Norridge School District 80
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School Kids

Mr. Jobe

    Alert Solutions Parent Notification System   2017, December

    Learn more about our new parent notification system here.

    Low cost Internet access and low cost computer program   2017, February

    If your child receives free school lunches you may qualify for Comcast's Internet Essentials program. This program includes $9.95 a month Internet, an option for a laptop at $149, and free training.
    More details available at

    Parent Portal Passwords   2017, January

    Never had a parent portal password and need one? Find the permission form and other info here.
    Had a parent portal account, got it setup, and can't remember your login? Have your username and password sent back to the email address you used when signing up by clicking FORGOT USERNAME OR PASSWORD here.
    Note: Mr. Jobe can not lookup the password you have created.

    Exciting Changes for YouTube Content Filtering   2016, March

    Google has updated the YouTube content filtering for schools. Now, all staff that can make a Google Classroom can also approve or deny movie clips for students.

    Before assigning a video clip to students be sure that you are logged in to your D80 Google account and visit the YouTube video. If the video shows a blue bar underneath that reads, “Video approved for”; you are set. All of the kids in our schools can watch the video.

    Alternatively, if you happen to come across a video that you find inappropriate for our schools you can log in using your D80 Google account, visit the video, and click the REMOVE button to block it.

    YouTube movies/clips that are not available to students will show staff a blue bar underneath that reads, “Video not approved for”. You will see a button on the far right that allows you to approve the movie if you are logged in with your D80 Google account.

    Eisenhower Public Library Offers Free EBooks   2015, September

    All District 80 students and teachers are eligible for a free public library card from Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights. That library card allows you access to books and movies that can be checked out from the library as always, but Eisenhower now offers digital checkout for EBooks and multimedia available through their MediaOnDemand system.

PARCC on Chromebook

    Students Interested in Learning to Program   2015, February

    Students in grades 6 and up or sharper/motivated students in grades 3 and up can learn to code using JavaScript through CodeAcademy’s 10 hour guided interactive training. An understanding of what a variable is and basic algebraic operations is needed. Younger students may need guidance above and beyond what is provided in the interactive training.

    Why do I like CodeAcademy’s JavaScript training? When students complete this training they will have a good basic understanding of a real programming language. They can immediately take that training and apply it to real world projects that they dream up.

    Students who have completed this training (or who already know how to write JavaScript) can continue to develop their own projects that can be published and shared with the world through their Google drive using the Editey tool. Editey is available for free in the “for” section of the Chrome Web Store.

    Parent Forgot Parent Portal Username or Password   2015, February

    It is not abnormal for parents to report a lost or forgotten Parent Portal username or password to teachers at conferences. Here’s some info that may be helpful:

    I send parents an AccessID/Password when a Parent Portal permission form is completed. However, this is not the same as a Parent Portal username and password. The AccessID/Password simply allows the parent to make an account of their own attached to a specific student. PowerSchool requires parents to make up their own username and password. I can not see the password that parents make up.

    When parents forget their username and/or password the system can email it back to them. All they need to do is go to
    and click the HAVING TROUBLE SIGNING IN? link.

    They will be presented with two tabs: Forgot Password? and Forgot Username? They can use both if needed.

    Note that the system will only email the username/password that the parent has made up to the email address that is on file for Parent Portal. If the parent has multiple email accounts they need to check the one that they used when they signed up for Parent Portal.

    D80 Wireless Coverage   2014, October

    We do have wireless coverage everywhere… As is the case always, our network is in a constant state of upgrade. We are moving to a newer better wireless system. One issue that we do have is that until we are completely upgraded to the new Aerohive wireless system, with the D80 SSID, is that it is essential that users note which access point they are connected to before beginning a session.

    The way wireless connections work is that the wireless access points shout out their names at short random intervals. Laptops/Chromebooks will tend to connect up with the first unit that they hear and know a password for. They also tend to stay connected to the same access point as people move even if signal from one known unit becomes weaker as they move to another room. This of course means that devices are not always connected to the closest access point.

    If a device is connected to an access point a few doors down, a floor up/down, or elsewhere its network and Internet access may seem slow or may seem to have a problem. Selecting the closest wireless access point is very easy and something that every student should learn how to do. The name of the closest access point and its password should be in a highly visible place in each classroom.

    That being noted, as we move to the newer wireless system (already more than a dozen units in place between the two schools) this becomes a non-issue. The Aerohive wireless is much more advanced than our older wireless. Unlike our older wireless the Aerohive units work as a system, one name and one password are shared between all devices. The access points also work together in several ways and will push end user devices to a closer access point or roll them over to other access points as the user moves around much like cell phone roaming. Unfortunately, we can not phase out all of the old wireless immediately so that does bring us back to the point that everyone needs to know how to select the closest wireless access point.

    On Chromebooks the access point can be selected even before logging in, in the lower right corner. (Google was soooo smart in setting things up this way.)

    On Windows laptops the access point can only be selected after logging in and the icon can be found near the clock. This is typically an icon that looks like a computer with waves coming out of it or an icon appearing as a series of signal strength bars.

    On Mac laptops, after login, the wireless selector is normally found in the upper right of the screen by the clock.

    September 2014 Technology Report   2014, September


    Chromebooks were selected over competing devices like iPads for their suitability to use in the classroom, ability to fit into our budget, and ability to mesh with our existing support system.

    Setup of the nearly 400 new Chromebooks was done over a period of 4 days (should have taken 5) by myself. This is in contrast to the approximately 60 hours needed to UPDATE two classroom carts of iPads.

    Along those same lines the high school emailed me that they required longer, and lots of additional temporary help (they estimated they would have 40 workers per day) for their iPads. I was told a budget of of up to $18,000 was created just to pay for the help to setup and roll out their iPads.

    Chromebooks are designed for centralized management and mass distribution. iPads are designed for the individual user with management tacked on. That difference made the difference between me being able to do setup in a short period of time, by myself, on $0 budget as compared with what the high school did.

    Distribution of Chromebooks went smoothly and many classes were actively using their Chromebooks within the first day or two of school.


    Chromebooks are online all the time that they are on, but designed not to be bandwidth bandits. Internet utilization is up, but still falls well within the range of acceptable (less than 50% almost all the time). Regular monitoring will of course continue.

    Back to School Readiness

    Back to school is a very busy time with setup of classrooms as cleaning crews finish up, inventory, etc.. This year myself and the offices had the extra-business of PowerSchool setup at the same time school was starting up. This was due to teacher negotiations running until mid-summer and full scheduling details not being worked out until later.

    I am told that this will not be a problem in the future and it really can’t be. If anything we need to have scheduling ready to go much sooner than we have ever had it done. Setup of most other service we use (ISEL testing, Riverside testing, Follett library, Symphony Math, Digits, etc.) and even attendance can’t be done until PowerSchool setup is ready.

    PowerSchool setup (bell schedules, calendar, grade scales, every course that every teacher teaches, state course codes, etc.) can take me up to two weeks and the offices can need up to another week to update demographics, register, and enroll students into the system. Mid-summer is about the latest that work can start on that. However, as we have many systems that rely on exports from PowerSchool for setup (and seem to be adding more regularly) that needs to be pushed even earlier.

    I am told that many schools actually have their schedules in PowerSchool and ready to go for the new year by the time school gets out for summer break. I am ready to move to that type of schedule if the people/groups involved with scheduling are willing.

    Preparing for PARCC 2013, Nov 26

    Using the latest guidelines and latest version of the PARCC online testing readiness tool we can see that 100% of the subset of computers we use for testing meet minimum system requirements for PARCC testing.

    1: the subset of devices that we use for testing at this time

    PARCC Report

    2: the online readiness tool results for those devices

    PARCC Report Image 2

    3: the online readiness tool results for the network

    PARCC Report Image 3

    4: the online readiness tool results for device to test taker ratio

    PARCC Report Image 4

    A summary of this year's tech deployment: 2013, Oct 15

    We have slightly over 600 identified computing devices (desktops, laptops, tablets) between the two schools. The split is approximately even. Of those ~600 devices a little more than 25 are registered as personal property of teachers or are owned by external organizations.

    We do have devices on the network used by staff and students which have not been registered with the Director of Technology. These include a fair number of smart phones as well as some iPod Touch and tablet type devices. The number of unregistered devices is unknown and usage of those devices is not tracked.

    Each school has multiple labs with laptops:
    Leigh - 1 stationary lab with 30 Windows laptops
    Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 30 Windows laptops
    Leigh - 2 mobile labs with 10 Windows laptops on each
    Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 5 Windows laptops
    Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 15 Mac laptops
    Giles - 2 moble labs with 30 Windows laptops
    Giles - 2 mobile labs with 10 Windows laptops on each
    Giles - 1 mobile lab with 5 Windows laptops
    Giles - 1 mobile lab with 15 Mac laptops

    Each school has an iPad mobile lab with 30 iPads for use in elementary classrooms. iPads have also been assigned to certain classrooms and certain teachers and staff. Each school office now has an iPad at the counter to help in student registration activities. The district currently owns 85 iPads.

    Each K-5 classroom has at least 2 computers assigned to the room full time. Each grade 6-8 classroom has at least one computer assigned to the room full time. Each office is outfitted as needed with, in general, each office staff member having their own workstation (laptop or desktop computer).

    New this year is the deployment of Chromebooks. Every 8th grader has a Chromebook assigned to them which they will keep with them throughout the day for use in any class at any time of the day. The Chromebooks include web browsers as well as access to web based apps for productivity (word processing, spreadsheet, calendar, etc.) and collaboration. Almost 150 Chromebooks were purchased for this deployment.

    The district has an interactive white board, either a SmartBoard or MimioTeach system, in almost every classroom. The split is roughly even between the two schools. The interactive white boards allow a classroom with even a single computer to involve the whole class in technology usage.

    Wired network access is available in every classroom and office. Wireless network access is available in almost all locations (even reaching into storage areas) with over 50 wireless access points deployed district-wide. Each school's internal network is setup for up to 1000mbps on every port (gigabit switched networking). Total available Internet bandwidth is 200+mbps. Current Internet bandwidth utilization runs at an average that is consistently less than 10% of available bandwidth. This means that we do already have a good amount of headroom for growth in both the number of devices deployed and the amount of time those devices are actively used throughout the day.

    We currently have over 50 printers district-wide. The bulk of these are networked high speed black and white laser printers, but the most popular are the networked color laser printers. Our eye on the future has us looking at ways to do less printing, so the count of available printers should decline over a period of years as printing becomes less essential. Our move this year to Chromebooks and the way in which they make digitally turning in homework and sharing files as easy (or easier) than printing something should help in the ongoing process of "going paperless".

    The district maintains in-house physical and virtual servers to handle a variety of tasks including DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, file sharing, end user station management, web services for www and ftp, security services, video on demand, and more. Other servers, located in the cloud, are utilized for such services as the student information system, library management, and email. Subscription web-based services include our IT and maintenance work order systems as well as our board packet management system. The key is always to use the best deployment type (physical, virtual, cloud, etc.) for the task. For example, an on site video on demand system is much better than the same thing available via the cloud where calendaring is best put into the cloud rather than handled by on site servers. In this area we are keeping pace with the changing technology landscape. Both teachers and students will benefit from changes like moving fle storage from local network based file storage to the cloud. (This change saves the district money while also allowing teachers and students access to their files from more locations and from more device types.)

    With the addition of the new computers this year we are in better shape for online testing and have more opportunities for teachers to integrate technology into their courses. The 8th grade will pilot our one to one program this year and act as a model for the additional grade levels that will be added to the one to one program over the next several years ultimately leading to what should be a complete change in how technology is used throughout the day in our schools.

  Calendar - Upcoming Events

17-18 Full Year

18-19 Full Year

February 6
Regular School Day
Parent Teacher
4PM to 7PM

February 7
No School
Parent Teacher
1PM to 4PM and
5PM to 7PM

February 16
Early Dismissal
11:40AM Giles
11:50AM Leigh

February 19
President's Day
No School

February 20
Board of Education
7:PM @ Giles School

February 21
Progress Reports

February 22
Academic Olympics
Giles Only
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

March 20
Board of Education
7:PM @ Leigh School

March 23
End of
3rd Quarter

March 26 thru
April 2
Spring Vacation
No School

April 3
School Resumes

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