From the monthly archives: June, 2012
We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'June, 2012'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.
As Vice President of the West Allegheny School District Board, I was personally invited to attend an important hearing regarding the Pennsylvania Public Education Fund. Several School Board Presidents and other educational experts participated in the hearing held by Senator James Brewster and chairperson Senator Lisa Boscola on June 14th, 2012 in Monroeville, PA.
As a board member I knew many districts across the Commonwealth were suffering because of cuts to education. I thought it was important to share some of the data obtained from the participating Senators.
For a 2nd consecutive year, school districts are again forced to consider cuts to instructional programs.
- Nearly 50% of school districts said that financial distress is anticipated within 3 years if state and local funding does not improve.
- Districts anticipate using three times more fund balance in 2012-13 as was used for the current year. About one-in-five districts have diminished their excess funds by 50% or more within the last two years.
- Class sizes will increase in about 60% of districts surveyed.
- Students in 58% of districts will face reduced instruction in art, music and physical education, and will have fewer elective and advanced placement course offerings.
To download the full report visit: http://www.pasbo.org/PressReleaseReportSurvey_FINAL.pdf
As a parent I was pleased to see some of our elected officials challenging Harrisburg. We share the same passion for ensuring that all students of the Commonwealth receive a robust education that will allow them to compete globally. However this will only happen if Harrisburg realizes that funding needs to change. I feel charter schools can no longer have an unfair advantage over public education. Unions must also participate in correcting some of this problem. We all need to work in unison because it is the children who always suffer the greatest due to cuts in education funding.
I appreciate Senator Boscola for chairing this meeting, Senator Brewster for inviting me and all other invitees who participated. I hope to personally contact the Senators to discuss ways that I can get involved, both personally and professionally, to institute change to education funding.
We all have regular tasks that have to run once a day, week or month. Some of those tasks even have to be done after work hours. We are all human so the chance always exists that you either forget to complete those tasks or become preoccupied with other things. Don’t you wish you had a clone that could do these tasks for you? WinBatch & WinBatch Compiler is the answer to your automation needs.
WinBatch’s slogan is “Make your Windows sit up and beg”. Automate things such as maintenance tasks, daily reporting, and an array of other tasks. With scripting and programming, you can write a WinBatch script to not only run an executable but also actually use it. For example, I have a WinBatch script that runs a daily report from our CRM (customer relationship management) for our managers. All the managers have to do is read the report in the morning (which I unfortunately can’t automate with WinBatch ☺). Additionally, our CRM has tasks built into it to help maintain the database. Unfortunately, these tasks need to be manually run when users are off the system. I was able to write a WinBatch script to log everyone out of the system to run these maintenance tasks.
So how does it all work? First, you write your WinBatch script. WinBatch comes with a course and programming book so it is easy to teach yourself the programming language. After you have written the script and tested its functionality, you then compile it into an executable using the WinBatch Compiler. From there, you can place this executable wherever you want. If you wish to have a regular maintenance task running, place the executable on a PC that never locks (I have a PC in the server room) and use Windows Task Scheduler (which is built into the OS) to start the executable. When the executable runs, sit back and watch your ghost WinBatch user keystroke its way through programs. You can also use WinBatch on a one to one basis. When I changed SQL servers, I wrote a WinBatch script to change the INI file setting and ODBC driver on my users PCs. Instead of having to go to every computer individually, I directed my users in an email and told them to “sit back, relax, and watch the show”. WinBatch has been a real time saver for me.
To learn more about WinBatch, please visit their site, www.winbatch.com
With the release of Microsoft Office 365 for Education this summer, we now have a platform that is perfectly suited for both Business and Educational sites. The primary advantage of Microsoft Office 365 over other products like Google Docs is the offering of online versions of Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps, Microsoft Sharepoint 2010, and Microsoft Lync 2010. Microsoft Sharepoint is a package that has, from its inception, been designed as a collaboration tool. These packages will allow a user to work on the same document on virtually any platform, from Smart Phone, to Tablet, to Macintosh, to PC, without ever needing to have Office installed on their system and while still keeping the fidelity of the document intact.
On the educational side, we can now offer every teacher and every student an e-mail account, online document storage, and video and audio conferencing for free with Exchange 2010 Online, Sharepoint 2010 Online, and Lync Online. We have also been looking at ways to replace paper, both at an administrative level, as well as at a teacher and student level. Microsoft Infopath can be used to build forms that can be used to replace teacher requisition forms, inventory tracking, and many other day to day uses of paper. Students can now use Microsoft Sharepoint to store their documents in the cloud, which gives them the freedom to work on their school work at home without the need for USB drives or notebooks, while still using the software they are used to with the online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Teachers can also have their own classroom site to communicate with their students as needed via surveys, forums, blogs, and wikis.
As part of our summer project schedules, we plan on implementing Microsoft Office 365 at Parkway West Career & Technology Center and at Beaver County Career & Technology Center. The BCCTC is in need of an e-mail server upgrade, and we have opted to move all faculty and students to Microsoft Office 365 to upgrade them as well as provide the students with the additional resources they need. At Parkway West, we are doing a hybrid install as we have local Microsoft Sharepoint and Exchange servers on site, however we want to provide the students cloud storage and e-mail accounts for their day to day needs.
This 8-minute video presents some of the advantages and limitations of BYOD (bring your own device) in education.