From time to time Superintendent John Marschhausen is asked the same questions from different members of the community. In an effort to share the answers with everyone he puts the questions here with his candid responses.
The wireless internet speed in some of the buildings has been inconsistent so far this year. What is the district doing to improve connectivity?
We have a complex wireless system in the district. We have seen the number of wireless devices increase from 4,400 in September 2013, to 7,000 in September 2014 to over 12,750 this September. Our students are definitely becoming more connected. Our tech team just installed a new “firewall” this past Monday. This was the reason some students were not assigned homework on Monday night. The new firewall has already led to a dramatic increase in connection speeds. As we continue to increase devices, we will continue to grow our network to support instruction. It is a journey; we will all learn, grow, and improve each and every day.
There are times we will block access to certain apps and/or sites. For example, Apple just released iOS 9. When a new OS is released, we may choose to block the Apple Store through our network. We need to keep bandwidth for instructional purposes. We block Pandora. This isn’t because we don’t like music . . . we love music. It is simply because we can’t have 5,000 devices all streaming music – that clogs the network.
As parents, what can we do to work with the schools to keep students safe on all of these devices?
First of all, know your students’ passwords, logins, and apps. This isn’t true for only school owned accounts and devices – although we do encourage you to know school access information. Mom and Dad . . . you should have access to everything.
As a parent you should check your students email (personal and school), Twitter feed, text messages, Instagram, Facebook, and any other digital connections that leave a “footprint.” We are partners – parents, teachers, & administrators – in keeping our children safe and in teaching them about digital citizenship. Even upper class students make mistakes – let’s commit to work together to make sure every student’s digital footprint is Ready for Tomorrow.
I’ve heard about some stolen iPads . . . what’s the scoop?
Yes, we’ve had two iPads stolen this year. One iPad from was stolen from a middle school student, and one from an elementary classroom. Good news . . . we have them both back!
We have the ability, through our device management system with Apple, to “brick” any of our iPads making them useless when stolen. In fact, when a stolen iPad is accessed it will inform the individual attempting to login in that the device is the property of the Hilliard City School District with contact information. We work with law enforcement officials and pursue criminal prosecution of those responsible for the theft of the devices.
Who really comes to your Coffee Connections?
At this week’s Coffee Connections we had questions about gifted education, school start times, sixth grade class size, music lessons in our high schools, special education transitions, and a myriad of other issues. Thank you to everyone who attended. We are committed to continuing our open, honest, and transparent conversations with our parents and community. We may not always agree, but we will continue to see opportunities to dialogue about what matters most – our children in the Hilliard City School District. So the answer to this one is anyone who wants to talk.