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Archive for the ‘Information Technology’ Category

Beginning tonight and through the weekend, the school district’s new online gradebook, Skyward Family Access, will be unavailable as data on the site is updated.

Parents and guardians of students who attend Lake County Schools are encouraged to create a Family Access account. Through the Family Access portal, parents and guardians will have the ability to view their child’s grades, attendance and other data.

The Family Access portal is replacing the district’s older online gradebook, eSembler. For parents that had an eSembler account last school year, many received an email on Sept. 17 from do.not.reply@lake.k12.fl.us with a link to begin the process of setting up a Family Access account. Step-by-step directions on setting up a Family Access account are available online at http://www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess.

For parents and guardians who did not receive an email or did not previously have an eSembler account, they will need to print out a Family Access Enrollment Form. The form is available online at http://www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess. Only one email address per form is permitted. Parents and guardians will have to fill out a separate form for each email address.

Due to security concerns, to complete the form parents and guardians are required to either:

    • Bring the form and ID to the school and sign the form in front of someone at the school; OR
    • Fill out the form; have it notarized by a public notary; and return the form to the school.

After returning the form, the school will verify the information. Once the parent account is created, the district will send an email with sign-in instructions to the parent automatically.

For more information, log on to http://www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess.

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After a successful pilot at Eustis High School, the Lake County School District is launching its new online gradebook, Skyward Family Access.

Family Access PortalParents and guardians of students who attend Lake County Schools are encouraged to create a Family Access account. Through the Family Access portal, parents and guardians will have the ability to view their child’s grades, attendance and other data.

The Family Access portal is replacing the district’s older online gradebook, eSembler. For parents that had an eSembler account last school year, they will be receiving an email on Wednesday from do.not.reply@lake.k12.fl.us with a link to begin the process of setting up a Family Access account.

Parents and guardians will use their current eSembler user ID (email address) as their username for Family Access. Step-by-step directions on setting up a Family Access account are available online at www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess.

For parents and guardians who did not receive an email or did not previously have an eSembler account, they will need to print out a Family Access Enrollment Form. The form is available online at www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess. Only one email address per form is permitted. Parents and guardians will have to fill out a separate form for each email address.

Due to security concerns, to complete the form parents and guardians are required to either:

    • Bring the form and ID to the school and sign the form in front of someone at the school; OR
    • Fill out the form; have it notarized by a public notary; and return the form to the school.

After returning the form, the school will verify the information. Once the parent account is created, the district will send an email with sign-in instructions to the parent automatically.

 

For more information, log on to www.lake.k12.fl.us/familyaccess.

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A plan developed by Lake County Schools to rollout personalized learning initiatives over the next decade is receiving a significant investment courtesy of a grant award.

Personalized learning is a rising and significant change in how students receive instruction. Research shows that students who experience one-to-one instruction achieve at a far greater pace than students who experience traditional classroom instruction. Personalized learning helps tailor what a student learns — and how, when and where they learn it — based on his or her needs, skills and interests.

“Personalized learning incorporates student voice and choice in the learning process and allows teachers to adjust the pace and delivery of instruction to address each student’s individual learning strengths and needs,” said Kathy Halbig, Manager of Innovative Learning at Lake County Schools. “The student-teacher relationship is critical to student success, and personalized learning helps maximize the most precious resource in a classroom: Teacher’s one-on-one time with students.”

The Next Generations System Initiative (NGSI) grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding Lake County Schools with $400,000 for Phase II of the three-phase NGSI grant. Phase II funding will support select schools through the planning process, from May through December 2014, of designing full-scale implementation plans for personalized learning for students. The grant award makes this planning step possible as funding will provide for necessary professional development for teachers and school administrators, as well as technology and software support. The 2015-2016 school year will mark the official launch of full-scale, personalized learning at select schools with four to six additional schools coming online with personalized learning in each subsequent year.

Lake County Schools’ push to incorporate personalized learning models into its instructional delivery began several years ago and is occurring in a handful of classrooms across the district.

“The addition of student mobile devices, the introduction of Bring Your Own Device at schools, upgrades to the district’s network and bringing Safari Montage to the district to manage the delivery of digital curriculum have all helped lay the groundwork for a more focused, district-wide initiative on personalized learning,” said Dr. Creed Wheeler, Executive Director of Information Technology for Lake County Schools.

Lake County Schools received a $100,000 planning grant in October, Phase I of the three-phase NGSI grant, to develop a district-wide strategic plan for the successful implementation of personalized learning in Lake County Schools. With important collaboration and input from an advisory group which included University of Central Florida staff, Lake County business and community leaders, LCS teachers and administrators, and focus group input from Lake County students, a design for a full-scale personalized learning system was developed. The NGSI Phase II grant award is the next step in moving the plan forward.

The NGSI grant coordinates with the EngageLCS initiative by expanding on personalized learning. Through the $1.2 million EngageLCS project, also supported by the Gates Foundation, Lake County Schools is evaluating the best use of its existing financial resources to ensure students continue to get a great education. This is an unprecedented measure for Lake County Schools — significantly improving student outcomes without a large increase in new money. By reallocating resources, the School District is looking to increase student achievement by focusing on five instructional priorities:

  • Immediate investment in struggling schools & ELL students — Closing the achievement gap of English Language Learners and struggling schools
  • Talent Development Pipeline — Adding transparency to career progression in LCS, and additional stipends for leadership roles and service at the district’s neediest schools
  • Program Evaluation & Innovation — Implementing a process to initiate, evaluate and extend programs based on their impact on student achievement
  • Teacher & Principal Induction & Development — Implementing robust coaching support for principals and teachers to increase effectiveness and speed movement up the learning curve
  • Personalized Learning — Building differentiated support for teacher/leader professional development and individualized student learning, supported by technology

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What do robots, healthy eating, databases and competitive grants have in common? It’s the areas of expertise for recent honorees of the Superintendent’s Achievement Award at Lake County Schools.

CAROL BREWER, LIZ HOBERT, HARRIS JACOBS & BART NASH

CAROL BREWER, LIZ HOBERT, HARRIS JACOBS & BART NASH

The annual award recognizes employees who have shown meritorious achievement that exceeds well above and beyond expectations, and which is supported by evidence of noteworthy accomplishments and measurable performance results. This year’s four recipients of the Superintendent’s Achievement Award include:

  • CAROL BREWER, Cafeteria Manager at Triangle Elementary – She was nominated by Principal Kathy Billar who wrote in a recommendation letter, “She fulfills her regular daily duties as manager in an excellent fashion, but she also looks at our school as a whole and finds wonderful ways to supplement whenever there are needs.” Some of her accomplishments include: implementing a daily breakfast for students; adding a salad bar at lunchtime twice week; supplying fresh vegetables to the salad bar by starting hydroponic garden towers; and teaming up with school staff to host a Triangle Health and Fitness Night. Brewer is also a tireless fundraiser by writing grants to help fund special initiatives. In the past several years, she successfully secured more than $35,000 in grants, including a pouch recycling program that has raised $3,600.
  • LIZ HOBERT, Administrative Coordinator of Grant Services Department – Like so many of the previous honorees of the Superintendent’s Achievement Award, Hobert wears many hats for the District. In addition to managing grant services, she is project manager for the Race to the Top grant and worked tirelessly to secure grant funding for the District’s new EngageLCS initiative. “The ability to multi-task and provide collaborative work groups technical assistance is truly an outstanding characteristic displayed daily by Ms. Hobert,” wrote Hugh Hattabaugh, Chief Academic Officer for Lake County Schools, in a recommendation letter. He continued, “Ms. Hobert uses her skills and experience to enhance the quality of education for all children in Lake County Schools. Liz effectively works with various teams, acquires necessary grant funding to support district initiatives, and wisely allocates resources to impact learning through effective leadership and innovative programs.
  • HARRIS JACOBS, Information Services Manager at Information Technology Department – This past school year Jacobs has come to the aid of the Student Services Department by developing an automated notification system for school personnel and teachers that alerted them of changes to student health care plans. In addition, Jacobs forfeited leave to assist the Students Services Department with transmitting important data to the state, which had hit a snag due to technical issues at the state level. He was nominated by Jan Tobias, Director of Student Services Department. She wrote in a recommendation letter, “Not only does Mr. Jacobs have extensive knowledge of technology, his listening and problem-solving skills along with the ability to apply the technology to solve real-world problems are exceptional.”
  • BART NASH, Technology Teacher at Carver Middle School – His nickname, “Mr. Roboto,” only begins to tell the amazing accomplishments of Mr. Nash and his students. During the 2011-2012 school year, two of the middle schools qualified for the VEX Robotics world championships in Anaheim, Calif. The first team won the design award at the ESPN Disney All-Star challenge with 50 teams competing from all over the United States and some international teams. The second team qualified by winning the excellence award, which is the highest honor in robotics at the Central Florida Tournament, a 46-team tournament hosted at Carver Middle. “The topper to the whole trip was the students secretly wrote an essay to nominate me for VEX Robotics World Teacher of Year, and on the second day of the three day competition in front of 10,000 people, one of the Carver Middle students read his essay, as I was presented with the award,” Nash wrote in a letter.

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While Lake County Schools will be closed during the week of March 19 for Spring Break, the Information Technology Department will be busy maintaining critical infrastructure.

Certain Lake County Schools IT functions, such as e-mail and the online grading site eSembler, may not be working on Monday, March 19. All functions are expected to come back online on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Classes will resume on Monday, March 26. Administration offices will reopen on March 26 with normal operating hours of Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To view a complete holiday calendar for Lake County Schools, log on to www.lakeschools.com or visit Lake County Schools District Office, located at 201 W. Burleigh Blvd. in Tavares.

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Lake County Schools will be closed on Friday, Nov. 11, to observe Veterans Day. The administration offices of Lake County Schools will also be closed on Nov. 11.

To view a complete holiday calendar for Lake County Schools, log on to http://www.lake.k12.fl.us or visit Lake County Schools District Office, located at 201 W. Burleigh Blvd. in Tavares.

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The Florida Department of Education recently announced volunteers who will serve on committees and workgroups to implement what the state proposed in its Race to the Top federal grant application.

“This is a great opportunity for educators from our District to participate in the planning and development of major education reform efforts in Florida,” said Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent of Lake County Schools.

Representatives from Lake County Schools were chosen for a number of different committees and workgroups, including:

  • Stephani Luke, Program Specialist — Standards Instructional Teacher Tool Committee will provide input, feedback and recommendations to the state in the development and implementation of the standards instructional tool for teachers.
  • Nancy Velez, Chief Academic Officer — Portal and Reports Working Group will provide input and feedback to the state on the development and implementation of the centralized portal, dashboards and reports.
  • Scott Merklinger, IT Executive Director — Single Sign-on Committee will provide input, feedback and recommendations to the state on the implementation of a single sign-on.
  • Lori Westphal, ESE Teacher at Rimes Early Learning & Literacy Center — Student Growth Implementation Committee will provide input, feedback and recommendations to the state in the development and implementation of teacher-level student growth models.
  • Dr. Susan Moxley, Superintendent — Teacher and Leader Participation Committee will provide input, feedback and recommendations to the state in the development and implementation of performance standards and targets for continued approval of state-approved teacher and school leadership preparation programs.

Race to the Top is a U.S. Department of Education initiative to use $3.4 billion in grant money to reward changes in teaching programs and efforts to improve academic achievement. Florida is one of 11 states to receive the grant. Florida is scheduled to receive $700 million and half of it will be divided among individual school districts.

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