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Weekly Update, July 7, 2016

Dear Grinnell Newburg Board of Education,

This week's update will help you to prepare for the next Board meeting.   Typically, I will provide you the agenda items just prior to the release of the packet in order to give you  enough time to ask questions.    Please let me know if you are planning to attend the July 13 meeting so that we can ensure that we have a quorum. 

July 13 Board meeting items:  The recommended items for this Board meeting are as follows: 
  • Approve Unite Private Networks (UPN) Contract.  
    • As you may be aware, UPN has started to do work in the district.  This contract was signed by the previous superintendent.   Following our attorney review, the original contract is not binding.  All contracts are made official through Board action and signature of the Board President and or Secretary.  Therefore, I am bringing the contract forward for the Board to officially approve.   Please know that the connection however has been already completed and we are in the testing phase.    Further, after investigating, the purpose of this connection is to ensure faster service with more capacity to support our devices. This connection is coming in to the high school.  We will still need Mediacom service between buildings.    Phase two of the project will have to be decided later in the year.  Phase two is for all of our sites to connect between each other and out to the world wide web. I believe that Fiber will have to be installed.  This is on hold until I can gather further information, cost estimates, rational, etc....  The idea was to support larger band width and speed to support the number of devices in the district.    Amy and Bill will be able to assist us with answering specific questions. We will be sure to prepare the Board with information early on in the process to see if this is a direction that we need to take for the district.   I will keep you posted on phase two.    
  • Approve Phase III Bailey Park and Fairview switches upgrade
    • Lisa and I met with IPathways to gain an understanding of the networking switches that we need in order to support our two primary schools.   You will be asked to approve the switches needed for operation.    
  • Approve loan from General Fund to Nutrition Fund: We are short in this fund and something we had to do last year. 
  • Title I Parent Policy and Compact:  
    • This is a requirement for title school.
  • Iowa Valley Contracted Service Agreement:
    • This will be the first time we ask the board  to approve course agreements with Iowa Valley before schools starts.  I met with the Dean of the College in order to complete this early on. 
  • Approve Casper Renewal:
    • This is the license renewal in order to upload software and maintain all devices.   I learned that we are three months behind.  Amy has been working with our vendor to get the best deal and quote per machine. 
Board Discussion regarding IBoss/Proxy:
We would like to engage the board in a discussion about iBoss proxy/non-proxy proxy services for filters off site:  Here is the summary ahead of time to assist you with our need to discuss this with the Board. 
 
Filter Summary
After the updates to 10.11.+, there is no longer a client from IBoss that does not use proxy. The client was a quick way for the computer to check for whether it had permission to go to whatever site. The current way that IBoss operates is for all Internet traffic to be routed through a proxy to be filtered. That proxy sends all Grinnell filtered computers' Internet traffic from offsite to onsite at GNCSD then back to the computer with that permission/non-permission.
 
For the amount of devices the District has, users will notice slow speeds. Internet speed at the school will also decrease, probably dramatically. The District does have 2 IBoss appliances, therefore, it could round robin the proxy so that devices choose whichever IBoss is quickest. It should be faster than just one appliance but slower than the client for 10.9.5.
 
Securly.com is another possible avenue for quicker filtering offsite. We are currently reaching out to them to get a quote.
The other option is to not offsite filter. That would mean a change in policy. Erate would still be satisfied since we would filter on site, but not all parents are happy with no filter offsite.  Therefore we would like to discuss options and philosophy with the Board to provide direction.   Remember we should be teaching digital citizenship with all students, however we would like some guidance here on which direction to take based upon the needs of our families.  

Score Boards: 
We may be prepared to have a recommendation for the score boards as emailed in a previous weekly update.  Chris believes that the Boosters will be able to pick up $10,000 to support the project.  They do not meet in July so it has been tough to secure confirmation.   I will keep you posted on this.

Discussion on IASB priorities will also be conducted at this meeting.  You will have an attachment with those priorities on your agenda.  

Other weekly items:  I finalized my 90 day strategy plan after comments from the Board.   Thank you for feedback.  The press wants to see it.   Please let me know if you have any concerns about me making this public.   I think it will be great for the community to see what I am working on.   I would like to send it to the media over the weekend.   I have been meeting with principals, assisting with problem solving Infinite campus, working with the AEA on a mediation concern regarding a student, and planning the admin retreat.   It has been a busy week.  

Please feel free to call me with questions.

Sincerely,

Janet 
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Janet M. Stutz
Superintendent
Grinnell-Newburg Schools