District Technology Leaders – Ballard County

Posted on 20. Sep, 2013 by in District Technology Leadership Webcast

Webcast for District CIOs and education technology leaders. Each month we go to a different district. This month the webcast was conducted on September 17, 2013 at the Ballard Memorial High School, Ballard County Schools.

September 2013 Webcast for District Education


Please be aware that Web Page or Document links MAY NOTbe active or usable due to the amount of time since the creation of the document.  That includes internal as well as external links due to the migration of the KDE website two years ago.  Please feel free to use the search function at the new KDE webpage to search for any relevant documents.


Below is a complete written summary and digital copy (audio and video) of the September 20, 2013 webcast for District CIOs and Education Technology Leaders.  This month the webcast was conducted from Ballard County and Ballard Memorial High School.


You can get to both the Video and Audio links for this webcast through our webpage at:



The webcast is approximately 1:42 minutes.   The numbers in red below indicate the time stamp for discussion on the audio and video segment of the broadcast.




00:15  Introductions and district information:  From KDE we have David Couch, Phil Coleman Mike Leadingham, Chuck Austin, DeDe Conner, Maritta Horne, via Lync, Frank Wells, and the KETS Engineer for Region 1 – Jody Rose.


David reminded theaudience that the can participate further by sending questions and answer polls using the using the GoSoapBox platform.


GoSoapBox session with the questions, discussions, and polls for this webcast can be found at:


From Ballard County we will have Superintendent Casey Allen joining us via Lync, we also have Reta Renfrow – the DTC at for the district and Ballard Memorial High School Principal David Meinschein.


Ballard County is about 5 hours away from the central part of the state.  The Wikipedia entry can be found at:,_Kentucky


The district website can be seen from:


Mr. Allen wanted the audience to know that using Lync and other technologies has been helpful in bringing people together for meetings.


Ballard is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.  The district has approximately 1300 students in four schools on one campus.  It an agrarian community in the middle of the Mississippi Flyway.


About 7 years ago the district built a state-of-the-art Middle and High School.  They had Smart boards in every classroom, wireless, and a low student to computer ratio were used in the district.


However, even with the then best of class technology their teachers and administrators struggled on how to best use those technologies the best way.


They also struggled financially to figure how to best spend technology monies.  Did you want to upgrade facilities completely or maintaining the building that was or piecemeal as funds became available?  Site-based council sometimes had to pick some of those costs.  As technology grew the district IT personnel gets pulled in different directions.


The future is dependent on funding, the more you have, the more it costs to maintain those technologies.


A good example of how technology helps educate district students.  Since there are no local colleges or universities and the district does not have the monies to bus students to regional school – they are able to use technology to help meet those needs.


Principal David Meinschein was a former army officer with a technology background and stated that things move at a different speed than his previous careers – slower, as there are fewer resources.


Rita has been in education technology for 17 years – starting as a Technology Resource Teacher with the district.  With her experience she has learned how to get the most out of technology and be able to maintain that edge, but it is still hard and a constant struggle with limited resources.


Jody noted that technology changes quite rapidly – a quick example are laptop carts and wireless access has changed quite a bit.


14:54  Notes of a recent Superintendent Webcast:  David noted that recently they polled superintendents regarding priorities for spending.


One of the questions – #9 Which one of the following is of the most concern to you if the district’s staff, teachers and students could not have the item readily available without sufficient high-speed Internet access?


A:  On-line assessment   – 15 votes or 24%

  1. On-line instructional content, tools, courses and research – 43 votes or 68%
  2. Communication and Collaboration Tools – 1 vote or 2%
  3. Online Professional Development – 1 vote or 2%
  4. Online Operational Administration (finances, Student Management, etc.) – 3 votes or 5%


David reviews this poll question – he was surprised that the Administration question did not get more votes.  These responses will be used for the upcoming legislative session.


#10  Which of the following should be the top technology infrastructure-related funding priority during the next major legislative session?


  1. Implementation of the national recommendation of 100 kbps per student of Internet bandwidth – 8 votes or 13%


  1. Replacement of aging computers for students, teachers, and staff with more mobile end-user devices – 50 votes or 78%


  1. Implementation of a dense wireless environment within the school buildings – 5 votes or 8%


  1. Implementation of Internet content management and caching systems – 0 votes and 0%


  1. Other – 1 vote and 2%


Overall the replacement of the end devices is the one getting the most votes.


18:40  Use of off-site technologies to interact:  David mentioned the use of GOSOAPBOX to have survey questions as well as using Lync to facilitate meetings.  Even with such tools there will still be a need to meet face-to-face such as the recent Superintendent Summit held in Frankfort.  The goals of this meeting were:


  1. Finance
  2. Professional Growth and Effectiveness system
  3. Accountability


Some results included:

  • Want to meet face-to-face at least once a year
  • Time to interact with each other


On a similar note David wanted those participating wanted to know if CIO-DTCs would like to meet face-to-face as well.  Once a year?  Twice a year?  When?  Where?  Let your KEs know and they will be asking within their region.


25:44  Current Activities:  David noted that the Commissioner also spoke to the Superintendents on the many different things the department is doing regarding day-to-day activities and the delivery Plan.  3-5 Key priorities trying to move the department forward. College and Career Ready is a key part of the delivery plan.  David reviewed The Why, The What, and the How and what roles the department, the districts, and the students plan in bringing the goal to life.


David also stated how the money follows these goals and in particular the reduction of Education Technology from 2008 to the present for federal, state, and local funding sources.


For the 2014-16 Additional Budget Requests from the Kentucky Board of Education to the legislature we hope to get our budget baseline back to the baseline from 2008.  Technology is important along with SEEK and Flex/Focus.  The board is bundling the three as one package.


Local districts need to have conversations with their legislators and let them know why we need these budget monies and support the department in getting those monies.


37:12  Chuck made the point that one of the trending topics on Soapbox is the need to make sure that district IT staffing need to be able to have the right number of people to support these cloud/technology efforts.


Jody also noted that the ratios and other supportive data for staff needed an increase as they are supporting these technologies is there.


David stated that the number of TRTs/TISs  have decreased as federal monies went to -0- in supporting those programs.


Superintendent Allen related that operational needs increase as the technology usage increases.  As districts uses more technology to test more of their students on an increasing frequency the need for these technologies will work when needed, buses, lights, food service and technology is always there as tools needed to complete larger tasks – getting their students ready for college or a career.


46:42  David stated not only network speed but new types of cyber-attacks.  Phil followed up by saying that at the present time that those attacks have decreased mostly because of efforts by KDE and their network vendors.  The Infinite Campus (IC) web site was attacked along with two schools districts.  Working with ATT, our Firewall vendor – Checkpoint, and IC we put in additional Mitigation Services that scrubbed incoming internet traffic before it gets into our network.  These attacks were Denial of Service types that tried to overwhelm our network.


KDE’s firewall with the new KIH3 contract will have these preventive tools already built into the network.  We are also look with other vendors to be able to provide similar tools on the district level.


David also noted that higher education has taken on the responsibility to making sure that those who bring in their own devices need to be scanned to make sure they meet minimal standards for virus protection before they are allowed to access their networks.  Districts need to take another look to make sure that on their own level that they have technologies and policies in place ensuring devices coming from home have modern and up to date virus protection.


The poll numbers show 6 or 17% Do and 30 or 83% Do Not have those in place.


We are also checking with our cloud vendors to make sure they have similar defenses/tools as well.


Chuck and Jody noted that how do we protect our network as more districts have more private devices are brought into the districts is a central question that districts and KDE needs to answer.


1:05:39  Data Quality Campaign survey:  Dede related that we have made some progress/advances over past years results.  How does each state is utilizing data.  Getting information /data is getting into schools and classrooms to use date to make good decisions.


We still need to work on using data in teacher credentialing and our transparently of our data.


Dede asks the question of the audience.  What’s the best way to emphasize data quality at the district/school level?


The results are:


  • Single point of contact to coordinate data quality in district – 11 votes or 32%
  • Work directly with data stewards in district with project knowledge on data collections – 12 votes or 35%
  • Prioritize data collections with need for collection emphasized – 6 votes or 18%
  • Make data available publically or in other systems – 5 or 15%
  • Other (please define in social question area) – 0 or 0%


Dede stated that we work with many different people within the department and the districts to make data better from the start.


David plans on having a webcast with the districts for the express purpose of determining those most important “data points” and to help improve data quality.


As more of our data is pushed out to the public via KDE’s Open House site, such as the School Report Card, we need to have better data from the districts.


1:16:19  E-rate funding:  David stated that one of the reasons we need good data is help get more money for the program.  KDE will be asking for more money but there is probably not the political will to do that.


KDE opinion is on priority 1 access to bring it to the end device to the classroom.  Also to expand the number of those districts to become eligible for priority 1 services – even if it reduces the items eligible for priority 1, an example of this would be pagers.


We have also recommended that the number of years to keep the paperwork from 5 years to 3 years and to recognize price reductions without having to rebid the entire contract.


Jody mentioned that if the stated goal of the program is to make sure that there is high speed access to the Internet then they need to make changes to make sure the goal is accomplished.


1:22:15  Office 365 update:  Chuck noted that students were recently updated to Office365 and wanted to publically thank all of those who made this happen and the users for being patient as this get done.  The next step is to update the entire K-12 structure to upgrade the Office365 group to Wave15 starting October 25th.  We will begin testing, creating the District Readiness Guide and other preparations for this upgrade.  It may take up to two weeks to get everyone in the state done.  It will be a user based upgrade, not by district or any other criteria.  Wave15 will give all users some nice new collaborative tools including using Lync scheduling in the OWA web version, SharePoint based online Office tools, SkyDrive Pro and larger mailbox and storage.


Districts need to see how they want the SharePoint tools to be used in their districts and should plan now.


David asked the audience to answer the poll question, What percentage of students will adopt or use at least one feature from Office 365 )i.e. Email, Lync, SkyDrive Pro)?


  • 0-25% received 2 votes or 4%
  • 25-50% received 13 votes or 29%
  • 50-100% received 30 votes or 67%


1:29:37  Infinite Campus (IC), CIITS, School Report Card update:  Dede reviewed – free and reduced lunch information has had some refreshed as well the career and pathway data.


CIITS – we are still struggling with some of the roles for people in the districts.  When we tried to import current roles into the EDS system – things did not work as expected, so we needed to add some more roles.


There will be more assessment data and test authors incorporating audio and video files.  New tools have been added to the student tool box such as various calculators.  Please continue to make suggestions on how to do thing better.  We do listen and act on these recommendations.


Also a reminder from David that the Student Portal in IC needs to be turned on in every school in order to do the Student Voice Survey this spring.


In IC – the latest release went into production the previous weekend.  Some new reporting features now can be used.


Districts can integrate Active Directory (AD) into IC so you have only one password.  KDE will pay for that transition. However, we do need to have the student email address be the username.


E-transcripts:  Only missing 18 districts that have not signed up for the service.  The project is going well and we hope to have all High Schools to be on the system by March.


We did have some problems with ACT scores and have resolved those issues and will need to have separate templates for the different types of scores.


IC and CIITS will have some user group training in various locations around the state – check the website for locations and dates.


The next webcast will be on November 19th from Whitley County.



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