Questeq ETM E-rate Planning & Submission Services

The E-rate program has provided discounted telecommunications and information services to eligible schools and libraries since the late 1990’s. In 2014, to catch up with the rapidly changing technology landscape, the FCC issued an E-rate Modernization Order. For the first time in over a decade, the vast majority of school districts and libraries are able to take advantage of substantial discounts for wired and wireless connectivity projects.

At Questeq, Project Services provides our customers consulting services to get the most value from the E-Rate funds available to them. In addition to assisting with category one services, our team provides the initial planning and research needed to apply for category two funding. Learn about category one and category two eligible services here.

Our team performs an in-depth site visit and creates a plan for optimal wireless and wired placement within the school building. Wiring closets are also analyzed to determine wiring and equipment needs. We then provide the planning and needs assessment to our Questeq technology directors so time isn’t taken away from their daily duties. In addition, we also provide E-rate consulting and submission services so our team can manage the whole process for our districts.

There is plenty of funding available for the 2016-17 school year. The deadline has past to apply for 2015-16 but it’s not too late to start planning for 16-17 funding. Here is a typical timeline:

  • In late November, file a Form 470¹ . This is a notice that the district intends to purchase goods or services from an eligible E-rate provider.
  • Prepare and distribute a Request for Proposal (RFP). This typically includes advertising the opportunity to bid in local newspapers.
  • Budget for the district’s fair share, that is, the portion of the project not subsidized by E-rate.
  • Open bids at least 28 days after the RFP has been released.
  • Select the vendor of choice using price as the most significant evaluation criteria.
  • Negotiate a contract.
  • Obtain administration approval.
  • Obtain Board approval, usually at the February Board meeting.
  • File Form 471² , the request for funding. The deadline for this filing is usually around March 15th.

If you are a Questeq customer and would like to utilize Project Services for E-rate planning and submission please contact us today.

To learn more about E-rate and the modernization order, click here.

¹The Description of Services Requested and Certification Form is an FCC form that schools and libraries complete to request services and establish eligibility. The completed form is posted to USAC’s website for potential bidders to review, which opens the competitive bidding process for services desired that are eligible for discounts under the E-rate Program.
²The Services Ordered and Certification Form is an FCC form that schools and libraries use to report services ordered and discounts requested for those services.

Finding the Best Apps for Your Classroom

A new school year is upon us and it brings many opportunities to help your students learn in new and exciting ways. Take a look at these sites for apps that fit into your curriculum, enhance the Common Core or that support student learning goals.

Discover the best apps, games, and websites for classroom use. They also have a Common Core Explorer to find resources aligned with the Common Core.

Search for apps by theme and subject area.

Search by mobile device and learning activity.

Kathy Schrock’s Apps for Bloom’s Taxonomy:
Apps aligned with Bloom’s for Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing, Applying, Understanding & Remembering.

Also, check out these resources if you are looking for more apps or ideas on how to use them in your classroom.

50 Apps for the New School Year:

5 ways to choose and use K-5 apps, mobile devices:
This article speaks to K-5 teachers but some of the tips can be implemented in other grade levels as well.

Bing in the Classroom

Bing in the Classroom has created a way for parents, teachers and schools to earn free Surface tablets for use in the classroom. The website,, gives individuals and schools two ways to start earning credits towards Surface tablets:

  1. Get free Surface tablets in your school – You can personally sign-in with your Microsoft ID while searching with Bing to earn credits for your children’s school.
  2. Ad-free search with Bing in the Classroom – Districts can sign-up to participate in Ad-free search with Bing for their schools to also earn credits towards free Surface tablets. A district can still sign-up for Ad-free search even if they aren’t interested in earning points.

Bing in the Classroom

In addition, the site allows you to “Find your School” to see how close your school is to earning a free Surface. Lastly, Bing in the Classroom shares free lesson plans developed by teachers to help students explore the web and improve digital literacy skills.

Be sure to explore Bing in the Classroom if your school is looking for creative ways to increase the technology tools available to students.

Free Online Professional Development

Budgets are tight for most if not all K12 School Districts these days. Quite often professional learning programs are moved down the priority list for more immediate needs. Are you looking for some quality and affordable professional development for yourself, your school or your district? The K12 Online Conference might be a good (and free) option to fit your needs.

The K12 Online Conference has been providing online learning opportunities for educators since 2006. In fact, you can view and learn from all the content dating back to that first year.  Check out the 2013 conference page to find videos, materials and resources to further your professional learning and growth this school year. The “official” 2013 conference ended on November 1st but all materials and videos will be available anytime and anywhere with an Internet connection.

We also mentioned this conference last year. You can read last year’s post here.

Internet Safety Month Resources

June is Internet Safety Month. Being safe and smart while online are habits that both children and adults should develop.  Here are some resources to get you started with online safety education.

Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum

  • Common Sense Media offers this FREE Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum to help educators empower their students and their school communities to be safe, responsible, and savvy as they navigate this fast-paced digital world. The curriculum helps you comply with E-Rate’s education requirement, and it’s aligned to ISTE, AALS, and Common Core standards.

Stay Safe Online: Teach Online Safety

  • Help others learn about cyber security, cyber safety and cyber ethics with these lesson plans and classroom materials brought to you by the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America: Cyber Safe Futures

  • In partnership with Sprint, BGCA is educating young people and the adults that care for them on important media safety issues and arming parents and guardians with resources needed to have an open dialogue on tough safety topics.

Good to Know: A guide to staying safe and secure online

  • Explore quick tips and how-to’s that explain what you can do to stay safe and secure on the web. Get advice from parents at Google and family safety experts on how to help your family safely surf the web.

Google Educator Resources

  • The Digital Literacy and Citizenship section provides links to video resources including the YouTube Digital Citizenship Curriculum.