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Monday, May 2, 2016

School technology discussed

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Technology is making a big difference in the Cherokee School District.

Among developments discussed at the Monday meeting of the Cherokee School Board; new laptops are making teachers more portable in accessing essential data; a new automated notification system will provide quicker and more reliable information about cancellations and delays of school and activities; an upgraded website will give more detailed student records to parents as well as the students themselves; and a new keyless building entry system is providing programmable security clearance customized for each individual.

Dan Mourlam, technology director, gave an update on new technology upgrades. All administrators and special ed teachers now have laptops, a step toward the eventual replacement of desktop computers with more portable computer systems. The special ed teachers were targeted because of the need for frequent data entry into the records of students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Teachers can now access regularly updated information on a student’s grades attendance and even what is being charged to the lunch account. The information is kept confidential from non-staff members outside the family of the student whose data is being accessed.

Superintendent John Chalstrom explained for about the same cost it would take to replace the aging mechanical locks on all the doors of the school buildings, the district has installed electronic locks that are unlocked by scanning a small device called a fob. Each fob is coded to identify the person to whom it is issued and the access status of each person can be programmed into the system. For example, administrators can have access to every building at any time of the day on any day of the week. Others might be restricted to certain buildings on specific days of the week and times of the day.

The system can be programmed for individual doors to remain unlocked at specified times on specified days.

Also, if a fob is lost, the access provided by the device can be simply eliminated from the system. With the old mechanical system of opening doors, a lost key compromised the security of a building, a situation that could only be rectified by an expensive and time consuming process.

The Snowcap system will automatically notify staff, students, parents, media and vendors about school or extracurricular event cancellations, postponements, or other changes. Within minutes of a decision being made, the interested parties who subscribe to the free service will be notified by email, cell-phone or both about the decision.

The system will replace the cumbersome and unreliable calling tree system.

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