ALPENA – It will be a very busy summer for the technology department of the Alpena Public Schools.
Paul Mancine, director of operational technology for APS, spoke with the Curriculum and Technology Committee of the district's Board of Education about updates and other projects that will take place this summer throughout the district.
Each elementary school will have an installed door access control system that includes a card access system for staff and a Raptor System that will verify the name of visitors with lists of registered sex offenders in all 50 states.
All desktop computer labs will be removed from each elementary school and two computer labs will be removed from Alpena High School. There will be more space for students and staff in elementary schools and computer labs in high schools will become project-based learning rooms.
The administrative and secretarial desks will receive updates. Mancine said desktop computers have not been touched in a couple of years, so a new reinstallation of operating systems will replace older systems.
The main switch in the secondary school, essentially the "brains" of the computer system – will be updated. Mancine said that the current main switch is no longer compatible, so the update is needed.
Mancine said the district is improving from a system of 1 gigabyte to a system of 10 concerts for school improvements. He said that Universal Service Funds are being used and that this will cause the district to pay only 20% of the final cost.
"We are waiting for two to three years (to) be ahead of any curve that comes", Mancine said.
Meal Magic, the district's food service system, will be updated after 10 years to a new web-based system. Mancine said computers for food services can be upgraded to 21-inch touchscreen computers, instead of 11-inch touchscreen computers. They will be used when students buy their lunch and it will be easier for food service workers in schools.
"We have to do something," Mancine said. "We are saving money, we are updating, and now my recommendation is that we obtain hardware that is the 2019 hardware compared to the 2009 hardware."
Nic Wiser, director of the district's food service, will make the final call if the district's food service program buys the new computers, Mancine said.
The district is also close to its initiative to be one-on-one for Chromebooks, which means the district will have enough computers for every student that will be assigned. Thanks to a $ 200,000 grant from the Besser Foundation, all 873 Thunder Bay Junior High School students will have a Chromebook to use next school year.
"We're going to put these devices in the hands of all the high school kids," Mancine said.
Each elementary school classroom will also have a Chromebook cart, and hope, said Mancine, is to have a Chromebook cart in each classroom at Alpena High.
A pilot classroom management tool will be used for sixth grade students next school year. Mancine said the pilot test will allow teachers to see what's on students' computers and can stop doing what students are doing on their computers at any time. He said the pilot will cost the district $ 1,600.
You can contact Julie Goldberg at 989-358-5688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ jkgoldberg12.