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Technology Tools Spotlight - Communicate with Students, Families, and Staff

The IT Department supports technology to enable communication with students, families, and staff. These include email, calendar, and collaboration tools; video and media tools; and web development and hosting tools.

The District automatically maintains email groups for all staff at each school and center as well as the entire district (six domain groups). School administrators and district administrators are able to communicate by email with all appropriate staff through these groups. 

SchoolMessenger contains contacts for all staff and families (note charter and contracted programs must purchase SchoolMessenger). The Superintendent’s office and school administrators are able to use SchoolMessenger to send phone calls, texts, and emails to staff and families. Many teachers use the free, unmanaged version of Remind to text families and students on an opt in basis. 

The District maintains School Loop for website content management for all schools and district departments (note charter and contracted programs must purchase School Loop). Each school and district department has a web manager responsible for posting content. The IT Department is able to update any school or district department website on a case by case basis. Each school must now display a news feed on the website for the school. The news feed may be used to publish school news. The news feed will be used to publish important information from the District for all school locations or specific school locations. District-wide posts must be approved by the Superintendent’s Office or the Director of Information Technology.

The District maintains Facebook Pages for schools and district departments upon request. Each school and district department has staff responsible for posting content. The IT Department is able to update any school or district department Facebook Page on a case by case basis. 

The District maintains a limited number of Twitter accounts. The District does not have any tools for managing Twitter accounts so those are only authorized except in rare cases. Each Twitter account has a manager responsible for posting content.

Google Workspace (formerly G Suite for Education) may be used by all staff and students. The suite includes email, calendar, and other collaboration tools (such as Classroom, Chat, and Meet) as well as productivity tools with collaboration tools included (such as Docs, Sheets, etc.) and cloud storage (Drive) to enable anytime, anywhere access to documents.

In addition to the Google suite of applications, the District maintains Microsoft Office 365 for all staff and students. Microsoft Office 365 provides an online version of the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, etc.). Staff who need to use the desktop version of Microsoft Office suite may download it from Microsoft Office 365 (note IT Service Desk ticket submission may be required).

The District maintains Filr for staff. Filr provides cloud-like storage that is hosted by the District. It should be used to store documents with our most secure data elements--social security numbers, account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Documents with our most secure data elements should never be stored in Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365’s cloud storage.

The District maintains GoGuardian Teacher, a classroom management tool, for all secondary teachers. Elementary schools may purchase GoGuardian Teacher. However, it must be purchased for the entire school, by grade level, or for specific courses. It may not be purchased for individual teachers. 

Focus Messenger is a feature of Focus that was released in the spring of 2020. Focus Messenger allows a teacher, school administrator, or district administrator to send messages to students and families. The messages are viewable within Focus on the web, the ECSD Families mobile app, email, and text messaging. Students and families are able to respond within Focus on the web or the ECSD Families mobile app. Focus Messenger should not be used to communicate with staff except on an individual basis--one staff member messaging another. 

IT staff provide a variety of video and media services. School Board meetings and workshops, high school graduations, and special events are routinely captured and shared via the District website and YouTube channel. Requests for services may be made via IT Service Desk ticket and will be honored as staff members are available.

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