Judson ISD's Technology Services & Instructional Technology News and Information



In the timeless words of Ben Franklin …

‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Such is never more true than in the case of our students’ education. With these words in mind, Network Services has collaborated with Instructional Services to create SuccessPlanner, an online application for planning and tracking a student’s graduation and career pathway.Success Planner LogoScreen Shots: number 1, number 2, number 3

The State of Texas has several graduation plans available to students. Each plan requires a curriculum based on the student’s choice for college and career. These requirements determine the majority of a student’s high school course requests during the four years. In addition, a student may choose a career pathway from the Achieve Texas clusters. Achieve Texas is a TEA initiative based on the sixteen federally-defined Career Clusters and is the foundation for restructuring how schools arrange their instructional programs. A Career Cluster is a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities. Judson ISD Career Technology Education currently has thirty-six career pathways housed in fourteen clusters.

SuccessPlanner provides counselors with tools to map and track each student’s four year plan. A counselor meets with entering high school students to choose graduation plans and career pathways. They, along with the parent and students, track a student’s success adjusting when necessary. The system alerts counselors and parents when a student is in jeopardy of not meeting their requirements for graduation. In such cases, counselors can intervene and create a PGP that sets goals and expectations for both parent and student. This will aid the student in getting back on track for graduation.

Enhancements in the near future will include access for parents and classroom teachers to view their student’s plan and provide feedback.

by D. Walker

Guidelines for Use of Electronic Media for Staff and for Staff with Student

Guidelines In December the Board of Trustees passed an updated Local Policy DH (PDF) based on TASB recommendations, which included new sections on “Personal Use of Electronic Media” and “Use of Electronic Media with Students”.  Electronic media is broadly defined to include use of telecommunications devices and/or internet based mediums, which includes social networking sites.  This new local policy refers employees to Judson ISD Administrative Procedures which clarify the new policy.    The relevant Administrative Procedures are D36 “Use of Electronic Media with Students” and D37 “Personal Use of Electronic Media”, which are located in Eduphoria! --> FormSpace --> Documents --> Administrative Procedures. 

Administrative procedure D36 “Use of Electronic Media with Students” is a detailed procedure meant to distinguish what is appropriate and professional electronic communication between a certified/licensed employee and students.  Exceptions for pre-existing non-school relationships are written into the procedure to accommodate situation where an employee might know a student, such as through their religious organization.

Administrative procedure D37 “Use of Electronic Media with Students” is very specific to let employees know their limitations around use of electronic media as employees.  The D36 procedures are largely meant to protect both employees, the District, and the confidentiality of student information.

Please note that the procedures specify that all Judson ISD communication with students must be via an employee’s Judson ISD email account and that employees may not sign up for personal social networking sites with their Judson ISD e-mail address.

Technology Services is working on providing a District sponsored collaborative teacher and student portal that has many social networking and learning elements in it (see top of left column for more information).  We hope to have this available this Spring. 

by S. Young

I’ve Earned My X-tendas, Now What?

There are a lot of great ideas for using X-tenda in the classroom. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • At the beginning of the year, create mini Web Quests to help students learn to use key applications such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
  • Create a hotlist or bookmark educational websites that students can access to reinforce basic skills.
  • For the lower grade levels, X-tendas can be set up as part of the classroom center time.
  • Allow students who are absent on computer literacy lab days to access the curriculum in the classroom to stay caught up with the class.
  • Web Quests are fun, online activities that can be used for any subject. Create a list of questions for students to answer, then bookmark a list of websites for them to use in their search. The Scholastic web site has several great Web Quests to get you started!
  • Create on-going activities such as a never-ending story.  At the beginning of the week, type a story starter on each of the computers in your center.  As students rotate through the center, they each add a paragraph to the story. At the end of the week, spend some time reading the stories aloud.
  • Have the students create illustrations for science terms that can be posted on a bulletin board.
  • Have the students type and illustrate sentences using spelling or vocabulary words.
  • Have students draw representations of math concepts such as fractions, decimals, or percents.

One of the most important things to consider is that you give the students an opportunity to share what they've accomplished, which ultimately reinforces the concept of the computer center as a place to learn.

by B. Ahr

Sticker Shock: Prolonging the lamp life of your projectors

LCD ProjectorIt happens the very first time you have to replace a projector lamp … ” how much did you say a replacement lamp for the projector is?”   While we are very familiar with this conversation, the shock of paying $150 to $260 often comes to a blow for any campus or departments budget that has not come to expect it.  A less known fact is that the expectancy of a lamp is about 3,000 hours. Lamps can last longer if you take care of them.   Most projectors have a lamp timer giving warnings of low hours. This does not mean you have to replace the lamp, immediately, it just means you are getting close to the expected life span of the lamp.  To prolong its use, you must shut off the projector when not in use even during class time.  All too often, projectors are found projecting a computer image and no one is around to see the great display.  If you have a free standing projector, a lamp will burn out a faster if you do not allow the fan to cool down the projector first.  Do not disconnect the projector's power without first shutting down the projector to let it shut down and cool properly.   Please help in reducing the impact that projector lamps can have on your campus budgets.  Desktop Services stocks most of the classroom projector lamps; however we do require a work order and a budget code to replace the lamp (after the sticker shock settles).   

by J. Orona

Tip: Minding your own business

HackerWhile precautions are taken to ensure private information is kept private across networks, do not be a victim of email account hacking.  This can be easily accomplished with many social sites that require you to use your email address as a login.  Computer hackers are well aware that many people will use the same password for email accounts and for social sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  These sites often do not have protection built around the logins and passwords. This allows your credentials to be intercepted by network sniffers.  Don’t be fooled. Do not use the same password as you would for your email account. Change your email account passwords often and always look for the “https://” on a website before entering personal information.

by J. Orona