Smart Schools Investment Plan

  • Smart Schools Investment Plan
     

    The Smart Schools Bond Act was passed in the 2014-15 Enacted Budget and approved by the voters in a statewide referendum held during the 2014 General Election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) authorized the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for students throughout the State. The SSBA requires that a Review Board review and approve districts’ Smart Schools Investment Plans before any funds may be made available for the program.

     
    Geneseo Central School qualifies for $626,846 from the Smart Schools Bond Act.  This funding can be used for instructional technology and school safety upgrades.  The first step in applying for this funding was to submit our Instructional Technology Plan to New York State for review.  The plan that was submitted in September of 2015 can be viewed here.  The plan was approved on September 18, 2015 by Kathleen Moorhead, who is the Executive Director of Educational Technology for our State Education Department.
     
    All projects that will be funded using Smart Schools funds need to be approved by the State Education Department.  If approved, all projects will be fully reimbursable, but districts need to spend the money upfront before being reimbursed.  Here are some of the projects that our school is considering using the Smart Schools funding for:
    1. Upgrade of our security camera system - Our current camera system is not IP based, so the quality of footage is limited and we can no longer add new cameras to our current system.  There are some high profile areas both inside and outside the building that are not covered by cameras.  A new IP camera system would allow for an easier and more efficient way to add new cameras to our network as well as replace cameras that are no longer working.
    2. Upgrade of our phone system - Our phone network is a blend of IP phones and analog phones.  While the offices have the more modern IP phones, classrooms still have analog phones.  A replacement plan of the front end of our phone system would allow us to start transitioning classrooms over to IP phones, which are a much more reliable and dependable phone network.  The current font end to the system that runs our classroom phones is no longer supported by the manufacturer and needs to be replaced.
    3. Replacement of computers in general purpose labs - We currently have three general purpose computer labs (one each in the elementary, middle, and high school) that are used extensively throughout the day.  The computers are six years old and take a long time for startup and login.  The plan would be to replace all of these computer labs and then cycling the computers that are currently in the labs back out into the classrooms as needed to replace student workstations that are outdated.
    4. Upgrading the projection and audio in classrooms - While most classrooms have digital projectors mounted, many are becoming dim or will vibrate as they are attached to the ceiling.  Newer short throw projectors can be mounted to the walls and are much brighter and do not vibrate.  Similarly, most classrooms have computer speakers attached to the computer.  So many classrooms are using video clips, these speakers do not project well for an entire classroom to hear well.  Our plan is to upgrade the audio in classrooms so the quality of the video clips will be better for the entire class to hear more effectively.
    5. Increasing the amount of portable technology available for classroom use - We currently have four carts of 12 Chromebooks in each media center that are available for teachers to sign out and bring to their classrooms.  They are used consistently throughout the day K-12 as more teachers are seeing the benefits of connecting our students Google accounts in what they are teaching in their classrooms.  Similarly, our primary teachers have several grade level iPads that are shared among them for learning stations in the classroom.  Our plan is to increase the number of these portable devices that are available for our classrooms.  We would pilot several grade level classroom sets of Chromebooks as well as increase the number of iPads that our primary teachers have available to them.
    6. Upgrade of our wireless network - We currently have approximately 60 wireless access points that are managed by a network controller.  We have three different networks available - one for district owned devices, one for staff that bring in their own devices, and a guest network for our students and visitors to the building.  All of the networks are filtered by a system to restrict access to objectionable content.  With the increase of the number of devices that are being added to the network and with the technology of wireless networks advancing, we would like to include in our investment plan an upgrade to this equipment.
    There will also be the ability for individual teachers to apply for specific technology that could enhance their classrooms, including document cameras, graphing calculators, scientific probes and MIDI keyboards.  Additionally, we would like to start budgeting for a replacement plan for the existing technology in the school, so when the Smart School funds are no longer available, there is a process in place to replace and improve the technology.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Technology Coordinator John Holt at johnholt@geneseocsd.org or (585)243-3450 ext 1047.  Thank you very much for your feedback and support of our technology initiatives at Geneseo Central School.

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