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INFORM Digital Magazine

C NNECT Connecting you with Technology



A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Welcome to the Spring edition of “INFORM”—Connect’s digital magazine. Did you catch that? North Coast Council is now Connect! I would like to take a moment to personally thank you and your Board of Education for your commitment and support of this positive change.

5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125 216.520.6900 1885 Lake Avenue Elyria, OH 44035 440.324.3185

In this issue, we provide updates on the software systems as you might expect. The hard work of implementing a new financial package continues. The dedication of our pilot sites, Connect employees, and Tyler’s Implementation staff make this project possible. We are launching a couple of new segments in the magazine including “Staff Picks” in this edition and “Ask Connect!” in our next edition. Our goal is to provide valuable updates as well as interesting information. Connect staff provide technology services because we find it


rewarding. We have seen the benefit of spending time with our customers outside the office during conferences and other professional meetings. We are hoping that you would be interested in joining us for something completely outside of the work environment at a Connect event at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon. Please join us on Wednesday, June 15 as the Crushers take on the Windy City Firebolts (more information on page 16.) We are all looking forward to summer activities and recharging before the new school year. Connect continues to strive to be your one stop shop for all of your technology needs. If you have ideas on future stories that you would like us to cover in this magazine, feel free to contact any of our Connect staff or me. - John Mitchell, Executive Director, Connect


Fiscal May 13 Noon - 3PM 5-Year Forecast Open Lab Connect East May 19 Noon - 3PM 5-Year Forecast Open Lab Connect West May 24 Noon - 3PM 5-Year Forecast Open Lab Connect East May 25 Noon - 3 PM 5-Year Forecast Open Lab Connect West June 3 8:30 - 11:30AM Fiscal Year End - Payroll Connect East June 9 8:30 - 11:30AM Fiscal Year End - Payroll Connect West June 10 8:30 - 11:30AM Fiscal Year End - Budgetary Connect East June 15 8:30 - 11:30AM Fiscal Year End - Budgetary Connect West June 17 9AM - Noon Fiscal Advisory Meeting Connect East

For a full listing of all upcoming events at both Connect East (Valley View) and Connect West (Elyria), please visit

Munis May 18, 19 8:30AM - 4PM Munis - Roles & Workflow Set-up Connect West May 24 8:30AM - 4PM Munis - Employee Building Connect East May 25, 26 June 6, 7, 8 8:30AM - 4PM Munis - Static Environment Test Connect East June 13, 14 8:30AM - 4PM Munis - Baseline Database Finalization Connect West

Student May 13 9Am - 3:30PM PowerSchool - Object Reports Training and Supported Work Session Connect West May 23 10 - 11:30AM PowerSchool - PowerSchool Searching and Exporting, Part 1 Connect West (Waiting List)

May 23 12:30 - 3:30PM PowerSchool - PowerSchool Searching and Exporting, Part 2 Connect West (Waiting List) May 24 9AM - 4PM PowerScheduler Open Lab Connect West May 26 9 - 11:30AM PowerSchool Graduation Pathways/ODDEX for High School Counselors (Offering 3) Connect West May 26 1 - 3 PM PowerSchool EMIS End of Year Student Collection Connect West

August 3 10:30AM - 12:30PM PB GradeBook Beginning of School Connect East

Technology May 13 1:30 - 3:30PM Tech Advisory Meeting Connect East

Library May 11 8:30AM - Noon Library Liaison Meeting Connect East

August 2 9 - 10:30AM StudentInformation Beginning of School Connect East August 2 10:30AM - 12:30PM PB GradeBook Beginning of School Connect East August 3 9 - 10:30AM StudentInformation Beginning of School Connect East





Sherri Gager is a Support Specialist/ Fiscal Systems for Connect. She has been with Connect since 2016.

“It is amazing to me how many services Connect provides to our public and community schools. I am learning firsthand how many details are involved in servicing our districts and thankful for my years in a public district, which have provided me with the tools needed to become part of this team.”

- Sherri Gager

Sherri received her Associates in Accounting in 1984. She facilitates and provides leadership for the effective collection, analysis, maintenance, and reporting of client financial data and payroll processing services. Prior to working at Connect, Sherri worked as a Treasurer’s Assistant at Highland Local Schools for 34 years. She has many years of experience in both the financial and payroll fields. Sherri lives in Medina, Ohio with her spouse, Ronald, to whom she has been married for many years. She has two children, one daughter and one son. Her hobbies include camping, traveling, hiking, and photography.

“We are so pleased to have Sherri join our Fiscal Team. She brings experience, dedication and an infectious laugh. Welcome aboard Sherri!” - Deb Carroll, Lead Fiscal Support Specialist

You can reach Sherri at: Phone: Email: Address:


216-520-6900 x5244 5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125



Heidi Rhodes is a Support Specialist/ Student Systems for Connect. She has been with Connect since 2016.

“I love working at Connect because of the opportunity it has given me to work with so many districts. I have really enjoyed getting to know the staff and providing support on a much broader scale.”

- Heidi Rhodes

You can reach Heidi at: Phone: Email: Address:

Heidi earned a Master of Educational Administration in Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in Computer Science. Prior to working at Connect, Heidi was the Director of Technology & EMIS Coordinator for the Brooklyn City District. She worked at Brooklyn for 9 1⁄2 years in various roles providing information system and technology support to staff and students. Heidi also has classroom experience as a former elementary teacher. Heidi lives in Mentor with her husband and her son. She enjoys spending time with her family & friends, road trips to classic car shows, and cooking.

“Heidi joined the Student Services Team in February, 2016. She was Director of Technology at Brooklyn City Schools and she came to Connect with loads of EMIS and ProgressBook Suite experience! We are so happy to have her on our team. She has already proven to be such a valuable addition!” - Marilyn Deyling, Lead Student Support Specialist

216-520-6900 x5268 5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125



Independence Local Schools


By Mike Pennington, Technology Director,

lifespans and with software and support updates, we found ourselves with equipment that was no Independence Local Schools longer viable to support the growing demand for connectivity in our buildings. Supported The technology department in Independence through district Permanent Improvement funds, Local Schools has been working hard this year to update the district’s technology infrastructure and we replaced all of our physical switches and several wireless access points (APs) in August. This advance the use of digital tools in our classrooms. summer we will finish our infrastructure upgrades This includes completing scope & sequence by replacing all of our physical servers, updating curriculum work for our K-8 technology classes, reinventing our high school Computer Applications our usage of virtual servers, installation of multiple access points and a new firewall appliance. We course which all freshman complete, expanding our mobile learning device fleet, and updating our will also be investing in a new phone system. Our current phone system was installed in 2000 and infrastructure. actually predates the construction of our high school. These upgrades and replacements will INFRASTRUCTURE help ensure uninterrupted services to our faculty, Last August, Independence began a two-year infrastructure upgrade. Many of our infrastructure staff, and students. components had lasted far beyond their estimated


TECHNOLOGY CURRICULUM AND COURSE OFFERINGS Three years ago, Independence became a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) district. We have slowly integrated multiple features of GAFE, including migrating our email system to Gmail. This year we continued to integrate GAFE by giving our Primary School students Google accounts. Students in grades 2-12 now utilize GAFEs core apps to create, curate and communication as they learn. The expansion of digital resources to our Primary School, along with a new primary school technology teacher, Kerry Morosko, meant re-envisioning our curricular scope and sequence. Working with our school technology teachers and media specialists to understand how technology is used in each of our schools, we began to focus on how our technology classes can best empower teachers and students. One area where we focused on dealt with in which grades we addressed skills like keyboarding, digital citizenship, and word processing. With our younger students working more with digital tools and our older students progressing so quickly into areas like coding and multimedia creation, we have chosen to start teaching those skills at an earlier age. As our Primary and Middle school students utilize technology, we also found ourselves with an outdated high school level technology class. All of our freshmen take a Computer Apps course. While this course has historically focused on computer skills, our Media Specialist and Language Arts department have expressed concerns with students digital research abilities. To help student research skills, better prepare them for post-secondary pursuits and combat the “just Google it” mentality; our Comp Apps course will focus on digital literacy and research skills. This will expose our freshman students to resources like GALE Learning, INFOhio and

alternative search engines like Instagrok. In addition to curricular updates, our technology teachers are starting to use their 3D printers with their students. From printing QR codes to students working together to create interlocking puzzle pieces, the goal of using the 3D printers is focused on students learning programing, collaboration, and creativity. Next year our primary and middle school will be creating MakerSpace areas in their respective buildings where students will have more access to our 3D printers and other technologies. These MakerSpaces will give students more control over their learning, a place to be creative, and the chance to collaborate with other students from other grade levels. MOBILE LEARNING DEVICES Two year ago, Independence started the process of becoming a 1-to-1 district. Our second and fifth grade students received iPads to use during the school day. This year that program was expanded to include third and sixth grades. We also have mobile carts and other iPads in the district to supplement our other grade levels. While this program has had some success, there are also many curricular and management limitations associated with an iPad 1:1 implementation. This year, the Middle and High schools piloted three Asus Flip Chromebook carts. Next year, we will continue our 1-to-1 integration with our seventh, eighth, and ninth grade students utilizing Asus Flip Chromebooks. These devices run on the Chrome OS, have touchscreen capabilities and “yoga” to become a tablet with on-screen keyboard. The multitude of functionality will allow us to equip students with a “swiss army knife” mobile learning device. We will continue to support iPads and Apple Macbooks on carts for availability during special projects that require specialized software unavailable on Chromebooks.



MEETING ROOMS AVAILABLE Are you having a large meeting or retreat for your staff and need a room that can accommodate your group? Are you tired of meeting in a cafeteria or gym? Do you want to meet offsite so staff stay present and don’t disappear back to their office? Do you need an affordable solution?

Worried about contingency planning? If you are a Member district, facilities are available free of charge in the event of a disaster, local network outage, or other business disruption.

We may have a space for you!

To check the availability of a room please contact:

Connect has meeting rooms at both our East and West locations that are available for rent at reasonable rates that will fit your budget. Our facilities are open from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm with rental costs of $100 for a half day or $150 for a full day. At West, we can accommodate up to 32 people. At East, we can accommodate up to 56. See the table below for room details.

East Rooms – Diane Koski at diane.koski@ or 216-520-6900 ext. 5233 West Rooms – Linda Moore at linda.moore@ or 216-520-6900 ext. 5169

*Shared resources available at East facility for use in any East room upon request: • 1 Computer Microphone • 1 Polycom • 1 Whiteboard • 1 TV/VHS/DVD • 20 Laptops


An Update From . . .


By Deb Carroll, Lead Support Specialist, Connect

Fiscal-ly Fit As we approach another Fiscal Year End, it is important to begin to prepare. Here are some suggestions: 1. Do you have NC1 calculations that need to be applied to personnel retiring or resigning? 2. Has STRSAD been run to make sure your STRS employees are properly classified as Advance or NonAdvance and employees have been given the correct amount of service credit? 3. Has PERDET been run to start reviewing Staff reporting for FY16? 4. Has CLRATD been run to clear long-term absences from FY15? 5. Has FY16 long-term absences been calculated and added to the BIOSCN (use ABS103 as a worksheet)? 6. Has USAEMSDB, District Square Footage, Lunch Room and Transportation numbers been reviewed? 7. Have Outstanding POs been reviewed and possibly Closed/Cancelled if they will no longer be needed? 8. Have Outstanding checks been reviewed for potential notifications and additional transactions? 9. Has VALACT been run to make sure all your current accounts are valid? 10. Has OPULST been reviewed making sure the district’s OPUs and IRNs are current and accurate? 11. Has USAEMSEDT been reviewed for Civil Proceedings and current year Grant information? 12. Is the district current on Capital Asset tracking? Will there be any Capital Asset threshold changes?

Software Update The first wave of the Munis software implementers are well on their way to a Go-Live date of January 2017. Wave 1 implementers are Amherst, Fairview Park, Lakewood and Connect. Wave 1 implementers will be utilizing Financials, Payroll, HR, and Fixed Assets. A “template” of Munis settings is being prepared for future waves of implementers. Thanks to Wave 1 implementers for your time and input into paving the path for Wave 2 and beyond. As many of you may have heard, the State Software Development Team is busy working on a Redesign of State Software that will be a more modern version of the current software. The emphasis is to have all core processes in USAS and USPS fully functional on a sustainable platform. SSDT currently has a “Preview Release” available to ITCs and districts for testing and input. SSDT hopes to have a Production Release available in the fall. If you have any questions or would like further information of Financial Software, please contact our Fiscal Support Team at:

If you need assistance with any of the areas mentioned, please contact Connect’s Fiscal Team and we would be more than pleased to work with you:




TECHNOLOGY SERVICES ERATE NEWS AND DEADLINES Whether we like it or not, it is ERate time and along with that comes some changes along with deadlines. As you all have probably heard by now, USAC has extended the window to submit your Form 471. The NEW deadline is May 26, 2016 at midnight. Remember with the new portal that we are using this year, it takes a little more time to submit this form and you MUST download your contract and update your school/district information before starting the process. The closer to the deadline, the slower the system becomes, so try to start the application process and submit your form as soon as possible.

By Linda Moore, Administrative Assistant Connect

The FCC Form 486 must be certified no later than 120 days after the Service Start Date or 120 days after the date of the FCDL, whichever is later. This will inform USAC of the following: • Services for which you have applied for discounts have started and invoicing can begin • You are in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act or CIPA Remember, if you fail to file the Form 486 on time, they will move your Service Start Date and will then reduce the funds for which you were approved; the later the filing date, the greater the reduction.

Feel free to contact Connect’s technical services for more information on how Connect can help you.


DIANE KOSKI: Weather’s getting nice! Can’t wait to feed my creative side while enjoying Walkabout Tremont on the 2nd weekend of every month (Tremont’s new expanded weekend long version of the previous Tremont ArtWalks). JOHN MITCHELL: Went to Michael Symon’s new BBQ place, Mabel’s for opening day, downtown Cleveland on East 4th Street! It was so good that I had to go back for seconds five days later on Saturday. It was cool walking around downtown while we waited for the table.

LORI SLINGERLAND: I read all about the health benefits of chocolate in the Huffington Post, read the article here: http:// Now if I could only stop dreaming about the ‘Monster Bars’ at Lilly Handmade Chocolate in Tremont!

NOREEN LEHMANN: If you’ve ever struggled to find the best date for everyone you want to invite to an event, try out the free, easy-to-use, online scheduling app You provide as many potential dates/times as you like, everyone indicates their open dates, and you can quickly spot the best time for that next meeting…or party (preferred)!

STEVEN FOSTER: Notepad++ is a very handy app because it is like a better version of windows notepad, with tons of tools and customization options. SUE ENOS: I highly recommend the movie “The Notebook.” It is a beautiful love story that demonstrates true commitment through sickness and health.





By Lori Slingerland, Support Specialist, Connect

“You Say You Want a Revolution!”* Be revolutionary – make your voice heard! A gap in INFOhio’s 2016-17 budget threatens free access to BookFlix and Storia, two of INFOhio’s most popular electronic resources offered for our youngest students. These budget cuts could take effect as soon as July 1st unless you help lead the charge! How? By becoming an advocate for INFOhio! It’s important, it’s fast, and it’s easy!

the classroom, help prepare them for college, the world of work, and beyond. Let your legislators know that dollars spent for these types of resources make a difference, then provide some real life examples to back them up! The examples that come from your own experiences with students in the classroom are the ones that leave a lasting impression.

The only way to have INFOhio funding restored is with a Midyear Budget Review and this is where you come in… INFOhio needs Ohio administrators, educators, and parents to contact their state legislators and let them know that the INFOhio resources, especially Bookflix and Storia are vital to teaching and learning in Ohio schools.

Because ordinary individuals are contacting their representatives by e-mail and telephone, the movement is already gaining traction and legislators are taking notice. Don’t be left out, join the cause – let’s do our part to keep those INFOhio high-quality resources!

To help lead the charge, visit: advocate-for-infohio. Once there, easily locate your legislator(s) and then browse the talking points that allow you to personalize a message. Tell them that the INFOhio Resources save your district money, that they benefit your students in


*Lennon, John Winston and McCartney, Paul James. You say you want a revolution. “Revolution.” Love. CD. Lyrics@Sony/ ATV Music Publishing LLC. Metrolyrics, April 14, 2016. www.

Sirsi Reports Overview - April 5, 2016




STUDENT SERVICES By Marilyn Deyling, Lead Support Specialist, Connect STUDENTINFORMATION: VIEW PROFILE “I WANT TO VIEW LATEST REPORT CARD” Do you know with the latest release of the ProgressBook Suite 15.3 you can now view the official report card in StudentIformation? As long as you send your report cards (R700) out of StudentInformation or standards-based report cards out of GradeBook to the ‘Electronic File Cabinet/Vault’, you will be able to view the official report card in the ‘I want to’ dropdown, ‘View Latest Report Card’ on View Profile in StudentInformation. CALENDAR AND SCHOOL YEAR INITIALIZATION FOR 2016-2017 Reminder: If you have not done so, we need your 2016-2017 calendar so we can complete the tasks of Calendar Wizard and School Year Initialization in StudentInformation for you.


PROGRESSBOOK ROLLOVER RELEASE We will be receiving the ProgressBook Rollover release in June, 2016. We will reach out to you when we have our schedule to run this release. PROGRESSBOOK SUITE 16.0 RELEASE We will be receiving the ProgressBook Suite 16.0 release this summer. We will be installing and having training on it over the summer. Lots of new features and enhancements will be in this release! Please watch the Events page for these trainings. Wishing you a happy and safe summer. Connect Student Support Marilyn | Matt | Mike | Renee | Sue | Teri

ODE ITC TRAINING - April 5, 2016



C NNECT Connecting you with Technology

Join us! Wednesday June 15 7:05pm Lake Erie Crushers -vs- Windy City ThunderBolts

Tickets are available at our group rate for all Connect customers. Tickets are limited. While checking out, you also have the option of adding on a food voucher which includes a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink ($3.25 savings off buying everything day of game at concession stand).

ding Night: June 15 is Rea nds Heroes & Lege ories the st Travel back into roes & legends of the many he logy! of Greek Mytho

Any questions please contact Mike Kalchik at 440-934-8237 Weiner Wednesday $1 Hotdogs!



Did you enjoy the spring issue of Connect’s INFORM? We w a n t t o h e a r f ro m y o u ! * What do our peers, colleagues, and customers need to know? * What would make their jobs easier? * What would keep them informed on interesting software/technology news? For our next INFORM news magazine, we would like to include a section for: Ask Connect! If you believe you have a question that could help yourself and others, please submit it via email to and include ‘Ask Connect’ in the subject l i n e . We w i l l p u b l i s h t h e m o s t c o m m o n a n d relevant questions along with an answer from your trusted Connect staff. Please don’t be shy about submitting a question; we will ask your permission before including your name. INFORM


C NNECT Connecting you with Technology

Connect, formerly known as North Coast Council, is leading the way to a new vision for Information Technology Centers serving schools and other educational entities in Ohio. The new governing Board of Directors, the Educational Service Centers of Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina County and the Ohio Schools Council, have accepted the ownership, responsibility and liability of Connect in order to provide exemplary service to member districts.

As a true regional shared-service operation, Connect will build on the capacity of the four governing entities to expand services and respond quickly to district needs. Connect members will have greater access to a more diverse range of expertise and shared services through the partnership of these owner agencies.

There are many benefits to Connect being led by trusted service agencies such as the Educational Service Centers and Ohio Schools Council. Most importantly, Connect members will experience an increased strength and unwavering service that can reduce costs and make their information technology more effective and efficient, with the ultimate benefit of providing the greatest educational experience possible for students.

Stay Connected...


5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125

1885 Lake Avenue Elyria, OH 44035





Inform Magazine - Spring 2016  

Connect's digital magazine

Inform Magazine - Spring 2016  

Connect's digital magazine