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District has tech talk with school board PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 12:51

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of the story recapping the most recent meeting of the USD 480 school board Monday evening and will focus on technology items discussed in the meeting. Part two will focus on discussion of teacher recruitment incentives approved during the meeting. 

Technology was the topic of the night for the USD 480 school board members during their most recent meeting Monday evening. 

The first technologically themed item was the technology update given by Director of District Systems Michael Stovall during the administrative reports. 

“It’s been kind of a crazy time for the technology crew here recently,” Stovall said. “Over Christmas, we had a huge shutdown, we had our fiber redone within the district, we cleaned out our active directory. We have begun the steps in building and infrastructure and creating an environment where we can step into the next realm, which is a one-to-one possibility. We’ve updated everything we’ve done up to this point technology-wise. We’re wanting to step up to that next level of technology to where there’s really no bounds for us. In order to do that, we have to have an infrastructure that one, keeps it all in a stable environment with controllers at each school and the servers and switches and all that. Right now, we’re functioning at pretty much full speed and had a very successful testing week. It’s facilitating things a lot more quickly, but we have to take that next step.”

Stovall then referred to some things talked about during the most recent Instructional Committee meeting minutes. 

“We can’t stay where we are right now, we have to increase our bandwidth,” Stovall said. “We did have bids with that and with each company we did look at each service and other factors. With that increase, with our infrastructure and technology, we’ll be able to do a lot more. Whether we’re in a one-to-one deal where every student has a device or just the teachers have them, we have that capability. As we go forward, we’re going to be working more and more on what steps need to be taken to continue moving forward and continue improving our technology. We do have a few issues still, I won’t lie, but the great thing is we’re working with the teachers to find out what the problem is and how to create a solution.”

Later on in the meeting, the board revisited the topic of increasing the district’s bandwidth. 

“If you looked at the Web site up until today, the school rosters have been updated,” Stovall said. “The ability to maneuver back and forth ... we had to go in and basically redo the entire page and start from ground zero because of everything being new. But I think we are now at the point where you go on now, you get the proper teachers, that’s working much quicker and we’re working with Gabbart on some things with that. I have one technician who that’s all he’s doing right now, working on the site to make sure it’s functional and everything. It’s taken quite a bit because there’s so much that’s needed to be done – we basically trashed the old site and started over. Our site is absolutely important.”

“Exactly because if a potential recruit goes on our site and something doesn’t work, that’s bad,” board member Nick Hatcher said. 

Stovall briefly went over some of the improvements that have taken place. 

“We actually just completed a promotional video we did in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce,” Director of Federal Programs Sheri King said. “It will be on their Web site and then we’ll be able to embed that link from YouTube on our site. It was professionally done and there’s shots of staff and students and our buildings, it turned out great.”

Ultimately, the board unanimously approved the renewal of the USD 480 Internet bandwidth, which will be increased to 2X2GB. In other business, the board also unanimously voted to appoint  USD 480 Superintendent Renae Hickert, USD 480 Director of Business Jerry Clay and Amy Zimmerman to the board’s Health Insurance Committee and approved staff travel to the National School Board Conference in San Antonio, Texas from April 6 to April 10, with the attendees being Hickert, Hatcher, and board members Alan Brown, Cliff Abbott, Travis Combs, Matt Durler, and Stewart Cauble.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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