District Technology Plan

  • I. District Vision

    • Prepare students to become active, diligent, and respectable digital citizens.
    • Prepare students to become lifelong learners through the use of multimedia resources.
    • Prepare students to efficiently and adaptively use technology throughout their education and beyond.

    II. District Infrastructure

    Wide Area Network and Internet Connectivity

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools uses a wide area network which connects the Red Bank Middle School, Red Bank Primary School, Red Bank Pre-Kindergarten Off-Site Location, and the Red Bank Borough Public Schools Administration Building. The District’s star network configuration centralizes at Red Bank Middle School with connections to each building, as well as the Internet, extending as follows:

    • Internet
      • 1 Gbps Dedicated Fiber
      • 150 Mbps Download / 20 Mbps Upload Cable Modem
    • Red Bank Primary School
      • 10 Gbps Managed Fiber
      • 1 Gbps Managed Fiber
    • Red Bank Pre-Kindergarten Off-Site Location
      • 50 Mbps Download / 20 Mbps Upload VPN
    • Red Bank Borough Public Schools Administration Building
      • Dual 1 Gbps Private Fiber

    The star network configuration creates a single point of failure at the center. During the 2016 - 2017 school year, the District will work with providers to develop a plan that will connect points of the star together, creating a mesh network and increasing the resilience of system. Pending Board of Education and Budget approval, the equipment and services relevant to the design will be added to the 2017 - 2018 budget under District Purchase Technical Services.

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools and related buildings share two Internet connections connected to a load balancer which handles a Quality of Service based ruleset. Many of the services in use by staff and students are cloud based, therefore requiring a consistent, reliable Internet connection. Based on the final design of the mesh network, additional Internet connections will be planned during 2017 - 2018. This will increase the reliability and resiliency of the connection to the Internet. Pending Board of Education and budget approval, the equipment and services relevant to the design will be added to the 2018 - 2019 budget under District Purchase Services.

    Within each building, links between distribution layers are either 10 Gbps or 1 Gbps. Each uplink is centrally monitored, providing historical and real time data as well as trend predictions. Based on the data collected over the past several years, existing uplink connections will have acceptable performance over the next three years. Wired connections to the desktop are predominantly 1 Gbps Cat5e with limited 100 Mbps switches remaining. The few 100 Mbps switches remaining throughout the district will be scheduled for replacement in 2017 - 2018 using a combination of local funds from Equipment accounts along with Erate funding. Wireless connectivity is available in all instructional areas of each building and is an area of active monitoring. Several construction projects, along with the significant increase in wireless devices, will support a wireless survey review in 2017 - 2018. Findings from this review will support any budgetary items for 2018 - 2019 regarding the expansion of the existing wireless network.

    Core infrastructure, such as firewalls, routers, and switches, are evaluated on an ongoing basis in tandem with link connection utilization. Caching servers, WAN accelerators, load balancers, and other relevant technologies are considered when looking at upgrade paths. As needs change, the criteria for equipment changes.

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools provides internet to all staff, students, and guests for instructional purposes. Internal and Internet traffic is filtered and monitored. The existing filtering solution in place is under review and is due for upgrade or replacement in 2017 - 2018. All traffic is reviewed regularly to identify utilization patterns and respond accordingly. Traffic over time is recorded and used as evidence to support budget requests for additional bandwidth. In the event that traffic over time demonstrates a low link utilization of a leased line, the connection speed may be reduced during a contract renewal.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Internet Connectivity Under Review Enhancements / Local Funds, Erate Under Review
    Building Connections Under Review Star to Mesh Transition / Local Funds, Erate Under Review
    Content Filter Under Review Refresh or Replace / Local Funds Under Review
    Wireless Under Review Under Review Expand or Enhance / Local Funds, Erate

    Instructional Technology

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools currently has a 1:1 initiative in grades 3 through 8. Students in Kindergarten through second grade have access to classroom computers as well as mobile labs which could be used for an entire class. Pre-Kindergarten classes have access to tablet devices. Students participating in the 1:1 program receive a District issued device that travels with them throughout the school day; the device does not currently leave the school at the end of the day. The District continues to evaluate the 1:1 program and is working toward an anywhere, anytime learning environment where students will be able to take their device home. Current challenges that are being investigated include, but are not limited to, Internet access at home, curriculum continuity and development, off-site content filtering, and student safety. While the push for an anywhere, anytime learning environment exists at the district and building level, each building integrates individualized strategies and planning which targets the needs existent in the specific buildings.

    Support Systems

    The instructional system of schools has shifted to a much more dynamic and fluid environment. The need for hard wired desktops has been replaced by the need for robust wireless networks. As the wireless network has taken on these instructional devices, the wired network has acquired non-instructional traffic such as VoIP, access control, video surveillance, public address, and other building control systems. Most of the wired network is being moved to these devices to leverage the existing network, reduce costs, and increase functionality. As many of our non-instructional, facilities based systems age out, digital IP based solutions are being considered.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Voice over IP Under Review Refresh or Replace / Local Funds Under Review
    Physical Security  Enhanced as Needed / Local Funds
    Public Address Under Review Refresh or Replace / Local Funds Under Review

    While the District’s Technology department officially consists of four full time staff members, many members outside the Technology department regularly assist with the use and repair of technology.  Likewise, the Technology Team assists in many aspects outside the scope of what would traditionally be defined under the department.  The Red Bank Borough Public Schools recognize that technology is a part of all district operations, has many levels of understanding, and, as a district, work together to gain understanding.  Collaboration between departments occurs daily, often times blurring the lines between them.  Purchases with technology requirements are reviewed by the Technology Department prior to final approval.  Vetted State Contract and Co-op vendors are used for purchasing whenever possible. 

    Network and data security practices, plans, and procedures undergo regular review, are considered confidential, and not published under this Technology Plan.

    III. Transformational Budgeting

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools cannot run efficiently without technology. The experiences teachers create cannot be translated into paper based activities and therefore is considered a core part of the budget. A zero based budget strategy is employed for all departments during the budget creation process. Each application is reviewed for its efficiency, usage, and cost. Programs that don’t fulfill their goals are replaced. Device reliability data is maintained to ensure that there is a balance of reliability and cost; systems are in place to ensure spares are available when needed. Technology is not on a fixed period replacement policy. Devices are used, reused, and assigned throughout their lifecycle to ensure the maximum impact on student learning. Monitoring systems report utilization data on all core infrastructure equipment. Trends are analyzed to predict equipment upgrade requirements or replacement need on an annual basis. Each year the budget is built on a matrix of data points that enables maximizes the budget. Focus is on reliability and innovation. The District remains agile to changes in technology.

    The District leverages the local budget, Erate, The Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, and donations to fund technology.

    IV. Teaching and Learning Within the District

    The District's 1:1 Chromebook initiative enables seamless integration with Google Apps for Education, a suite of web based applications that enable thorough and efficient collaboration between teachers and students as well as students and students. While peer based collaboration has been in use for over a decade at Red Bank Borough Public Schools, the shift in platform, from paper to screen, presents a learning curve for staff and students alike. Successfully integrating the technology across the curricula takes time. Professional development led by administrators, teachers, and guest speakers is planned each year. Staff have the opportunity to attend local and regional conferences as they are offered. Leadership and staff also meet with surrounding districts to discuss strategies for maintaining an engaging learning environment. The District’s ongoing professional development plan has an annual budget; portions of which are dedicated to technology infusion.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Out of District PD State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund
    In District PD State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund State and Local Conferences /Title II, District Fund

    Red Bank Borough’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative is currently limited to within the building; students do not take their devices home at the end of each day. The District recognizes the benefits of an anywhere, anytime learning environment. Surveys conducted over the past several years suggest that students do not have broadband internet connectivity at home. The District has discussed ways of creating a mesh network across the town, however those plans have shown to be cost prohibitive. The district will continue to survey parents and students to maintain a baseline for internet access at home. While the District cannot promote a for profit company, Comcast does offer special pricing to parents of students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Red Bank Borough Public Schools will continue to make parents aware of this special pricing within the scope of the law. The District will continue to explore and develop incentives for families to invest in internet connectivity at home.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Outreach Programs Research Develop / Local Funds, Education Foundation Initiate / Local Funds, Education Foundation

    Infusing 2014 NJCCCS Technology standards into the general curriculum is ongoing. Students learn from one another, from the teachers, and from resources available outside the school walls. Teachers are learning the technologies that will help make this type of learning more achievable through the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model. An online professional development survey is used to identify staff’s present skill levels in teaching methodologies, classroom management, online curriculum and evaluate topics for upcoming professional development sessions. In addition, staff participate in Professional Learning Communities to update knowledge of technical skills and modern tools, share experiences with other participants, and leverage their peers for Just In Time training.

    Future needs at both schools will include makerspaces and technology focused courses in the upper grade levels. Teachers that are innovative and tech savvy are ideal in this environment. The process of including more technology infused classes involve course changes and updates. The need for a physical space will need to be considered for the maker spaces and technology focused classes; finding space will require a matter of reprioritizing. The Project Lead the Way lab at the Middle School could be redesigned to include a space for the makerspace. The makerspaces are going to promote learning through play and experimentation and offer tools and materials that will encourage students to create rather than consume. Supplies to be purchased that are necessary to serve the needs of students for Makerspaces include but are not limited to: Ozobot, legos, 3D printer(s), robot kits, batteries, etc.

    Effective integration of technology enables students to meet challenging state academic standards. Lesson plans continue to include requirements for teachers' demonstration of technology integration to support curriculum implementation. Classroom observations and walkthroughs are conducted with a focus on technology as a resource that supports the teaching and learning process. Teachers utilize technology in diverse, innovative, and timesaving ways to deliver curriculum, communicate, share, and much more. Multiple teacher evaluations are scheduled throughout the year to monitor improvements in effectiveness and technology integration in the classroom. A staff data management system is used to track levels of teacher performance based on walkthroughs and classroom observations guided by AchieveNJ. Administrators use tablet devices to support the new teacher effectiveness for data collection and use of data management system.

    Online benchmark assessments are used to monitor and track student practice and readiness for PARCC assessments (Grades 3-8). Multiple student assessments are scheduled throughout the year to monitor and track student progress and success of services. Results are measured against state standards to direct differentiated instruction. Online curriculum allows monitoring of student progress aligned with NJ standards and suggests corrections on an individual level. In addition, the transition from paper to digital portfolios is planned as students maintain online collections of their work and objects. Digital portfolios will incorporate multimedia elements and reflection over time that allows students and teachers to further develop metacognition. Students will learn about how they learn and think about how they think. Digital portfolios are enduring and can be contributed to over time.

    V. Teaching and Learning at Red Bank Middle School

    The Red Bank Middle School houses hundreds of Chromebooks as a part of the 1:1 initiative, an Art and Music Apple Mac Lab, and an Autocad STEM Lab with a 3D printer that focuses on the Project Lead the Way curriculum. Every instructional space has a projector. More than two dozen classrooms have interactive whiteboards. More than two dozen teachers have document cameras. Every teacher has a Windows Laptop. All core content area teachers have their own Chromebook. Some Teachers have Microsoft Surface RTs or Apple iPads. The Cafeteria is equipped with digital signage.

    The Art and Music Apple Mac Lab is composed of donated iMacs that are physically moved between the two classrooms on a rotation for project based learning. While in Art, students use Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, and other applications to create digital art. While in Music, students use Garageband to create original work. The Red Bank Middle School has won several national competitions for the creation of music videos over the past decade. Having to share the lab limits the amount of time each class is able to work on their projects. A lab present in both rooms would enable students more time to refine their projects and promote true engagement.

    The Project Lead the Way lab supports the 2014 NJCCCS technology standards and incorporates programs like SketchUp, Autodesk Inventor, and ROBOTC. Students continue learning, designing and printing physical pieces of work. Being limited to a single 3D printer inhibits mass production of student work. The addition of more 3D printers will greatly and positively impact student projects and events like the two annual content fairs held at the Middle School. Both the Literacy Fair and STEAM Fair are held annually at the Middle School to provide students the opportunity to showcase student created and produced projects to their families and the greater community. The aspects of STEAM education allow all students to have opportunities to develop high interest in science, technology, and related relevant subject areas. Students who engage in STEAM activities will be more likely to thrive and succeed in school and to pursue careers in STEAM fields. These projects could feature technology at a more transformative level with technology resources more broadly available to staff and students. A future goal is to have more cross-content grade level projects for such fairs and to utilize student 1:1 devices as a way to present their work.

    Digital signage has been available in the Cafeteria of the Red Bank Middle School for over five years. The impact of having ongoing reminders, videos, and streaming events shown to students during lunch has increased student awareness about global events, prompted table discussion while they eat, and increased event attendance due to regular reminders. Additional digital signage throughout the building, specifically in common areas, will increase the reach of these effects. Interactive displays can be used as visual aids to bell schedules, emergency notifications, and other reminders.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    1:1 Initiative Refresh / Local Funds Refresh / Local Funds Refresh / Local Funds
    Art/Music Lab Expansion / Donations Refresh / Local Funds Expansion / Donations
    STEM Equipment Expansion / Donations, Local Funds Expansion / Donations, Local Funds Refresh/ Donations, Local Funds
    Additional Digital Signage Expansion / Donations Expansion / Donations Expansion / Donations

    Teachers have a general understanding of the technology tools and resources at their disposal. They are provided with several resources and technical support. One goal is to provide more in-depth professional development that is hands-on, relevant, and beneficial. Colleagues are encouraged to provide support to classroom teachers so they can assist with the integration of technology rather than viewing technology as its own subject area. Curriculum reviews should be conducted through the year to ensure the integration of technology is present in all content areas.

    Red Bank Middle School Goal

    Improve student academic achievement through the implementation and utilization of technology tools at the Red Bank Middle School.

    • Objective: Refine and build on the successful integration of technology skills through grade-level experiences.
    • Strategy: Assess student progress made as students move from one grade level to the next to gain an understanding of the skills needed in the grade appropriate class.
     
    • Objective: Continue incorporating digital resources such as digital textbooks and ebooks as current materials become obsolete.
    • Strategy: Utilize digital programs once current physical curriculum phases out.
    • Strategy: Review curriculum to reflect 21st century career and college readiness skills and provide digital access to relevant materials.
     
    • Objective: Continue to provide high-speed access to the Internet and expand opportunities for student and staff access for distance learning, communication, flipped classrooms, and research based projects.
    • Strategy: Encourage the use of learning platforms like Google Classroom to allow students to readily access course materials and participate in discussions
      outside of the school day when possible.
     
    • Objective: Provide staff development trainings specific to teacher needs and increase opportunities for knowledge growth.
    • Strategy: Offer workshops, trainings within PLCs, and out of district opportunities to help staff members gain and expand technology skills.
    • Strategy: Maintain an online resource site for teacher reference that contains curated materials relevant to their professional learning. Encourage the use of web 2.0 tools and the sharing of best practices.
    • Strategy: Teaching staff will complete Professional Development Plans to encourage the individualized development of skills needed to infuse technology into the classroom.

    VI. Teaching and Learning at Red Bank Primary School

    The Red Bank Primary School provides students in Grades K-3 a technology-rich environment for the over 600 students. The District Chromebook 1:1 initiative begins at third grade. The STEAM Lab has two full time teachers, one for STEM, the other for Art, who coordinate lessons and thematic units. The lab contains a Chromebook Cart, iPads, Digital Cameras, among other pieces of technology centered around the core STEM curriculum. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard with a pendant microphone system and a teacher laptop or desktop. Nearly every classroom has a document camera. Every single classroom in Kindergarten, First, and Second grade class has five Chromebooks for student center use. In addition to Chromebooks, all Kindergarten classrooms have five iPads each for additional center-based learning. Kindergarten, First, and Second grade each have a Chromebook cart containing 25 or more Chromebooks for use by any grade level teacher for small or whole group lessons. A full time technology teacher is on staff and instructs all students in the school on a six-day rotating schedule.

    The District’s 1:1 initiative has had a positive impact on all content areas throughout the district. The ubiquity of technology students have access to in the world around them supports the need to further extend the 1:1 program to all grade levels, Kindergarten through Eighth grade, to ensure they possess the skills and comfort needed to be successful. The extension will allow more teachers to differentiate how they teach to meet the needs of all students and it will change how students demonstrate their learning. This expansion will have the greatest impact on the Red Bank Primary School, where all students, with the exception of Pre-Kindergarten, will have access to a device of their own throughout the school day. To further support this program, additional resources and licensing will need to be purchased. Each program the District employs as a part of its curriculum is reviewed annually to target the specific needs of the students.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    1:1 Initiative Expansion Under Review Expansion / Local Funds, Education Foundation Expansion / Local Funds, Education Foundation
    Chromebook Management Software Expansion / Local Funds, Education Foundation Expansion / Local Funds, Education Foundation Expansion / Local Funds, Education Foundation
    Web Based Instructional Software Modified as Needed / Local Funds

    The STEAM Lab at Primary School creates tangible objects for students to take home to their families. While a 3D printer would be an excellent add on for this class, the learning curve for each software application may take away from valuable instructional time. While research continues for early elementary software compatible with 3D printing, the District will research a 3D pen for students to create multi-dimensional works of art that demonstrate knowledge of the STEAM standards.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Early Elementary 3D Modeling Software Research, Initial / Donation, Education Foundation Under Review Under Review
    3D Printer Pending Software Findings / Donation, Education Foundation
    3D Print Pen Research, Initial / Donation, Education Foundation Under Review Under Review

    A single third grade class piloted the use of Minecraft as an educational tool during the 2015-2016 school year. The class was given a set of iPads and through various online tutorials, books found at the Book Fair, and help through local experts was able to learn the ins and outs. The pilot proved successful; the students demonstrated a heightened sense of creativity, collaboration and problem solving. Expanding the availability of Minecraft Labs throughout the grade level and possibly the school is a future goal, especially after the success of this pilot.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Minecraft in the Classroom Professional Development Initial / Local Funds, Title II In-House In-House
    Minecraft Lab Expansion / Donations, Education Foundation Expansion / Donations, Education Foundation Expansion / Donations, Education Foundation

    Primary School students benefit from having a full time Technology teacher who meets with students once every six days. As the extension of the 1:1 initiative grows, basic technology navigation skills will be mastered at an earlier age. As this goal is achieved, the Technology teacher's role will shift to focus on programing and problem solving. As the District continues to develop the early elementary computer science curriculum, a focus will be placed on the interaction of programing in real space. This may incorporate robotics, automation, and other situations where programs are able to change the physical world we live in.

    Area of Focus 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
    Early Elementary Computer Science Curriculum Initial Research / Local Funds Under Review Under Review
    Early Elementary Programing Software Research Initial / Local Funds, Donations, Education Foundation Maintenance / Local Funds, Donations, Education Foundation
    Elementary Robotics and Automation Lab Research Research Initial / Donations, Education Foundation
    Consumer Based Home Robotic Examples Donations, Education Foundation Donations, Education Foundation Donations, Education Foundation

    Red Bank Primary School Goal

    All students in grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade attending the Red Bank Primary School will have a 1:1 device by June 2019.

    • Objective: Continue the 1:1 Chromebook initiative by expanding the rollout to include integration with students in Kindergarten, first, and second grade.
    • Strategy: Investigate grant opportunities available to fund the purchase of programs or devices that will allow the district’s technology to expand.
     
    • Objective: Capacity, infrastructure, staff, equipment, and support are available to ensure educators can fulfill the academic needs.
    • Strategy: Remain up to date on technology tools utilized in the school and provide necessary professional development that allow staff to become comfortable with those tools.

    The Red Bank Borough Public Schools Technology Plan may be modified, corrected and/or updated when reassessed on a biannual basis to ensure activities and strategies are aligned to achieve the District’s goals.

District 2016-2019 Technology Plan Support Documentation