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TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP Attitude is Everything Employee Management The Big Picture




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California Educational Technology Professionals Association

Winter 2011 | Volume 2011 | Issue 1

ARTICLES 6 President’s Message By Steve Carr

8 Best Practices By Phil Scrivano

10 Technology Leadership and Employee Management By Nancy Burns

12 The Big Picture By Tim Goree

14 CUE View: Leadership Required By Jim Klein

18 Attitude is Everything By Chris Higle

20 E-Rate Update By Fred Brakeman

22 Leveraging Technology to Manage Online Learning By Edward Avelar

24 Member Profile DataBus talks with Carl Behmer

26 Resource Guide and Ad Index

Databus is the official publication of the California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA). Databus is published four times a year as a service to our members and information technology managers for California’s K-12 school system. The CETPA and the Databus assume no responsibility for the statements or opinions appearing in articles under an author’s name. The services of an attorney or accountant should be sought in legal and tax matters. All copyrights and trademarks are proper ty of their respective owners. Except where otherwise noted, content in Databus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Publisher California Educational Technology Professionals Association Managing Editor Tim Goree Assistant Editor Diane Foulks

Advertising Manager Cici Trino Association Outsource Services (916) 990-9999 Fax: (916) 990-9991

Layout and Design Lori Mattas Printing and Mailing Copeland Printing

Editor Lisa Kopochinski (916) 481-0265 Fax: (916) 481-1181

Winter 2011 • DataBus 5



Acknowledging Our Dedicated Members By Steve Carr, CETPA President

Stephen Carr, Chief Technology Officer Ventura County Office of Education 5189 Verdugo Way Camarillo, CA 93012 PRESIDENT ELECT

J. Todd Finnell, Vice President of Technology Imperial Community College District 380 E. Aten Road Imperial, CA 92251 PAST PRESIDENT

Dr. Kelly Calhoun, Chief Technology Officer Santa Clara County Office of Education 1290 Ridder Park Drive San Jose, CA 95131 TREASURER

Gregory W. Lindner, Technology Services Director Elk Grove Unified School District 9510 Elk Grove-Florin Road Elk Grove, CA 95624 SECRETARY

Steve Thornton, Director of Technology Menifee Union School District 30205 Menifee Road Menifee, CA 92584


Andrea Bennett

915 L Street #C424 Sacramento, CA 95354 DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

Tim Goree, Director of Technology Support Services Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District 2490 Hilborn Road Fairfield, CA 94534 DIRECTORS AT LARGE

Aaron Barnett, Information Systems Director Moreno Valley Unified School District 25634 Alessandro Boulevard Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Sandra Ching, Director of Information Services Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District 1301 Orangethorpe Avenue Placentia, CA 92870

Julie Judd, Director of Technology Moorpark Unified School District 5297 Maureen Lane Moorpark, CA 93021

Brianne Meyer, Chief Technology Officer Irvine Unified School District 5050 Barranca Parkway Irvine, CA 92604

Peter Skibitzki, Director of Administrative Operations Placer County Office of Education 360 Nevada Street Auburn, CA 95603

Wade Williams, Director of Network Services Stanislaus County Office of Education 1100 H Street Modesto, CA 95354

6 DataBus • Winter 2011


s we embark on the start of our 51st year, we have to acknowledge and thank so many of the dedicated members who have blazed and paved our trail. We have completed a very successful conference in Monterey with higher than expected attendance, a record number of outstanding, relevant speaker sessions, another packed exhibitor show, and an amazing President’s Reception at the Aquarium. We even snuck in a “rogue golf tournament.” CETPA owes a great debt to so many dedicated and committed board members. A retrospective video was produced and a featured at the General Session at the conference. It is now available on the CETPA website. It acknowledges many of the great leaders who have helped to shape this organization. I would like to personally recognize the great work of our most recent retiring board members: Russ Brawn, Terrell Tucker, Oswaldo Galarza, Carl Fong and last year’s retiree Warren Williams. It is difficult for an organization to lose so much of its institutional memory in such a short period of time. They have all served as mentors to those of us currently on the board and we will continue to tap their wisdom to guide us in the future. While we recognize those that have served so well, we would also like to welcome the four new board members who are up to the challenge of taking on the mantle of helping CETPA continue to grow and evolve in these challenging times: Aaron Barnett, Julie Judd, Brianne Meyer and Peter Skibitski. As our past president, Kelly Calhoun, so aptly put it at the conference, we will be rolling out our new membership services this year. Our board will be strategizing during our next couple of meetings as to how these new program and services will be rolled out along with ways for CETPA to more proactively engage with our vendor partners. This issue of DataBus will focus on technology leadership and employee management. These are both such appropriate and timely topics. I have noticed this year, after 28 years as an educator, that technology leadership is more important than ever. CETPA’s CTO mentor program emphasizes the leadership strand as one of its key pillars. As technology leaders in our respective organization, we are continually challenged with finding solutions and setting a vision for the uses of technology both in the classroom and throughout the organization’s day to day business. So what does it mean to provide leadership? One of the key elements to leadership is to help develop a vision and to assure that that vision is a shared vision that represents the needs of the users. Effective leadership requires that we take the time to listen and to understand. One of the most effective strategies I have seen is to get out of the office as often as you can to meet with principals, teachers and students in order to understand and observe the current use of technology in your environments. Invite feedback through surveys and face-to-face customer visits. Employee management is the other topic that is covered in this issue of the DataBus. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of employee management is evaluations. With a county technology services staff of 27 employees, I find myself continually stressed with completing evaluations on time. I have taken the approach that an evaluation is as much an evaluation of my leadership as it is of the employee’s performance. Our evaluation meetings are really an opportunity to carry on a dialogue and assure that employee goals and objectives are aligned to the department and organization goals. The key point is that in all fairness to the employee and the organization honest feedback to the employee is the best practice. Please enjoy this issue and I look forward to hearing from you. 

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A Leadership Review

L By Phil Scrivano


Are your school computers being used in ways that violate acceptable use policies? Probably. nnn

8 DataBus • Winter 2011

eadership and management are two of my favorite subjects because each is something that is part of every decision we make. I am finishing my fifth week as chief instructional technology officer for the Las Virgenes Unified School District, and these two topics are at the forefront of my thought processes. LVUSD has more than 11,000 students, 1,200 classified and certificated employees, and an active parent community. It services four cities and unincorporated portions of two counties. Las Virgenes stakeholders are typical of many of our districts in California and require a high level of leadership and management ability in order to be successful. My team is comprised of a director, media specialists (certificated teachers with technology and/or library credentials), a network lead, a help desk lead, site technicians, a phone/cable/fiber technician, and a clerical support person. My CITO position is at the cabinet level and one unique responsibility we have is testing and assessment in our department. Our superintendent has charged our department with six items the cabinet and school board would like accomplished in my team’s first 100 days; the number one item is teacher credibility. Technology leadership and employee management are essentially the process of making good decisions that benefit education, our staff and our team goals. Currently, I have the opportunity to work with a strong leadership cabinet. I am excited to report that when the tough decisions are being made, our superintendent asks the question, “Is this the best thing for students?” In my career, I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders. The following list is a mini review of some of the best things I have learned that influence my decision making: Larry Stephens, Principal, Leo B. Hart School – retired: “If we could take each kid home, we could fix them; but not every person loves kids like educators do.” Dee Whitley, Principal, Christa McAuliffe – retired: “As a leader, your goal is to promote people who work for you. Doing this, you get 150 percent for a short time, which is much better for kids than getting 50 percent for a long time.” She would advise her staff that if you are working for someone who is not promoting you, look for a new boss. Don Murfin, Superintendent, KHSD – retired: “Staff development has to be hands on and with what you currently own or you are teasing people.”

John Lindsay, Assistant Superintendent, KCSOS – John has been a leader is K-12 technology for many years and a mentor since my first day of teaching. One of his many contributions is teaching the skill of choosing the battles you want to win and realizing when to not fight in order to get another chance to win in the future. He demonstrates a matter-of-fact approach to leadership that affords him the ability to always be correct in the end. Tom Henry, CEO, FCMAT – retired: “Change your people or change your people.” Scott Garrison, President, Lightspeed Systems – “Every decision needs to be about making money.” Scott sent this to me in an e-mail the first week I worked at Lightspeed. The truth is that our vendors are viable businesses only if they are making money. The idea that we, education, always deserve deep discounts or that we get things at cost is no longer reasonable in this economy. As leaders in technology, it is up to us to do our homework and get as many options as possible before spending public funds. Let the market dictate our discounts. Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln and Colin Powell – These three leaders are my favorites to study. There are enough books written about their accomplishments and leadership styles to give us a continuous body of knowledge to draw from. You may have your own favorites, which is great. I strongly believe that reading books on leadership and management on a continual basis is the best way to review and improve on our daily decision making processes. Coming back to education after private industry is following my own passion for education leadership and management. In education, every decision we make needs to be about improving student achievement in much the same way a business needs to make money. In my first month at LVUSD, we are building our team and restructuring the wide area network. In the near future, we will share what LVUSD is doing to increase achievement using the resources that students and teachers are wanting most: technology.  Phil Scrivano is the Chief Instructional Technology Officer for the Las Virgenes Unified School District in Calabasas, Calif. He can be reached at pscrivano@


Technology Leadership and Employee Management

I By Nancy Burns

nteresting! When I read the subjects for the future DataBus issues, this one caught my eye. When your entire technology staff is yourself and one part-time assistant, with whom you have a good rapport, there isn’t a lot of employee managing to be done. I usually do things the way I like to see them done. Brenda also has a good handle on what needs to be accomplished. Sure, there is managing workload, purchasing, etc.; but as far as employee management, this is a pretty sweet job. But wait. Although I am not managing many technology staff members, my challenge when working in a small district is how to manage all those other staff members. You know the ones I mean...the teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and random parents who think they are staff members. I work in a three-school district with approximately 90 teachers, 30 paraprofessionals, including administrators, kitchen and MOT staff, etc. In such a small district, I know every one of them by name and, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on the day), that also means they all know me by name. There is no anonymity here. Sometimes it is as though they are, each and every one, my very best friends for the day, depending on what they want.    So, how does one handle 150 best friends who all want something, especially when you really do want to be available and supportive and only have 24 hours each day? First, I put myself out there. I try to visit each school every week, even if there are no problems reported. A quick walk around campus usually jogs the memories of staff members who forgot about problems, and allows me to get a general feel of whether it is has been a good technology week or a bad technology week at each campus. If I can time my visit around the lunch hour, instead of in the middle of a lesson, I can catch many staff members off duty and have a casual exchange.  When visiting, I do leave myself open to hallway ambush. Hallway ambush is a frequent method staff members try to use to report problems. They see me in the hall and suddenly remember the problem they have been having for a week, but have been too busy to report until now. I listen, then ask them to please

10 DataBus • Winter 2011

e-mail a tech help request to me as I am getting old and my memory isn’t as good as it once was. This puts the responsibility back on the user to let me know about their problem in an official format. They have been able to vent their frustrations face-to-face, which helps them feel better; but they still have to make an official request for help. Often I am able to offer an immediate solution by giving them a suggestion.  Facebook: Yes, I know, the good, the bad and the ugly. Regardless what you think of Facebook and other social networking sites and their place in education, it is a very useful tool to help me keep in touch with our staff. Many of my friends on Facebook are actually my teachers. Having your teachers and staff as “friends” allows us to see the human side of one another. It allows teachers to send me messages about problems after they arrive home and think of it instead of waiting until they get back to school. They can get almost immediate feedback from me.    Another thing I do to communicate with all staff is a “tip of the week” e-mail. Every Monday, I send an e-mail to all staff with the answer to some question I have had to answer frequently, or a new educational website, or some little tip or trick I have come across in my travels. I am frequently surprised at how many simple things people just do not bother to learn or are not exposed to in their technology travels. Having these ready made answers in the form of a tip also gives me an automatic way to answer the same question when it is asked again (and they always are) six months down the road.  I think the real key here is communication. Keep the doors to communication open. Put yourself out there. Be visible. Good managers are generally good communicators. They listen. They offer solutions. They are willing to listen to the ideas of others, working together towards a shared goal.     Nancy Burns lives behind the Redwood Curtain in Humboldt County where she is a Technology Specialist for McKinleyville Union School District. She is a CETPA member and a CCTO and can be reached at

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The Big Picture Y By Tim Goree

12 DataBus • Winter 2011

ears ago I took a trip to Las Vegas with a good friend and colleague. It was my first visit there and I had the opportunity to learn a few things about blackjack with a more experienced friend at my side. Before we sat down to play, he asked if I knew the “rules” of the game. My answer, which at the time seemed intelligent to me, sounded like I was a much bigger fan of “The Price is Right” than of playing cards. You know, get as close as you can to 21 without going over. It’s simple. Right? He blinked, shook his head slightly, and let out a low whistle. He informed me that he would be sitting to my right at the table and I had no idea why that was significant at the time. We sat at the far right side of the table, the cards got dealt, and several hands later I had lost $50. Just then, the dealer indicated that my friend might want to help me improve my game before the rest of the group at the table decided to tar and feather me. I remember glancing up at the four players sitting on my left and noticing for the first time that they didn’t look very happy. You see, when a blackjack player starts saying, “hit me” because it seems like the fun thing to do rather than logically processing the odds of the situation and making a smart play, that player often takes cards that the people to his

left may have needed. Pretty soon, the players to the left of that illogical player start perceiving that their hand could have been much better if the lead player to the right was making better decisions. Resentment naturally follows. I had no idea until that moment that sitting on the right side of a blackjack table in Las Vegas was so much like being in charge of an IT department. Think about it. Have you ever made a decision that turned out to be a real stinker? You know, one of those decisions that created unnecessary work for your organization and had the people around you shaking their heads and grumbling. It happens to everyone at one time or another; but when you work in an IT department, it can’t happen too often or you lose important measures of respect.     Mutual respect is the glue that holds good IT teams together, and respect is earned by consistently making logical decisions and coming up with elegant solutions to problems. Those who earn a large amount of respect over time within an IT group become that group’s leaders, regardless of their official job title. Those who routinely show poor judgment, which results in unnecessary work for others or a loss of forward momentum for the group will often be treated as a cancer, sometimes drawing

open hostility, but more likely being quietly cut out of the workflow. These reactions are reasonable attempts by the rest of the IT department to protect the organization at large, and often occur only semiconsciously. But, what if you are the IT leader and the group has begun to cut you out of the workflow, treating you like a cancer that the organization needs to be protected from? It is extremely difficult for someone to analyze their own decisions and detect faulty reasoning in them. After all, one wouldn’t typically make a decision that they actually thought was illogical, right? Fortunately, there is another explanation for why something like this might be happening, so stay tuned.   I had a boss once whom I greatly respected and admired for his ability to make logical decisions, lead with passion, and see the worth of technology to the future of education in visionary ways. He was not a technical person, but he knew what to do with technology. We created a project together into which our district invested a lot of money and manhours; and at a highly pressurized time in the project, something

happened. My boss began to make a habit of being absent from the office regularly without explanation. After more than a month of excessive absences, I was really missing his input and direction and I perceived that the team was suffering because of it. At one point, I cornered him in his office, closed the door and let him have it. I let him know that I had decided that he was making some really bad decisions by being absent so much and that his lack of logic was bringing down the project that we had worked so hard to bring to life. There was a distinct look in his eye that made me wonder if he was about to smack me or simply kick me out of his office. He had every right to tell me that his decisions were none of my business and that I was completely out of line; but his demeanor changed and he began to explain. It turned out that his absences from the office were due to excessive meetings that required him to defend our project against political opposition.  Oh, and he also had a brain tumor.  Suddenly, as the true environment within

which he was making decisions became known to me, I realized that what he was doing made perfect sense. I also realized that I was going to need to step up and become more of a leader than I had been in the local office so that he could concentrate on the battles that he was fighting, both personally and on our behalf. That day, my boss completely changed my attitude and direction by simply sharing the big picture with me. This is a leadership technique that I highly recommend: share the big picture with your staff on a regular basis. Not because they need to know all of the unrelated information and political wranglings that you encounter when you aren’t around them, but because their opinions of your decision-making abilities are affected by their perception of the environment within which your decisions are being made. Their opinion of your decision-making abilities, like it or not, governs the amount of respect your IT employees are willing to give you. In our environment, respect is the currency for getting things done.   Tim Goree is the Director of Technology Support Services for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District in Fairfield, California ( He has 20 years of IT experience, with 14 of those years being specific to education. As a member of the CETPA Board of Directors, as well as a leader in the Computer Using Educators organization, Tim is well known for his ability to bring IT staff and educators together ideologically to produce outstanding educational results.


Leadership Required: Ideas for Effective Educational Technology Implementation

I By Jim Klein

n light of the current financial crisis and its inevitable impact on schools of all sorts, I worry about the near-term future of education and, more specifically, the role of education technology in the classroom. In particular, I’m concerned that, in most cases, we have failed to effectively integrate technology as an essential, strategic part of the educational process.   Don’t get me wrong. I believe we’ve been heading in the right direction with ed tech, albeit slowly. In fact, I have witnessed a number of programs that suggest the beginnings of what I believe will be an important shift in the use of education technology. My only question is: is it too late? When budget cuts come, that which is viewed as neither strategic nor essential generally finds itself on the cut list.  So, how do education technologists make the right choices and demonstrate a measurable effect on teaching and learning in the classroom? The

solution requires no less than an organizationwide cultural shift with regard to technology in schools—from the technology directors to integration specialists to principals and teachers. A few thoughts: Change the decision-making process. When selecting technologies for implementation, we must ask all the right questions. Deciding for a technology based on emotion, a great sales pitch, word of mouth, or even because we think it will work, is not enough. Before any technology implementation is begun, we need to answer four key questions: What is our vision for this technology—i.e., what do we believe it will do to meet our educational goals? • What are the skills necessary to use and support this technology? • What are the resources we will commit to ensure the success of the implementation, continued on page 16

14 DataBus • Winter 2011

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CUE View: Leadership Required: continued from page 14

from staff development to release time to support to infrastructure? • How will we measure the results to ensure that the technology is having the desired impact? Too often, one or more of these is overlooked or glossed over, particularly number four. If you can’t demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology in the educational environment, then you can’t establish its value with stakeholders.   Loosen our filtering policies. The Child Internet Protection Act was never intended to be used as an excuse to remove responsibility from the classroom. Yet, our response to it has had just that effect. In an effort to “protect” our children from “inappropriate” content, we have created an environment where no one takes responsibility for their activities, instead choosing to “blame it on the technology.” In an ever-escalating effort to restrict, ban and block anything that might have the remotest potential to be misused, we have denied our staff and students access to some of the most powerful tools for creativity, collaboration, and learning on the web, and eliminated every opportunity to teach children to use these tools wisely and safely. When you consider that recent studies have shown web filters to only be about 90-percent effective (which translates into one in ten attempts to access “banned” sites or content is successful), and couple that with all the lost educational potential, it becomes clear that something has got to change. Staff and students need to be held responsible for their activities on the Internet, just as they are for the content of any other media they might bring to school; i.e., magazines, music, video, etc. Internet use in the classroom should be executed with purpose or not at all. Computer time should not be a free-for-all, but an opportunity to take part in learning activities of educational value. Teachers need to take an active role in supervising their students’ activities, taking advantage of teachable moments at every opportunity. And, finally, intentional inappropriate behavior should be treated for what it is: a behavioral issue, not a technology issue. Choose the right technologies. If there is one thing that nearly everyone agrees on, it is that the educational process must change to meet the growing demands of a 21st-century economy. But, when we 16 DataBus • Winter 2011

consider the role of technology in the classroom, we have a tendency to mold it to our habits, to fit it to the way we’ve always done things. So, we upgrade our whiteboards to super whiteboards, and our overheads to super overheads (e.g., document cameras) because we think the reason kids aren’t learning is because we aren’t interesting enough to them. Then, we pretend that “engagement” equals achievement, even though the achievement gains come in anywhere from modest to nonexistent. Any honest look reveals the obvious: We’ve spent thousands of dollars on classroom technologies that are mostly used by teachers, rather than kids. If we really want to transform the classroom into a place where students learn and put to use real 21st-century skills, we need to spend scarce technology dollars on technologies that do more than merely enhance delivery while reinforcing 20th-century classroom practices. We need to invest in technologies that empower students to learn, create and discover in exciting new ways. In short, we need to invest less in instructional technology and more in educational technology. A good rule of thumb is this: if the teacher touches the technology more often than the students, then the technology has no hope of transforming the learning environment. If we, as education technology leaders, will consider just these three, we will not only establish technology’s strategic value within our schools, but also effect transformative change in the learning environment. My greatest fear, however, is that we have failed to do so for so long so that technology will continue to be viewed as an add-on, an expendable extension of the classroom that is easily jettisoned in times of crisis, as have been so many art, music, and science programs over the years. A setback such as that could take years to recover from—years our students simply do not have to lose.  Jim Klein is the Director of Technology at the Saugus Union School District, chair of the CoSN K12 Open Technologies Initiative, and a 2008 National School Board Association’s “20 to watch” educator. With more than two decades of IT experience, he has become well known throughout the K-12 education community as an aggressive technology leader. He can be reached at

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Attitude is Everything!

Y By Chris Higle

18 DataBus • Winter 2011

ou have heard it said time and time again: attitude is everything. If you want positive results, you have to put in positive energy. During these unprecedented economic times in our country, I would argue even more significant in education, applying this strategy is easier said than done. So you might say, how is attitude as a leadership or management strategy really going to make a difference? In my opinion, it makes all the difference. If you look at many of the popular management and motivational strategy books out there today, you will see a common theme in them: attitude. It may be referenced as perspective, mindset or focus, but attitude sets the tone. Attitude by definition means “a person’s perspective toward a specified target and way of saying and doing things.” ( All of these books and strategies do not make a difference unless they are supported by action. Attitude simply plots the course and actions are evidence of that. Most days, I do practice what I preach and embrace the challenges and daily tasks of running a dynamic IT operation with a positive attitude. No, I am not always walking on cloud nine, but I do make a conscious effort to set the tone for the day. What I have learned is to celebrate successes, no matter how small. This helps not only keeping a good attitude, but a sense of accomplishment. One of the strategies I use with staff is asking, “What did you accomplish this week? What do you feel good about?” I believe this helps place perspective on the positive aspects of our jobs

despite what challenges have come up that week. The reality I have tried to embrace is we are all in the same boat. The economic situation is horrible and resources are scarce, but we still have a job to do. Whether it is educating students, supporting staff or support of technology, we have to keep focused and have resolve. I believe when you have the right perspective (attitude), you are open to new opportunities. My philosophy is to run a smooth operation by being supportive of staff, provide guidance, not dictate, and foster optimism. The secret to success is customer service. As the saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Recognizing the impact of the economic decline was clearly changing the way people were reacting to situations, I made a choice. Understanding that we all share in the situation, I chose to emphasize customer service and to identify opportunities to make improvements to the organization to be more efficient. Having the lack of budget resources does not equal failure to move forward and get results. At the end of the day, learning continues and networks still run. Choosing to provide great customer service, being creative and not dwelling on situations we have no control over is the best way to rise to the occasion as technology leaders in these unstable times. Since many of us techies are black and white, logical people, I will give some practical examples in addition to my philosophy. Like everyone else, I read various technical articles to keep up to date on technology trends and their applications. I also read

articles on modern organizational practices and strategies, read motivational books and do observational research to gain insight on successful organizations and practices. The second most important tactic is the skill of listening. Listen to your customers! If you think about it, the staff members you lead are also your customers. I have also figured out that not everyone wants you to solve their problem; sometimes just listening to the feedback is beneficial. One last point to emphasize is communication. When communicating with the district management team and staff, I have found using the Twitter approach works best. Keep it short and to the point. Express how well you are keeping things going and those small achievements that are being made. Once again we should all be working together to deal with the many challenges produced by the economic crisis. District administration needs us to rise to the challenge and be a valuable resource and not a weak link. Here are some resources to share. Take the Fred Factor assessment to see where your “attitude” stands (http://www.fredfactor. com/). Find your Junoon – state of obsession ( )

“To live within the state of Junoon is to concentrate passionately on realizing your mission and transcending day to day, human motivation to a degree that seems impossible to those around you. Being in this state coalesces and magnifies your ordinary strength of will and determination, and turns you into a person who rises to challenges in ways that others can’t even imagine. You hold nothing back. You put your all into everything that you do, and through that investment of your entire being, you find ways to surmount the most daunting of circumstantial barriers with incredible energy.” —Razi Imam “To me it is obvious: if you have a positive perspective on things, the outcomes will be fruitful. This holds true in the workplace and life. Putting customer service at the core of what you do not only makes IT a more valuable resource, but lends to more constructive outcomes. In these dismal economic times, we can put our heads in the sand and blame the world or make things happen or value to the organization and project positive behaviors.”

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” —Lee Holtz Chris Higle, Director of Technology Services at Dos Palos, Oro Loma JUSD and Certified CTO. He has more than 18 years of experience combined in customer service, sales industries and technology with ten years being in K-12 education. He can be reached at  


Latest E-Rate Changes – FCC 6th Report and Order

I By Fred Brakeman

n the last edition of DataBus magazine, I wrote about the proposed changes that USAC was considering for the E-Rate program. On September 29, 2010, the FCC published the 6th Report and Order outlining the changes that will go into effect for the Year 14 (20112012) funding cycle. To see the actual 146 page order, go to: Following are the highlights of the order:

Dark Fiber • Lease of fiber, lit or dark, is eligible in telecom or Internet access from any provider (dark fiber must be lit immediately). • Providers can be telcos; state, regional or local networks; or private networks. • Cannot purchase excess capacity for future growth. • Modulating equipment for leased dark fiber, leased or purchased, is not eligible. • Maintenance of dark fiber is eligible. • Installation costs are eligible. • Up-front construction costs: Construction on school or library property is eligible. Construction beyond the property line is ineligible. • Any provider can provide telecommunications over fiber—includes voice phone service, distance learning, etc.; includes providers such as state and regional networks, utility companies, and private companies. • Post for dark fiber in both Telecommunications Services and Internet Access categories on the Form 470 to maximize the pool of providers. 

Community Use of Schools’ E-Rated Services • Waiver for FY2010 is now permanent. • After school hours, schools may open their facilities to the general public to use E-Rate supported services. • Schools decide whether or not to provide such access. • Service must primarily be for educational purposes. • Schools cannot purchase additional services to support community use. Use must be incidental and not increase E-Rate costs. • Community use is limited to nonoperating hours and only on campus. School personnel and students must have priority. • Schools may not charge for use of services or facilities purchased through E-Rate though they may charge a 20 DataBus • Winter 2011

fee to offset ineligible costs (e.g. security, additional electricity, etc.)

Funding for Certain Residential Facilities • Residential schools that service populations facing unique challenges can receive support for service in residential areas (dormitories) of their schools. • Populations include: tribal children, children with physical, cognitive, or behavioral disabilities, schools with 35 percent or more of their students eligible for NSLP, and juvenile justice schools, where eligible. • Schools can be public or private. • All categories of service are eligible.

Indexing the Funding Cap to Inflation • Funding has been capped at $2.25 billion since 1999. • Starting with FY2010, the cap will be increased based on the Department of Commerce Gross Domestic Product numbers. • Cap will not decrease in event of deflation. • FCC will announce the increase annually. • For FY2010, inflation is deemed 0.9 percent. New cap for FY2010: $2,270,250,000. • This increase is in addition to any rollover funds.

E-Rate Deployed Ubiquitously (EDU) 2011 Pilot Program • Pilot allows $10 million in FY2011 to support innovative and interactive off-premise wireless device connectivity for schools and libraries. • FCC will use the pilot to gather more information about issues affecting such use which can later be used for permanent rules. • FCC expects data reporting by those selected. • Strong preference given to those already implementing such programs.

Technology Plans • New requirements apply for FY2011 and beyond. • No longer required for Priority One (Telecom and Internet Access). • Still required for Priority Two services (Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections). • Beware of potential bucket switches—P1 on-premise equipment moved to Internal Connections.

• Applicants citing their own Form 470: If P2 services are all included in the current technology plan, and the plan covers at least part of the upcoming funding year, then a new technology plan is not needed prior to posting. If new P2 services requested are not in the technology plan, then the applicant must have a written plan prior to posting. • Applicants citing a state-filed Form 470: Not needed prior to posting of state-filed Form 470. • Technology Plan Approval—no change. All applicants requesting Priority 2 services must have an approved plan that covers at least part of the upcoming funding year prior to the start of service or the filing of the Form 486, whichever comes first. • Four required elements: Applicants no longer have to include a section on budget.

Competitive Bidding Process • Order codifies that the competitive bidding process must be fair and open. • All potential bidders must have access to the same information and must be treated in the same manner throughout the procurement process. • Additions or modifications to the Form 470/RFP must be made available at the same time and in a uniform manner to all potential bidders.

Competitive Bidding Process Rule Violations Include (but are not limited to): • Applicant has a relationship with the service provider that unfairly influences the outcome of the competition or provides the service provider with “inside” information. • Someone other than the applicant (or its representative) prepares, signs and submits the Form 470. • Service provider is listed as the contact on the Form 470 and the provider is allowed to bid. • Service provider prepares applicant’s Form 470 or participates in the bid evaluation or vendor selection process in any way. • Applicant turns over the competitive bidding process to a service provider. • Applicant employee with a role in the selection process has an ownership interest in a vendor seeking to provide the services. • Applicant does not describe the desired products and services with sufficient specificity to enable interested parties to bid. This list is not exhaustive – these entries are meant as examples.

Gifts • Receipt of gifts by applicants from service providers and potential service providers is a competitive bidding violation. • Must follow the stricter of state/local or FCC rules. • Exceptions mirror federal government regulations. Items worth $20 or less (meals, pencils, pens, hats, t-shirts, etc.) as long as those items do not exceed $50 per year per employee from any one source (service provider) are OK. This means all gifts from all employees, officers, representatives, agents, independent contractors, or directors of the service provider. • Gift prohibitions are always applicable, not just during the competitive bidding process. • Prohibition includes soliciting and receiving any gift or other thing of value from a service provider participating in or seeking to participate in the E-Rate program. • Service providers may not offer or provide any gifts to applicant personnel involved in E-Rate.

SPIN Changes • Precommitment SPIN changes: Corrective SPIN changes only (i.e., data entry errors). • Postcommitment SPIN changes: Operational SPIN changes must have legitimate reason to change, such as breach of contract or provider unable to perform, and must select provider with the next highest point value in evaluation.

Eligible Services • Priority 1: Dark Fiber is eligible as described above. • Telecommunications is now two categories on the ESL. “Telecommunications services” can only be provided by an eligible telecommunications carrier, and “Telecommunications” can be provided by a nontelecommunications carrier via fiber in whole or in part. • Web hosting remains eligible: Allows additional functionality of discussion boards, instant messaging and chat. Content remains ineligible, including searching of databases such as gradebooks, encyclopedias, etc. • Wireless Internet access applications remain ineligible. Wireless Internet access service and data charges for a service that is solely dedicated to access an ineligible functionality are also ineligible. • Enhanced firewalls, Intrusion detection and prevention devices and anti-virus and anti-spam software: All fully ineligible. Basic firewalls that are bundled with Internet access remain eligible. • Unbundled warranties: Applicants that can estimate number of maintenance hours per year for their equipment, based on current life of equipment and history of needed repairs, can seek funding for upfront costs on service contract designed to cover this estimate and upkeep. Reimbursement will be paid on actual worked performed and hours used only.

Disposal of Equipment • Disposal or resale is permitted no sooner than five years after installation date. • Applicants may receive payment or other consideration in return for disposal. • Applicants are not required to use equipment for five years, nor are they required to dispose of equipment after five years. • No notification to USAC is needed, but update your asset registers. • This does not change the requirement to report transfers of equipment made less than three years after purchase If the above information adversely affects the current E-Rate projects you have planned for Year 14 (2011-2012), you still have time to re-file your Form 470’s as the close of the Form 471 filing window is March 24, 2011. One other change that USAC made within the last couple of weeks is you MUST send in via mail or electronically all of the Form 471 Item 21 Attachments before the end of the Form 471 filing window.    Fred Brakeman is President of Infinity Communications & Consulting, Inc, a full-service consulting firm including E-Rate/ CTF and Microsoft Ed Tech K-12 consulting, technology design services, and low voltage construction management and inspection services serving approximately 20 percent of all the school districts and county offices of education in California. Infinity Communications & Consulting is located in Bakersfield, California with field offices in Fresno and Emeryville. He can be reached at, office phone (661) 716-1840, or via mail at P.O. Box 6069, Bakersfield, California 93386. Please visit Winter 2011 • DataBus 21

Leveraging Technology to Manage Online Learning

T By Edward Avelar

22 DataBus • Winter 2011

echnology is transforming how leaders within K-12 education manage resources and handle traditional applications and tasks. Online grade systems, web-based attendance and electronic data collection are just a few examples of how technical applications and digital solutions are increasing employee efficiency and adding layers of control for school administrators. As more schools begin gravitating towards web-enhanced classrooms, blended models of instruction and online learning, technology will continue to impact how district and school leaders manage employees and demonstrate leadership via turnkey technical initiatives. Finding meaningful, cost-effective, tech-based solutions will become a necessity for every administrator especially in times of limited funding and school reform. The K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN), which has endeavored to provide California’s K-12 community with flexible applications that encourage efficiency and 21st-century skill building, hopes to assist school and district leaders, by offering CaliQity and its services. A full featured learning management system (LMS) that incorporates numerous administrative and managerial features, CaliQity is capable of transforming a traditional school into a web-enhanced learning environment. Through CaliQity, district and school administrators have access to a robust LMS, equipped with a fully integrated standards-based content repository that can meet the demand for distance learning and blended instructional environments, while minimizing overhead and providing implementation options.

The flexibility that CaliQity provides, both in its implementation and operation, make it a valuable asset for administrators and school leaders. Marla Stock, Principal of Loyalton High School, and one of the first to utilize the system, shared that since “CaliQity is web based, it is easy to set up and manage.” CaliQity provides administrators with direct control over how management will be conducted through a range of settings that are applicable to any administrative structure. The use of role permissions within the system provides access controls that will fit any organizational arrangement. As such, the inclusion of technology directors, coordinators and other IT staff can help calibrate the needs of technical and instructional staff during roll-out. Although it is hierarchical in scope, CaliQity can be installed to provide either singular authorization to the system or to be more distributive, whereby several individuals equally share in the management of the system. Using this type of varied command string allows for a range of implementation plans that best meet the needs of unique sites and organizations. Designed to mesh the best features and functions from other applications, such as an online grade book, and a closed-circuit messaging system, CaliQity gives schools and districts a localized, costeffective solution to online learning, credit recovery and curricular expansion. CaliQity offers schools and districts access to Currium—a series of quality online courses that include college preparatory classes and numerous electives. This opportunity allows leaders to better manage staff and maximize

funding, by selecting teachers and mentors to work as guides in a blended learning model. The inclusion of Currium, at a minimal price point for California schools of just $30 per student per academic year, for use of an unlimited number of its 60 courses, makes CaliQity a viable option for both credit recovery and curricular expansion. Marla Stock remarked that CaliQity allows schools to “expand their course offerings to students, while containing the costs of instruction and supervision.” Access to Currium courses, she stated, allows schools to “allocate staff appropriately and helps maintain student to teacher ratios.” At her site, Loyalton High School, CaliQity is being used to help build the schools independent study program, and also meet the needs of individual students. Students are supervised by one teacher as they work at their own pace on a variety of courses that meet their needs, such as geography and AP biology. As districts and schools look to expand their course offerings, CaliQity’s content repository— Reactor—can provide educational leaders with the flexibility necessary to build a dynamic program. The Reactor Repository provides educators with access to a growing library of digital content that includes lessons, labs, study guides, videos and assignments. The continual expansion

of the repository will allow school administrators to pick and choose the options that best suit the needs of their students and employees. For example, if funding for instructional staffing is limited, CaliQity can provide access to feature-rich courses that do not require elective experts. Also, since CaliQity allows for content to be added and restricted by permission, schools and districts can tailor common assessments to align with district and school expectations. Given that the Reactor Repository holds standards-based resources, such as videos, documents, and assessments, educators can design differentiated courses that match the needs of individual learners. Victor Torres, Assistant Principal at Imperial High School and an early adopter of CaliQity, shared that through the repository, schools “will be able to design programs that allow students to work at their own pace, but that also allows administrators to manage content and course design, much more effectively.” The repository also empowers administrators with a tech-based solution to engage teachers and coordinators in curriculum mapping and standards alignment. With a growing emphasis on collaborative learning, and digital learning communities, CaliQity allows teachers to share resources with each other and build more effective, customized lessons and courses for students.

On the instructional side, CaliQity’s free learning management system helps teachers track and analyze the progress of individual students. Since the site holds free and commercial content, state-aligned courses and learning objects, it also makes it possible for teachers to easily drop digital learning resources into the courses they are building. Verizon Thinkfinity’s educational resources are some of the free resources already available in the repository. The Currium core courses, and the Powerspeak world language courses, are some of the commercial content available for purchase. For school districts, the free learning management system and centralized curricula purchasing mean cost savings and greater flexibility in offering noncore courses. The wealth of high-quality digital resources, the ease of a single sign-on, and potential cost savings are a great match to the needs of teachers, schools and districts in today’s environment. Without CaliQity, teachers had to search multiple sites to acquire all the course material they need, each with a separate account structure and log-in. As an increasing number of school districts embrace online courses for credit recovery or to expand their offerings and provide access to a wider selection of AP classes, and electives, successful implementations will require school administrators, technology and instructional teams to work together. Technology leadership and strong collaboration efforts among administration, technology and instructional staff will spur innovation in the classroom and allow schools to meet the increasing demand for online learning. CaliQity represents such a solution for school and district administrators seeking to expand their curricular offerings. Using the customizable, flexible features found within the learning management system, allows administrators to closely supervise how courses will be offered and implemented. In the coming years, it will be vitally important for districts to maintain a full range of offerings, which will ultimately necessitate innovative programs and technological solutions. As a result, CaliQity suitably corresponds with the creative thinking necessary to meet the shifting needs of schools and districts.  Edward Avelar is Outreach Specialist for the California K-12 High Speed Network at the Imperial County Office of Education. He can be reached at or (760) 312-6512.


DataBus Chats with Carl

By Lisa Kopochinski, DataBus Editor


What are your responsibilities as technology supervisor for the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District: My job responsibilities at Paso Robles School District are to monitor, maintain, implement and manage every piece and part of the district network—from the smallest devices to the largest complex design and construction projects. I have been fortunate that in the limited amount of time I have been here, we have been able to implement some impressive projects, such as server Virtualization, $3.8 million in E-Rate infrastructure work, a district-wide VOIP system, SIFs, construction and design of a new centralized server room, implementation of more web-based systems, increased accessibility for our staff and students to needed resources, a parent portal system and notification system, a new private cloud system, a district-wide wireless network and much more! I also try to keep up to date on what is new in our bleeding-edge technology environment, help to establish and implement new policies and procedures that ensure a secure, but also usable and reliable network. It is an ever-evolving and challenging job that seems to touch every part of the educational system from curriculum to food and transportation systems, from the maintenance department to the kindergarten student. IT is a giant web of connected fibers not just physically, but embedded in how we think, operate and interact.

24 DataBus • Winter 2011

How long have you been in the computer industry? I would say my time in the computer industry is much shorter than many of my peers (around 10 years realistically) but has traveled a few different sectors that greatly helped my understanding and philosophy. (Philosophy is, learn to not question why it works just accept that it does, saves time in the short run and your sanity in the long run.) To summarize, I was in the Navy for ten years, (just a paper pusher) and using computers systems was inherent in the job starting in about 1992 at a very basic user level. After about eight years, I needed to start thinking about what I was going to do after the Navy and I was sure it was not going to be paperwork. I took on the additional duty of assistant network administrator for my detachment, which was the start of my future in computers fulltime. After leaving the regimented and structured world of the military in 2002, I started work with a local credit union as the telecommunication/PC specialist; basically, a tech with a fancy title whose main responsibility was the implementation and installation of a new VOIP phone system across two counties and 11 branches. It was a challenge and I learned a great deal. Tiring from the three-hour commute on the road each day, I started looking for a job closer to home when the Paso Robles School District technology position opened up and I was hired. Five years later I am still here, with eyes wide and a completely whole new understanding of the educational system, along with the challenges and responsibilities of today’s IT departments.

What drew you to the industry? What do you like most about it? Truthfully, this job just fell out of the sky. I applied, interviewed and was hired. The person I replaced had been here for 13 years and had done a great job trying to drag the district into the 21st century. It was my job to continue that work, while preparing the district for the next 20 years and beyond. The thing I like the most about IT is the problem solving. Many times it is more interesting when I can’t fix something than if I can. I have great respect for any IT person who did this job before Google. I thoroughly enjoy the big complex projects involving many people and many different needs. It is fun and challenging to keep it all going and eventually see the final product. Of course, there never really is an end, only the chance to take a breath and move onto the next phase, the next project and the next problem. When did you join CETPA and why? When I started with the Paso Robles School District I had no idea what was out there, what was available to our district, and what systems and products we needed to start thinking about. When my director asked if I wanted to go join CETPA and attend the annual conference, I jumped at the opportunity. Now the chance to get away from the office every once in awhile was a big plus, but the interaction at the CETPA conference, the networking and the ideas it sparked, were really what it was all about. I have been lucky to attend three of the last five conferences and benefit greatly from the sessions, vendors, networking and interaction via the list-serve and educational community.

Where does CETPA need to grow? I believe CETPA is already on the right track by thinking about opening up the association to other educational institutions, I believe we have much to learn from each other. This will only increase the knowledge base, networking resources and benefits to all involved. In addition, I would like to see CETPA play a more active roll in assisting districts in creating more boilerplate-type policies. I understand this is a huge task, but I believe it would help all of us work more efficiently and help us from having to recreate the wheel every time. We all have our own needs and worries, but a library of policies that provide a good baseline would be a tremendous resource and a solid foundation for us to build upon. Lastly, it would be great if CETPA could take the lead in setting up professional development and training courses. We need a “one-stop” shop for districts across the association to join together to learn and grow as new technologies evolve and other technologies change. It is very hard, as a relatively small district, to get the training we need, but as an association CETPA has the leadership, resources and population to provide and coordinate these sessions. Maybe it would be possible to coordinate monthly webinars or live training sessions that districts could attend. Providing and coordinating these sessions for more than a single district would greatly decrease the cost to attend, and allow training in systems, applications and technology that we would otherwise not be able to afford.

What is the greatest challenge facing the industry? I know many might believe that our biggest challenge is the economy and/or funding and, while I do believe these are big hurdles to overcome, especially, getting administration, boards and the government to understand that computers are like paper, bus tires and milk; they don’t last forever, therefore, there must be a budget set aside to maintain, renew and support technology. With that said, I believe strongly that our most formidable challenge is professional development for staff, teachers and IT departments. It is amazing to me the number one thing we fail to do in the educational system is to teach, train and educate our own people. I have no clue how to overcome this hurdle. It involves, time, money, regulations and a paradigm shift in how we implement and provide that training. In addition, we must ensure that we are getting a positive benefit from that training not just occupying time that could be better utilized. We fail our students when we don’t utilize the systems fully that we already have in place, and the technology they have become accustomed to. We fail ourselves and waste precious resources when we do not get a return on the investments we have made. It is a huge challenge and it will not be overcome without a concerted effort by all those involved. How is the state’s deficit affecting you? The deficit is affecting the students much more than the IT department. They are the ones taking the brunt of the cuts and challenges directly upon their shoulders. For better or worse, our IT department has never really operated under the budgetary process, other than having our mandated costs for licensing and maintenance, as well as staffing. We have always—and for the foreseeable future—always operate on the “Money from the Sky” principle of survival. We will chase E-Rate funding, apply for every grant and program there is, hope for the second round of Microsoft money to someday come through, and in the end try to do more and more with less. Thank goodness for Open Source and Freeware. What do you like to do in your spare time? What spare time? I thought that the benefit of a salaried position was you could work as many hours as you wanted as long as that included being on call 24-7, and making sure that all systems were operational 24-7, 365 days a year, at a minimum of 99.999 percent up time. When I can and when there is money, I love to race my number 48 Dwarf Car with my dad all over the West Coast. In addition, I play racquetball, love camping or anything outdoors as well as anything else that does not involve computers or technology. I’d like to spend more time with my boys (realizing that they have grown up too fast), read books and articles not involving the latest technology trends, and watch too much TV. 

Winter 2011 • DataBus 25



Infinity Communications & Consulting (661) 716-1840 Please see our ad on page..............................26 FINANCIAL & HUMAN RESOURCES SOFTWARE

Infinite Visions/Windsor Management Group (888) 654-3293 Please see our ad on page................................3 Tyler Technologies (800) 431-5776 Please see our ad on page..............................19 FINANCIAL/HUMAN RESOURCES

Sungard Public Sector (866) 965-7732 Please see our ad on page..............................17 SOFTWARE NETWORKING

Lightspeed Systems (877) 447-6244 Please see our ad on page..............................15

Decotech (800) 597-0757 Please see our ad on page................. Back Cover Western Blue (800) 660-0430 Please see our ad on page................................7 STUDENT ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS

Pearson School Systems (877) 873-1550 Please see our ad on page..............................27 STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Eagle Software (888) 487-7555 Please see our ad on page................................2 Edupoint Educational Systems (800) 338-7646 Please see our ad on page................................4

Pearson School Systems (877) 873-1550 Please see our ad on page..............................27 Sungard Public Sector (866) 965-7732 Please see our ad on page..............................17 Tyler Technologies (800) 431-5776 Please see our ad on page..............................19 TURNKEY TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS AND CURRICULUM INTEGRATION

IVS Computer Technology (877) 945-3900 or (661) 831-3900 Please see our ad on page..............................11 USER ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Advanced Toolware (888) 770-4242 Please see our ad on page................................9


Advanced Toolware....................................... 9 Decotech.......................................Back Cover Eagle Software............................................... 2 Edupoint Educational Systems....................... 4

Infinity already serves 15% of all

Infinite Visions/ Windsor Management Group........................ 3 Infinity Communications & Consulting........ 26 IVS Computer Technology........................... 11

California school districts.

Lightspeed Systems..................................... 15

Our goal is to serve you too.

Sungard Public Sector.................................. 17

Pearson School Systems.............................. 27 Tyler Technologies....................................... 19 Western Blue................................................. 7

We specialize in: E-rate/CTF 0 Low-voltage construction management 0

Please call us for a list of references in your area.

26 DataBus • Winter 2011

0 0

Technology design Low-voltage inspection services

P.O. Box 6069

Ph: (661) 716-1840

Bakersfield, CA

Fax: (661) 716-1841



50 states • 55 countries • 4,600 customers 120,000 national user group members 9 million students PowerSchool® helps parents give their children the support they need to succeed in school. In California, more than 830,000 students and their parents are able to check grades daily in PowerSchool. This is just one of the reasons more schools and districts have chosen PowerSchool over any other Student Information System. Take a look at PowerSchool, the fastest growing, most widely used SIS available today and learn how parents, students, and educators are all seeing success. Please visit or call 877.873.1550 to learn more.

Copyright © 2010, Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved. 570VE20101208

CETPA Databus Winter 2011  

CETPA Databus Winter 2011

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