A Message from Your Superintendent
February 1st, 2019
District 57 has some exciting plans for enhancing our investment in technology infrastructure and equipment to support student learning, as well as continuing to make our buildings as safe and secure as possible. These priorities are the focus of our Technology Strategic Plan, which director of technology Trevor Hope presented to the School Board at the Jan. 24th meeting.
Here’s a summary of some of the key projects we are undertaking this year:
We have made significant network and wireless infrastructure improvements at all four buildings, as we move toward having more modern “smart schools.” This includes maximizing wireless connectivity so more students can simultaneously take advantage of online learning. The next step is to install new switches to increase speeds and make the network more secure. To help pay for this, the District has applied for E-rate funding, which is provided through the Federal Communications Commission to make information services and telecommunications more affordable for schools.
Lincoln’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative has been a success, with teachers incorporating the computers into lesson plans, using them for in-class teaching and homework. The District supports the initiative with continued professional development and by providing additional devices as enrollment dictates. We are now piloting a 1:1 program in two fifth-grade classes at Fairview and Lions Park. The devices currently stay at school, but later this month, students will start bringing them home to use for homework. This pilot has been a success so far, and we hope to implement it throughout fifth grade next year. At Westbrook, kindergarten started using Chromebooks in class instead of iPads this year, and we’re in the process of transitioning first grade from MacBook Air devices to Chromebooks.
We’ve started the process of redesigning our website with a fresh and modern look and improved user experience. We will build on improvements made in the major website redesign/migration five years ago. Trevor is collecting information from various stakeholders to determine how information and resources will be organized and presented. The goal is to launch the new site this summer.
Safety and Security
We are working to further enhance safety and security at the schools by locking exterior doors and moving intercoms from the interior doors to the exterior. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring visitors to speak through an intercom outside, and then be “buzzed in” through two locked doors to gain access to the office. This change will be made over the summer. We’re also investigating options for adding security cameras at each school entrance. The cameras would be viewable by school office staff and monitored by District staff.
I thank the Technology Steering Committee, which is led by Trevor and includes staff members from throughout the District, for making sure we are where we need to be with these important priorities. As always, we’ll keep you informed of progress on these initiatives and planning for the future.
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools, Mount Prospect School District 57