Technology services are provided to every aspect of the Belmont Public Schools. Our services enable the district to function efficiently and collaboratively. Ultimately, it takes a great deal of coordination and planning to ensure the successful implementation of technology. Educational technology has a unique mission in the district through which this department can be a tremendous resource to our students and staff. Listed on the left, are some of the initiatives which comprise our department and services.
On-Demand Applications are provided through a sophisticated network environment which allows for applications to be made available upon request. Instead of installing programs on every PCs, they are installed once on the network and then distributed globally. This dramatically reduces the amount of staff time required to make new services available to students and staff.
Remote Desktop Support
Remote desktop support is a technology which allows technicians to diagnose and correct many PC related problems remotely. Instead of traveling to the PC having problems, the technician can work on the issue from a central office. This saves a great deal of travel time and minimizes the disruptions to classrooms.
PC updates now occur automatically without the need for attention by a technician. Each night, the network determines which PCs require security and virus updates and applies them automatically. A report is generated detailing which PCs require additional attention. This process is a tremendous improvement over the old method where a technician would have to visit each PC in order to perform updates.
SmartBoard technology, now in 162 classrooms, enables teachers to provide a level of interaction not attainable in regular classroom settings. SmartBoards are devices which turn an ordinary lesson into an interactive one. This creates more engagement with students and provides opportunities for differentiated instruction.
Edline is a system which allows teachers to post documents, assignments, web links, and discussions and have them available to students. The advantage of Edline is that since materials are on-line, it expands learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom day and school structure.
On-line forms are becoming more prevalent in the district as we move towards using less paper and having more content available on-line. To become more efficient, we need to offer easier ways of collecting and disseminating information.
Energy Management is fast becoming an important part of our technology plan. Our program of 23 servers and over 1,000 PCs uses a lot of electricity and produces significant amounts of heat. By forcing PCs into sleep mode, we can save tens of thousands of dollars and reduce our carbon emissions.
Server Virtualization is a process by which we have taken our 32 servers and consolidated them into four physical servers. The benefit is less management, reduced electrical costs, and lower capital costs for hardware replacements.
In recent years, Assistive Technology has become an important part of supporting classroom instruction of Special Education students. Technology can be used to give students the tools they need to make gains in their classroom work. Even simple technologies, coupled with instructional changes can lead to significant achievement.
The Belmont Public Schools has embarked on a multi-year program to ensure its websites are accessible by those with disabilities. We will continue to develop our websites for greater accessibility.
In order to ensure all students are technologically proficient, benchmarks have been established at each grade level. These benchmarks articulate which technology skills a student should have at each grade. When fully implemented, it is hoped a graduation requirement in technology can be established.
Communication is an important part of any school district. In Belmont, technology is used on several levels to ensure communication within the district and with the greater community. E-mail lists at each school allow notices to be delivered electronically and in a more timely fashion. These lists send information to bother staff and parents. Additionally, an automated telephone calling system is available to deliver a voice message to every household and cell phone. Each school has a website which contains tremendous amounts of information and is used daily to communicate to parents.
Remote Access allows students and staff to access their files outside the school day. It can be used for evening work, or simply to prepare for class following a snow day. The advantage is that teaching and learning can continue outside the traditional school day. Students and staff can use remote access at: www.belmont.k12.ma.us/access/
Labs play an important role in learning. They provide the spaces needed outside the classroom for whole group instruction and individual pacing as needed. They also provide content specific learning spaces such as a language lab.
Planning and Disaster Recovery
Planning is also taking place to ensure the district has access to technology and vital records in the event of a disaster. Over the next few years, systems will be developed to allow network operations in the event of a substantial disruption in the Town of Belmont. There is also a district technology plan which details the technology program in Belmont
Technology 18 Month Plan
The school department will assume the leadership role for the management of the Town Municipal Area
Network (MAN). This will include the creation of standards (physical layer, protocol layer (IP address
schemes)), and will manage the switching, routing, V-LAN configurations and firewall for the MAN. As
new network services are proposed, (e.g. telephone, security monitoring), planning will be done in
coordination and cooperation with the Town and all appropriate departments.
Network electronics throughout the infrastructure of the Town and schools will need periodic upgrade
and expansion. Infrastructure improvements will be identified and included in technology budget
planning, and capital requests.
The Belmont Schools have begun the process of learning how to improved student outcomes by building a culture of data-driven decision making throughout the schools. This process will identify what are the key elements of success in using data to improve achievement, what are the staff development issues related to data-driven decision making, and how can data be best use by teachers in their classroom.
The Technology Office is responsible for the Belmont Public Schools Web presence. Our goal is to support the academic, administrative, and communication needs of the Belmont Public Schools. Our Web Development Specialist assists individual departments in authoring and maintaining their own web sites and develops the next generation of services for students and staff. We believe that our website has been an asset to the community and are working to continually improve the services we provide.