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Central Falls School District

VIEWS: 38 PAGES: 33

									                   Central Falls School District
                          Rhode Island

                               Technology Plan
                                  2009-2012




Created: August 1, 2008                           Coverage: July 1, 2009-June 30, 2012
Submitted: September 2, 2008
Amended December 10, 2008
Linda Appleget, District Technology Coordinator
Background

Central Falls is an urban school district located just outside Providence, RI. The city has a rich history as
a mill town that welcomes immigrant populations. The 2000 census listed 18,928 residents living in a 1.2
square mile area

The School District is responsible for approximately three thousand, one hundred and twenty pre-k
through 12th grade students. The student body is a diverse population and identifies itself as seventy two
percent Hispanic. Approximately one third of the student body is classified as special needs students.
Twenty five percent of students are identified as students with limited English proficiency. This diverse
population impacts the amount of services students require and as a result impacts the technology needs
of the schools.

This technology plan is designed as major update to the plan written for 2006-2009. Major initiatives
including network infrastructure upgrades and the implementation of a data warehouse and special
education case management system have been achieved and continue to be improved. Facilities have been
improved to some extent but challenges still remain to have equal access to computers for all students.
The technology goals and vision of this plan remain largely the same but the execution has adjusted as
budget became more of an issue than anticipated three years ago.

Technology Goals

Over the last decade, the Central Falls School District has identified six long term goals for integrating
technology in the classrooms and using assessment data as a means for student improvement. These goals
have not changed over the last several years. They will guide the technology planning process and the
implementation of the plan during its next three year duration. These goals are outlined below:

       Increase access to technology in the schools during the school day and for after school programs
       Provide continuous professional development opportunities in the use of technology
       Improve communication between teachers, administrators and the community
       Establish district standards for all hardware and software.
       Continually monitor and seek to improve the technology of the district
       Use data as a means to inform and improve student instruction

Current Assessment

Over the past three years, technology in the schools has been upgraded. New computers have been added,
laptop carts purchased and projectors made available. In some classes, new technologies including
SmartBoards and Elmos have been introduced. Teachers have access to data to monitor and improve
student instruction. This technology plan will build on those initiatives and look to ways to increase
technology funding, implementation, integration into curriculum, and stakeholder skills.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                          Page 2 of 33
The Central Falls School District Information Technology Plan is comprised of the following sections:

Section I: Technology Planning Foundations - Presents the district's mission, a vision for technology in
the schools, and strategic goals; outlines the study methodologies used; and expresses a commitment that
information technology planning will support the attainment of the learning standards and priorities
throughout CFSD.

Section II: Information Technology Blueprint - Includes rationale, major findings, major
initiatives, and implementation approaches for the blueprint components listed below:

    -   Curriculum and Assessment

    -   Learning Technologies

    -   Staff Development

    -   Technology Support

    -   School Facilities and Learning Environments

    -   Communications and Network Infrastructure

    -   Administrative System and Decision Support

    -   Plan Review and Evaluation


Section III: Appendices: Contains the following resources:

A. Budget

B. Inventory as of July 2008




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                      Page 3 of 33
Information Technology Vision and Planning Goals

Education is a complex process. Many variables interact to influence teaching and learning. While most
districts have a clear statement that communicates its vision for education in general, it is important that
each district also have a vision for the role of information and technology in teaching and learning. The
vision will communicate to the entire educational community the direction the district is moving in with
regard to information and technology resources and how these resources fit into the context of the overall
educational process and support of student achievement

The Mission of Central Falls School District

The mission of the Central Falls School Community is to develop its diverse student population into
responsible citizens, effective communicators, innovative problem-solvers and critical thinkers who are
able to fully participate in and positively contribute to society.

The school community is committed to the attainment of high standards by all students by ensuring a
literacy-rich learning environment and providing results-oriented educational leadership at all levels.

Technology Vision

To create an environment that permits technology to become a valuable tool to enhance the educational
experience, and provide all learners with the skills to become lifelong learners.

We will accomplish this vision by partnering with the schools to add technology that enhances the
curriculum and allows it to expand. We will also add data analysis tools for the administrative team to
help their understanding of student achievement, leading to proactive school improvement plans.

Expectations for Student Learning

A CENTRAL FALLS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE WILL BE:

A self-directed learner, able to learn from role models (adults and peers), to engage others in working
together towards a common goal, and to evaluate own performance and learning in a variety of situations
such as academic, artistic, technological and others.

        Students demonstrate self-directed learning skills by showing desire to review their own progress
        and to revise work according to district standards, to understand and accept consequences for
        their own behavior, and to respond appropriately to clients in a work setting. (Applied Learning
        Standard A4)

A creative problem solver, able to utilize time and resources to work cooperatively and independently
towards a goal, and to assess, interpret, present data and information, and pursue creative/artistic projects
as an integral part of the problem solving process.

        Students demonstrate problem- solving skills by designing a product, improving a system or
        planning an event. (Applied Learning Standard A1)




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                          Page 4 of 33
An effective communicator, able to clearly and confidently speak, listen, and interpret ideas in a variety
of situations, to write logically, concisely and persuasively, and to use technology and the arts as a means
of communication.

        Students demonstrate effective communication by presenting ideas clearly and confidently orally,
        in writing, through artistic means and through technology, by adjusting presentations to diverse
        audiences, by choosing to read, discuss and/or perform a variety of written material, and finally,
        by choosing to communicate effectively across different languages and cultures. (Applied
        Learning Standard A2)

A skillful user of technology, able to access on-line sources to exchange information, to analyze data
using data-bases and spreadsheets, to interpret and present data effectively, to use word-processing
software and arts-related software applications accordingly.

        Students demonstrate skillful use of technology by including in their work useful tools such as
        video graphics, multi-media, electronic mail, and websites. (Applied Learning Standard A3)

A responsible member of a community, able to recognize individuality and respect diversity, to
meaningfully participate in school/community life and to understand global issues that affect the world
today.
       Students demonstrate responsibility by becoming leaders in the school, choosing to explore life
       and career options wisely, and engaging in community service. (Applied Learning Standard A5)


Information Technology Goals

Technology Goal 1: Improve academic and technology achievement for every student.

Mastering the District's learning standards means that students need to have a firm command of the basics
of reading, writing, communications, and mathematics. Students also must learn to gather data, analyze
and synthesize information, draw conclusions, and present their findings to others.

Integrating technology provides the ability to:

       accommodate different learning styles and special needs;
       integrate new information and technology tools into teaching and learning;
       bring an unprecedented quantity and variety of information to students and educators.
       Allow for interventions to ensure all students reach their potential

Students will learn more and learn faster in environments that utilize computer technology.

Technology Goal 2: Prepare graduates for their 21st century futures.

Not long ago, futurists talked about a world in which people would rely on technology in a myriad of
ways each day. That future is here. Everyone interacts daily with some form of technology in their
workplace, their home, the public library, local bank, shopping centers and stores. Most industries in
today's information-based society seek technology skills in their employees. CFSD must infuse
technology in every school and in all disciplines to provide students with the opportunity to acquire the
technology skills for careers and as life-long learners.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                         Page 5 of 33
Technology Goal 3: Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of school and district-level
administration and management.

CFSD is transforming the way it does business. New management strategies call for moving decision-
making as close to the classroom as possible. This change requires that school administrators have access
to decision support tools and management information systems in their school buildings. Access to more
complete, well-organized information and to analysis and reporting tools will enhance leadership's ability
to make timely and sound educational choices.

Technology Goal 4: Expand and enhance communications throughout the district and the
community.

Electronic data networks are providing a new, powerful, and interactive medium of communication for
the educational community. Today, in districts across the country, networks are having a profound effect
on educators' abilities to immediately communicate with school staff, colleagues, students, parents and
the community at large.

Students and teachers with technology linkages to the Internet also are communicating around the world
in ways that test the imagination. Instant global collaboration is now possible among teachers and
scientists, students and universities, educators and the business community, and with educational
specialists from a multitude of disciplines worldwide. These electronic dialogues will encourage and
enhance resource sharing, exploration, teamwork, experimentation, and the sharing of best practices
throughout the teaching profession. Virtual communities promise to transform the way teachers and
students learn and work.

Funding Sources

Some funding considerations:

       Technology-related staffing has been historically included in District budgets.
       Professional development has been funded in other budgets; technology expansion is needed.
       Title I funding might accommodate some instructional hardware and software.
       Instructional software and media costs may be accommodated to an extent by existing budgets for
        curricular resources.
       Some budgetary items may be covered by federal E-rate program.
       Grant opportunities may be available to defray some costs (i.e., No Child Left Behind, National
        Science Foundation).
       Donations from business partners and higher education help supplement computers in the
        classroom

Benefits to Central Falls

Many of the technology implementation strategies identified in the Information Technology Plan Report
contribute directly to the goals of creating and supporting effective standards-based learning
environments and development of 21st century skills for all learners. Numerous other technology
implementation strategies proposed in the Plan contribute effectively to the transformation of the
education system to better meet the needs of the new millennium learners.

       The adoption of K-12 student technology standards and embedding these within the District's
        learning standards are a critical foundation. As teachers become increasingly competent at



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 6 of 33
        curriculum/technology integration approaches, activities for sharing of successful practices across
        the District will have even more impact.
       Identification of software that aligns with District learning standards has potential for improving
        student performance in various disciplines.
       The availability of current technology and online resources in classrooms for students to
        participate in effective educational experiences will expand the potential for learning for
        independent learners and reluctant learners as well.

Improved teacher preparation will result from professional development programs that are aligned with
identified competencies for staff. The expanded use of technology in the delivery of professional
development and leadership training will increase participation and the tracking of results.
Improved data-driven decision making at all levels is an expected result of expanded bandwidth,
upgraded administrative applications at all levels, and effective and enforceable standards and policies.

Improved electronic communications throughout the District will bring the most effective information and
resources to schools from other schools, districts, state agencies, and national sources. Data for the
monitoring and evaluation of educational initiatives may be readily collected and analyzed for improved
accountability.

The establishment of home/school electronic linkages will bring the families and community resources
into an effective partnership in the education of Central Falls's students.

Introduction

Over the next several years, the CFSD will strive to establish and operate a comprehensive educational
technology system that will serve everyone throughout the school community. This includes students,
teachers, administrators, parents, and other members of the community. While school districts have
always depended on the successful management of information in order to deliver appropriate instruction,
the changes in information technology and available resources are giving new importance to the role of
technology in the learning and teaching environment.

In addition, advancing technology is creating an atmosphere that requires fresh visions in order to
successfully shift from Industrial Age instruction to Digital Age instruction. As the move toward
standards-based education progresses, instructional environments will become more data driven and
learner centered. To achieve significant change, technology must be an ongoing, top priority, not as an
end unto itself, but rather as the means to enhance teaching and learning. Any technology plan should be
considered a blueprint for change, and the planning process must be cohesive, dynamic and ongoing.

This Information Technology Blueprint includes rationales, key findings, major initiatives, and
implementation approaches for the blueprint components listed below:

       Curriculum and Assessment
       Learning Technologies
       Staff Development
       Technology Support
       School Facilities and Learning Environments
       Communications and Network Infrastructure
       Administrative System and Decision Support
       Technology Standards, Policies, and Procurement
       School Planning and Community Learning


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 7 of 33
An Action Plan, found in Section III: Implementation Resources, further refines the action steps, levels of
responsibility, and timelines for implementation of major initiatives provided in the Blueprint.

1. 0 Curriculum and Assessment

Today's school districts have the responsibility to prepare all students for the challenges they will face in a
highly technological society. Technology has become more pervasive as the tools to manipulate text,
numbers, graphics, and video become more powerful. Therefore, students must become masters of the
21st century tools. Schools and school districts must have a clearly articulated set of curriculum content
objectives, process skills, and student technology competencies at each grade level in order to provide
teachers with the necessary working ingredients.

Curriculum and assessment issues should comprise the core mission of the district: what is taught, how it
is taught, how learning is assessed, and how the instructional environment is managed. The topics
addressed within this section are:

       Student Technology Standards
       Curriculum and Technology Integration .
       Evaluation and Assessment

Introduction

Students must develop the skills to become lifelong learners for individual success as well as for the
economic stability and development of the community and region. To truly improve learning, educators
must identify the appropriate content standards, process skills, and technology competencies that their
students need to acquire. Strategies regarding integration of these skill areas need to be developed and
successful practices shared throughout the district. CFSD must augment and transform teaching and
learning with technology that will promote new teacher and student behaviors. New technology systems
and tools can help teachers adapt their current instructional materials and strategies to address the diverse
needs of individuals and groups of students in meeting learning standards.

In order to enhance teacher performance, increase district-wide accountability, and make every child
successful, the effective and timely management of large amounts of curricular and assessment
information becomes pivotal. Technology that can help educators make effective choices can be found in
web-based, relational database decision-support systems that link curriculum standards, student data,
instructional resources, and assessment strategies.

Key Findings

Despite aging resources, space constraints, and tight budgets, there are CFSD teachers who creatively
integrate technology into their classrooms to enhance and enrich learning. However, the degree to which
technology resources are integrated into curricula is dependent primarily on individual teachers'
proficiency level. Many teachers have become proficient users of technology. Reading and Math supports
have become common place in the elementary and middle school environments. The High School has
moved to an electronic portfolio system.

While newer computers and wireless carts have been added to the district \to replace old technology, we
continue to struggle to keep the systems capable of running high-end reading and math intervention
programs. The cost of new technology and the operating systems and application license agreements will
encourage districts like CF to explore open source strategies.


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                           Page 8 of 33
The Middle School has incorporated a sophisticated math program to enhance its curriculum. The use of
interactive whiteboards and associated software help students understand and visualize complex math
problems. Special modules to the software include language arts, geography and science. Teachers are
using the technology to enhance the existing curriculum. With grant funding, this initiative will be
expanded to the High School.

Many of the best uses of technology in the district are being accomplished in special education settings or
in English as a second language classroom. These environments use voice recognition software to help
students improve their language skills. All of these software programs require high-end multimedia
computers which have not been readily available in the district.

Most teachers, while they eagerly embrace technology as a learning tool, still require some hand holding
in improving their skills. But the influx of new teachers and the use of technology in all homes has made
most teachers comfortable with technology and willing to move to the next level. Every teacher creates
personalized learning plans on-line and the district has steadily moved to having all report cards in
electronic form.

1.1 Student Technology Standards

Most teachers understand the importance of technology in the classroom and are willing to use it.
Implementation has been difficult, however, in part because the district has yet to identify a
comprehensive technology curriculum for grades K-12. In order to fully integrate technology, clearly
articulated student technology competencies are the first step in developing such a curriculum.
Determining technology applications that can be used to support the achievement of student performance
is also important.

1.2 Curriculum and Technology Integration

The results of technology access in classrooms have been encouraging. For example, an elementary
school teacher has created a web site for her students and included materials and resources that her
students could use to supplement information delivered in the classroom. Another elementary teacher has
her students using PowerPoint to create original books and presentations for sharing with other classes
and with parents. Some teachers, including special education staff, use voice recognition software to
improve reading. Middle School teachers use digital whiteboards to explain difficult geometry or algebra
questions. While technology is not an integrated part of the curriculum at this time, there have been vast
improvements in the last 3 years.

Unlike the situation three years ago where the technology department was pushing technology into the
classrooms, we now have a situation where because more technology is used in the classroom, it is
difficult to meet the demand. Teachers require higher end computers and peripherals on a daily basis to
meet their needs. Budget constraints have made it more difficult to meet these growing needs.

1.3 Evaluation and Assessment

District leadership has a strong need to assess or calculate the benefit on learning that results from the use
of technology. The district has made incredible strides in using assessment data to drive instruction. All
assessment data whether state or district generated is available for every student and teacher in the
district. A district data warehouse manages data for several years and stores all pertinent data for easy
retrieval. Every document related to a student’s academic performance is stored in the data warehouse.



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                          Page 9 of 33
Recommended Strategies

Student Technology Standards

Develop and endorse a comprehensive set of student technology standards, K-12, with associated student
assessment strategies and performance measures.

Use student technology standards to drive the integration of technology across the curriculum.

Provide teachers with models for systematically integrating technology standards within subject areas,
themes, unit plans, and lesson plans.

Curriculum and Technology Integration

Identify and expand successful curriculum/technology integration practices currently in Central Falls.

Research and document the use of cost effective alternative desktop computing devices and resources that
have proven successful in supporting curricular goals such as improving literacy and increasing student
achievement on state assessments.

Develop ways to use technology to support literacy across all levels and all content areas, as well as for
assisting at-risk and Limited English Proficiency populations.


Developing a Technology Curriculum

Student Technology Standards

Technology can assist learners at various developmental stages in very real and distinct ways. However,
in order to take advantage of developmentally appropriate, technology-enriched lessons, an approach for
integrating technology into the curriculum is recommended. This means, first of all, a
standard curriculum for the district is imperative. The district must then adopt an aligned set of
technology standards for all students.

Core technology competencies serve as standards and benchmarks in identifying the specific technology
skills that CFSD students must possess in order to acquire the new basic skills for the information age -
the ability to access, analyze, and communicate information. CFSD wants staff to concentrate on
curriculum and technology integration. Two major educational efforts have a strong impact on this work.

       The ISTE guide, National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS) -Connecting
        Curriculum and Technology (http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=NETS).
       Rhode Island has developed frameworks and guides that identify the standards upon which
        districts develop curricula for their schools. The content standards define what students need to
        know and accomplish. These frameworks are available on the Rhode Island Department of
        Education Website and should be used when designing a standard curriculum for the district.

Once in place, the curriculum should facilitate the adoption of curriculum/technology integration
approaches that focus on simultaneously teaching content objectives, process skills and technology
competencies. These competencies are now required for eighth students.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 10 of 33
These standards will outline a progression of gained skills by grade and competency. The standards
should speak to what a student should know and accomplish using technology. For example, by the
completion of the elementary grades, certain technology skills should be acquired, such as:

       Basic computer skills including keyboarding, identification of components, and use
       Data gathering and organizing
       Desktop publishing including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation
       Basic knowledge of the proper use of technology and peripherals
       Using presentation software
       Safe and ethical use of technology

Technology courses will continue to be developed at the middle and high school level so that all students
will broaden their basic skills into a common use of technology for writing, research and presentation
purposes. This would include, but not be limited to, use of integrated office software modules; internet
and web enabled applications, and other appropriate and available software and electronic devices.

Curriculum and Technology Integration

Coupled with technology, current teaching and learning strategies can prepare 21st century learners for
the challenges they will face in a highly technical society. Research leads us to believe that four key
elements have the most impact on providing students with successful classroom education.

Active learning

       Technology-based tools allow students to demonstrate problem- solving and higher-order
        thinking skil1s interactively.
       Sensors and probes allow students to collect data such as temperature, pH, pressure, voltage,
        light, and heart rate that can easily be analyzed, manipulated, and transferred to lab reports.
       Cooperative learning
       Telecommunications provide students with the ability to work together even when separated
        geographically or when they cannot get together at the same time.
       Multimedia presentations provide an arena for all students to pool their strengths in the skill areas
        of making video clips, scanning images, digitizing sound, creating animation, and writing text.
       Interdisciplinary learning
       Research on multiple disciplines can be retrieved from many sources including texts, online
        research, and online discussions with experts.
       Powerful tools, such as spreadsheets, coupled with analytical thinking skills, allow students to
        examine data, pose hypotheses, and make predictions in a variety of disciplines.
       Individualized learning
       Technology with adaptive and assistive devices may provide
       Special populations with the opportunity to participate fully with their classmates.
       Computer-based tools can be used to develop visual, kinesthetic, aural, and oral skills, and to
        enhance compatibility of instruction with individual learning styles.
       The use of pod casting and other shareware devices offers students access to rich curriculum
        choices

Curriculum and technology integration can best be described as the alignment of CFSD content standards
with the cross-cutting competencies in technology and problem solving so that students and teachers learn
about technology by teaching and learning with technology. Core technology competencies provide the



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 11 of 33
direction for infusing technology tools and resources into appropriate curriculum areas.

Integration for Special Programs/Initiatives

The integration of instructional technologies in special programs and for special initiatives frequently
serves as an equalizer, motivator, and authenticator for the audiences served. In some instances, special
populations (for example, special education students) require computer configurations that are customized
for very specific functionality and remain with an individual student throughout the school year. Other
high- technology environments (for example, CAD/CAM labs) present applications, devices, interfaces,
and peripherals that are geared to a specific task or vocation, yet can be used by multiple audiences.

The CFSD should consider retaining the services of Technology Integration Mentors whose primary
responsibilities will be to work directly with the teaching staff in their classrooms to improve student
achievement through technology integration. Other responsibilities would include:

       modeling and training staff in the effective use of instructional media materials and equipment in
        the classroom, professional activities, and public presentations
       working with administrators, teachers and staff in further utilizing SASI assessment data for
        tracking students and decision support
       collaborating with teachers to integrate technology into instruction.

Evaluation and Assessment

The use of a comprehensive array of assessments is critical in guiding the process of introducing
technologies in the classroom. As technologies help implement curricula and instructional practices, there
are greater demands on teachers to establish, on a regular basis, the degree of student progress towards
academic goals and objectives, as well as student acquisition of crucial information and technology skills.

Examination of assessment outcomes must guide the overall effort to introduce technologies in the
classroom by helping to determine student needs as they relate to learning objectives. Results can also be
used to evaluate the effectiveness of the modified curriculum instructional approaches and use of new
resources. The use of data to drive Response to Intervention strategies should continue as these programs
become more normalized in the schools




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 12 of 33
2. 0 Learning Technologies

Curriculum decisions must be the driving force behind the selection and purchase of hardware, software,
and network solutions. Schools embracing this strategy in technology planning will develop a unique,
meaningful, and shared vision and a pathway to achieve desired results. There are many technologies that
have the potential to facilitate learning. Likewise, there are many ways of organizing the technologies and
many approaches for using the technology at different school levels (primary, elementary, middle, and
high school). This Plan proposes strategies to effectively align technology enhanced learning
environments with curriculum and seeks to attain equity of technology resources throughout the district.

Current State of Technology Use, Access, and Equity

Major Findings

CFSD typically has at least five computers per room in the elementary schools. In addition, several
schools have purchased laptop carts to be shared among teachers. The Middle and High school have tried
to develop their media centers into locations where students can go to access technology. But with current
budget and facilities constraints, these efforts still fall short. The High School has added several business
classrooms with computers for every student. But these are only available during assigned class periods.
The addition at the High School of a student focused Academic Enhancement Center funded by the
University of Rhode Island has improved student access to technology. But greater access to technology
before and after schools is still needed for most Middle and High School students to develop their skills.

Within the past two years, the Middle School has obtained a quantity of new, multimedia computers,
digital white boards, projectors and other peripherals. The Middle School has a wireless mobile lab
containing fifteen laptop computers, but a managed wireless access solution is still needed. Teachers at
the Middle School have participated in a program to use interactive whiteboard technology to teach math.
Science and social studies teachers also participated in part of the program. With grant funding, this
program should be expanded to the High School.

Certain curriculum areas at the high school have developed technology strategies that help integrate
technology into the curriculum. The science faculty at the high school has written grants to fund various
technologies. The business department uses technology in its classrooms and the entire school is moving
to electronic portfolios to prove graduation proficiency.

Some observations include:

       Much of the equipment is less than 5 years old and meets technology standards. But it is
        becoming clear that it will be difficult to continue to replace equipment at the rate needed. A
        move to open source technology and thin clients in some elementary classrooms may help meet
        these needs.
       Access to technology varies between schools and classrooms across the district. However, all
        classrooms have at least one unit connected to the Internet.
       Currently the student-to-computer ratio is at least the national average of 5-to-1. There are
        approximately 1200 computers for about 3,500 students at any given time. The ratio at
        elementary schools has historically been lower than at the high and middle school.
       Donations are another method of equipping classrooms. Computers must meet minimal
        specifications set by the technology department and then can be deployed on the district’s WAN.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 13 of 33
Internet Access

Internet access is currently at 12MB over a cable modem head-end at the Hedley administration building
that supplies internet access to every district building. Due to rising bandwidth costs, this is expected to
drop to 10MB or lower beginning July 1 of this plan. A district-wide network infrastructure goal has
been established to facilitate the repair of aging internal data wiring and adding addition data drops where
needed to support fully populated learning spaces. Managed Wireless Access Points (WAP) are being
phased in at every school building to allow newer wireless laptop carts that have been purchased with
curriculum grants to access the internet. Another goal has been established to replace aging wiring
closets with new switches and fiber panels in order to ensure that classrooms and office spaces continue
to receive reliable network access.

Software Initiatives:

Several software programs are in use at various grade levels to augment classroom instruction or offer
additional services. Some are in use for summer programs. These include:

A variety of reading and English literacy software applications that run from either local servers or are
web based. Most reading databases used include a Spanish language option and use headphones for
individual study.

A variety of math and math manipulative software applications that run from either local servers or are
web based.

A variety of special needs software aids that enhance individual communication skills.

School library memberships and subscriptions to electronic card catalog and a variety of robust reading,
literacy and research databases.

The district continues to review software applications and add where needed.

3. 0 Staff Development

The Staff Development section of this plan addresses the issues essential to effective use of technology in
improvement learning.

The topics addressed within this section are:

       Staff Technology Competencies
       Staff Development
       Planning and Programs

Introduction

Ongoing staff development and technology support services are essential if all teachers and instructional
staff are to incorporate technology resources into teaching and learning. The effective management of
technology-enhanced learning environments requires that teachers are provided training opportunities, as
well as ongoing support in order to artfully select and utilize the technology resources that can best
address the state learning standards, critical mandates, and individual learning needs of the their students.
Administrators, library/media, and clerical support staff also need training to effectively integrate



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 14 of 33
technology into their daily functions. The introduction in 2009 of a standardized test to review teacher
and staff competency will help determine professional development needs.

Major Findings

Teacher Technology Competencies

The effective use of technology in the classrooms of CFSD is improving with the addition of new
software in use in the classroom. However, teachers still need additional help in integrating software in
the classroom. This is particularly true at the High School. Some reasons for this include:

       the disparate range of technology proficiency among CFSD staff;
       teachers' comfort with technology not yet inspiring the transition to use the technology to help
        students learn,
       no identified technology competencies at the state or local levels for teachers or library media
        staff and administration,
       less than a critical mass of current equipment and viable software available to accommodate full-
        class instruction in all settings.

Staff Development and Planning Programs

Most teachers have basic computer skills, but would like training in specific areas, such as curriculum
integration and effective one-computer-in-the-classroom strategies; there are no just-in-time resources to
assist teachers with the integration of technology into the classroom.

Some Elementary and High School teachers have participated in the Rhode Island Teachers and
Technology Initiative (RITTI) program, a state sponsored professional development program. But the
RITTI model is antiquated and does not meet many of the needs of 21st technology. The loss of Title IID
funding impacted the districts ability to deliver professional development for technology to teachers.

Major Initiatives

Staff Technology Competencies

       Identify specific technology competencies and multiple levels of performance for teachers and
        other staff that are in alignment with the most recently developed national standards.
       Provide all staff with the opportunities to acquire identified technology competencies through
        workshops and on-site mentoring.

Staff Development Planning and Programs

       Appoint staff that is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive staff
        development program that is in alignment with the vision for technology integration.
       Incorporate targeted technology competencies and performance levels, prerequisite
        skills/experiences, and required hardware and software into all descriptions of technology-related
        staff development activities.
       Expand delivery models for technology-related staff development to make more learning options
        and timeframes available for staff.
       Assign the resources necessary to develop and implement a plan for evaluating the impact of
        professional development in raising student achievement.


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 15 of 33
Implementation Approaches

Staff Technology Competencies

CFSD needs to identify technology competencies and levels of performance for teachers, instructional
leaders and instructional support staff such as those identified in the ISTE guide National Educational
Technology Standards for Teachers and the Technology Standards for School Administrators. To help
with this process, a testing mechanism is being developed by the Rhode Island Department of Education
to help districts understand their teachers’ strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, the principals assume leadership in the use of technology as a critical component of effective
change management. CFSD must set expectations that all principals will model technology integration in
their daily functions as well as communicate to their staff and parents how technology can help their
schools address high priority improvement needs. In addition, staff responsible for human resources (HR)
need to' incorporate technology competencies in job descriptions, recruitment and hiring practices, as well
as in the evaluation process for current staff.

While all subject area departments should begin to identify the specific skills needed to use technology in
support of teaching, it is important to align expectations for staff competency to the level of access to
technology.

Staff Development Planning and Programs

In the federal legislation, "No Child Left Behind," 50% of the funding to districts is through entitlement
and the other half through competitive grants. Both sources require that 25% of the funding must be spent
on professional development. CFSD has taken advantage of some of this funding. The goal of
technology-related professional development planning must be to empower instructional staff,
administrators, and clerical staff to integrate technology into their respective curriculum and instruction,
administrative, management, and/or support functions. As staff becomes more proficient with technology
tools and applications through targeted training activities, they need ongoing support and access to
school-based technology support to reinforce learning and sustain their continuous improvement and
development.
A program should be developed to include training in basic skills, technology integration using computers
and software applications, and small group training such as by teams. This would allow each team to
work together to obtain skills necessary for success, establishing teaching goals and effective
interdisciplinary projects for their students. The district should also help teachers use technology to
manage student records, lesson plans and perform clerical tasks more efficiently.

In addition, an effective professional development planning model and process would take into account
how technology can be a tool for:

       assessing competency-based development needs and priorities
       marketing professional development opportunities linked to district and school instructional
        priorities
       researching best practices and effective models of professional development
       engaging in ongoing collaboration, communication, support, and technical assistance
       evaluating the effectiveness of development activities; i.e., the impact on practice, using multiple
        assessment strategies
       scheduling, tracking, analyzing, and managing professional development activities and data.



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 16 of 33
4. 0 Technology Support

Teachers need access to reliable technology support services to effectively integrate technology into
instruction and curricular design. All school staff require timely access to reliable technology resources
that support their work. As more technology resources are becoming available in District, local district
staff are dependent on their local and regional technology support staff to:

       plan for and install new equipment and software,
       maintain building networks
       maintain and repair equipment
       provide continual training and assistance where needed
       assess aging and failing systems and recommend strategies for replacement

The technology department has made many improvements in achieving timely and efficient technology
support throughout the district. A web based work order system has improved problem tracking and
resolutions. A help desk has been established to receive calls from district schools that need technical
support. The technology staff tries to be in every building at least once a week to handle users request
and offer support. A technology member is always assigned to the High School to help with the many
initiatives being rolled out there. A variety of local companies that specialize in technical and network
emergencies and building server technical support are called in as needed to ensure that critical needs are
met in a timely manner. As the districts network infrastructure ages, these random calls for support are
increasing. The district is actively seeking funds to ensure that reliable and professional network support
will be available when emergencies and loss of networks or telecommunications occur.

The technology staff has begun to play a larger role in training teachers and staff on basic computer uses.
This practice will to continue to ensure that all teachers are at the same level of competency.

CFSD continues to expand its web based initiatives to communicate and support teachers. Current
technology initiatives include:

       a redesigned district web site with a goal of finding an affordable web hosting solution that will
        maintain the districts web pages and ensure reliable access to the site.
       an intranet for teachers and administrators to access district forms and procedures
       web based email that allows access to email outside of the district
       human resources and Business forms available for download
       registration on-line for professional development
       a web based computer help ticketing system
       a data warehouse to access to all students’ assessment data and forms.
       development of a modern and web based finance system that will replace an aging and inefficient
        system.

Teacher acceptance of technology initiatives has been very positive. All use email for communications
and most have to use some form of technology to track student achievement.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 17 of 33
5.0 School Facilities and Learning Environments

Selecting realistic and appropriate technology learning environments designed for the primary to adult
learner to address district-learning needs and priorities is of critical importance to Central Falls.

The topics addressed within this section are:

       Facilities Issues
       Building Wiring
       Technology Enriched Learning Environments
       Libraries/Information Resource Centers

Introduction

Curriculum decisions must be the driving force behind the selection and purchase of hardware, software,
and network solutions. Schools embracing this strategy in technology planning will develop a unique,
meaningful and shared vision and a pathway to achieve desired results. There are many technologies that
have the potential to facilitate learning. There are also as many ways of organizing the technologies and
many approaches for using the technology at different school levels. This technology plan proposes
approaches to effectively align technology-enhanced learning environments with curriculum standards
and seeks to attain equity of technology resources throughout the district.

Major Findings

Facilities Issues

A reduction in enrollment has allowed for the use of some classroom and media space for technology. But
overall the age and condition of some of the classrooms in Central Falls continues to be an issue.
Electrical circuits have been upgraded to support technology in some buildings. But there exists no master
planning from facilities.

Building Wiring

Although the CFSD has network drops in all instructional rooms, media centers, and offices, many
buildings are old and still need electrical power and the availability of adequate outlets for computers.
Surge protection for some computing equipment has not been installed and air conditioning is needed to
protect some locations.

Technology Enriched Learning Environments

There has been an increase in the use of computer labs and laptop carts for classroom work and group
training. All schools have multiple projectors and desktops on carts and many have Elmo’s. Many
projectors are nearing the five year mark on age and will need to be replaced. The classroom demand for
this technology outstrips the current budget’s ability to meet this need.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                      Page 18 of 33
Libraries/Information Resource Centers

School libraries have increased their use of technology but still have far to go to meet students’ needs. A
prior library grant purchased new computers to host a media center at the High School and put groups of
PCs in other schools, but these are nearing end-of-life and will replacement with one to two years. Higher
quality projection and the use of 21st Century communication tools like Wiki spaces or classroom blogs
are being researched with the hopes of finding meaningful ways to improve student learning.

Major Initiatives

Facilities Issues

       As enrollment decreases, ensure a share of newly opened spaces is properly outfitted to support
        new technologies.
       Ensure that security of equipment is addressed in guidelines for new construction and
        renovations.
       Ensure that all new construction and renovations incorporate adequate electrical power and
        outlets as well as communications wiring.
       Move to wireless environments, as appropriate and cost effective.
       Continue to provide multi-media computers to each teacher with readily accessible projection
        capability in all classrooms.
       Consider wireless environments, as appropriate and cost effective.

Library/Information Resource Centers

       Transform school libraries over time into information resource centers for staff and students.

Implementation Approaches

Facilities Issues

A plan will be developed to increase building capacity for the steadily decreasing student population,
ensuring that architectural study includes the infusion of technologies into all the schools. Coordination
with services and funding opportunities from the Rhode Island Department of Education is advisable.

With involvement of the Director of Technology, the services of a Facilities Design Specialist would be
helpful. The Facilities Design Specialist would work with a District project manager, building
administrators, and technology staff to design the specifications for physically interconnecting the Local
Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Network (WAN), storage and security, database access, phone, cable
TV, etc. Site visits would need to be conducted to all schools and to work with building leadership in
identifying appropriate locations for networking equipment and drops into classrooms, libraries and other
areas. The IT staff should help schools determine the appropriate placement of network components in
order to provide the environments most effective for the least cost.

The district will continue with its plans to install a higher bandwidth WAN and expand the design to
include access to any server from any location, while maintaining proper security procedures. The
primary purpose of the WAN is to access the Internet and to support decision support systems. The WAN
could be used to support modern virtualization solutions of servers and/or desktops to limit the cost of
hardware.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 19 of 33
Wireless Networks

Wireless LANs and WANs can provide many of the benefits of hardwired environments in that wireless
can accommodate e-mail, Internet access, device sharing, as well as access to administrative systems. PCs
are now enabled in multiple locations to be wireless. The district is evaluating other means of
connectivity like using electronic handheld devices or Personal Data Assistants (PDA) in classrooms,
video streaming, podcasting, and distance learning solutions.

With wireless technology there is typically a reduced need to drill through walls and pull cable. A
managed wireless network strategy provides benefits in situations where hazardous materials are located
in walls and ceilings, as is frequently found in older facilities. Yet, like cabled access, wireless can
provide service in classrooms, auditoriums, or other learning environments while providing mobile
flexibility in instruction.

Technology Enriched Learning Environments

The primary purpose of placing computers in classrooms is to improve the teaching and learning process
while simultaneously addressing the equitable distribution of technology resources for all students. With
only a single multi- media workstation connected to the school LAN and a computer projection system,
teachers could access and use technology to enhance their teaching.

With multiple computers in classrooms and libraries, students could regularly access computers and
software to enhance their learning in conjunction with their daily course work. Computers placed in
classrooms should be arranged according to the teaching styles appropriate to each grade level and subject
area. Configurations that best support the specific needs of each small learning community (i.e., special
program, specific discipline) should be considered.

At the school level, curriculum decisions must be the driving force .behind the deployment of technology.
Learning environments should be designed to support a range of instructional activities appropriate to the
developmental needs of the learners, staff competencies, education reform initiatives, and specific
technology applications.

The use of mobile laptop carts in all schools to help accommodate the space requirements should continue
to evolve and be expanded at the middle and high school. Existing technology must be replaced or
upgraded when it no longer enhances the teaching and learning processes in classrooms or labs. Policies,
procedures and a district-wide purchasing schedules for new computers must focus on providing an
equitable distribution base of these resources.

Through collaboration of IT staff and school personnel, prototypes for various learning environment
models have been developed to assist schools and teachers in developing strategies for building
environments that best support their curriculum approaches:

       purchased mobile laptop carts
       teacher workstations and presentation devices
       individual classroom computers with task-specific peripherals
       instructional technology "pods" of three-to-five computers
       instructional technology and vocational laboratories with multiple computers
       libraries and information resource centers
       the introduction of thin clients
.



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                      Page 20 of 33
Central Falls educators must take care to match potential learning environment configurations to the types
of learning or instructional activities that will take place in each setting. For example, schools that
currently support a computer lab approach should reconsider the established configurations to determine
if they provide effective and cooperative learning environments. It is important that schools remain in
control of local decision making regarding technology options that reflect the unique needs and goals of
the school community and the existing learning environment. However, information resources or other
support from IT staff should be readily available for making decisions regarding wiring, Internet drops,
computer locations, furniture, or other environmental issues. The equitable distribution of technology
resources throughout the schools will enable all students, teachers, and administrators to function more
effectively.

Media Centers

The Rhode Island Educational Media Association has developed an "Information Literacy Framework"
for Rhode Island districts. Many position statements related to library media and other information and
technology issues can be obtained from the American Association of School Librarians. The standards
and information should be considered and adopted by a Central Falls task force consisting of library
media staff and administration. The purpose of the task force will be to assess existing libraries' hardware,
software, Internet access, structural, electrical and training needs related to incorporating a comprehensive
media management system. It should include planning for the installation of equipment that can be used
in large groups (LCD projectors, electronic white boards, etc.) to effectively demonstrate and guide
projects when there are large numbers of students, faculty meetings, and community presentations.

Administration and building principals should explore using the space in the Media Centers for computer
labs containing at least 12 computers with various digital peripherals and printing devices. Rewiring,
providing additional data drops, using managed wireless access points, and additional electrical outlets
may be necessary.

6.0 Communications and Network Infrastructure

This section addresses the infrastructure requirements for delivery of voice, video, and data in meeting the
current and future communications needs in teaching, learning, and administration.

Rationale

Technology enhancements to improve classroom connectivity and enhance student learning occur at an
increasingly rapid pace. CFSD must have effective voice, video, and data networks to allow its teachers,
students, and staff to improve classroom achievement. The development of effective networks and the
concomitant need to train users, troubleshoot problems, and plan network evolution have become critical
success factors for education systems. If technology is to transform how schools and teachers serve
students, it will be through a robust data and telecommunications network infrastructure that connects
classrooms and schools to district, community, state, and global resources.

Not only must Central Falls have a network that meets users' communications requirements in a cost-
effective manner, but the network must also be expandable and evolve to meet rapidly growing needs. In
addition, if the network is to become a contributor to the District's daily teaching and learning needs, it
must be highly reliable.

The trend toward rich multimedia data has resulted in demand for greatly increased bandwidth within
schools and in connecting to the Internet. Local-area network (LAN) and wide-area network (WAN) links


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 21 of 33
are cornerstones of the information access foundation essential to the learning of new skills for the
21st Century workplace. Along with increased demand from existing applications, the network
infrastructure must enable new communications applications such as electronic forms processing, the
distribution of decision support information over a district Intranet, and the facilitation of group
communication efforts both internal and external to the District.

Major Findings

Communications and Internet Access

Although the cabling in the schools is fairly extensive, there is still much to be done before technology
resources are integrated into teaching, curricula, administration, and management. Currently all schools
in the district have extensive wiring with network drops in almost every classroom. Where technology
does not exist, plans are being made to add it. Managed wireless networks are being introduced as are
voice mail systems in every building.

All teaching and administrative staff use email as a primary form of communication. Email is web
accessible which allows access from any computer within our outside of the District. While there are no
classrooms with telephones at this time, land phones do exist in all office areas. Voice mail exists at only
the High School and Ella Risk Elementary schools. The administration building uses an outdated PC
based system that was installed several years ago.

Major Initiatives

Communications and Internet Access

       Expand the LAN/WAN to meet all the communications requirements of the schools.
       Budget and plan for incremental managed wired and wireless network expansion.
       Ensure that all staff has access to the district e-mail system and receive necessary training and
        support for its effective use.
       Ensure reliable computers are available
       Use the internet browser as the primary client in as many applications as possible.
       Use local filtering devices to allow the district to use blogs and other internet resources safely.


Implementation Approaches

Communications and Internet Access

Technology Coordinators should continue to perform a building-to-building network analysis and develop
design modifications for the purpose of improved communications and access to resources for teaching
and learning. In many cases a single or dual server solution will be adequate. At the same time, district
standards must be established for the availability and use of all WAN technology, including the quality of
service and priorities for all media. Since Central Falls is considered a high poverty district by state and
federal standards, there are cost advantages in using the federal Universal Service Fund program to
leverage the costs of interconnectivity and access to the Internet. Applying for the E-rate continues to
greatly reduce district expense when wiring the district and its schools, ensuring reliable servers exist in
each building to support connectivity, and that affordable basic maintenance of the network exists.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                         Page 22 of 33
The network design should strive to minimize ongoing support costs through ease of use and by allowing
users to solve many problems themselves. It must be reliable and available, minimizing occurrences of
hardware and software failure. It must be maintainable and allow for effective support from a central
location whenever possible.

Demand for Internet usage is increasing very rapidly. Accordingly, CFSD must budget and plan for
increases in Internet access bandwidth. This need is countered by the rising costs of bandwidth. Central
Falls is currently considering lowering their 12MB bandwidth to 10MB in order reduce costs. Central
Falls will maintain a bandwidth range of between 8MB and 12MB as need and budgets permit. As
technology advances, there will be a need to provide and/or upgrade servers and switches within buildings
throughout the district to support the distribution of Internet access and instructional software. One or
more network servers are required at each site to serve as the core of the local network. Network servers
perform many tasks, including:

       Domain Naming System (DNS) to support network design
       Dynamic Hosting services (DHCP) to support computer connectivity
       World Wide Web servers to allow internet access to district
       e-mail to support district communications
       spam management solutions to protect e-mail communication
       antivirus solutions to protect servers and computers from network failure
       voice mail servers or switches to support telecommunications
       support for office automation/personal productivity tools
       support for administrative applications
       support for student and teacher applications
       faculty and student file and print sharing
       restoration of files deleted or destroyed
       electronic conferencing
       bulletin board tools
       network security
       implementation of Internet access policies
       network management tools to support reliable networks
       workstation management

School sites are increasingly dependent on reliable network servers, so they must be maintained. The
network servers will be configured for DNS and DHCP first to allow for reliable connectivity. Additional
servers will provide improved backups, database resources, printing services and user file storage.
Configuration changes, regular updates and timely replacement of aging systems will ensure a reliable
network exists throughout all phases of this plan. Currently all servers have uninterruptible power
supplies in the case of power failure, but some of these are nearing end-of-life. The district will be
seeking improved backup capability including off district storage of critical data.

Although e-mail is the main communication mode, websites have rapidly become the preferred resource
of information. Each school has a functional website that is hosted on the district web server. Ongoing
maintenance of such sites is done by former students hired as part-time employees. To ensure consistency
and accuracy among websites, responsibility for their development and maintenance is assigned to the
District Technology Coordinators. Training and ongoing technical assistance may need to be provided to
site developers. Standards for program, school, and classroom websites should be developed to guarantee
quality and uniformity district-wide. As the importance of websites as a public communications media
increases, the demand for quality assurance will also increase.



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                      Page 23 of 33
To further improve district-wide communication and organizational efficiency, CFSD should:

       increase use of software application tools such as electronic bulletin boards, electronic
        conferencing, and forms management;
       create strategies for accessing, storing, and exchanging information resources to the greatest
        extent possible consistent with the law and district;
       continue to procure, install, and configure servers at all sites to ensure a full range of services,
        including administration services, communication services, and media/instruction services.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 established special discounts for schools and libraries under the
Universal Service Fund which is managed by the Schools and Library Division (SLD). Popularly known
as the E- rate, the program distributes $2.25 billion annually to schools and libraries. The district has
established an E-rate task force that will work toward increasing awards to support these goals. The task
force will ensure proper and timely form filing (470, 471, 486) and work to increase requests for Priority
2 items which include network servers, wiring for schools in addition to local and long distance, cell
phone service, and voice mail systems.

7.0 School Technology Infrastructure Improvements

The Central Falls School District, while primarily a 90% eligible entity, eligible funding for the Schools
and Library Universal Service Fund (E-Rate) was previously not applied for to the level of eligibility due
to limited staff and capabilities. Central Falls has formed a small E-Rate task force that is committed to
ensuring more requests are funded according to the FCC and state and local regulations. Since Priority 2
requests are funded two years in every five, these requests will begin with the school buildings that
require the most technology infrastructure improvements and continue until each school has received
funding twice during a five year period. Currently this includes the High School, which is a 90% free and
reduced school which was listed as 80% for 2008-2009. A strong effort to increase the number of lunch
forms successfully completed on time has returned the school to its 90% status for 2009-2010. New
lunch form procedures will ensure proper form acquisition in subsequent years. Calcutt Middle School
which is eligible at 90%, and the Ella Risk and Cowden elementary schools which are both 90% eligible
are also in need of high priority network improvements or risk unacceptable downtimes. The new E-Rate
task force has set a goal to include these schools along with the Hedley Avenue administration building
which houses the network head-end for the district, for Priority 2 Internal Connections and Basic
Maintenance of Internal Connections during year one of this plan. It is hoped that Basic Maintenance of
Internal Connections, which is not subject to the 2 in 5 year rule, can be included every year of this plan
and beyond. The scope of this work is contingent upon the districts ability to fund their portions of the
work and also the ability to provide the staff required to oversee these installations.

In each building, reasonable electrical is in place and every classroom and support space is equipped with
computers, though many of these are nearing end-of-life. Every teacher has an internet capable computer
in their room throughout the district. Most classrooms have at least four or five computers available for
student use, though some are nearing end-of-life. Every office space is equipped with a sufficient number
of computers to match the number of support personnel needed. The High School and Ella Risk
Elementary have upgraded telephones systems using the Inter-Tel 5000 series PBX communication
solution. This system will support a Voice Over IP implementation at a later time. A preliminary goal is
set to install a new Inter-Tel 5000 (or better) model communications solution to every district building to
increase phone and voicemail capacity. Cisco solutions are also being considered. Consultants may be
needed to help the district understand its options and select wisely.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                          Page 24 of 33
The Hedley Avenue administration building is a converted two-story house. This facility houses the
internet demarcation head-end and server room that supplies internet access to district buildings. The
server room houses the master domain controller that supplies network access to the district and runs
Microsoft 2003 Active Directory, DNS, and DHCP services. The server room also houses the district
firewall, district email server, and the district web server that is accessible from the internet. One file
server supports the employee data files for that building, and the district financial database servers are
also housed in the server room. While the financial system is new, several of these support equipments
have aged and are at risk of failure. Services must include improving the existing district email server
and providing an additional frontend email server, a web server to provide access to district web pages,
with possible web hosting in the future, and a primary DNS server to include installation and
configuration of devices. The district firewall was recently replaced using district funds. Additional 48
port switches and/or chassis and module solution is required to replace existing aging units.

The high school’s internet cabling will require Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal
Connections that include cabling and network switches to increase internet access into unwired classroom
spaces or to areas that have insufficient cabling. Additional cabling and wireless access points will allow
mobile laptop carts to connect to the school network and internet. The lack of sufficient operational data
drops in classrooms has forced district technicians to use classroom hubs and switches throughout the
building. This solution creates bottlenecks and presents multiple points of failure which in turn increases
troubleshooting time when network access is degraded or down. A goal has been established to ensure
there are sufficient data drops that will allow the elimination of the ‘switch sprawl’ that have occurred.
The current network server that supports the school has aged and is often in a fault state. A new network
server to support DNS and DHCP functions with a supporting rack and uninterruptable power supply is
required and should also include installation and configuration of devices. The high school maintains two
wiring closets and a server room/demarcation point. The switch and cable plant that currently exists in
the two Main Data Frame (MDF) closets are nearing end-of-life and beginning to fail. Complete
replacement of the primary MDF that supports over 450 classroom, library, and office data drops is
required. The High School currently uses an HP ProCurve switch chassis and ‘gl’ module unit with
additional 48 port switch solutions, but will consider a Cisco solution. The lower level MDF contains
another 250+ drops with a mixed switch environment. At least two 48 port layer 3 switches will be
necessary to support managed wireless and internal connection access in the lower level wiring closet,
and also in the server room. The district technical staff is trained on both HP and Cisco solutions and is
not seeking other manufacturer solutions at this time.

The Calcutt Middle School is a 90% eligible school that supports 66 classrooms, 794 students (92%
Hispanic), and 82 certified teachers. At one time this building was properly wired for internet access but
many of these internal connections have since degraded or failed. Some classrooms that once had four
connections now only have only one, which has forced district technicians to use small 8 port hubs to
accommodate the number of computers in the room. The high number of small hubs or switches used to
accommodate classroom access has created severe bottlenecks and reduced overall capability. The E-
Rate task force will seek vendor bids for services and maintenance to include a room by room repair or
replacement of internal connections. Additional wiring is needed in the library spaces where a small lab
and two other work areas are cabled together using only an outdated hub. As in the high school, wireless
access is also needed along with new 48 port layer 2/3 switches on the first and second floor wiring
closets. A server to supply DNS and DHCP services is needed to replace the outdated and failing
equipment currently in use. The Middle School is also lacking a distinct classroom computer laboratory
space and the task force is committed to locating the best space and seeking funding for this initiative.
Similar to the High School, the Middle School wiring closet and switches are nearing end-of-life. The
wiring MDF closets support over 400 data drops, of which many no longer operate.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 25 of 33
The Ella Risk School was once wired according to state telecommunications cabling standards and has
held up well. Recently though, the basement of this 90% eligible school was refurbished and new offices
including the technology office were relocated there. A computer lab is also housed there, which is
cabled to together with one switch. Additional internal connections are required to allow proper
connection of computers. A new network server that supports DNS and DHCP is needed to replace the
aged and faulting Ella Risk server. Again the wiring closets are aging in this building. Using spare parts
recovered from the High School and Middle School switch upgrades will allow for immediate
replacement until this schools switch infrastructure can be replaced. An additional 48 port layer 3 switch
to accommodate wireless access is needed. Wireless access points on each floor will allow for the two
available mobile laptop carts in the building to access the internet. This will also support the computer
lab when wireless laptops are also in use.

The Cowden Elementary School is in an older building that has some educational spaces that were never
properly cabled for internet access. This includes the lower level where several cubicle classrooms were
created with limited cabling available. New or recycled switches will ensure reliable network access.

The remaining 90% eligible elementary schools, Captain Hunt, Alan Shawn Feinstein, Robertson
Elementary and Veterans Elementary will each require new servers to support DNS and DHCP services
for internet access and will require additional Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal
Connections. The existing Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) devices that protect the network servers
and equipment in these schools are aging and need replacement. Many classrooms have damaged RJ45
data ports or inadequate wiring. Again, switches are aging and failing. New or recycled switches will be
used to ensure reliable network access until new ones can be purchased and installed.

Due to the scope of work throughout the district and the funds that will be required to support these goals,
these schools may fall outside the window of this three year technology plan cycle, but the task force is
confident that they will each receive necessary Internal Connections by year three of this plan.

Beginning in the summer of 2008 a new student registration center was opened. This administration
office is housed in a leased office space that houses less than ten computers that require internet access
and communications in order to support students as they enroll or leave the school district. Due to the
size of the space only a 384kb line is required to provide internet access to the space. The district is
currently paying the monthly fee for this service out of district funds, but intends to include this new
entity in the July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010 funding year and beyond. The Central Falls Registration Center
is a critical administration facility that supports and provides student and family services to every school
building.

Telecommunications

The Central Falls School District utilizes newer Inter-tel 5000 at two sites and older (1999) Axxent 4x12
key systems throughout most schools. The High School, Ella Risk Elementary School, and the
Administration building have voice mail systems that are newer but are not interconnected. The High
School uses a Inter-Tel 5000 with server based software to manage user voice mailboxes. This system is
Voice Over IP (VOIP) capable and the district technology staff is trained on this system. The Central
Falls School District plans to upgrade each school to a system that is equal to or better than the one
currently in use at the High School, but is also considering solutions to improve school communication.
While the district is not immediately moving to a full VOIP solution, this plan allows for a phase of in of
eligible equipment that will support voice mail today and allow for future upgrades later. Most classroom
spaces throughout the school district do not have telephone service available in them. The Technology
Committee is pursuing affordable and sustainable solutions that would allow voice connectivity to the
classroom. This may be wired or wireless as technology solutions for phone services change.


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 26 of 33
Printing

The district printing implementation is one that has sprawled over the years and is made up primarily of a
vast variety of DeskJet style printers that are shared from a classroom. Almost every classroom is set up
with a shared computer and an aging printer. Laser printers exist in most office areas but many of these
are older than 5 years. Copy machines are small and often inefficient. The sharing of classroom
computers for printing services has created a cumbersome and unmanageable printing solution that forces
technicians to visit multiple points of failure and maintain a variety of software printing drivers. A goal
has been established to implement networked laser printing solutions in strategic locations throughout
every school that are easily accessible to teachers and students. It is estimated that DeskJet printing costs
6 to 8 cents a page, where newer laser and or copy machines that are centrally managed could reduces
costs to under a penny a page.

Security

Central Falls does well with implementing password policies for all teachers, students and administrators
on the variety of network access and programs they run. A helpdesk is available to assist with forgotten
passwords and resets, though the high number of password requests makes it evident that more
professional development is needed in this area. The district uses a CIPA compliant internet filter to
protect students and staff from unsavory internet content as is required by the Children’s Internet
Protection Act. Backup solutions are often ad-hoc. Most servers have failed tape drives and each school
struggles to find ways to backup the enormous amount of data that exists on their servers. External USB
drives have been purchased to facilitate backup to file solutions but the district will continue to seek more
reliable and affordable backup solutions. Antivirus costs have increased dramatically over the years. The
district is seeking affordable and easily managed antivirus solutions to protect all computers, servers, and
email systems.

Emerging Technologies

Central Falls is learning about and considering the many newer technologies that are shaping how
computer networks are built and maintained and how they will enhance student learning. Server and
desktop virtualization will be considered if it improves network capacity and reduces costs. Thin client
and open source solutions that include different operating systems and office applications will also be
considered. Central Falls will research successful school case studies on distance learning, using Wiki
spaces and classroom blogs to engage students, creating virtual schools and classrooms to reach more
students, and using virtual worlds or user-generated 3D environments like Second Life (secondlife.com)
to foster and inspire young minds. As Central Falls faces an aging infrastructure we look forward to the
many opportunities that modern technology offers.

8.0 Administrative Systems and Decisions Support

A technology system for delivery of timely and effective information is critical in an educational
environment characterized by a high level of decentralization. This section describes applications,
processes, and technologies required for an effective decision-support system.

The topics addressed within this section are:

       Student Information Systems
       Special Education Systems
       Data Warehouse


CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 27 of 33
Introduction

The goal of administrative computing and decision support is to provide administrators, teachers, and
school staff members with technology applications that increase their effectiveness in helping all children
achieve high standards and become prepared for tomorrow's workplace. Information collected, stored, and
processed must not only support day-to-day operations, but also short-term and long-range decision
making at all levels, from the classrooms, small learning communities and schools, to the District office.

Central Falls' Decision Support System currently:

       Supports the instructional decision-making process, enhance community and parental
        interactions, and helpmeet instructional goals.
       Collects and maintain all electronic information in databases as a normal by-product of, and
        essential to, day-to-day operations.
       Informs and supports users of the system; ease of use, cost-effective support, and effective
        development and reporting tools are critical design goals.
       Provides seamless interoperability of all components which is best achieved through the use of
        widely accepted, open technology standards primarily browser based.

Information Management and Decision Support

The previous district leadership expressed the desire to improve planning and decision-making by making
its decisions more data-driven. As a result, the district has created a data warehouse. This new technology
includes data from the student information system, assessment data, special education data and English as
a second language data.

Student Information System

       A web-based student information system is in place in the district. It has been in place for four
        years but increasingly does not meet district needs. Ad-hoc reporting and scheduling is
        cumbersome and user complaints are high. The district has decided to pursue a more advanced
        program that supports teachers and staff more effectively.

Special Education System

The district has a high percentage of special education students (33%). All student special education data
is currently tracked in a program a web-based database. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are written by
case managers online. Service logs are created electronically to monitor services delivered to students.
Data can be audited by teachers or central office staff to verify the district is in compliance with all
federal and state guidelines.

Data Warehouse

The data warehouse houses all assessment data related to a student in Central Falls. This includes the state
assessment tool, NECAP, local assessments such as literacy tests and benchmark tests and ESL tests. All
documents including Personalize Literacy Plans, Individualized Education Plans, Standard Based Report
Cards and Individualized Learning plans are stored for each student. All teachers have access to their
students’ records. Principals can view data by classroom or school and central office staff can do the
same.



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 28 of 33
Implementation Approaches

Information Management and Decision Support

Central Falls will continue to move forward with the development of the data warehouse. Using it to
make instructional based decisions is now possible due to the types of student data that is compiled.

Financial and Human Resource Systems

The district currently has a very old financial and human resources system. It is in the process of being
updated to a client/server system with some web based workflow. This will reduce or eliminate paper
requisitions and aid in tracking budget line items.

8.0 Plan Review and Evaluation

CFSD needs to continue to refine a method of accountability to be sure the technology initiatives are
being met. This should include:

    1. Monitoring and reporting of professional development opportunities for teachers and staff.
    2. A three year plan to replace older equipment which includes facilities and budget input.
    3. Leverage the existing technology committee to become a committee dedicated to improving
       technologies throughout the schools.
    4. Create a committee to develop a technology curriculum to enhance the existing academic
       offerings.

Plan Evaluation Strategies

CFSD also needs to adhere to certain goals, that must be monitored by the Technology Department and
Committee members and reported to the superintendent of schools on a regular basis;

        Continue to keep the student to computer ratio low (currently 4 to 1)
        Continue to evaluate software to enhance curriculum and make it available to teachers
        Continue to improve networks in the schools to allow for richer multi-media content
        Continue to work with all stakeholders to improve technology opportunities in the schools

Funding

Introduction

A budget for funding technology has been set for software, hardware, and support services. Additional
funds through grants are always aggressively pursued. Major assumptions as developed are outlined
below. These estimates are useful only for discussion and should not necessarily be used for decision
making purposes.

In determining an accurate overall cost of the Information Technology program, the following process
should be followed:

       accurately identify the population to be served
       establish technology target levels



CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 29 of 33
       identify accurate standards and cost per unit for equipment that meets standards
       determine total needed
       deduct existing resources that meet standards
       calculate unmet need
       determine phase-in by year
       identify funding sources

Budget Assumptions

Demographic

       The district serves approximately 3200 PreK-12 students.
       There are approximately 323 staff members in CFSD.
       A ratio of 1 to 4 computer-to-student ratio is included.
       One computer for every staff member is included.
       Adequate shared peripherals (scanners, printers, projectors, etc.) are included. .
       Many of the costs are eligible to be subsidized through state, federal and competitive grants.

Software/Media

       Reasonable costs per computer should be allocated. The cost is based on average costs and
        assumes the use of site licenses, volume discounts and academic pricing where ever possible.
       Additional costs are assumed for purchasing, installing and implementing decision support,
        communications and administrative software and are budgeted separately.
       Where appropriate the district should look toward open source technologies that limit the need for
        expensive hardware and Microsoft licensing.

Hardware

The number of student workstations was calculated by taking the total student population (3100) and
determining a 1-to-4 ratio. Although the district has purchased some new computers, technology
purchases are based on having a "fresh start." The average cost of the academic computers is calculated to
be $1000 each. These multimedia computers have 10/100 Ethernet network cards, DVD ROMs, and
monitors. The average cost assumes a mix of laptops (with carts), basic classroom computers, and
specialized computers.

The average cost of staff computers is calculated to be $800 each. These multimedia computers have
10/100 Ethernet network cards, DVD ROMs, and monitors. They are more powerful, have larger drives,
more RAM, and better video capabilities than student computers. By maintaining the same price point for
hardware, more powerful systems will be purchased in the future at the same price.

Funding Sources

The costs for improved technology are significant. Creative funding strategies are needed, including
reallocation of existing resources. Federal, state, and local sources of funding can be combined to offset
some of the expected costs. Districts have numerous potential funding programs including those described
below:




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 30 of 33
Federal, State and Local Funding Sources

More and more federal agencies are becoming involved in the support of education. Given the enormity
and complexity of the federal involvement in education, any effective plan must involve a broad spectrum
of stakeholders including school member, students, parent, and community.

The Department of Education Information Online provides schools with numerous funding opportunities
(http://www.ed.gov). Some Department of Education programs currently available under the ESEA (No
Child Left Behind l- and Secondary Education Act) are:

       Title I Funds: Grants for Disadvantaged Students
       Title III and IDEA
       Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Funds
       Public Library Construction and Technology Enhancement
       21st Century Community Learning Centers
       Improving Teacher Quality State Grants. Educational Technology State Grants
       Rural and Low Income Schools Program
       Language Acquisition State Grants
       The FCC’s Universal Service Fund (E-Rate) for technology infrastructure
       RI Department of Education Model classroom grants
       Partnerships with local colleges and universities
       Partnerships with local businesses

The Central Falls School District strives to develop sufficient budget line items to ensure successful
technology programs exist throughout the district.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                       Page 31 of 33
Appendix: A

Budget:

The Central Falls School District maintains a conservative technology budget that includes expenses for
annual software maintenance agreements. The largest portion of the budget is for annual maintenance of
existing agreements and internet and telecommunication expenses (phone bills). Purchasing a sufficient
number of new computers and printers is also a major budget item.

LINE ITEM                                                               Estimated Yearly Budget
RINET leased lines and routers      Networks                            25,000
Student Information System          Annual maintenance                  33,000
Special Ed/PLP database             Annual maintenance                  16,000
Electronic Lunch database           Annual maintenance                  12,000
Microsoft Software Licensing        Annual maintenance                  37,000
Library Database                    Annual maintenance                  11,000
Badge/Identification system         Software                            1000
Emergency dialing system            Annual maintenance                  13,000
e-Portfolio system                  Annual maintenance                  8,000
Antivirus solution                  Annual maintenance                  5,000
Data Warehouse                      Annual maintenance                  8,100
Telephone                           Telecom                             61,000
(local and long distance)
Cell phone service                  Telecom                             27,000
Voice mail service                  Telecom                             3,000
Telecommunications support –        Telecom                             7,000
phone/voice/lines
Technology support - networks       Networks                            25,000
Reading program maintenance         Annual maintenance                  4,000
Computer equipment/repairs          Hardware                            35,000
Servers/Networks                    Networks                            25,000
Professional Development            Other                               2,000
Other Software                      Software                            25,000
Travel                              Other                               2,000
Misc. supplies                      Other                               7,000
TOTALS                                                                  392,100


The Central Falls School District is an 85-90% free and reduced lunch district and thus receives revenues
from a variety of grant sources. Title I and III, IDEA, and the FCC Universal Service Fund provide for
large portions of the budget. For example, reading grant funds have been used to purchase and maintain
several reading programs to improve student reading and comprehension, and the district relies on E-Rate
reimbursements for Internet access and district telecommunication services. The district ensures there are
funds available to maintain their portion of the costs of goods and services and that emergency funds are
available for repair and upkeep of systems. The district is working to establish funds to replace aging
computers and printers throughout, and continues to provide sufficient electrical updates and appropriate
furniture where needed. More staffing is being considered in the areas of technical and data support.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                      Page 32 of 33
Appendix B:

Computer Inventory:

 School         PC Totals        Laptops               # of Classrooms

 Feinstein             86                20                    13
 Ella Risk            180                20                    30
 Veterans             143                 0                    30
 High School          318                60                    57
 Robertson            104                20                    15
 Cowden                60                 0                    10
 Calcutt              176                 3                    55
 Capt Hunt             26                 0                    10

 Totals              1093                123                  202


In each building 30 to 60% of computers and printers are nearing end-of-life. Many will not accept the
additional upgrades that would be required to run the new operating systems that are on the market today.
Each building is currently being prioritized for its most critical needs and funds will be sought to ensure
that the ratio of computers to students remains sufficient. Alternate solutions are being sought in an effort
to salvage older computers.




CFSD Technology Plan 2009-2012                                                        Page 33 of 33

								
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