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 http://www.internetessentials.com/
TumbleBooks eBooks News 2017, February
"TumbleBooks is pleased to announce the launch of our new TumbleBookLibrary interface!
Our new look comes with many new books and great new features!!
When you choose a book, you will now see a "You may also like" feature on the bottom of the page.
While we have always had a quiz to accompany every book, we now offer an audio quiz for each title too (they are being uploaded within the next week!)
We've updated the TumbleSearch feature, which now has 8 fields to choose from! In addition to searching by Title, Author, and Reading Levels (like AR and Lexile), you can also search by Subject, Genre, Language, and TumbleTime! Plus, our brand new "Auto-Complete" code compensates for typos and spelling mistakes! It's never been easier to find the exact book you are looking for!
Coming in the next couple months is an awesome collection of award winning novels from HarperCollins! Judy Bloom's "Ramona Quimby, Age 8", and "Ramona Forever"! Neil Gaiman's "Fortunately, The Milk," and "Coraline" (Graphic Novel)! We're also thrilled to announce that "Ella Enchanted", "The Year of Billy Miller", "Surviving the Applewhites", and "One and Only Ivan" are also on the way.
Access to your subscription - by computer, laptop, iPad, or other mobile devices - remains the same! And, as always, you can switch back and forth between the English, French, Spanish, and Mobile sites using the drop down menu on the top right hand corner of the page.
We hope you like the updated look and new TumbleSearch options, as well as the new books! We welcome feedback and suggestions.”
Be sure to use the links to TumbleBooks on the page at
as the links on that page contain embedded login info and will automatically log you in to our subscription.
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
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 norridge80.net”; 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 norridge80.net”. 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.
Students Interested in Learning to Program 2015, February
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
2: the online readiness tool results for those devices
3: the online readiness tool results for the network
4: the online readiness tool results for device to test taker ratio
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.
16-17 Full Year
17-18 Full Year
Giles and Leigh
End of 4th
First Day of