2006-2007 LMAIS Technology Coordinators Spring Meeting

19-April-2007, 9 AM - 2 PM
Lake Forest Country Day School
145 S. Green Bay Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045
Conference Room-Green Bay-Lower (GB-134)


  • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM: Arrival & Informal Conversation (refreshments provided) [Atrium]
  • 10:00 AM - 11:45: Morning Session [GB-134]
    • Member List Update
    • Agenda Organization
    • 2007-2008 Meeting Schedule
      • Fall Meeting: 11-October-2007 @ University School of Milwaukee
      • Spring Meeting: 17-April-2008 @ Latin School of Chicago (to be finalized)
    • The Path We're On: IT @ LFCDS
    • Technology Demonstration(s)
    • Roundtable Discussion
  • 11:45 - 12:00: Mini-tour of remodeled facility
  • 12:00 - 12:45: Lunch (provided) [ES-109]
  • 12:45 - 2:00 PM: Afternoon Session [GB-134]
    • Roundtable Discussion

Technology Demonstrations

  • SchoolCenter: hosts Elgin Academy's teacher Web pages. All teachers post assignments (in theory), but the details differ by division. (Jim K - Elgin) [5 minutes]
    • WhippleHill: LFCDS & other schools use WhippleHill Communities to post assignments, which differ from SchoolCenter in providing assignment schedules individualized to students & parents by password-protected logins instead of open access organized by teacher, and in enforcing a fixed layout for section & teacher pages instead of SchoolCenter's more flexible page creation & layout options. LFCDS uses WhippleHill's Gradebook, which eliminates double-entry for teachers. Adding an assignment to the section page creates a Gradebook entry with a single checkbox, eliminating the barrier of creating extra work for faculty.
    • Student Responsibility: Several schools reported having had an internal faculty discussion over whether posting assignments allows students to abdicate responsibility for learning executive functioning skills by writing down & keeping track of assignments.
  • JOOMLA! CMS: In reference to our discussions on Open Source Collaboration at our meeting in October, I have recently stumbled onto the concept of Content Management Systems (CMS). I would be willing to demonstrate the admin end of JOOMLA! CMS. I recently put together this site last week and I have asked our middle school students to contribute. Please note that it is a work in progress! (Jim Z – Quest) [10 minutes]
  • Drupal CMS: BZAEDS is in the process of transitioning their Website to Drupal, another Open Source CMS, and currently using it for our 8th grade trip to Israel to blog, podcast, and videocast back to the US. (Chris B - BZAEDS) [10 minutes]
  • Elgg: A proposal for a centralized place for blogging, collaboration, and contact information for LMAIS Technology Coordinators using the Open Source Elgg social networking software as hosted on EduSpaces.net. (Chris B - BZAEDS) [10 minutes]
    • Ning: It was suggested that we evaluate the use of Ning as an alternative to Elgg on EduSpaces to host a LMAIS Technology Coordinators social networking space.
  • Pure Digital Tapeless Video Camera: Happy to demo this cheap, easy product for the group. A big hit with our Lower School teachers. (Curt Lieneck, UC Lab) [5 minutes]
  • Gallery: User friendly, open source tool to host full quality photos to be shared with parents in a password protected manner. (Jon Stoper, BZAEDS) [5 minutes]

Discussion Topics

Ad Hoc Discussion

Planned Topics Discussed

  • Green Computing: What practices and policies are others implementing that address this topic? What are some other ideas and considerations relating to green practices?
  • Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning: What plans does your school have in place for communicating with the school community, getting employees paid, preserving billing information, serving and storing data off-site, etc. in the event of a natural or man-made disaster? Does anyone have a plan for conducting classes (or some approximation thereof) online during such a disaster?
    • Latin has bird flu pandemic & general business continuity plans in place:
      • Roll-over payroll with ADP with single phone call.
      • Business Continuity plan joint IT & Finance/Facilities initiatives, with formal committee to draft plan.
      • Edline for online content delivery in event of disaster.
      • Rationale: As Independent School, parents need to be willing to pay rest of tuition bill for employees to be paid, so need to have a plan to deliver content in event of pandemic/disaster.
      • Related Addendum: LFCDS Business Manager reports we have disaster insurance in place to allow for facilities rental, etc., in event of disaster.
    • Storage: SAN HP iSCSI (Conserve); Dell/EMC (USM) to provide shared, highly redundant storage among several servers.
    • ASP: Minimize "all eggs in one basket" by outsourcing to application service providers (e.g. WhippleHill for Student Information System, ADP for payroll, Google Docs (with free domains for schools) for office productivity).
    • Server Virtualization: (MS Virtual Server, VMWare, Xen) for ease of migrating services from failed hardware without need to rebuild on identical hardware.
    • Long term: If broadband Internet becomes available, have server off-site in professionally managed data center.
    • Retention Policy: Let organizational leaders know how your backup schedule corresponds legal/financial requirements for keeping data.
    • Planning Resource: If, Not When--A Technical Blueprint for Disaster Recovery in K12 Schools

Planned Topics Tabled Due to Time

  • Web Publishing of Assignments: Does anyone use your school Website to post homework assignments? Some of our teachers have been looking at sites such as this and have been wondering how hard could it be?
    • How would the students benefit?
    • How would the parents benefit?
    • How might it be detrimental?
    • What should and shouldn't be included in this type of link?
    • Would this detract from lessons of responsibility that we are trying to teach our students?
    • Would this be an additional burden to the teachers?
    • Would this give teachers more time to work on other things besides assignment notebooks with students.
    • Could it be effective in the classroom to prepare for homework?
  • Ed. Tech. Metrics: How can we demonstrate the effectiveness of educational technology on instruction? How do we know we're doing a good job? What "key performance indicators" can we point to?


  • Keith Gillette (Lake Forest Country Day School)
  • Mara Grujanac (Lake Forest Country Day School)
  • Doug Russell (Lake Forest Country Day School)
  • John Broere (Fox River Country Day School)
  • Vinnie Vrotny (North Shore Country Day School)
  • Peter Brown (Latin School of Chicago)
  • Peter Laimins (Da Vinci Academy)
  • Matt Montagne (University School of Milwaukee)
  • Linda Danforth (Brookfield Academy)
  • Bill Lamers (Brookfield Academy)
  • Don Ryan (Conserve School)
  • Peter Evans (Francis Parker School)
  • Cathy Donnelly (Francis Parker School)
  • Curt Lieneck (University of Chicago Laboratory Schools)
  • Phil Igyarto (Quest Academy)
  • Jim Zdunek (Quest Academy)
  • Chris Butera (Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School)
  • Jon Stoper (Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School)
  • Beth Lord (Roycemore School)
  • Carol Forgione (Woodlands Academy)
  • Marineta Kropke (Woodlands Academy)
  • Dave Aykroid (Lake Forest Academy)
  • Jim Kidston (Elgin Academy)


  • To facilitate meeting planning, indicate the amount of time anticipated for technology demonstrations in the agenda item proposal.