By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
The last few months and years in technology for the Garden Grove Unified School District have been the product of 15 years of work, leading to independent Internet, better tools for teachers and hopefully even texting.
Yes, texting, from the school to the parent.
Tuesday’s school board meeting for GGUSD featured an update on the technology build up and school to parent technology connections in the district, with the possibility of school-to-parent text messages in the future.
Rick Nakano, director of business services, told the board that the building of technology connections in GGUSD created such a strong Internet connection that GGUSD is the connectivity back-up for other school systems.
“If they lose their Internet, they fall back on us,” said Nakano.
GGUSD’s Internet connection is also able to support surveillance at schools and all of the preschools.
Sara Wescott, assistant superintendent of elementary education, updated the school board on the current platforms, Aeries and Parent Portal.
Eventually, there may be outgoing text messages to parents for school notifications.
“We know that when we get a leg up on one thing [e-mail], another pulls ahead [texting],” said Wescott.
However, Wescott said that staff was very happy about the work with e-mail to parents.
Wescott reported some parents where wary about giving out their email however, there are now 43,761 addresses on the list. The system has seen an uptick of 20,000 new adds since September.
Also, the goal of Parent Portal, which allows parents to log in and see school progress and updates, is to make sure that sixth grade students leave elementary school with an active Parent Portal account.
One of the biggest challenges that the school and district communication to parent systems are facing is a language barrier.
Issues with exact translation between English to Vietnamese and Spanish come up in contextual translation.
“We all know that Google Translate isn’t very reliable,” said Laura Schwalm, superintendent.
The new tools for teaching come in the form of Illuminate, SharePoint 2010, My Big Campus and Haiku.
Illuminate helps with data and assessment in grading, Sharepoint with document collaboration and sharing, Campus is a security enable YouTube tool for educators only on school campuses and Haiku is a platform for online classes at the high school level.