Moore @School News

Issue 2, Apr 2017

The Moore @School Minute

MCS Technology Newsletter 2

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In this Issue

  • Important Events
  • Technology Services: News and Updates
  • Digital Learning: News and Updates
  • Better Know a Tech - Mike Irish
  • Better Know a DIF - Deanna Boesch

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Important Upcoming Events

Google Email Transition

As most of you already know, Moore County is finally following 85 of the 115 NC school districts in moving our email entirely into Google! This also includes migrating your contact and calendar data into Google as well. Our DIFs have been training at every school to get staff ready, and our Technology team has been preparing all the back-end systems for when we ‘flip the switch’ on Monday April 17th. We’ll all be on deck to help with any questions or concerns when everyone returns.


Here’s the timeline of events:


  • Preliminary work:

    • School staff trained on using Google email, contacts, calendar

    • All global Distribution Groups (school lists, special staff lists) recreated in Google

    • Email addresses surveyed and corrected to make sure Exchange and Google names match up

    • School Toshiba printers updated to send email to Google - NOTE: Some Toshiba printers require a firmware update to send email properly - if you receive an error sending contact Technology and we can correct the issue

  • Monday April 17th AM:

    • All staff/teacher Google accounts change from ‘@ncmcs.net’ to ‘@ncmcs.org’ - ‘@ncmcs.net’ added as secondary ‘alias’ email address. ‘@mcs.k12.nc.us’ alias added for legacy emails as well

    • NCMCS.ORG Internet address pointed to Google instead of MCS Exchange - all email will start flowing to Google

    • Contact/Calendar data transfer started - this will be done separately so that all staff can start using accounts and see contacts and calendar data ASAP

    • Email migration started

  • Remainder of April 17-21

    • Email migrations continue - users will see all new email immediately, but old email will steadily populate from Exchange to Google for at least the entire week, and possibly beyond for larger mailboxes

  • April 24-28

    • Email migration may still be continuing

    • DIF and Tech staff will be prioritizing Google help during the first week of the transition


We will be tweeting out the exact times each transition step takes place on the @MCSTechAlerts account, or you can follow from the www.ncmcs.org/techalerts website.

More information, including helpful training links, is available at www.ncmcs.org/google


What this means to you:

  • Not losing “@ncmcs.org’ address, or any email

  • Single inbox for all your email instead of separate Exchange and Google accounts

  • No downtime for email communications in the event of Data Center outages

  • Improved Spam filtering and email search capabilities

  • No mailbox storage limits

Annual Robotics Events

Coming up in May, Moore County will once again host our annual elementary and middle school robotics events at Pinecrest High School. These events are a culmination of a tremendous amount of work that our robotics teams across MCS have put in this year. All K-8 schools will be represented and over 350 students will participate. The entire Moore County community is invited to these events!


3rd Annual Elementary Robotics Showcase

May 12th, 2017

Pinecrest HS Gym

9:30-12:00 (drop in any time)


2nd Annual Middle School Robotics Competition

May 19th, 2017

Pinecrest HS

10:00-12:30 (drop in any time)


Spread the word to your friends and family!

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Technology Services: News and Updates

Technology Refresh Update

The Technology Department is working to get all schools ‘up to snuff’ on a sustainable refresh cycle.

The Sustainable Refresh Plan will get all schools on a staggered, 3-year refresh plan. All new computers are being purchased with a minimum 3 year warranty to cover issues during the lifecycle, and student take-home devices will also include accidental damage protection.

We have just completed a refresh of K-5/K-8 teacher laptops, and are preparing for the refresh of Area ! and II student Chromebooks over the summer. We also plan to refresh Area I and II teacher laptops once funding is confirmed.


What this means to you:


  • Students will always have access to working devices

  • Teachers will get updated technology on regular, sustainable cycle

Upcoming Data Integrations

Technology has been working with the HR, PAR (PowerSchool/Testing), and Communications departments on improving the transfer and synchronization of data between all the various online systems in the district. As these new systems come online, expect faster turn-arounds on requests, better and more accurate employee and student data, and easier access to online systems.

For example:

  • New LINQ HR system - employees now have access to CEU info through Timekeeper

  • Upcoming District Mobile App - better data in ConnectEd

  • Instructional System data integration - Google with Discovery Ed, Clever portal for student applications and badge-logins


What this means to you:


  • Easier access to systems

  • Better communication

  • Less duplicated data entry and chances for error

High School Wireless Tuneup

With increasing daily device use, any wireless network issues can cause severe frustration in the classrooms. Technology has recently updated all high schools with new ‘ac’ wireless access points. These offer higher speeds, but have complex radio profiles. We are taking advantage of Spring Break to do extensive radio frequency mapping at the high schools and eliminate any coverage gaps or radio interference issues. We’ll be using vendor Engineers for this first extensive work, and following up with our own staff doing this work at the other schools based on the expertise shared over Spring Break.


What this means to you:


  • Elimination of wireless ‘dead spots’ in schools

  • Faster and more reliable WiFi for students and teachers

  • Wireless maps for schools to detect and remedy interfering devices

Don't Get Phished In!




Tax season is an especially busy time for scammers trying to collect personal data. Here in MCS we have had multiple users fall victim to phishing emails that have captured login information and used this to send out spam from their work addresses. Finance staff are also being targeted in attempts to collect personal data and masquerade as vendors. More info on staying safe is available at https://www.ncmcs.org/security


What this means to you:

  • Be vigilant and sceptical! Emails marked ‘Urgent’ or ‘You must visit this website immediately to restore access’ or that direct you to an attachment for further instructions are common attempts to steal info.

  • Look closely at the ‘from’ address or any embedded URLs - they are often subtle attempts to pretend to be legitimate - Google is not ‘google.hd.com’ for example.

  • Thankfully moving to Google email will improve our protection - you may see caution messages appear when Google detects that an email may be intending to cause harm. Be on the lookout!

  • You can also use the ‘Report Spam’ button on your Google email to help report unwanted emails.

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Digital Learning: News and Updates

Canvas LMS Training

The Canvas Learning Management System is being used more and more here at Moore County Schools. We will be renewing our Canvas licenses for an additional year. You should expect to see more and more Professional Development in Canvas, new classroom resources and features, and launch of the NC Canvas Commons for all North Carolina districts.


You may not be aware that there are extensive Canvas training resources, including live webinars that are available free through May 14th for all Canvas users.

Details on the Canvas training are available from this video - https://vimeo.com/album/4275850/video/195373983

Information on training courses and how to sign up are available here:


What this means to you:

  • Continued access to Canvas LMS moving forward

  • Increased resources and features in Canvas for PD and classroom instruction

  • Training resources to help get the most from Canvas

Digital Learning Showcase - a Huge Success!

Moore County Schools hosted it's 3rd annual Digital Learning Showcase at West Pine Elementary School on March 16th. 36 tables from schools throughout Moore County were set up by students showing off their learning through digital tools. Students from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade showcased their skills in programming, creating videos, engineering, robotics, and much more!



Thank you to West Pine Elementary for hosting and to all the students, teachers, and DIFs that made this happen!

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Better Know a Tech!

Mike Irish

Schools Served: Crain's Creek Middle, New Century Middle, Union Pines HS


What part of your job do you enjoy most?

  • I enjoy helping both staff and students with their technology issues. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I am aiding in the education of our future leaders.



Family?

  • My wife, Sherree-lee, and I live in the West End/Eastwood area with our two dogs, five cats, and two horses.


Hobbies?

  • I like working on home projects, particularly outside. I am an avid reader of all genres. I have finally finished the Wheel of Time cycle, and I am currently reading The First Congress by Fergus M. Bordewich.

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Better Know a DIF!

Deanna Boesch

Schools I Serve: Pinehurst Elementary, Sandhills Farm-Life Elementary


What part of your job do you enjoy most?

  • I love that I get to work with children and adults in the same day! I get the opportunity to inspire the most reluctant learners and encourage those who are seeking new challenges. Every day is unique and different, and I love seeing smiling faces when I come into a school. I have the best job because I have the opportunity to make someone’s life a little better or a little easier.


Family?

  • I live in Whispering Pines, NC with my wonderful dog Sadie. I am originally from San Diego, CA and my family still lives there.


Hobbies?


  • There are many activities I enjoy when I am not at work. Pretty much, I adore anything outdoors! I like working out, running, and playing with my dog, Sadie. At night, I like reading a good book and wearing cozy socks.