I.T. News and Bulletin

I.T. Information, Updates, Network Status, etc.

Retiring the Google Drive Desktop App

At the end of September 2017, Google announced that it will end support for the Google Drive desktop app at the end of the year and that the software will shut down for good on March 12, 2018.

As a result, some users my get the following message when logging in to their desktop or laptop computers.

Please note that this message DOES NOT MEAN that Google Drive services will be going away.  It only means that the software which Google had previously developed to manage online back-ups will now be replaced with a new version.  This change SHOULD NOT impact the ability of users to keep and access any documents already saved in Google DRIVE.

If you had previously used the Google DRIVE desktop app to synchronize files from your local computer to your Google DRIVE account, you should follow the directions linked here to install the new Drive File Stream System.   This new system should provide users with the following advantages over the old software…

  • Faster data sync times
  • Less data storage on the users’ local hard drive
  • Specific files and folders can be marked for local storage and use offline when no internet connection is available

If users elect to not install the new version of the Drive File Stream System  they will still be able to access all of their files via the online version of Google DRIVE, however auto-synchronization will no longer happen automatically once the software is retired at the start of the year.

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Report Card Printing (Grades K-8): Q1 2017

In order to avoid potential problems related to finalizing Quarter 1 Grades we have established the following finalization and printing timelines for Q1, 2017.  By making sure that report card runs are staggered appropriately, we can better insure that there is no crossover of data between the respective schools.

The recommended window for teachers (grades K-8) entering Q1 grades will close at 11:59 p.m. on SUNDAY, October 15th.   

Printing of report cards will begin on MONDAY, October 16th as per the schedule listed below.

Elementary School Site Report Card Print Window Alternate Print Window
Apollo Middle School Monday (10/16) from 8:00-10:00am Monday (10/16) @ 8:00 pm
B.L. Lauffer Middle School Monday (10/16) from 10:00am-12:00pm Monday (10/16) @ 10:00 pm
Challenger Middle School Monday (10/16) from 12:00pm-2:00pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 12:00 am
Craycroft Elementary Monday (10/16) from 7:30-9:30am Monday (10/16) @ 7:30 pm
Drexel Elementary Monday (10/16) from 8:30-10:30 am Monday (10/16) @ 8:30 pm
Elvira Elementary Monday (10/16) from 9:30-11:30 am Monday (10/16) @ 9:30 pm
Esperanza Elementary Monday (10/16) from 10:30 am -12:30 pm Monday (10/16) @ 10:30 pm
Gallego Primary & Intermediate Monday (10/16) from 11:00 am-1:00 pm Monday (10/16) @ 11:30 pm
Liberty Gifted & Talented Monday (10/16) from 12:30 pm-2:30 pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 12:30 am
Los Amigos Tech Academy Monday (10/16) from 1:30 pm-3:30 pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 1:30 am
Sierra 2-8 School Tuesday (10/17) from 7:30 am-9:30 am Tuesday (10/17) @ 7:30 pm
Los Ninos Elementary Tuesday (10/17) from 8:30 am-10:30 am Tuesday (10/17) @ 8:30 pm
Mission Manor Elementary Tuesday (10/17) from 9:30 am-11:30 am Tuesday (10/17) @ 9:30 pm
Ocatillo Early Learning Center Tuesday (10/17) from 10:30 am-12:30 pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 10:30 pm
Rivera Elementary Tuesday (10/17) from 11:30 am-1:30 pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 11:30 pm
Santa Clara Elementary Tuesday (10/17) from 12:30 pm-2:30 pm Tuesday (10/17) @ 11:30 pm
Summit View Elementary Tuesday (10/17) from 1:30 pm-3:30 pm Wednesday (10/18) @ 12:30 am

If for whatever reason you are unable to finalize your report cards within the initial report card window, you should feel free to click here to follow the directions on setting your report job to run during the ALTERNATE PRINT WINDOW listed on the table above.

Please be aware that the process for storing grades in K-5 is DIFFERENT than for those in grades 6-8.  All grades in K-5 are STANDARDS BASED and therefore do NOT have to STORED by Josie in the district office prior to report card printing.  

However, for report cards in grades 6-8 WILL need to be stored by Josie prior to printing.  If your front office staff  attempts to print report cards in grades 6-8 BEFORE the window specified on the table below, your report cards may print with missing grades and/or sections.  It is therefore CRUCIAL when printing the grades 6-8 report cards that your office staff waits until they have received the proper email notification from Josie Gonzales in the I.T. Department PRIOR to setting your report cards to print.

Sixth grade teachers in elementary can click on this link to review steps on finalizing their gradebooks prior to the end of term.

Grade K-5 elementary teachers can click on this link to review the steps for finalizing their gradebooks prior to the end of term.

Specialist teachers can follow these REVISIED directions to review steps on finalizing their gradebooks prior to the end of term.

If you are unable to finalize during the specified window listed above, please contact Frank McCormick or Josie Gonzales, and we can make arrangements to schedule a time for you to run grades on Wednesday (10/18).

Thanks again for your help and as always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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Update to Staff Web Filtering Policy for 2017-18 School Year

Starting for the 2017-18 school year, the same level of filtering which is applied to our students on the Google CHROME browser is also being applied to our district staff and teachers.  The reasoning behind this change is to meet the needs of teachers who have long requested a simple and efficient way to know which websites are blocked for students PRIOR to the delivery of classroom lessons.  Simply put, if it’s blocked on your CHROME browser while logged in to your district account, you know that it is also blocked for your students.
However, because teachers aren’t restrict to a single browser, there is a quick and easy way for all district teachers to get around these filters.  All they need to do is SWITCH from Google CHROME to a different browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox).  When using Firefox you will find that there are NO browsing restrictions set for teachers and you should be able to get to ANY site you wish without being blocked by web filters.
While we realize that district web filters are sometimes annoying, we are required by the terms of Federal COPA Legislation to include these filters on all district devices.  The algorithms which guide these filters are far from perfect, which is why we rely on you (i.e. district teachers and staff) to let us know when a site which is blocked should be opened up.  If you encounter such a site, simply submit your request to http://helpdesk.susd12.org (remembering to include the specific URL which you would like opened as well as a very brief description of how this site will be used by your students to support instruction).
Requests received via our help desk will generally be addressed within no more than 24 hours.
Thanks for your ongoing support and please let us know if you have any questions.
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PowerSchool Service Restored

As of 7:25 pm (Tuesday, September 26th) Powerschool is restored and fully available.
No data were lost as a result of this outage. It was necessary to perform repairs to the database and minimize any possibility of data loss.
I apologize for the extreme inconveniences this and the previous outage have caused. Both were due to internal Powerschool components that are required for state data reconciliation. We are taking additional measures to prevent this from reoccurring and employing all means at our disposal to ensure Powerschool corrects these problematic components.
Please contact the HelpDesk if you have any questions or issues. Thank you for your attention and patience.
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PowerSchool Outage

Due to a Powerschool database issue it is necessary take Powerschool offline immediately. We will send out an notice once is it available for normal access.

We realize that interruptions of these kind impact your instruction and we are working closely with the vendor to rectify this outage as soon as possible.

Thank-you for your patience.

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Grade K-5 Specialist (Art, Music & PE): Final Grade Entry

Please be aware that starting with Q1 2017-18 term, there will be a minor change to way that FINAL GRADES are entered for Specialists subjects (Art, Music, & PE) in grades K-5.

Teachers in these subjects will now see that they have a new column in their gradebook for final grade entry (see below) which lists a standard for that particular course.

Teachers will need to fill in the appropriate FINAL GRADE within that column prior to report cards being printed by your front office (see below).  Whatever grade appears within this column is the grade which should show up on the students’ printed report card.

Specialist teachers in grades K-5 can review the full directions for finalizing report card grades by clicking on this link.

With this change, Elementary school front office staff will no longer need to wait until grades have been “stored” by Josie in the district office before printing report cards as standards grades will store automatically.

This change will also better also central office to manage and export elementary grades by term for future reporting development.

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High School Chrome Apps Policy Update

The expansion of student Chrome Apps over the last couple of years has allowed teachers to differentiate instruction strategies as well providing students with a variety of ways to engage with digital content.  Unfortunately, as we have increased the number of Chrome Apps and the amount of data which we are sharing with student devices, this has negatively impacted some aspects of Chromebook operations, causing them to slow down or freeze in some instances.

For this reason, starting Monday, October 17 we will be implementing a new policy regarding instructional Chrome Apps for all district high school students.  Rather than “push” apps to student devices, students will now manage their own chrome apps via the directions below.

When students return to class after the fall break (on 10/17/17), most existing apps will be removed from their district Chrome browser.  Teachers who utilize specific instructional apps for their daily instruction will need to made aware of these directions and have their students reinstall these apps on the browser.

  1. Students can access a list of “approved” apps from the Chrome Store via the URL (linked here) or from their Bookmarks Folder (shown below).
  2.  From the ChromeStore page, students can review a list of approved apps to install on their browser.  Hovering the cursor over the app image will display a description of the major function of the apps.
  3. As students click on the app, they can install on their browser by clicking on the blue Add to Chrome button in the upper-right hand corner of the page.
  4. Active apps will show up in the upper-right hand corner of the page on the students’ Chrome browser (see below).  Students should only install the browser which they need in order to manage their curriculum.

Installing excessive apps on the browser can result in the browser slowing down or freezing during normal working conditions.  Apps which are no longer in use by students can be removed from the browser by going to http://chrome://extensions and clicking the “remove from chrome” icon (see below).

Although we will continue to push certain browsers related to network security (e.g. Clever, GoGuardian, Hapara…etc.), students will need to reinstall certain browsers as they are needed for instruction.

Teachers who are interested in adding new apps to the Google Chrome page will need to follow the same protocols which we have previously established through the Curriculum & Instruction Department (outlined here).

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Google Drive/Classroom update

Google has just posted the following statement regarding the system outages from earlier this morning…

“The problem with Google Drive and Google Classrooms should be resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support. Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

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Springboard Issues

The earlier reported issues with PowerSchool appear to impacting the ability of some teachers to connect to their digital textbooks in Springboard.  We believe that these issue should be resolved when rosters once again re-sync at the end of the day (9/7).  If you are still not seeing your online textbooks show up by Friday (9/8), please submit a support ticket to http://helpdesk.susd12.org and we will follow up right away.

In a related note, some teachers have reported ongoing problems regarding the ability to play audio or access certain images within 2018 versions of the grade level Springboard ELA Textbook.   Please be aware that since this is the only version of the textbook which we have purchased licensing for this year, the 2018 version of the online text is the only version teachers can assign to their students.  

However, TEACHERS have the ability to access the 2014 version of the textbook through the Bookshelf by clicking on the “file cabinet” icon along the left side of the page (see below)…

While you won’t be able to assign the earlier version to students, YOU will be able to access audio clips, images…etc. and share them with your class via your dashboard.

Springboard has stated that they are committed to correcting the current errors within the 2018 version of the book and is continuing to update content daily.

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PowerSchool Update- Thursday, September 7

The recent Powerschool system instability was caused by a database corruption. We identified the particular source of the corruption and have taken measures to prevent its reoccurrence.
Due to the corruption we have restored a backup from the night of the 5th (Tues.). Any data entered or changes made on the morning of the 6th (Wed.) we need to be reentered.
We are finalizing some checks on the restored system and expect to have it fully online by 9am, if not sooner. We will send an update once Powerschool is fully available.
Javier Baca
Chief Information Officer
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