the schools.


Current progress: as of December 2015

Currently we are at a 1:3 ratio of computer to student district-wide.

 

4.        Managed Wireless Network Upgrade

Providing anytime anywhere access means allowing students to use their own technology, such as ipads, android tablets, kindle and nook readers in school.  To facilitate a BYOD (bring your own device) environment, a centrally managed wireless infrastructure upgrade including sufficient wireless access points in each school to accommodate 18,000  students.


Current progress: as of December 2015
Round 1 of Network Infrastrucure Update allowed MSD to deploy 1 wireless access point in every other classroom.  Round 2 of Network Infrastrucure Update will outfit every classroom with a wireless access point.  A detailed district network upgrade strategy can be found on our website at 2013/2014 Network Upgrade Plan.  Installation timelines can be found here: Network Infrastructure Update.

5.        Library System Upgrade
Replace aging classroom catalog and research software and computers in the school libraries.  These systems are crucial to facilitating research in learning.   

Current progress: as of December 2015
The software system is fully operational.  We have setup a website for those who want to learn more at http://go-destiny.mansd.org.

6.        Adoption of Google Apps for Education as an approved district platform.
On June 10, 2013 the Board of School Committee voted to approve the migration of the Manchester School District email platform from FirstClass to Google Apps for Education Gmail platform and officially adopt Google Apps For Education as a district approved communication and collaboration platform.  

Current progress: as of December 2015
We have successfully rolled out Google Apps For Education(GAFE) to all district staff and students.  All district staff and students can utilize its collaborative capabilities including: student portfolios, project based collaboration, and shared communication.  Since this platform is free for K-12 institutions this will save the district approximately $18,000 annually.   We have integrated GAFE to our Student Information System so all students and staff will automatically be assigned a GAFE account based on their enrollment status.   Ongoing training via the T21 Cohort as well as numerous regional training opportunities are available to all staff and students.


  
 
Action Plan: Student Engagement and 21st Century Skills
 
Six key ingredients to effectively integrating technology with curriculum:  Our primary goal is to ensure all students have access to technology which allows them to develop skills that meet the ED306.42 standard. 
  1. Leadership. The lack of leadership is the single biggest barrier to the use of technology. We are leading by creating shared meaning, dedicating infrastructure, resources and planning for the future. Our leadership includes champions from our administration, staff, school board and community.
  2. Access. One or two computers or a weekly visit to a computer lab do not impact student learning. We are working toward facilitating anytime anywhere access to computing within our campus.  Also by providing collaborative learning platforms such as Google Apps for Education as well as our evaluation of a district wide Learning Management System (LMS) we hope to lay the foundation of embedding technology into the classroom curriculum.
  3. Time. It takes time for teachers to review software and figure out how it fits with their instructional program. By getting technology into the hands of educators, and fostering shared personal learning networks, we are incubating a collaborative network that will dramatically reduce the time it takes to learn.
  4. Cost. Schools often provide only minimal funds to purchase software. Teachers may not be willing to spend their own money to purchase multiple copies of software. By standardizing on free open collaborative software platforms, as well as low cost energy efficient hardware platforms, we are facilitating the advancement of technology at minimal cost.
  5. Training. Apple Classroom of Tomorrow (ACOT) research found that it takes training for teachers to move from "How do I turn it on?" to where they comfortably and routinely integrate technology into their classroom. The SAMR models offers a methodology for understanding at what level our teachers have embraced technology.  By utilizing school Tech Teams in conjunction with our Tech Coordinators we can provide the reinforcement necessary to advance district wide technical proficiency. Technology makes its greatest impact when teachers embed technology to their lesson planning. Student proficiency standards embedded with instructional projects can help teachers to know which technology skills students need to develop.  The NETS model provides a framework for teaching necessary 21st Century skills to Teachers, Students and Administrators.


 
 
Action Plan: Professional Learning
 
Providing appropriate training is the key to effective use. The most effective staff development programs deliver to teachers when they need it, at their school, and on their own equipment. One-time "spray and pray" workshops do not result in any change in teacher behavior. The ACOT research found that teachers' growth goes through five stages: entry, adoption, adaptation, appropriation, and invention. Even with a strong professional development program, less than 50 percent of teachers reach level three. We will develop school level technology advisories to foster personal learning networks within a shared learning environment, utilizing a centrally managed knowledge resource.

Current Progress as of December 2015
We will focus on creating professional development for teaching staff including instructional standards for computers used for digital learning in the classroom.  We are working with the NH Department of Education to integrate our professional development to align with current teacher certification requirements across broad subject areas.   We will also incorporate Information gathered from the Digital Learning Transition course that our district participated in.  

Manchester Academic Standards are currently under development. The TRC has developed a professional Learning initiative called the T21 (Training for 21st Century) with the goal to train teams within each school who then become the technology leaders fostering self sufficiency for their school. We are in the second full year of the T21 program.

The primary goals for the professional development plan include:

Defining NETs standard specific training goals for teachers and developing training paths based on teacher proficiencies which align to NH state teaching certification requirements across all subject areas.

Creating a professional development knowledge base to maintain a custom shared training resource that will facilitate training paths and assessments which support the state certification requirements, as well as advance the integration of instructional technologies across all subject areas.

Creating ongoing face to face training program.

In addition to T21, we seek to establish the Manchester School District Learning Network as a standards consortium and support group to the district as well as a springboard to student ELO engagement opportunities such as student led help desk.  To augment this effort we will deploy a centralized knowledge resource called the District Learning Network to provide customized training support for classroom teachers, students, staff and parents.


 
  
Action Plan: Community Collaboration and Communication
 
Teachers, administrators, other employees, parents, and the general community all have a stake in the educational outcomes of students. Stakeholder collaboration initiatives include:
 
District Website
We have completed the migration of our entire website to Google Sites.  This will provide enhanced capability, including enhanced  security control as well as ease of use, expanding content creation capabilities to all staff and students.  Our goal is to engage our own students to brand the Manchester School District web site.
 
Aspen Student Information System Portal
We continue to develop our policies around our Parent and Student Portal access. 
 
Teacher and Student Websites
Our status as a Google Apps for Education site, give us access to a number of tools that we can deploy within our own secure "walled garden".  One very valuable tool is called Google Sites, a very easy to use content creation tool.   Our goal is to make this tool available to teachers to enable collaboration for class content as well as to students as a porfolio platform.
 
Technology Community Partnerships
We are currently working with a number of local business partners including The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, University of New Hampshire Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester Foundation For Education (MFE), Comcast, Sprint, Dyn and others to foster technology adoption in the classroom. 
 
Comments and Discussion and Social Media Presence
We realize that discussion groups and blogs are an important source of information for many members of our community.  We are currently revising our policies and procedures to include the safe use of these tools as a communication channel within our district.  The district currently maintains FaceBook and Twitter sites.
 

  
Action Plan: Safety and Internal Communications

Our plan provides for school communication systems designed with a single purpose in mind.  The safety of the students.  According to school principals, as well as the police, fire and health department, the following functional requirements must be met:

 911 dialing ability from any classroom
Communication between classrooms
Access from anywhere,  initiate a public address page from the front office paging microphone, from any telephone within the school facility, safe room ect, and even from off-site. Ability for announcements to be heard throughout the building (hallways etc).
One touch emergency tones- a single button press that sends unique emergency tones throughout the facility for events such as  a lock-down.
Ability to feed location based info to the 911 PSAP (room location information)
Mobile communication from emergency responders to school personnel.
Ability to receive incoming but not make outgoing without a code.
Voicemail indicator. 
Caller ID

Additional services requested. (these typically require third party integration)
Mass notification for emergency messages, early release days, PTG meetings ect.

1.)  Telephone 
On June 10, 2013 the Board of School Committee voted to allow the Manchester School District to accept the City RFP process results and utilize the current telephone system vendor solution.

Background:
In 2010, the City started the Municipal Complex that would house over 400 employees so a new phone system needed to be purchased.  The telephone platform most of the City was using had been selected for the rehabbed City Hall in 1999.  While the legacy telephone platform had served the City well, it was time to move to a modern phone system that would provide the features we have come to rely on in our personal lives.  Information Systems spent considerable time in 2010 and 2011 analyzing needs and testing proposed solutions.

The RFP was issued on July 1, 2011. 
The bid closed August 15, 2011
The City received 3 bids and selected Samsung by Telephone Network Technologies (TNT)

Current Progress: as of Dec 2015
The Manchester School District coordinated meetings that included school principals, police, fire and health departments as well as the City facilities and IT departments and determined that the selected system will meet the needs of the school district.  As of January 2014 the new phone system as well as the location based E911 dialing has been fully implemented..
  
2.) Intercom
On June 10, 2013 the Board of School Committee voted to select Bogen as the Intercom manufacturer and allow the Manchester School District to negotiate the best price from the 2 Bogen Authorized vendors.

Background:The City facilities department has solicited quotes to upgrade our current Intercom systems in the schools.  Currently the majority of schools use the Bogen system.   Three schools use other vendor options and the school district would like to upgrade the current Bogen systems as well as replace the three schools that have aging systems of various vendors with the same Bogen system in order to maintain a standard deployment district wide.

Current Progress: as of Dec 2015
The Manchester School District coordinated meetings that included school principals, police, fire and health departments as well as the City facilities and IT departments and determined that the selected system will meet the needs of the school district.  As of January 2014 the new intercom system has been fully implemented
 
  
Action Plan: Data Collection
 
We must understand where we are in order to plan for the future.
We are working toward a continuous inventory analysis process to help us determine what equipment and software we presently have and where it is located (labs, classrooms, library/media centers, and so on).
We are building data collection using collaboration tools within the district to analyze the present level of technology use in the classrooms. We are working toward adopting process and standards that will help us gauge the progress our schools are making to improve student achievement.
We will highlight our progress through our District Tech Showcase page.
 
 
 
Action Plan: Budget
 
We try to follow the following formula for allocating our budget funds: 40% of every dollar for hardware, 20% for software, 20% for professional development, and 20% for upgrades and additional needs as teachers' expertise grows. If we spend all of the money on hardware, we will not see the return on student learning because there will be no funds for professional development, upgrades, and so on. These recommendations are not just for the first year, but for anytime we budget or receive one-time grant dollars.
We try to budget separately for technical support expenses. Support must be available 24/7 so that teachers have confidence that the time they spend in reviewing software and planning will not be lost when equipment and networks fail to work.
We will not consider the purchase of more hardware and networks than the district can support with its technical support capacity.
 
 
 
Action Plan: Evaluation
 
An important element of progress is ongoing monitoring and assessment. We are in the process of building rubrics, surveys and tests. Our goal is to define benchmarks and timelines for all components of our technology plan. Some questions that our monitoring and assessment address are:
 
* Is the technology being used effectively?
* What elements are missing?
* What needs to be added?
 
 
 
Action Plan: Policies and Procedures
 
In order to facilitate adoption for pervasive computing in the classroom we need to maintain policies and procedures that support the following:
  1. Students must have easy access to the technology.
  2. Technology needs to be in the classroom, where it can make a greater impact than when it is in labs.
  3. Ongoing teacher training must be provided.
  4. Reform of teaching practices, with a balance between traditional instruction, characterized by teacher lecture, and that of construction, characterized by the teacher serving as a guide and facilitator.
  5. Matching the software applications with the teacher's assessment of student needs and the objectives of instruction.
We are working toward ubiquitous access throughout our district. This involves a multi-pronged approach that addresses, policies and procedures and teaching best practice. New ways of instruction including project based learning rely heavily on technology to succeed. 

Return to TOP
 
2.8 Million Dollar Technology Bond Supplement
 
Here is a link to the Technology Bond Executive Summary submitted to the Board of Mayor and Alderman in April of 2013.
 

The plan presented is our best use of 2.8 million dollars of available funding proposed by Mayor Gatsas.


This funding commitment will help close the technology gap in our schools and is targeted at our highest priority technology needs; Networking infrastructure, Library’s and Computer Labs, as well as professional development.  


This plan supports our strategic vision of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, allowing those that have computers to use them in class to augment their learning.  To provide equity the Manchester School District would provide computers in class to those who do not have the ability to bring their own.


The current plan will provide a cost effective technology infrastructure that will support modern personal computing devices consisting of a mix of student ,staff and district owned computers.


Regarding Telephone and Intercom Safety

Our plan provides for school communication systems designed with a single purpose in mind.  The safety of the students.  According to school principals, as well as the police, fire and health department, the following functional requirements must be met:


    • 911 dialing ability from any classroom

    • Communication between classrooms

    • Access from anywhere,  initiate a public address page from the front office paging microphone, from any telephone within the school facility, safe room ect, and even from off-site. Ability for announcements to be heard throughout the building (hallways etc).

    • One touch emergency tones- a single button press that sends unique emergency tones throughout the facility for events such as  a lock-down.

    • Ability to feed location based info to the 911 PSAP (room location information)

    • Mobile communication from emergency responders to school personnel.

    • Ability to receive incoming but not make outgoing without a code.

    • Voicemail indicator.

    • Caller ID


Additional services requested. (these typically require third party integration)

Mass notification for emergency messages, early release days, PTG meetings ect.



     
    Return to TOP