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June 17. 2013 7:05PM

Derry school district looks to boost its bandwith

DERRY — The Smarter Balance online state testing is coming in 2015, and the school district is looking to update its bandwidth capacity to meet the technological demands of the testing.

Increasing district bandwidth is a large part of the district’s revised three-year technology plan, according to IT Director Ray Larose.

“We need to increase bandwidth in all of these (district) buildings so we can have 30 to 120 students online at the same time without bogging down the system,” said Larose.

Superintendent Laura Nelson said the district recently did a test of its system at its five elementary and two middle schools.

“Our five elementary schools satisfactorily passed the assessment for Smarter Balance for the minimal bandwidth required,” said Nelson. “But both middle schools failed miserably on that.”

The West Running Brook and Gilbert H. Hood middle schools had a small percentage of the bandwidth needed for the effective administration of the tests, according to Nelson.

“By 2015, it’s imperative that both middle schools have updated bandwidth,” said Nelson. “It has to be done before we can participate in the new school assessment, which is all online.”

In other highlights of the technology plan, Larose said the district is looking to move some information from the servers within the district to cloud servers.

“The servers that do not include student identifiable information we would like to move to the cloud within the next three years,” he said. “There are a couple of servers in the district that are aging and due to be replaced. We want to take those resources out of the building and put them in the hands of a 24-7 data center.”

On the curriculum side of technology, Larose said the district will begin using Google educational apps and Google Docs in the classroom. He said district staff have been training on the systems.

With Google Docs, Larose said students will have 24-hour-a-day access to projects and assignments.

“What they are working on will not be locked down behind the firewalls of our schools,” he said.

Larose said Google turns off the advertising for educational accounts and does not mine the student data.

“The Google educational accounts keep the information in the district’s hands,” he said.


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