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INFORM Digital Magazine | Winter 2020

C NNECT Connecting you with Technology




Welcome to the Winter 2020 edition of “INFORM” – Connect’s digital magazine. We like to share with you in this publication all the significant projects and work underway within our organization. Here’s what we’ve been up to…. Under Julia Rozsnyai’s leadership, our new Fiscal/State Software Service Team members, Candi Lukat, Marge Rus and Tammy Kostura, are very busy learning all aspects about the calendar year end closing and reporting to the IRS, State, and Municipalities on behalf of our districts. In addition, they are working hard to print and distribute approximately 18,000 W2s and 2,000 Form 1099s. The Fiscal/ERP and Redesign Services area has been working hard on learning new programs and features of Munis and eFP to help our customers utilize their software to its full potential beyond dayto-day processing. They are also working to migrate and balance districts moving to the Redesign in wave 5 (January 2020), as well as providing software demos to


help districts decide on a new fiscal software.

conferencing and KnowBe4 to our K12 customers.

Our Library Services Team is pleased to have completed the Sirsi Workflows database for Westside Christian Academy and is excited to welcome them to our library community.

The Systems Team continues to assist districts as they migrate from their previous VMS-based fiscal packages to one of the alternative options Connect offers. In addition, staff are in the process of deploying new hardware to provide additional performance and reliability in our infrastructure.

The Managed Services Team finished up its back-to-school integrations and installations and completed new building construction projects that were in progress over the summer. Currently, they are providing assistance in relation to the eRate ‘season.’ On the Student Services Team, Matt, Mike, and Heidi are working with ESC staff and PowerSchool to implement Performance Matters data analytics for Avon Local Schools and Olmsted Falls City Schools. Other districts have shown interest in Performance Matters, which can be utilized by both PowerSchool and ProgressBook districts. Within our Technology Networking service area, staff have been working with local districts to perform bandwidth upgrades, consult on network design, and perform software upgrades. Connect’s network team is also promoting the use of Zoom web

On an Organizational level, I am excited to share with you that Wickliffe City Schools will be joining Connect as a member. Connect staff members are prepared to work with the district staff to facilitate a smooth migration. Wickliffe will be our first member that utilizes the Infinite Campus student information system. As always, if you have ideas on future stories that you would like us to cover, please contact any of our Connect staff or me. - John Mitchell, Executive Director, Connect




February 12 8:30AM-3:30PM Overview of INFOhio Digital Resources Connect East-Valley View

February 12, 19, and 26 9:00AM-11:00AM Fiscal Open Lab Connect East-Valley View

March 4 8:30AM-3:30PM Library Liaison Meeting Connect East-Valley View March 10 8:30AM-3:30PM Cataloging II Connect East-Valley View April 23 8:30AM-3:30PM Database Clean-Up Connect East-Valley View April 28 8:30AM-3:30PM Open Lab Connect East-Valley View

March 4 9:00AM-10:00AM Treasurers’ Advisory Committee Connect West-Elyria (Room 114) March 4, 11, 18, and 25 9:00AM-11:00AM Fiscal Open Lab Connect East-Valley View April 15 and 29 9:00AM-11:00AM Fiscal Open Lab Connect East-Valley View

Technology February 21 1:30PM-3:30PM Connect Tech Advisory - February North Olmsted Library

Student January 22 9:00AM-12:00PM PowerScheduler Lab Connect West-Elyria March 6 9:00AM-11:00AM ODE ITC EMIS Feb/March Session SKYPE Connect East-Valley View (Room 102) March 18 1:00PM-3:00PM PowerSchool EMIS Exchange Connect West-Elyria April 15 1:00PM-3:00PM PowerSchool EMIS Exchange Connect West-Elyria April 22 1:00PM-3:00PM ODE ITC EMIS April Training (Face to Face) Connect East-Valley View (Room 102)

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



An Update From . . .

FISCAL SERVICES / STATE SOFTWARE Ohio Sunshine Laws You may be wondering why I chose the Ohio Sunshine Laws as a topic to include in this issue of INFORM. Maybe it is because after several months of cold and gray in Ohio, I think that we need a little “sunshine!” It may also be because after a career spent in the public sector I have come to appreciate the importance of understanding and referencing these laws when appropriate. The new year often brings newly elected members to your school board. That means it is a good time to refresh your knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding Ohio’s Open Records and Public Meetings acts. Here are some key reminders that I have compiled from the Ohio Attorney General’s 2019 Sunshine Laws Manual, commonly known as the Yellow Book. CLICK HERE to access the most recent version of the complete document on the Ohio Attorney General website.

What are Ohio’s Sunshine Laws? Ohio’s Public Records and Open Meetings laws, are collectively known as the “Sunshine Laws.” These laws give Ohioans access to government meetings and records. In providing transparency to government proceedings, these laws are said to “let the sunshine in.”

Who is responsible for following the Sunshine Laws? • The Auditor of State provides the statutory definition R.C. 149.011(A) of a Public Office as “any state agency, public institution, political subdivision, or other organized body, office, agency, institution, or entity established by the laws of this state for the exercise of any function of government.” This definition [also] includes all state and local government offices, and many agencies not directly operated by a political subdivision… (Coontz, et al. 2)


• Private entities can be “public offices.” If there is clear and convincing evidence that a private entity is the “functional equivalent” of a public office, that entity will be subject to the Public Records Act. … [In this case, a court decides based on] (1) whether the entity performs a governmental function; (2) the level of government funding it receives; (3) the extent of government involvement or regulation; and (4) whether the entity was created by the government… (Coontz, et al. 2) • When a public office contracts with a private entity to perform government work, the resulting records may be public records, even if they are solely in the possession of the private entity. These records are public records when three conditions are met: 1. the private entity prepared the records to perform responsibilities normally belonging to the public office; 2. the public office is able to monitor the private entity’s performance; and 3. the public office may access the records itself. (Coontz, et al. 3) • Under these circumstances, the public office is subject to requests for the public records under its jurisdiction, and the private entity itself may have become a “person responsible for public records” for purposes of the Public Records Act… A public office cannot avoid its responsibility for public records by transferring custody of records or the record-making function to a private entity. (Coontz, et al. 3) • All local and statewide elected government officials or their designees must attend a three-hour public records training program during each term of elective office that the official serves. (Coontz, et al. 69) • Often our school board members designate a district administrator such as the Superintendent or Treasurer to fulfil this requirement. Still, it is important for the designee to share the information with district staff and administrators, as they are most often custodians of public records at the district. • [Board members or their designee attend the


By Candi Lukat, Support Specialist, Fiscal Services

training] developed and certified by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and presented either by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or an approved entity with which the Attorney General’s Office contracts. Compliance with the training provision is audited by the Auditor of State in the course of a regular financial audit. (Coontz, et al. 69)

How can Connect assist a school district with understanding and executing Ohio’s Sunshine Laws? 1. Assist with accessing your financial records: Connect fiscal support staff is available to assist with running reports from State Software, as well as Redesigned State Software, Tyler Munis, and eFinancePLUS. • The legal term “records” defined in R.C. 149.011(G) includes “any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record as defined in R.C. 1306.01, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its political subdivisions, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.” (Coontz, et al. 3) • A “public record” is defined in R.C. 149.43(A)(1) as a record kept by any public office. Meaning, a record is only a public record if it is “kept by” a public office. • A public office has no duty to furnish records that are not in its possession or control. Similarly, if the office kept a record in the past, but has properly disposed of the record and no longer keeps it, then it is no longer a record of that office. (Coontz, et al. 6) • [In order] to facilitate broader access to public records, a public office … shall organize and maintain public records in a manner that allows them to be made available for inspection … in response to public records requests. The fact that the office uses an organizational system that is different from, or inconsistent with the form of

a given request does not mean that the public office has violated this duty … The Public Records Act does not require a public office or person responsible for public records to post its public records on the office’s website ... A public office is not required to create new records to respond to a public records request, even if it is only a matter of compiling information from existing records. (Coontz, et al. 10) • The request must specifically describe what the requester is seeking. • A court will not compel a public office to produce public records when the underlying request is ambiguous or overly broad … such that the public office cannot reasonably identify what public records are being requested. (Coontz, et al. 11) 2. Support your financial records management systems: Connect supports district financial, payroll, and personnel data maintained within our secure environment, and coordinates services and support with third party vendors that enhance our financial management systems. Connect provides training for employees new to your district’s financial software, and presents timely updates on the operation of all systems to ensure compliance. • Records are a crucial component of the governing process … [They must be] well managed to ensure accountability, efficiency, economy, and overall good government. (Coontz, et al. 62) • The term “records management” encompasses two distinct obligations of a public office … First, in order to facilitate broader access to public records, a public office must organize and maintain their public records so that they are available for inspection or copying in response to a public records request. (Coontz, et al. 62) • Second, Ohio’s records retention law, R.C. 149.351, prohibits unauthorized removal, destruction, mutilation, transfer, damage, or disposal of any

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record or part of a record, except as provided by law or under the rules adopted by the records commissions (i.e., pursuant to approved records retention schedules) … [In] the absence of a law or retention schedule permitting disposal of particular records, a public office lacks the required authority to dispose of records and must maintain them until proper authority to dispose of them is obtained. In the meantime, the records remain subject to public records requests. (Coontz, et al. 62) • [In] cases where public records … are properly disposed of in accordance with a duly adopted records-retention policy, there is no entitlement to those records under the Public Records Act. However, if the retention schedule does not address the particular type of record in question, the record must be kept until the schedule is properly amended to address that category of records. Also, if a public record is retained beyond its properly approved destruction date, it keeps its public record status and is subject to public records requests until it is destroyed. (Coontz, et al. 62-63)

available for school districts to conduct workshops for district staff, board members, and community members to learn about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws. Connect provides an ideal opportunity to combine resources and network with neighboring school districts who want to provide the same workshops. Did you know that the Ohio Auditor of State will provide the required three (3) hour training that all elected officials or their designees are required to attend at a location convenient for you, but you must have enough confirmed attendees? (At least 35 attendees are required.) We are looking into scheduling a session in early Spring 2020, if we have enough interest.

3. Coordinate training opportunities:

Coontz, Bridget, et al. Ohio Sunshine Laws 2019: An Open Government Resource Manual. Ohio Attorney General’s Public Records Unit, Files/Publications-Files/Publications-for-Legal/Sunshine-

Connect has two locations (Valley View and Elyria) that have training and conference rooms. These spaces are


The Ohio Department of Administrative Services’ State Records Administration can also provide records management advice and assistance to public offices, as well as provide training seminars by request. This is another opportunity for district finance staff to understand their role in managing and accessing public records. Please feel free to reach out to Connect to request this opportunity for your district.

An Update From . . .


By Sadie Fellure, Lead Support Specialist, ERP Services

What is the difference between a State Software Redesign migration and a Munis or eFinancePLUS implementation? When making the decision to convert your fiscal software, it is important to understand the differences in the packages offered and the differences in the process to implement those packages. Connect moves customers to all of the new fiscal packages: Munis, eFinancePLUS (eFP), and the State Software Redesign (Redesign), in 6-month waves starting in either January or July.

USAS/USPS Redesign

If you choose to move to the Redesign, Connect will begin migrating your data to Redesign test environments as soon as your wave begins. Then, Connect fiscal staff will spend many hours balancing the data in the Redesign (cash balances, appropriations, encumbrances, leave balances, etc), to the data in your classic USAS/USPS system. This can take anywhere from one day to several months depending on the number of discrepancies in the migrated data. Once the data is balanced, Connect will hold group trainings for Payroll staff, A/P staff, and treasurers to learn the Redesign. That is typically one day or less for each group. However, Connect will offer any additional trainings as needed prior to dual processing. At that point, it is time to start dual processing. Connect will do another migration of your data in the classic state software to your live Redesign environment and you will begin dual processing every entry in both USPS and USAS. Connect recommends dual processing for at least 2 payrolls and one month end close, which typically amounts to about a month. However, districts can dual process on both the USPS and USAS sides for as long as they need to feel comfortable with the new system. Once you feel comfortable, it’s time to go live! You can stop processing in the classic system and process solely in the Redesign. The full implementation process can take the entire 6 months of the wave or can be accomplished sooner depending on your comfort level with the software.

ERP Solutions The process to migrate to Munis or eFP starts with reviewing and converting data from state software to the new system. The data is extracted from state software in sections (chart of accounts, employee information, employee deductions, vendors, etc). Then you review the data for accuracy and modify it as needed to load into your new software. For example, the chart of accounts in Munis and eFP is slightly different than the chart of accounts in state software. Changes are made to the budget and revenue lines extracted from state software so they are compatible to load into either Munis or eFP. This process requires multiple days onsite at Connect, or possibly with our partner ITC, TCCSA, in Wooster. However, we will try to host as many days as possible from the Connect offices. Both Munis and eFP have training and testing databases that do not affect live data. Once your state software data is loaded into either system, you will be able to train in these databases as often as necessary. Connect will hold multiple days of training at the Connect offices that will cover all aspects of payroll, A/P, and treasurer functions in each system. Once you feel comfortable with your level of training you can begin dual processing. Similar to a Redesign migration, Connect recommends dual processing for at least 2 payrolls and one month end close, which typically amounts to about a month. However, districts can dual process on both the USPS and USAS sides for as long as they need to feel comfortable with the new system. Depending on the ERP wave that you are in, you will either go live on 1/1 or 7/1. There is not an option to go live sooner as there is with Redesign. Munis and eFP implementations take the entire 6 month timeframe due to the amount of data conversions and training required. If you have any questions about either process please contact the Connect ERP/Redesign team at



An Update From . . .


By Jeff Rakar, Network Security Engineer, Network Services

Four Steps to Stay Secure Making the most of technology safely and securely can seem overwhelming and confusing. However, regardless of what technology you are using or how you are using it, here are four simple steps that will help you stay secure. 1. You: First and foremost, technology alone cannot fully protect you; you are your best defense. Attackers have learned that the easiest way to get what they want is to target you rather than your computer or other devices. If they want your password, credit card, or control of your computer, they’ll attempt to trick you into giving it to them, often by creating a sense of urgency. For example, they might call you pretending to be Microsoft tech support and claim that your computer is infected, when in reality they are just cyber criminals who want you to give them access to your computer. Or perhaps they send you an email warning that your package could not be delivered and pressuring you into clicking a link to confirm your mailing address, when in reality they are tricking you into visiting a malicious website that will hack into your computer. Ultimately, the greatest defense against attackers is you. By using common sense, you can spot and stop many attacks. 2. Passphrases: Modern computing speeds have made the old, eight-character password outdated and vulnerable. When a site asks you to create a password, create a strong and unique passphrase instead. A passphrase is a type of password that uses a series of words that is easy to remember, such as bee honey bourbon rain. The longer your passphrase is, the stronger. A unique passphrase means using a different one for each device or online account. This way, if one passphrase is compromised, all of your other accounts and devices are still safe. Can’t remember all those passphrases? Use a password manager, which is a specialized program that securely stores all your passphrases in an encrypted format (and offers lots of other great features as well). Finally, enable two-step verification (also called two-factor


or multi-factor authentication). It uses your password but also adds a second step, such as entering a code sent to your smartphone or from an app that generates the code for you. Enabling two-step verification is probably the most important step you can take to protect your online accounts and it’s much easier than you may think. 3. Updating: Make sure each of your computers, mobile devices, programs, and apps is running the latest version of its software. Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in the software your devices use. When they discover vulnerabilities, they use special programs to exploit them and hack into the devices you are using. Meanwhile, the companies that created the software for these devices are hard at work fixing the vulnerabilities by releasing updates. By ensuring your computers and mobile devices install these updates promptly, you make it much harder for someone to hack you. To stay current, simply enable automatic updating whenever possible. This rule applies to almost any technology connected to a network, including internet-connected TVs, baby monitors, security cameras, home routers, gaming consoles, and even your car. 4. Backups and recovery: No matter how careful you are, you still may be hacked. If that is the case, often the only way to restore all of your personal information is from backup. Make sure you make regular backups of any important information and verify that you can restore your data from them. Most operating systems and mobile devices support automatic backups, either to external drives or to the cloud.

An Update From . . .

SYSTEM SERVICES Benefits of Centralized Endpoint Management In today’s technological climate, school districts are faced with technological security and privacy concerns every day. Having a comprehensive, detailed view of your endpoints could allow you to take control over those concerns and act if necessary. Having a centralized management system for the endpoints that utilize network and system resources provides many advantages and makes it easier on the IT manager in the following ways, as detailed in the Interfocus article ‘Top Five Benefits of Unified Endpoint Management and Security.’ We have condensed and edited four of those five points here: 1. Visibility. View every network endpoint and identify the applications (and potentially unwanted programs) that exist on each–all from within one system. Comprehensive dashboards provide realtime information that shows where a threat came

By Ricky Bouyer, Network and Systems Analyst

from, what the threat looks like, and where it went.* 2. Centralized system logging. Detailed logs provide visibility into where an incident occurred on their network. By providing instant visibility into the occurrence, changes can be immediately implemented.* 3. Proper alerting. Dashboards provide real-time notification of suspicious behaviors or policy violations.* 4. Malware protection. Take corrective action against malware, ransomware and other threats, both external and internal. Analyze malware’s digital footprint to fully understand and effectively defend against identified threats.* * Interfocus. “Top 5 Benefits of Unified Endpoint Management and Security.” Interfocus, 12 Jan. 2017, https://interfocus. us/blog/2017/01/12/top-5-benefits-unified-endpointmanagement-security/.

An Update From . . .


By Gary White, Director, Managed Services

Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 End of Life Coming Soon With the end of life date looming for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, now is the time to evaluate how many of these older systems are still running in your environment. Once these systems are identified, a plan needs to be put in place to mitigate their risk. When Microsoft stops releasing updates for these two operating systems, it will not be too long before these systems are targeted and eventually exploited. Many software vendors will also stop supporting their applications on end of life systems which could be critical to an organization if this occurs on a primary line of business application. So what does this all really mean? It means that now is the time to migrate away from these systems if that has not already happened. The longer an organization continues to use these older systems, the more risk and liability it incurs which equates to more money needing to be spent in the end. Email with any questions you may have. We are here to help!



An Update From . . .


By Joshua Pease, Support Specialist, Library Services

How to Gather ISearch Usage Statistics for your Library If you are interested in collecting the total number of users, page views, or sessions for your library’s ISearch, you now can by taking advantage of INFOhio’s ISearch Use Data Dashboard. From the Data Dashboard, you can query the ISearch usage data for all of the instances of ISearch associated with your district by utilizing Google Analytics. The data will be current through yesterday and can be generated at https://datastudio. . In order to collect the ISearch data, you will need to know the instance of your ISearch. To identify the instance, refer to the URL for your ISearch and take the small string of text that appears after To retrieve the usage data for instances associated with your district, you would need ncc_xxx. The string before the second underscore indicates the ITC association


and the string after the underscore indicates the district association. To retrieve usage data for a single building in your district, and not all district wide instances, you would need ncc_xxx_abc. After the third underscore, the string that appears indicates a specific library association. You can find a your ISearch link by visiting the Library HelpDocs page on Connect’s site at http:// > OPAC Section > ISearch URLS for Connect. For step-bystep instructions on how to generate the ISearch Usage Statistics for your library, please select the link for ISearch Usage Statistics under that same section.



An Update From . . .


By Matt Zenobi, Lead Support Specialist & Systems Analyst, Student Services

Medical absences exempt from HB410 excessive absence triggers This school year, HB166 introduced a measure that allows medically-excused absences from not counting against a student’s HB410 excessive absence hours threshold. Many have inquired as to what constitutes a valid medical excuse. District policy should dictate what is considered an excused absence for medical reasons, as there is no official definition from ODE or state legislature defining valid medical situations for absence. For EMIS reporting purposes, these medicallyexcused absence hours are still being reported - they simply don’t count against the threshold triggers under HB410 reporting. Below are examples of absence codes configured in both ProgressBook and PowerSchool for use when district-defined medically-excused absence situations occur. Please contact Connect student support for questions and concerns. ProgressBook StudentInformation example of a medical absence type:

PowerSchool SIS example of a medical attendance code:


Proper Extra Credit Usage in Gradebooks From time to time, our staff receives helpdesk tickets regarding questionable gradebook calculations when extra credit assignments are involved. In most situations, grading extra credit assignments is straightforward. In addition to seeing assignments worth 0 points or seeing a graded assignment score exceeding 100%, teachers have a variety of ways to indicate an assignment includes an extra credit opportunity. One could simply include “extra credit” somewhere in the name of the assignment, or enter a score comment indicating extra credit was earned on a student’s assignment. Teachers could elect to have an assignment type or category dedicated to extra credit in addition to their academic assignment categories (e.g. Quiz, Project, Formative Assessment). Having a category for just extra credit assignments works best in a straight averaging or total points-based term averaging method. Complications may arise when gradebooks are averaging a term based on assignment types or category weighting. Consider a classroom using weighting where 50% of the term average is based on scored tests, 30% on projects, and 20% on homework. Suppose a teacher creates a homework assignment and a student earns 15/10 points including extra credit, making their current homework average 150%. Twentypercent of the student’s overall term average will be based on that 150% earned on homework assignments if graded assignments exist in the tests and projects categories. As more homework is graded throughout the term, this 150% homework average will change and so will the overall class average. If this lone homework assignment was instead a stand-

alone extra credit assignment worth 0 points and the student earned 15 points on it, the homework average at that point would be 15/0, or invalid. The overall class average would also display unexpected results, or no average at all, as the gradebook would not be able to weight the homework average into the overall class average. We find this division-by-zero issue often at the beginning of a term, especially at the beginning of the school year where teachers offer extra credit assignments to students which represent the only graded assignments. Some common examples we see are extra credit assignments for having required supplies or getting a syllabus signed by a parent. Using a 0-point homework assignment for extra credit while weighting the homework assignment type category is okay to do. Just know an average will not be produced for that homework assignment category until at least one other assignment for points is graded for the student in that assignment category. If this same student scored a 6/25 on the next homework assignment their homework average would generate successfully based on 21/25 points. That 84% homework average would calculate into the overall class average as well. While it’s possible to successfully use an extra credit assignment type in a weighted average class and include that extra credit category in your weighting scheme, we don’t recommend it and discourage it in our training sessions. It can be complicated to manage and difficult to explain to students and parents. It is best practice to add extra points to your existing assignments in your academic assignment type categories, like with the homework assignment graded 15/10 in the previous example. Suppose we had an extra credit assignment type and used it in our weighting scheme where the overall term average is based on 50% tests, 30% projects, 15%

homework, and 5% extra credit. Right away this looks a bit odd and it’s something we still see in teacher gradebooks once in a while. How can 5% of a student’s final grade be based on their extra credit assignment performance? Is it really extra credit at that point? The next question is what point values would we use on these assignments and how do we properly grade them? If they are to count in the average, they cannot be 0-point assignments. Would a teacher grade these up to 100% or above 100% since they are extra credit assignments? Those scores will drive the category’s average, which is important as it represents 5% of the student’s final grade. If you were to offer partial credit for any of these extra credit assignments, say 5/10 points, this will likely drop the student’s average despite being an extra credit assignment! If the teacher still wanted to track that attempt, they should exclude the assignment from the student’s average. Students who did not attempt or earn any extra credit on these assignments in a term would have a scaled weighting scheme. Since the extra credit average counting as 5% in the final average does not apply for them, assuming the other assignment types were graded in the term for at least one assignment, the weighting would calculate as 52.6% tests, 31.6% projects, and 15.8% homework. Note, this scaling occurs anytime we don’t use one or more assignment type categories included in the weighted averaging method, and is not specific to extra credit assignment type categories. If our class used the scheme in our first example (50% tests, 30% projects, 20% homework) we could still elect to use a dedicated extra credit assignment category but it would not count in our final average calculation. For some this may be an appropriate method to organize and track extra credit assignments and scores in your weighted gradebook, particularly for stand-alone extra credit assignments. Perhaps at the end of the term a teacher could refer to those assignments and manually override a student’s calculated average to bump them half a letter grade if they submitted sufficient extra credit.



An Update From . . .

STUDENT SERVICES continued Reminders You will need to submit your 2020-2021 school calendars to Connect in order for us to complete your school year initializations in ProgressBook StudentInformation and PowerSchool/PowerScheduler for next year. Both are required in order to begin the student scheduling process in 2020-2021. You will also need this performed in order to register new students into next school year. We will need a calendar outlining your term start and end dates, as well as any non-attending days on your calendar. We initialize future school years by building-level, so please provide each building calendar if your buildings don’t use the same district-wide term types, term dates, or non-attending days. If your school does not yet have an officially approved calendar for 2020-2021 and you must begin the scheduling process, we can use alternate dates and change them later if necessary. Check our events scheduler for scheduled trainings and labs this semester or contact us to schedule lab time with one of our student support staff members. Please submit your requests for initialization with your calendars to




Gary White is the Director, Managed Services for Connect.

I joined Connect over six years ago. Being a part of such an excellent team has given me a sense of purpose I had not experienced before. Our programs and services are directly impacting the lives of all the students supported in our area. Contributing to our fantastic organization to deliver these services is such a blessing. I appreciate the opportunity to be of service and I look forward to many more years of watching our students grow! - Gary White

Gary’s experience in managed technology support has brought a focus on customer service as well as new tools to support Connect and our customers. -John Mitchell, Executive Director, Connect

Gary received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Baldwin Wallace University. He excels in helping schools plan, design, and manage everything that relates to their computing environment. Gary has deployed projects ranging from remote backups, cloud migrations, Chromebook deployments, mobile device management, server migrations, wireless infrastructure installations, to server installations. With his vast experience, he has the expertise to be your trusted advisor. Prior to working at Connect, Gary began his professional career working for a local managed services company where he became the Manager of Technical Services. He served a vast array of professions ranging from education, finance organizations, law firms, medical firms and manufacturing firms for over 20 years. Gary enjoys learning about new technology and was recently approved to be a member of Infragard. InfraGard is a non-profit organization serving as a public-private partnership between U.S. businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

You can reach Gary at: Phone: 216-520-6900 x5245 Email: Address: 5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125



ASK CONNECT Questions & Answers


What are some of the changes on the 2020 Form W4?


Taken directly from: • Why redesign Form W-4? The new design reduces the form’s complexity and increases the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. While it uses the same underlying information as the old design, it replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees. • What happened to withholding allowances? Allowances are no longer used for the redesigned Form W-4 to increase transparency, simplicity, and accuracy. In the past, the value of a withholding allowance was tied to the amount of the personal exemption. Due to changes in law, currently you cannot claim personal exemptions or dependency exemptions. • Are all employees required to submit a new Form W-4? No. Employees who have submitted Form W-4 in any year before 2020 are not required to submit a new form merely because of the redesign. Employers will continue to compute withholding based on the information from the employee’s most recently submitted Form W-4.


Is there an easy way within Munis to get a good global picture of my financials that allows me to drill down into the data (unlike a report)?


There is a program in Munis called Financial Command Center. In this program, you have access to Account Central, Expenditure Central, Capital Asset Central, and Month End Manager all in one and have the ability to bounce back and forth between these programs in just one tab.


Help! How can I locate Professional Development opportunities for my district staff?


Look no further than INFOhio Campus! Your staff will find a collection of classes within the INFOhio Campus which provides professional development opportunities designed to help integrate INFOhio digital content and webtools into teaching. Easy and flexible, INFOhio Campus is literally at your fingertips, visit the INFOhio website at: https:// for further details.



What is ransomware and why should I care about this?


Ransomware is malicious software designed to deny access to the files on your computer by encryption until you pay a ransom. You catch these nasty bugs by open emails that were sent to you via a phishing attempt or by accidentally clicking on websites. Paying the ransom

is always an option and so is hoping there is a free tool to decrypt them, though these are not answers we recommend. Instead, we recommend having a robust and validated backup strategy in place. This not only saves you time and money, but also helps to stop the spread of these attacks as they no longer will be money generators for the bad guys. A good backup strategy involves having local and offsite backups and different layers of backups. For help with your backup strategy, feel free to reach out to


On my staff EMIS report I have fatal errors for multiple student course records. How can I find and correct these errors in PowerSchool?


This error may occur when a student is enrolled in the same section more than once with overlapping enrollment dates. Note the student you see in your fatal errors and check their All Enrollments link in PowerSchool. At the bottom of the page you’ll see a link to cleanup overlapping enrollments. There you can select which record to keep for each duplicated class and you can merge multiple section enrollment records into one, removing the duplicates. Check the valid records you want to keep, click Next Step, select ‘Check to confirm’ boxes on the affected classes, and click submit. If you need assistance with complicated overlapping enrollments, or don’t see overlapping enrollments for the student, give us a call and we can assist.


I’m trying to import a PSAT test result file into ProgressBook StudentInformation. I’ve tried csv and txt file versions of the results from the College Board but I’m getting an error: File contains corrupted data.


Unlike other test result files loaded into SI, the PSAT import file format should be Excel. Import the xlsx version of your PSAT results. Contact us if you still have issues with this or any assessment imports.





I need an SFTP server to store some data, is that something Connect can help with?


Yes, Connect members are able to utilize Connect’s SFTP server at Just contact tech-support@ for more information regarding this service.

How do I receive the special pricing for Zoom?


Email tech-support@ohconnect with the number of requested licenses and they will work with you to provide a quote.



Build a Better Question The questions below are intended as a guide to help customers identify the types of symptoms to provide to Connect so that we can properly diagnose and quickly resolve your problem. This is not a comprehensive list and customers do not need to supply all of this information when reporting an issue.

Define the issue in detail WHAT isn't working?

HOW isn't it working?

What software/application are you working in? What program/module within the above application? What were you trying to accomplish?

How is the outcome different from what was expected? Are you getting an error message? Is there no error message, but the process doesn’t appear to be completing successfully?

What are the SPECIFICS?

What are your EXPECTATIONS?

Provide specific examples, including applicable screen shots. Provide any steps you took and indicate if the issue can be replicated consistently using those steps.

Outside of answering the question or addressing the issue, is there something specific you need us to do? If there is a specific action you do or do not want Connect to take, communicate that clearly.

Identify the scope and frequency Is the problem isolated to a specific function or functions? Does the problem occur every time you attempt that function? Or, is the problem intermittent? If so, can you identify any kind of pattern as to when it occurs?

Have you had this problem before? If so, when and under what circumstance? Have you ever been able to do what you are trying to do? (In other words, was the process/function previously working for you or is this something you have not ever tried before?)

Identify the extent Is the problem occurring on/for: one computer/individual only? all computers/all individuals at one building? all computers/all individuals at the district? only individuals with [this type] of software access/permission?

How is this problem having an impact upon: you? your team/department? your students? your extended educational community?

Other information Other information helpful for troubleshooting or self-diagnosis: Are there any local network issues at the district that might be contributing to the issue? If the function worked previously, did anything change recently that might have had an effect? (Any changes to your system, device, network, or user account?) If the solution is web-based, does it work in one browser but not another? Have you tried a different computer? Have you tried to close out of the program and log back in to see if that resolves the issue? Have you tried to shut down your device and then restart to see if that resolves the issue?

See examples on next page.





Burntwood Tavern at 504 East Washington Street, just outside of the Village of Chagrin Falls, is a great local restaurant that offers a cozy rustic tavern feel. They serve great salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads, but you absolutely must try the Tavern Tater Tots appetizer!


If you are looking for a sweet treat, you simply HAVE to stop by this gem of a bakery, Sweetly Shoibhan Bakery and More, at 5524 Turney Road in Garfield Heights. It is run by a former Garfield Heights HS graduate, Shoibhan Leath, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh. I have yet to taste anything that wasn’t absolutely delectable...and I have very high standards for bakery! She also offers a variety of beverages like bubble tea and iced coffee. The prices are very reasonable given the quality and it is always important to support our small, local businesses. Check out their Facebook page at: @sweetlyshoiban



Looking for a sweet winter excursion? Support a local book seller, The Learned Owl Book Shop, in Hudson, Ohio. Participate in one of their upcoming events, join a book club, or select a good book (or two) to curl up with on those cozy, snowy weekends. Once you finish perusing the bookstore, walk down the street for a warm cup of coffee at the independent Open Door Coffee Company coffee shop. Along with many other local restaurants and shops, Hudson is a charming destination right here in the neighborhood. • The Learned Owl Book Shop, 204 N. Main Street, Hudson, OH, 44236 • Open Door Coffee Company, 164 North Main Street, Hudson, OH 44236


Back to the Wild is a great place to take your students (or anyone!) for a field trip. Here they can learn how to protect the environment and learn how injured animals are brought back to the wilderness. https://www. photo by Jon Axe


The Butcher’s Pantry is located at 33475 Station St. in Solon. A great place to stop in for lunch if you’re ever in the area. The Smash Burger in particular is a personal favorite, and one my favorite burgers from anywhere in the greater Cleveland area. Not only is the dine-in menu delicious, but they also offer a great selection of locally and sustainably sourced meat to take home in various cuts, that is free of preservatives, hormones, and antibiotics. Friendly staff and great food, you can’t go wrong at The Butcher’s Pantry.

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



Follow us on social media! @ConnectOH



A Strong Alliance to Serve our Members ESC of Northeast Ohio Providing support and leadership that enables local schools, ESC of Lorain County agencies, governments, and communities to achieve their ESC of Medina County objectives through innovative and cost-effective Ohio Schools Council shared technology solutions. Connect There is no wrong door Increased strength • Unwavering service to enter when you need Reduced costs • Effective & Efficient Information service! Technology • Greatest educational experience possible for your students



A Strong Alliance to Serve our Members ESC of Northeast Ohio ESC of Lorain County ESC of Medina County Ohio Schools Council

There is no wrong door to enter when you need service! 5700 West Canal Road Valley View, OH 44125 216.520.6900 1885 Lake Avenue Elyria, OH 44035 440.324.3185


C NNECT Connecting you with Technology

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Connect INFORM Digital Magazine - Winter 2020  

"INFORM" is the digital magazine of Connect.

Connect INFORM Digital Magazine - Winter 2020  

"INFORM" is the digital magazine of Connect.

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