Author Archives: Brian Abeling

About Brian Abeling

Director of Technology, serving West Des Moines Community Schools

Technology Projects on hold

Recently, the following message went out to all district staff…

 

We’re hitting the pause button – and putting our current technology projects on hold.  The only exceptions will be:   a) finish the classroom AV replacements at Hillside, since the project was already started and, b) replacing projection screens at FM.

Q1.  Why are we pausing?
A1.  We’re stopping almost all district technology projects so that the district can re-evaluate 1:1 (providing a mobile device for each student)

Q2. Would this be for ALL students or just certain grade levels?
A2.  That’s part of the discussion… do all grade levels want it?  We don’t know the answer, so we’re asking.

Q3.  Didn’t we already have this conversation several years ago and wasn’t it determined to not move forward?  
A3.  Yes.  In the spring of 2013, the School Board requested a committee to study the topic of 1:1.  Results/process are posted at:  https://wdmtech.wordpress.com/11-study/ At that time, there was both interest and concern about moving towards 1:1 and the end result was that we did not pursue 1:1.

Q4.  So what has changed?

A4.   We’ve been watching the ever-growing popularity of Chromebooks across the district.  In fact, as of today, there are over 5,200  Chromebooks in the district with 60% being purchased by district technology and the remaining 40% by other funding sources.  Clearly, Chromebooks are extremely popular, since 5,200 are enough to make us 1:1 at eight grade levels right now.  If our schools /departments and other groups continue to purchase Chromebooks at their current pace, we will be on track to have more devices than students.  We can let this happen as it’s proceeding now, where some grade levels will be 1:1 and others are not, or – do we want to plan it out to make sure its equitable and sustainable?

Q5.  Why are we pausing other projects for this conversation?
A5.  If our district wants to review the possibility of 1:1 and/or change directions on how technology is distributed – then we need to halt all existing projects, so that resources aren’t wasted in updating equipment that may not be needed.

Q6. By halting existing projects, are you implying that we could be 1:1 without asking for any new funding?
A6.  Yes, with a current inventory of over 5,000 Chromebooks, we believe it would be possible to restructure our purchases and funding sources to obtain a 1:1 ratio for students without new funding – and that’s why we are pausing – to see if it’s of interest.

Q7.  What is the next step and how can I get involved?

A7.  If you are a district staff member and would like to be involved, please contact your building principal, as each school will be asked to respond to the following questions:

(NOTE: If you are a student reading this, you are encouraged to send your thoughts/ideas to your school principal.  If you are parent or community member, please send comments to Brian Abeling, abelingb@wdmcs.org)

Question #1

Is your school interested in 1:1?  And if so, what grade levels?

Question #2

What resources could be removed?  
For planning purposes, we need your building to pretend that all of your students have a Chromebook assigned to each individual student.  Once every student has their own Chromebook,  what other devices are no longer needed?  For example, are there certain machines/devices/labs/carts that would no longer be needed?  (Why are we asking this question? If we move towards 1:1, we believe there are resources that could be removed and funding could be reallocated to support a 1:1 effort.)

NOTE: if your school was not supportive of 1:1 for all students, then modify the question to your desired grade levels, and then answer the question of what resources would no longer be needed and also provide any information/suggested changes that you’d like to see at grade levels that you don’t want to see 1:1.

Question #3

What resources have to stay?
Similar to question #2, assume that all students and/or grade levels desired would have a Chromebook assigned to each student.   What resources would absolutely need to STAY at your school?  For example, are their certain resources/labs/carts that would have to stay because they provide resources that the Chromebook would or could not?

Question #4

What questions/concerns does your building have about 1:1?  
Questions about support, repair, how they are distributed/managed? Let us know what the major questions/concerns are from your view point.

– Brian Abeling

 

What percentage of households are reached via email?

emailI was recently asked, “What percentage of households can be reached by the district when we send out an email?”

Answer:  91.97%

 

Q1.  How is this calculated?
A1.  We query Infinite Campus and look at each individual student – do they have at least one guardian who has an email address in the system?  If a student has at least one guardian with an email address, then it is counted as a yes, we can reach the household for that child via email.

 

Q2.  How does the data compare across our schools?
A2.

16-17 WC 97.24%
16-17 JC 97.15%
16-17 FM 96.84%
16-17 WR 96.44%
16-17 ST 94.98%
16-17 VA 94.29%
16-17 WH 93.91%
16-17 VS 92.22%
16-17 CR 90.83%
16-17 IH 90.65%
16-17 CL 89.58%
16-17 HD 83.39%
16-17 CV 72.01%