The 1998 ThetNet Technology Plan

Developed by the ThetNet Consortium representing
Thetford Academy, Thetford Elementary School,
and the Thetford Library Federation

The mission of the ThetNet Consortium is to promote responsible, competent use of appropriate technology by the entire Thetford learning community, supporting advancement of all stakeholders and the system itself through progressively higher developmental levels.

Principal Authors:
Liora Alschuler, Volunteer David Kelman, Teacher
Peter Blodgett, Librarian Martha Rich, Head of School
Robert Crossett, Teacher William Weyrick, Volunteer

Contributors:
Robert Brown,Volunteer William Keegan, Volunteer
Susan Brown, Teacher Tevye Kelman 01, Student
Marc Chabot, Teacher Jane Labun, Librarian
Polly Cole, School Board James Masland, Selectman
Clayton Gage, Principal Charles Papirmeister, Volunteer
Alex Gunkel 97, Student David Phillips, Volunteer

Readers:
Heidi Lansburgh, Latham Library Board
Margaret Sadler, Teacher
Janet Taylor, School Board


All participants are members of the Thetford Community.

1998 ThetNet Technology Plan - Table of Contents

Preface 2
1. Introduction 3
2. Background Information 7
2.1 Demographics 7
2.2 Overview of Process 10
2.3 Stakeholders 11
2.4 Mission Statement 11
3. Current Status 12
3.1 Assessment of Student and Staff Technology Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes 12
3.2 Inventories 13
3.2.1 Software 13
3.2.2 Hardware 15
3.2.3 Facilities 16
3.2.4 Networking and Telecommunications Capacities 17
3.3 Current Status of Curriculum and Information Technology Initiatives 18
in Relation to Education Reform
3.4 Review of Existing Professional Development Activities and Structures 19
3.5 Assessment of Current Information Technology Support Staffing 20
4. Program Goals and Information Technology Initiatives 21
in Support of Education Reform

4.1 Administrative and Management Goals and Initiatives 22
4.2 Communication and Information Access Goals and Initiatives 23
4.3 Instructional and Curricular Goals and Initiatives 23
4.4 Staff Competency Goals in Support of Student Learning 24
and Education Reform Initiatives
5. Technology Design 26
5.1 Software Priorities 26
5.1.1 Administrative and Management 26
5.1.2 Communications and Information Access 26
5.1.3 Instructional and Curricular 27
5.2 Hardware Priorities 27
5.2.1 Hardware: Workstations and Peripherals 27
5.2.2 Facilities: Network Design 28
5.2.3 Building and Classroom Wiring Standards 30
5.2.4 Implementation Issues 30
5.2.5 Operations, Maintenance and Upgrade Priorities 30
6. Information Technology Implementation Action Plan 32
(Leadership, Activities, Timeline, Policy and Budget)

6.1 Software Procurement
6.2 Hardware, Facilities and Network Acquisition/Implementation
6.3 Operations, Maintenance and Upgrades
6.4 Professional Development
6.5 Additional Human Resources in Support of Technology
6.6 Funding Sources
6.7 Budget Summary 43
7. Monitoring, Evaluation and Revision of the Information Technology Plan 45
7.1 Monitoring and Evaluation Process 45
7.2 Incorporation of Evaluation Information for Ongoing Planning 45
7.3 Process for Reporting to Stakeholders 45
7.4 Process and Timeline for Ongoing, Long-term Planning 46
Appendices A-K and Bibliography 47
Preface


What is ThetNet?

ThetNet is a partnership for educational technology in the Thetford learning community. It represents both a physical "infrastructure"--hardware, software, and linking electronic networks--and a commitment to collaboration among the town's educational institutions--its schools and libraries.

The ThetNet Consortium is our term for the institutional components of ThetNet: the two Thetford Schools--Thetford Elementary School (grades K-6) and Thetford Academy (grades 7-12) and the Thetford Library Federation, which includes both school libraries, the Historical Society, and two public library branches--Latham and Peabody.

The ThetNet Team is a group of school, library, and community representatives which organized in December, 1997, to draft and support this plan.

How to Use This Plan:

The 1998 ThetNet Technology Plan provides a design for educational technology in the Thetford learning community. It offers a portrait of current technology in the schools and libraries, and provides a map for further development during the next two years, through April, 2000.

This plan was formulated over a four-month period by the ThetNet Team. The plan's format reflects requirements of the Vermont State Department of Education for technology planning in 1998-99. Although this format includes some specialized language, the Team has sought to avoid the use of technical terms and jargon as much as possible.

This plan draws on several previous models, developed locally and regionally to guide technology planning in the schools. This is the first design, however, to combine the interests of all partners in the town's learning community.

The 1998 ThetNet Technology Plan is addressed to members of this learning community: to the general public and to those who work and learn in Thetford schools, libraries, and adult education programs. It will guide governing boards and administrators of the member institutions as they make decisions about technology funding. It will guide teachers, librarians, and technology coordinators as they work with students and adult learners to meet educational goals. It will support requests for outside grant funding and regulatory approval, including application for federal E-rate eligibility. Finally, this plan will provide a concrete basis for evaluating progress, so that assessment can lead to new planning for the years after 2000.
1. Introduction

Technology will continue to evolve rapidly. We must prepare our students for an information society based on what we know now as well as prepare them to be learners who readily adapt to new technologies. As we help our students, we must be willing to help each other. We cannot leave the instruction and use of technology to a select few.
--Vermont State Technology Council, Council Position Paper, 1996, p.6.


The ThetNet Consortium believes that technology is a tool for all learners. We need to encourage ourselves--students, educators, librarians, community members--to move beyond the question: "What can I do with this computer?" We need to say: "This is what I want to achieve; how can this technology help me accomplish my goals?"

We believe that this Technology Plan can:

•develop student ability to think, search, create, and solve problems
•help create, organize, and synthesize curricula
•help educators manage their classrooms and support their students
•prepare students for success upon graduation with a curriculum tuned to the needs of the community and business environments
•facilitate communication within the community and create a public forum
•provide access to information


For these reasons, the ThetNet Consortium expects to put technology to work as a tool for higher quality learning not just in the schools and libraries, but throughout Thetford.

Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles articulated here underlie the goals of this plan and will continue to provide a rubric for decision-making and budgeting throughout the planning cycle. ThetNet Guiding Principles hold that technology planning should be:

Practical

•Target important skills that students, teachers, librarians, administrators and community people need.
•Solve specific identified problems.

Affordable

•Measure each expense to see if it is necessary or if a less expensive alternative exists.

Compatible

•Coordinate with other state, regional and local technology initiatives.

Integrated

•Integrate student technology objectives into the regular curriculum.
•Coordinate plans and needs of all Consortium members.
•Align technology objectives with state standards.

Enduring

•Pursue innovations that are designed to last.
•Do not assume that “new” is the same as “better.”
•Test proposed new technology before making significant decisions.

Fundable

•Plans must be consistent with local funding requirements.
•Plans should qualify, wherever possible, for outside funding.

Simple
•Make selections for ease of use and low maintenance.

Accessible
Deploy technology where it will enhance the daily activities of the users.
•Provide the learning community with maximum access to technology.

Developmental Model

Central to our technology plan is a developmental model that provides a framework for all other elements: for goals and objectives, a skills continuum, training plans, purchases, and technical and curricular supports. People acquire technological skills in a fairly predictable, methodical manner that moves from basic awareness through exploration and appropriation to original design. This four-stage progression applies to students and adults in school or library settings. A similar progression in a familiar, non-technical field might go like this:

Level 1: A cook follows each word of a recipe. (Awareness / Entry / Adoption)
Level 2: Cook refers to the recipe when in doubt. (Exploration /Adaptation)
Level 3: Cook throws the recipe away. (Analysis /Synthesis /Appropriation /Invention)
Level 4: Cook creates a new recipe. (Development /Refinement /Advancement)


Level 1: Awareness / Entry / Adoption

At this level, users learn the basics of the new technology. Teachers use
it as an adjunct to their own customary instructional approach and to satisfy the goals of the existing curriculum. Level 1 is best characterized by drill and practice where the student progresses through a series of pre-programmed interactions. This is an appropriate way to use a computer and may work with some curricula.

This approach can work well where basic skills are the focus; basic math-skills programs are good examples of Level 1 use. The teacher can set the stage in the classroom and reinforce the activity with the computer. The computer becomes a tutor and helps students move through a body of material at their own pace. For teachers just beginning to work with new technology, Level 1 applications are a good method to begin to connect the computer to the classroom.

The equivalent pattern of usage in a library setting is use of the electronic card catalog to duplicate the functions of the manual print catalog, searching author, title, and subject categories.

Level 2: Exploration / Adaptation

At this level, users integrate new technology and skills into traditional classroom practice. The computer is used as a resource to support the class. It becomes a tool for exploration of existing realms and lends itself well to curricular goals that emphasize research skills.

Here, users focus on increased student productivity and engagement by using word processors, spreadsheets, and graphics tools. These programs move beyond drill and practice and involve critical thinking and the integration of math, science, and language arts.

In the library setting, Level 2 exploration and adaptation might encompass more powerful look-
up and search strategies and use of the shared catalog services of the combined institutional framework.

Level 3: Analysis / Synthesis / Appropriation / Invention

At this level, users focus on cooperative, project-based, interdisciplinary work, incorporating the technology as needed and as one of a broad array of tools. The technology is the tool for creative original communication, simulation, and presentation. Here, users extend the functionality of their tools and skills. At this level students are no longer simply searching for correct answers.

For example, instead of entering data into a pre-defined spreadsheet, as they might have done at Level 2, students develop their own spreadsheet macros for teaching or learning accounting or algebra, or they may design projects that integrate spreadsheets into desktop publishing or database applications. Teachers can integrate a science experience with language arts and writing instruction, or with social studies and history, sharing it locally and globally through telecommunications. Graphics, word processing, and multimedia tools are used extensively at this level.

In the libraries, Level 3 use will mean extending the search and retrieval of information to a broad range of online resources, including indexed databases and keyword and query-
based search engines.



Level 4: Development / Refinement / Advancement

This is the level of programmers and designers capable of creating original technology to solve identified problems. Generally, public school students and teachers would not be expected to achieve this level, although the curious and motivated student anticipating post-secondary technical training might take advantage of the resources to this end.

The equivalent stage of use in the library setting might be to construct a new information resource by building links between existing sources or constructing a query-based information retrieval system.

The Developmental Process

While the four-stage developmental model implies a simple linear progression, it is important to recognize that the acquisition of skills may take place in one or two areas at a time. For example: Students in first grade will move through the levels of acquiring basic computer skills, including how to turn the computer on and off and how to save data on a floppy disk, but it may be a year or two before they begin using a database for research, such as a CD encyclopedia or thesaurus. Creating graphics may not come into play until middle school, and building spreadsheets may not be explored until high school. Teachers and other adult computer users also will most likely become comfortable with basic computer and keyboarding skills before they tackle such more complex skills as desktop publishing and navigation of and downloading from the World Wide Web, which combine two or more basic computer skills.

This model provides the foundation for all aspects of the ThetNet Technology Plan. The four-level model will help insure that learners at all levels can benefit from this plan.



2. Background Information

2.1 Demographics

Thetford is located in the Connecticut River valley 15 miles up river from the commercial hub of White River Junction, VT and Lebanon, NH. The town is divided into seven villages. There are
three community centers, five churches, two public libraries and three schools within its boundaries.

History and population

The villages of Thetford were settled between 1761 and 1792 to take advantage of good agricultural land near the Connecticut River and water-powered mills for everything from soapstone to linseed oil to grain and timber. The population reached its 19th-century peak in 1830 when the census recorded 2,113 residents. The failure of a lead mine and increased westward migration began to draw residents out of the area and this population was not equaled for 150 years, until the 1980 census recorded 2,188 residents. Comparing the peak population of 1830 and the current figure does not indicate the rapid growth of the past decades. As recently as 1960, the census count was 1,049. Thus, the population has more than doubled over the last three decades.

Thetford remains a rural community with a population of approximately 2,600 with about 670 households. The voting checklist numbers 1,738. There are 1,060 year-round house units, an increase of 5.7% since 1990, and there are 113 vacation or seasonal units, up 8.7% in the same period. The median household income is $37,000, and the average annual wage per job in 1996 was $20,967, compared with a state average of $24,479.

Table A below indicates a significant rise in the overall educational level of residents in the decade between 1980 and 1990. At the same time, the pattern of employment also shifted. In 1990, there were 1,354 persons aged 16 or older employed, of whom 365 worked in Thetford. Note in Table B that while the professionals almost doubled in the ten-year period, the percentage growth in farming more than kept pace, indicating that the rural character of Thetford remains a central characteristic.

TABLE A: TABLE B:

Education level, percent

1980

1990

Less than high school

23.7

8.7

High school diploma

31

30

Some college

16.6

20.1

Bachelor degree or above

28.7

41.1

Job

1980

1990

Professional

205

391

Production

166

181

Clerical

147

168

Executive

95

157

Other service

106

124

Farming

51

118

Sales

59

61

Movers

65

58

Technician

35

53

Machine operator

43

27

Laborers

37

14

Household

8

2

Security

8

0



Government

Thetford is managed by an elected board of selectmen. The annual town budget, including the highway department, is just under $300,000 and has been rising at the rate of inflation for the past twenty years.

Citizens control the course of town affairs in Town Meeting held each year in March with some votes held the next day by Australian ballot. Currently, the school budget is debated at an evening meeting in May then voted by Australian ballot the next day, but there is growing sentiment to combine the town and school budgeting and decision-making process into a single meeting.

Libraries

In 1972, the libraries of the villages united to form a working "federation" composed of Latham and Peabody public libraries, the Historical Society Library, the Thetford Academy Library, and the Elementary School Library. The Federation's two public libraries have 2,156 members. (A third library in the village of Thetford Center donated its collection to Latham on Thetford Hill and closed its doors.)

The goal of federation was to create a unified system for the whole town. Books are shared by the libraries. The five member libraries enjoy the benefits of a plan of service that encourages complementary collections and programs tailored to fit groups active in each member library. New materials are bought on a staggered schedule so fresh titles are offered when they are most in demand. Reference materials are also purchased in a staggered fashion so that current reference materials are always available somewhere in town. The public librarian carries the books between sites. This Federation of libraries is unique in Vermont. (See Appendix K.)

Support for Community Projects

While the focus of community activity has shifted over the years, Thetford retains a strong spirit of volunteerism. It supports a volunteer FAST squad and Volunteer Fire Department. The Lions Club, youth sports, school and town committees, and libraries depend on people pitching in. Cross country meets at the Academy have over 100 Thetford residents helping run the day-long events. Installation of a fiber optic cable between the schools and one library was accomplished with the work of over 50 volunteers over the course of a month.

Schools

There are three schools in the town of Thetford with 273 students at Thetford Elementary School (TES), 22 students at Open Fields (a private elementary school), and 350 at Thetford Academy (TA) in grades 7 - 12. Six of the Open Fields students are Thetford residents. Thetford Academy is a private school serving the towns of Thetford, Strafford, West Fairlee, Vershire, Fairlee and Lyme, NH.

The school population is primarily Caucasian with a small population of other racial groups. Twelve percent of the students in both Thetford Academy and Thetford Elementary receive free hot lunch. An additional seven at the elementary and four percent at the Academy receive their lunches at a reduced rate.

The Town District School budget is just over $3 million, and has been rising at a higher rate than inflation. Three quarters of the school budget is for instruction and special education.

Thetford School population, year ending June 30, 1996:

Grade

Thetford students

Other students

Total

K

39

1

38

2

53

3

35

4

41

5

50

6

47

7

41

9

50

8

37

12

49

9

37

37

74

10

31

23

54

11

25

27

52

12

29

20

40



Support for Publicly-funded Education

The sharp rise in population that began in the 1960s has put increasing pressure on Thetford's school system. In the 1980s, this coincided with cutbacks in state and federal aid for education. The result has been a rising budget for education shouldered by the property-tax paying residents. In the late 80s and early 90s, funding for education became a contentious issue within the town, some felt, dividing new residents with a greater ability to pay from older residents with fixed or lower income levels.

Several factors have greatly lowered tensions around school funding since the mid-90s: prudent management of scarce resources, respect for the hard work of those administrators and teachers who make our schools work, increased efforts on both sides to create a single community united around common goals, and efforts at property tax relief from the State of Vermont. Recent budgets have passed without amendment.

It can be hoped that the enduring legacy of the school funding controversies will be a town-wide awareness--among newcomers and old-timers alike--that we all share responsibility for our children’s education and that our schools are a primary community resource.


2.2 Overview of Process

Technology at Thetford Academy

Thetford Academy has been incorporating computer technology for over twenty years, but for many of those years, one motivated staff member carried the torch alone.

In the early 1970s, there were no computers at Thetford Academy and the closest computer center was located at Dartmouth College. Some early BASIC programming was done by TA students by traveling to Dartmouth College in the evenings and working on projects there. The students were not able to save the programs they created since they were guests on the system. It was a challenge to complete all the program entry in a short period of time.

In 1976, Thetford Academy purchased a Radio Shack TRS-80 computer with 16 KB of memory. This provided students with access to a computer and the ability to store their work (on cassette tapes!). In 1980, TA purchased its first Apple II computer with a 5.25" floppy drive for storage and 32 KB of memory. This was a giant step forward.

During the early 1980s, the Academy purchased a few Apple II computers each year, which increased access for faculty and students. In the late 1980s, TA began to move toward Macintosh computers for general use. The advantage of the Macintosh computer was its ease of networking. All the computers were networked together with a shared server and printer.

As the numbers of computers at Thetford Academy grew throughout the 1980s, it was found that providing general access to the computers in an area that was available to all students was more effective and beneficial. The librarian and the computer coordinator selected the library as an appropriate and generally accessible location. It was more successful than anyone had imagined, but the noise from the computer area disturbed the library atmosphere.

The process of networking the campus continued throughout the 1990s. It culminated in 1996 with the renovation of the White Building (the main building housing the library, administrative offices, and humanities classrooms), when the decision was made to include a larger computer area adjacent to the new library. It would be a closed-in area to reduce the sound in the main library and would be glassed-in to provide supervision by the library staff. The lab was designed to allow for classes to work in the area as well as individuals to work independently. The lab was also designed so that there could be easy access during the evening by community members. Since the fall of 1996, it has been the site for a variety of teacher in-service classes as well as classes for community members.

In addition to the larger computer lab, this renovation created a data closet to house the servers and network repeaters, and an Ethernet network. There are currently 20 Power Macintosh computers and a laser printer located in the lab. The older Macintosh computers were moved to individual classrooms so that each teacher had access to at least one computer in their room. Just prior to the renovation, an e-mail system was established using the First Class e-mail software and an Internet connection was purchased through the State of Vermont (GovNet).

Technology at Thetford Elementary School

In the years before the first Thetford school technology plan, computer access at the elementary school consisted of Apple II series computers, one station in each classroom. A 0.1 FTE computer teacher was hired to provide training for students. Some teachers found intermittent use for the computers, but the machines often sat idle under their dust covers.
During the 1993-94 school year, a committed group of Thetford residents met to create a proposed technology plan for TES. This committee was composed of a teacher, a school board member, the newly hired computer coordinator, the TA computer coordinator, a communications specialist, a parent and a non-parent, all Thetford community members. Use of technology was an important part of the work lives of all participants.

The technology plan was adopted by the Thetford School Board in August 1994. The next two years (1994-95 and 1995-96) were spent implementing the short range goals specified in the plan, including hardware and software purchases and teacher training. During the 1996-97 school year, technology representatives from all of the district schools formed the Orange East Supervisory Union (OESU) Technology Committee. The Committee wrote both an OESU technology plan and a Goals 2000 proposal. They were successful in receiving both state approval of the plan and funding for the grant proposal.

The last six months of 1997 have been filled with meeting the local goals outlined in the proposal. One important goal, which has been met, was to devise, distribute, collect, and analyze over 200 questionnaires (Appendices A and D) eliciting detailed opinions from members of the community regarding the direction technology education should take within the Thetford community.

The Creation of This Plan

In December, 1997, the TES technology coordinator invited a group of 16 individuals representing various stakeholders’ perspectives to meet and plan the revision of the TES Technology Plan . At the first meeting, on January 2, 1998, a decision was made to write a common technology plan for TES, TA, and the Thetford Library Federation. All present agreed that a unified effort would benefit each institution, its constituents, and the community of Thetford as a whole. This team agreed upon the basic concepts of the mission, and after reviewing the state format and other pertinent documents, divided responsibilities for writing a draft. Since the meeting, team members have been communicating with each other over e-mail and at subcommittee meetings, in a collaborative process that has produced this document.

2.3 Stakeholders:

We define stakeholders as those members of the community with an interest in technology as a tool for learning. This group includes those with an expressed interest and those with a potential stake in the benefits of technology. The core of the Thetford learning community includes all those employed and served by these institutions--all students, educators, library workers and patrons--as well as those charged with their stewardship--local and supervisory union administrators and board members. In its broadest sense, the Thetford learning community extends to all citizens of the town and all those who learn in its institutions, including some residents of other communities. The ThetNet Team is a microcosm of these stakeholders in our learning community. We are parents, non-parent community members (i.e. taxpayers), teachers, educational administrators, school and town librarians, elected officials, representatives in the technology field, business people, and students.


2.4 Mission Statement:

The mission of the ThetNet Consortium is to promote responsible, competent use of appropriate technology by the entire Thetford learning community, supporting advancement of all stakeholders and the system itself through progressively higher developmental levels.

3. Current Status

3.1 Assessment of Student and Staff Technology Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes

Historically, formal assessment has been a weak link in developing the current state of technology in ThetNet institutions. However, informal assessment--in the form of discussion by community members interested in technology advancement--has been a strong point in the success to this point. In recent years, this has involved various meetings among teachers, administrators, board members, workers in technology, parents, and other community members. The results of these discussions have led the various institutions in the ThetNet Consortium to decisions about the direction initiatives should take.

These discussions led to:

•creation of ThetNet to plan and guide common efforts for the development of technology skills, knowledge and attitudes within the community.
•increased support and training for staff.
•technology integration into regular classroom activities
•steady improvements in hardware, software and networking


The degree to which “Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes” have improved in the past four years has exceeded the dreams of even the early innovators. Our starting point was minimal use, based on antiquated and under-used equipment, and sparse knowledge. It is now time to establish baseline data to measure our future successes and to formalize the assessment process. Formal gathering and analysis of data will therefore be strong components of this plan.

TA Staff and Student Survey (Appendix B):

Results show that almost all students and staff have a basic familiarity with computers. More training is needed, especially on specific resources (i.e. Internet, data bases, subscription sites), and to bring general staff level of expertise up to that of students.

Students and staff are calling for more Internet access at the school. The staff would like closer ties between technology and the curriculum made possible through better classroom computers, classroom or lab Internet access, projection devices and multi-media presentation capabilities. An increase in school e-mail accounts or better training in the use of "free" accounts would equalize student access to all parts of the current system.

TES 4-6 mini-survey:

Surveys of the fourth through sixth grades show over 80% have access to a computer outside of school.

TES Self-Evaluation of Staff Use of Technology (Appendix C):

Results indicate a baseline level for the staff as a group and individually. The group baseline provides an indicator for measuring future progress, while also helping plan in-service training. The individual data indicates which staff members could act as peer tutors, while also serving as a tool for self evaluation.
ThetNet Community Technology Questionnaire (Appendices A and D):

Responses represent 8% of the total population. This data indicates widespread access to computers (primarily Mac platform), as well as high interest in adult training, increased access to community information, and supporting voluntary technology improvement efforts.

Proposed Student Technology Outcomes Surveys:

These instruments are in development at this point, but have not been implemented; results and interpretation, therefore, do not yet exist: The following documents are under review:

•proposed TA High School Student Technology Outcomes (Appendix E)
•proposed TES Student Technology Outcomes (Appendix F)
•proposed Thetford Middle School Student Technology Outcomes (Appendix G)


3.2 Inventories

3.2.1 Software

ThetNet:

A FirstClass e-mail system provides electronic mail to 250 users in the three locations. This server dials up to the Vermont Educational Gateway Service to provide Internet e-mail for all users. All paid staff members throughout the Consortium have FirstClass accounts.

A Library Pro system has been installed to provide catalog and circulation tracking for the three component libraries.

Apple’s security application (AtEase) is used extensively throughout the Academy and Elementary School.

Thetford Academy:

The primary AppleShare server is administered by the Academy Computer Coordinator using Apple’s Network Administrator. The network includes access to nearly all of the school's licensed software and research tools, as well as electronic mail.

110 licenses for ClarisWorks 2.0 for the Macintosh
4 licenses for ClarisWorks 4.0
1 license for Claris HomePage 2.0
152 licenses for FirstClass e-mail
2 licenses for Aldus Pagemaker 5.0a for the Macintosh
10 licenses for CricketGraph
27 licenses for AtEase Work Group software
80 licenses for Keyserver software
CDs on network:
Encyclopedia Britannica CD 97
Facts on File World News Digest

Groliers New Multimedia Encyclopedia

Stand alone CDs:
Discovering Authors
Family Doctor
Groliers Multimedia Encyclopedia 1997
Infotrac
Japan
Leonardo da Vinci
Maus
Monarch Notes
Poetry in Motion
Shakespeare
Who Built America?
Other miscellaneous CDs (~10)
Other Software:
AES grade reporting software
BoardMaker software for remedial work
Chemistry at Work; Life Science Series (4 laser disks)
DINE dietary software
Electric Library (Subscription)
Expan guidance software
Internet Explorer software
Lightspeed Pascal programming software
Macromedia Authorware
Macromedia Director v 5.0
Music Time
Netscape Navigator software
Perseus Software v. 2.0

Year Tech Yearbook software

Thetford Elementary School:

The elementary school uses a FilemakerPro database server for purchase requisitions and student information. This system is available to the other institutions.

59 licenses for ClarisWorks 2.0 for the Macintosh
25 licenses for FileMaker Pro
52 licenses for FirstClass e-mail
30 licenses for Type to Learn
5 Groliers Multimedia Encyclopedia CDs
Netscape Navigator software
30 misc. CDs available from the library
1 closet full of legacy Apple II software

Thetford Library Federation:

A contract has been signed with Easynet for on-line searches to 13 Database hosts including BRS, Dialog, and the H.W. Wilson Company.


3.2.2 Hardware

ThetNet:

The Consortium does not own hardware. Each institution purchases hardware separately at this point.

Thetford Academy:

29 new generation Macs
61 old generation Macs
1 New Generation PC
5 Laser Printers
1 color inkjet printer
1 digital camera
10 VCRs and TVs
1 Laserdisc player
12 overhead projectors
2 video cameras
2 cassette players
2 cassette and CD audio players
2 Mac to TV converters
1 LCD Computer Display (B&W)

???OFFICE HARDWARE (IBM)

Thetford Elementary School:

23 new generation Macs
33 old generation Macs
10 legacy Apple IIs
15 CD ROMs
3 Laser Printers
2 color inkjet printers
1 B/W inkjet printer 1 digital camera
4 VCRs and TVs
3 overhead projectors
1 video camera
10 cassette recorder/players
1 legacy Apple II compatible LCD Computer Display (B&W)

Thetford Library Federation:

Latham:

1 new generation Mac
2 old generation Macs
1 Laser Printer

Peabody:

1 new generation Mac
2 dot matrix printers

Historical Society:

1 new generation Mac laptop



3.2.3 Facilities

ThetNet:

There is a 6 strand buried fiber optic cable running between all five buildings. The three institutions communicate via 10 baseT Ethernet over the fiber optic cable.

Thetford Academy:

There are four buildings on the TA campus. Fiber optic cable and 25 pair cable connect the three major parts of the campus. One 25 pair cable connects buildings that are adjacent to each other. All of these cables are connected in the boiler rooms of each building. From these boiler rooms 4 pair cable is connected to each of the classrooms in that building. All rooms at TA have access to the campus wide network. With the 1996 renovation of the White Building, there is a data closet which brings all these cables to a central location. Two 24 port Ethernet hubs provide Ethernet communication to 30 computers and a Cayman System's Gator Star controller. The 24 port Gator Star provides Ethernet to LocalTalk bridging for the 60 Macintosh computers and 6 printers. This controller can support as many as 96 devices.The White Building has Ethernet capability with category 5, 4 pair wire throughout. Each classroom contains a previous generation (Mac Classics, Mac SEs, and Mac Pluses) computer which is connected to the school's network.

Thetford Elementary School:

An Assante 8 port Ethernet hub provides Ethernet communication to 6 computers as well as a Cayman System's Gator Star controller. The 24 port Gator Star hub/controller provides Ethernet to LocalTalk bridging for 55 Macintosh computers and 4 printers. This hub can support as many as 96 devices.

All classrooms and Special Education Rooms have four pair (cat 3) twisted pair cable running to them. Some of the administrative offices have legacy three pair telco wires. All are terminated on 66 blocks in a central communications closet.

Thetford Library Federation:

There are newly installed 4 pair (cat 5) cables to 5 data locations. These cables are terminated on a 66 block that cross connects to (cat 5) feeder cables running to a 12 port Xcon block at the Ethernet hub location. An Assante 8 port Ethernet hub provides Ethernet communications to the 5 locations.


3.2.4 Networking and Telecommunications Capacities

The following diagram illustrates the current network, as of December, 1997:

Existing Network Drawing

 

3.2.4 Networking and Telecommunications Capacities

ThetNet:

During the fall of 1997, a fiber optic cable was drawn between Thetford Academy, Thetford Elementary School and Latham Library (This was three-month project, involving 45 adult and 7 student volunteers.) This linkage enables these physically separate institutions to share servers, e-mail, on-line card catalog system, and many other resources. The current ThetNet network connects five separate buildings of the three institutions. There are 135 computers and 6 Laser printers installed on the combination Ethernet/LocalTalk network. The network operating system is controlled by an AppleShare server providing file sharing to all three institutions. Apple's At-Ease Network Administrator provides authentication and authorization services to 27 devices. All printing is provided in a peer to peer mode.

Thetford Academy:

Internet services are available in the library. The entire Thetford Academy campus is networked to accommodate the over 80 Macintosh computers - one in each room and two clusters found in the library and study center. There are two modem lines which are used to connect the e-mail server to the Together Net gateway and connect one library computer to the Internet.

Thetford Elementary School:

The entire Thetford Elementary School building is networked (LocalTalk) to accommodate 55 Macintosh computers - one in each room and a cluster located in the grade 3-6 hallway. A modem line in the library connects 1 station to the Internet.

Thetford Library Federation:

Latham Library has one Mac computer linked with the Vermont Department of Libraries and other public libraries for electronic mail and interlibrary loans. Since this link was established in 1996-97, interlibrary loan requests from Thetford tripled. With Latham's books listed in the on-line Public Library Catalog, interlibrary loan requests for local books have increased ninefold.The Historical Society and Peabody Library are not yet on-line.

3.3 Current Status of Curriculum and Information Technology Initiatives in Relation to Education Reform

The ThetNet Consortium is primarily a planning and coordinating structure. Improved access to telecommunications is at the heart of this collaborative effort. The people who comprise the ThetNet Team are the planners and writers of our past grants; they are also the organizers and ditch diggers of the fiber optic connection. The group is writing this technology plan and will be completing the E-rate applications.

The faculties of both schools are in the process of a full scale curriculum revision, working on tying the goals and objectives to the Vermont Frameworks. This revision includes adapting the proposed OESU technology skills continuum (Appendix H) and the OESU Information Literacy curriculum, both of which are aligned to the Vermont Frameworks.


3.4 Professional Development

ThetNet:

The Consortium fully supports the need for professional development, but so far it has not initiated any separate training activities. An Introduction to ClarisWorks has been offered to the community through Adults on Keys (AOK), a shared initiative with OESU, using the TES facilities. Intermediate ClarisWorks will be offered through AOK in April-May, 1998, at the TA lab.

Thetford Academy:

The school initiated formal training in 1994-95, by sponsoring two series of a six-week Introduction to ClarisWorks course for faculty and staff, held at the school at no charge. This introductory course was offered again during the 1995-96 school year. A total of 24 professional, paraprofessional ,and office staff members completed this training.

Since then, the technology coordinators have been available to answer (and anticipate) questions as they arise. In the 1997-1998 school year, TA increased the appointment for technology coordinators (by 0.2 FTE), to dedicate more time to the training and use of computer technology within the curriculum.

With ready access to powerful software and e-mail, teachers have learned a great deal from informal training on an as-needed basis. E-mail became available in June of 1996; by June of 1997 90% of teachers regularly used the system.

In addition, each teacher has access to approximately $1100/year in professional training support. Teachers may use this to get technology training, and this has been an increasingly frequent choice in the past five years.

Thetford Elementary School:

The technology coordinator acts as an agent of professional development. He coordinates and conducts workshops, gives technical assistance and preview opportunities in the areas of educational technology including:

•Raising the level of technology awareness.
•Suggesting educational applications of a variety of computer programs.
•Training on hardware and software.
•Providing curricular assistance regarding hardware usage, software applications, and
computer technology.
•Encouraging the development of curriculum, lesson plans and units integrating
technology into the curriculum.


Thetford Library Federation:

The Library Federation has provided informal training for the librarian and plans to encourage the librarian and library volunteers to participate in training opportunities available through the schools.



3.5 Support Staffing

ThetNet:

The Consortium has as its support staff the volunteers and technology support staff of the member institutions.

Thetford Academy

TA has two technology coordinators sharing 0.5 FTE (a half-time appointment). One serves as the hardware and system software consultant and the other serves as the curriculum software advocate among the faculty. The roles of these two individuals overlap some of the time. TA also has two other faculty members who have taught computer literacy classes as well as the Pascal programming classes. Several faculty members are conversant in computer issues and give support on an as-needed basis to their colleagues. The librarian and the library assistant are integral to the implementation of the Information Literacy curriculum. In addition, a community volunteer with expertise in network systems has worked extensively with the technology system coordinator for four years. Several high school students have also participated substantially in management of recent TA technology improvements.

Thetford Elementary School:

At present the technology coordinator position at Thetford Elementary School is funded at 0.2 FTE. In order to meet the needs of the job adequately, the technology coordinator and numerous volunteers must generously donate huge amounts of time during evenings, weekends, vacations and summer breaks.

The technology coordinator:

•consults with staff members to brainstorm ways of coordinating technology applications with
instructional goals.
•provides consultation to administrators and teachers on planning and implementation of
administrative applications and technology.
•installs software and hardware updates and improvements
•provides preventative maintenance and repair to software and hardware.
•encourages telecommunications efforts.
•supports staff members to become technology leaders (site support staff). These more
technologically conversant staff members help tutor and assist other staff members.


Thetford Library Federation:

The member libraries of the federation are staffed by three professional librarians, a paid library assistant , and numerous volunteers; some have familiarity with computer technology.
4. Program Goals and Information Technology Initiatives

The Thetnet Learning Community can be viewed as a “wheel” with five segments representing the major goals of this Technology Plan. The wheel has two halves:

•The right half represents goals that benefit students directly.
•The left half represents goals for adults--administrators, teachers, and community
members--who support student learning and are also learners themselves.

Note that two goal areas--access and instruction--overlap both halves, as they involve both students and adults directly in the educational process. The “hub” of the wheel is the actual technology: the hardware, software, and other resources all learners will share to reach the goals of the Plan.


The goals of this technology plan are grouped into four categories as shown in the chart above:

1. Administration and Management
2. Communication and Information Access
3. Curriculum and Instruction
4. Staff Competency

Each set of goals is described here. The program to carry out these goals is spelled out in the Action Plan in Section 6.

4.1. Administration and Management Goals:

Providing an appropriate infrastructure requires continual development as both technology and the needs of the community expand. An effective infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance, so that all components function efficiently. Extending access brings with it the responsibility to establish and enforce standards for appropriate use.

Coordination among various stakeholders is essential to avoid wasteful duplication and to get maximum benefit from all components.

The administration of the member institutions will benefit from the implementation of this plan by using technology to solve administrative problems.

Throughout these plans and activities, ThetNet and member institutions must consider that resources are limited, but quality and effectiveness are important. Use of the ThetNet Guiding Principles for all decision making will ensure high quality results.

ThetNet will help the community develop a supportive attitude toward technology and technical education and will promote participation in the ThetNet system through these specific goals:

4.1.1. Develop, administer and maintain an effective, affordable
technology infrastructure.
4.1.2. Coordinate efforts among the schools, supervisory union,
library federation, and the town.
4.1.3. Promote and administer community access.
4.1.4. Improve use of technology in school administration.
4.1.5. Improve use of technology in library administration.



4.2 Communication and Information Access Goals:


Ready access to a technology infrastructure will promote exchange of information within the Thetford community. Access to external resources is also important, particularly for a rural community such as Thetford. It is a primary aim of this plan to make access to infrastructure and information available to all members of the Thetford community.

In support of this aim we will:

4.2.1. Increase ThetNet capacity
4.2.2. Strengthen communication within Thetford and with the
world beyond Thetford.
4.2.3. Promote community involvement.
4.2.4 Maintain standards for appropriate, responsible use of
communication technology.


4.3 Instruction and Curriculum Goals:

Our instruction and curriculum goals are based on an assessment of learners’ levels according to the developmental model. This assessment, conducted at regular intervals, will provide the basis for designing and modifying both school curricula and a related community curriculum. The ultimate goal of school curriculum is to prepare students for success upon graduation from high school, so a related goal must be monitoring trends in business, industry, and higher education and adapting instruction to reflect these trends.

Although technology instruction in the schools so far has occurred primarily through disparate courses and units, we are now ready for more integration and infusion of technology throughout the academic curriculum. This will bring teachers and administrators to higher levels in their use of technological tools in support of the curriculum.

Within the schools, equitable access to infrastructure and instruction is essential: all students must have comparable learning opportunities, throughout the K-12 continuum and across gender, socioeconomic class, race, ability, and other groupings that might otherwise might reduce access.

Similarly, the community curriculum will evolve according to emerging trends and local needs. To summarize, our goals for instruction and curriculum are to:

4.3.1. Survey and analyze level of technology adoption among stakeholders
4.3.2. Implement a technology skills continuum
4.3.3. Integrate new technology into existing Field of Knowledge curricula
4.3.4. Promote equity for all students
4.3.5. Create adult community curriculum



4.4. Professional Development: Competency Goals in Support of Learning and Education Reform:

In order to accomplish the mission, we need to ensure the requisite skills and knowledge in those charged with maintaining the system and with helping others learn. In formal institutional terms, this means providing both adequate staffing and effective training for professionals and their associates in the schools and libraries.

Principles of Effective Training:

•Training should align with educational goals and with Vermont's Framework Standards and
Learning Opportunities.

•Training should be aimed at achieving curriculum goals by supporting the work of educators,
including administrative and management tasks.

•Integration of technology into all disciplines should be a priority. It should address the needs
of all grade levels.

•Training should address the educational uses and classroom management implications of the
technology being taught.

•Training needs to be systematic and ongoing. It should promote increasing levels of
sophistication in educators' use of technology as described in the developmental model.

•The most effective training allows sufficient time for hands-on practice, for reflection and
assimilation of the experience, and for follow-up.

•Periodic assessment of the current state of educator skills should be conducted.

•Training should foster independence in dealing with the technical aspects of the technology
being addressed, e.g., basic hardware and software troubleshooting.

•It is appropriate for some training to take place during contracted time. A qualified pool of
substitutes can remove the difficulties ordinarily associated with this model.

•Building administrators need to be involved in training experiences so they can support
teachers' efforts in the classroom and evaluate teachers appropriately with regard to
technology.

•in-service experiences should be provided by ThetNet member institutions and the
supervisory union; they should be evaluated routinely.

•Use of local trainers, when feasible, allows for greater follow-up opportunity. Employees
should be compensated for delivering training outside of contracted responsibilities.

•Training should take associated technologies into account as they become available to
educators (calculators, laboratory interfaces, laser disk players, interactive television).

•Training materials should be maintained for general use by those wishing to self-train.

•Incentives should be provided to teachers who engage in training, especially when on their
own time.

•Administrators and the Local Standards Board should require that educators address
technology education in their Individual Professional Development Plans and in other
professional goal statements.

•School administrators should give serious consideration to the technological literacy of
applicants in the hiring process and should consider inclusion of these skills in educators’ job
descriptions.



No matter how well trained professional staff members are, we cannot depend solely on institutional staffing to reach our goals. The Consortium will also continue to recognize and promote the essential role of volunteers in planning, in designing and maintaining infrastructure, in providing instruction and training, and in recruiting and orienting additional volunteers. We expect that the group of volunteers will expand as the community advances in its collective learning development.

Our goals to promote professional and volunteer staff competency, then, are to:

4.4.1. Maintain ThetNet Technology Coordinators
4.4.2. Monitor faculty skills
4.4.3. Train faculty and staff of schools and libraries
4.4.4. Train community volunteers



5. Technology Design

Each aspect of the technology design itself has been constructed according to the Guiding Principles articulated in the introduction to this document. It may be worthwhile reviewing these before reading this section.

5.1 Software Priorities

This section describes the software required to support our goals for Administration and Management; Communication and Access; and Instruction and Curriculum.

5.1.1 Administrative and Management

The process of integration of technology into school administration began several years ago with the implementation of the first Thetford technology plan, but there are still several areas where school and library administration can be streamlined and improved with new technology.

Thetford Elementary School has been experimenting with building their own FileMaker Pro 3.0 databases for student, parent, and staff data, and with an electronic purchase order database to expedite ordering. Thetford Academy has just upgraded the electronic report card system that has been in use for several years. The libraries have purchased Library Pro software and are in the process of automating their shared collections. Administrators at both schools have been using Excel and/or ClarisWorks spreadsheet applications for budgetary planning and tracking.

Our first step will be to evaluate the effectiveness of FileMaker Pro and compare it with a ready-made school administration package called MacSchool that has modules for attendance, budgeting, reporting and other administrative needs. In addition, we will support the administration by increasing AppleShare Services to include Elementary Student Data.

The ThetNet libraries have shared in purchasing Library Pro software and are now in the process of transferring volume information to MARC records which will automate and enhance library administration and management.

5.1.2 Communications and Information Access

Our constituency is already well-served by e-mail as a result of the first technology plan. Our technical design to support our new goals for communication and access centers on increased use of the World Wide Web and establishment of an online identity for ThetNet and each of its member institutions. The www.thet.net domain name has already been registered with the Internet Society and an external Internet Service Provider is hosting this combined school and municipal site. Our ThetNet Web pages will refer to Thetford Schools as well as carry a community resource listing.

The next phase of this design requires the purchase and installation of an on site http (hyper text transfer protocol) server to control the Web site locally and reduce ongoing costs. We plan to use Netscape 3.0 as our Web browser. Adequate access also requires expansion of our hardware and network facilities, covered in the next section.

We plan to expand access to e-mail and to increase the number of simultaneous Internet users. Access points will include the lab at Thetford Academy as well as individual stations located in classrooms, Latham Library and the Thetford Historical Society. These work stations will also serve FirstClass as a local e-mail application with batched delivery to the outside world via Vermont Educational Gateway Service augmenting the e-mail system.

At the libraries, the new system will allow catalog access at all stations on our Ethernet network.

5.1.3 Instructional and Curricular

Our plan for software to support our goals for instruction and curriculum call for expanded use of currently-owned software and the carefully chosen purchase of new software as dictated by the needs of students, teachers, and the community.

Presently we have adequate licenses for ClarisWorks 2.0-3.0 to serve basic word-processing, draw, paint, desktop publishing, database, and spreadsheet needs. Web access is provided with Netscape browsers and other research tools are readily available both as individual CDs and on our LAN. Expanded offerings will include multimedia software and curriculum-specific software as need is determined. When we add a shared CD tower (see next section), we will augment our online reference material with a networked encyclopedia, dictionary and other resource volumes available at all locations.

Currently elementary student data is stored on floppy diskettes. Failed diskettes are a source of frustration for students and staff. Increasing the AppleShare Services to include Elementary Student Data storage is an important project.

5.2 Hardware, Facilities and Network Priorities

This section describes the hardware, facilities, network, and implementation portions of our technical design. These requirements support all aspects of our plan and correspond to section 6.2 of the Action Plan and budget.

5.2.1 Hardware: Workstations and Peripherals

Although we have purchased some new-generation hardware in the past two years, the majority of our hardware is old, but functional. More clusters of old-generation Macs will be created at Thetford Academy for use in word processing, e-mail, and computer literacy activities. These are sufficient to support our goal of universal access to these basic applications.

Individual work stations in classrooms will be upgraded or replaced by newer generation machines required for effectively using applications which support Internet access and multimedia. Each institution will purchase a few new computers each year, the number dependent on the ever-changing prices and availability of recently-outdated, but still relatively new equipment. At present we are entirely on the Mac platform, but Thetford Academy will begin to evaluate the introduction of some PCs to create a multiplatform curriculum to high school students.

In addition to basic processors, our plan calls for several new peripheral devices. Additional scanners and CD ROM drives are required at both the Elementary School and the Academy. Bar code readers are needed at all of the library locations. Video monitor computer projectors are planned for both the Elementary School and the Academy. A shared CD tower will support both the administration and the curriculum.

5.2.2 Facilities: Network Design

The new computer lab at the Academy is a major asset for ThetNet. We do need to upgrade the wiring for the data closets and to install some new rack mount equipment, but we plan no major new facilities at this time.

The network connecting most of the ThetNet consortium institutions was completed as part of our first technology plan. It included the design and installation of a local area network utilizing a fiber optic backbone connecting TES, TA, the Thetford Historical Society and Latham Library. Current projects include expanding Ethernet availability to many rooms which presently have only local talk access, as well as expanding access to the Internet.

A few additional hubs will be required to provide Ethernet to additional locations. A 10/100T Ethernet switch will be added to the fiber backbone between TES and the Academy. Ethernet cards will be installed in some of the Macintosh computers to upgrade them from LocalTalk, as Ethernet services are required. Network hardware selections have been made with reduced total cost of ownership in mind. The equipment is reliable and easy to manage. The technology is stable, tested and industry standard. The next phases will include the installation of a new http server, an additional AppleShare server and a CD tower.

The diagram on the following page illustrates our design:


5.2.3 Building and Classroom Wiring Standards

With the addition of 10/100T Ethernet, additional (cat 5) wiring will need to be installed at both TES and the Academy. Also, many of the RJ-11 LocalTalk jacks will be replaced with RJ -45 jacks in order to migrate to 10 Base T Ethernet.

5.2.4 Implementation Issues

Implementation, in our experience, involves a series of events in roughly the following sequence: We select a new system component and purchase it. The technology coordinators install it and get it working. Then a small group of adventurous souls experiments with the new technology, testing it and de-bugging. Training for a larger group follows. More staff and students become comfortable with the innovation and use expands. Increasing use pushes the limits of the system and at some point, demand outgrows capacity. We then must consider a new cycle of selection, purchase, installation, experimentation, training, and full utilization.

We find it difficult to predict how rapidly this cycle will occur, and the potential for system problems increases if upgrades are introduced in mid-year, or if widespread use causes unforeseen overloads, or if availability overtakes adequate training. With technology coordinators available only part-time, we cannot ensure immediate attention to all problems; this can undermine confidence in the system at times. With limited funding, we cannot simply buy our way to quick solutions.

In addition, the uncertainty of multiple factors beyond local control--the actual effects of Act 60, E-rate, new developments in technology and their effects on prices--leaves us in the familiar position of making decisions regarding implementation as best we can with the information and resources available at the time. In the past, this has sometimes felt more like “crisis reaction” than systematic decision-making. We look forward to using this comprehensive Technology Plan as a more effective guide.

Looking toward the future expansion of our network, we face geographic challenges of connecting to the town offices, the supervisory union central office, and a possible new middle school. By the time we are ready to address those issues, connectivity technology may have resolved the geographic problems for us.

5.2.5 Operations, Maintenance and Upgrades

This section describes the operations, maintenance, and upgrade portions of our technical design. These requirements support all aspects of our plan and correspond to section 6.3 of the Action Plan and budget.

Operational expenses supporting this plan are minimal and consist of consumables used for printing and disk storage.

Our budget for this section includes paid personnel costs, at 0.4 FTE for each school librarian, 0.4 for the TES technology coordinator, and 0.5 for the TA technology coordinators. A major factor in our ability to implement our vision for ThetNet, however, is the confidence we have in the experienced volunteer labor that supports our technology coordinators. We plan to continue relying on a team composed of technology coordinators and community volunteers for the majority of maintenance on hardware and software components. Some repairs will be made under warranty or by contracted service providers. In certain communities, this might be a risky strategy, but the performance of the volunteer technology committee members over the past five years should instill confidence in this aspect of the plan by ThetNet and by funding institutions.

In terms of specific upgrades, we plan to increase the Internet bandwidth to 56K within one year and to a partial T1 within two years. We remain open to experimenting with developing technologies such as satellite download and Web TV to improve connectivity economically. Other upgrades will be carefully evaluated as new versions of existing software are released.
6. Information Technology Implementation Action Plan
(Leadership, Activities, Timeline, Policy and Budget)


This section presents our plan for realizing our goals (Section 4) and for carrying out our design (Section 5). It has two parts:

Part I is the Action Plan Outline, which lists specific objectives for each goal; these objectives define the actions we will take to achieve the goals (Action Objectives). In addition, this outline identifies the person or group responsible for meeting each objective (Who). It also includes a target date for completion of each action (When), and a brief notation on the method of evaluation we expect to use (How). (See Section 7.1 on page 45 for more explanation of the evaluation system.)

Part II is the Budget, which lists funding sources and uses. The funding plan, of course, is an essential part of realizing our goals.

In order to incorporate all components required for this section by the Vermont Information Technology Plan format, we have organized the material as follows:




Part I: Action Plan Outline


Administration and Management

The administration and management section of our plan supports the goals articulated in section 4.1. These are listed as sub-headings in the chart that follows.

Our plan for administrative functions rests in the hands of the library and school administrators with essential support from the ThetNet coordinators and the volunteers of the ThetNet team. The plan details the essential milestones in this process.

Communication and Access

The Communication and Access section of our plan supports the goals articulated in section 4.2. These are listed in the first column of the chart that follows.

At the center of our plan for communication and access is the intent to extend access to free Internet e-mail for all students in grades 5-12 and to increase simultaneous Internet access to 25 within one year and to 50 within two years. While our network is essentially complete, we still must install and de-bug effective routing capabilities within the next year.
Instruction and Curriculum

The Instruction and Curriculum section of our plan supports the goals articulated in section 4.3. These are listed in the first column of the chart that follows.

At the center of our plan for Instruction and Curriculum is a sequence that starts with analysis of current capabilities, then builds an integrated skills continuum based on the supervisory union and Thetford curricula.

The pilot surveys on which our assessment will be based are included as Appendix A to this plan.

The OESU Technology Skills Continuum (Appendix H) was developed in 1996-97 by a team of teachers and administrators, including representatives from Thetford, as a model for all schools in the Orange East Supervisory Union. It identifies technology skills and knowledge all students should have at different grade levels. It also refers to numbers in the Vermont Framework of Standards, in order to show the “links” between these expectations and the state standards. ThetNet will use this OESU document as the foundation for a local skills continuum. We will review the OESU continuum carefully, and adapt it to reflect the needs of ThetNet schools. The integration of new technology into the Fields of Knowledge represents the third level of our developmental model, in which new skills are applied to traditional areas of learning.

Our plan for equity does not need to include purchase of equipment for special access, since requirements for students with special needs are funded through other means and this equipment is used only when the student is attending one of our schools. Our plan for equity, then, involves actions to promote more widespread availability of technology: monitoring gender, age, and ability indicators to determine patterns of access and use; adding low-tech workstations so that all students may use computers for basic skills and homework, regardless of their availability at home; and beginning to add PC platforms, to allow compatibility with some students’ home systems and to promote wider employment opportunities.

The adult-community portion of our plan is an outgrowth of the curriculum used in the schools. The major resources required for extending learning opportunities throughout the community are administrative, since the core capabilities have been built for the Consortium members.


Staff Competency

The Staff Competency section of our plan supports the goals articulated in section 4.4. These are listed in the first column of the chart that follows.

Plans for the future must include expanding the FTE allocations for Technology Coordination as technology programs become more embedded in the curriculum. Specifically, the Thetford Elementary School technology coordinator position needs to increase to at least 0.4 FTE beginning in 1998, with consideration of another increase in 1999 or as needed. Thetford Academy should increase its combined positions to a total of 0.66 FTE. With this commitment to adequately fund technology support efforts, the people who oversee educational technology efforts at Thetford Elementary School and Thetford Academy will be able to meet the requirements of their job descriptions (Appendices I&J). Improved levels of competence among staff members willing to share their experience and expertise will serve to support the efforts of the technology coordinators. In addition, efforts to enlist more community volunteer involvement must continue. Public institutions will not be able to afford paying for all of the needed support of technology.

Since Staff Competency is not part of the Technical Design covered in Section 5, we have gone to some length to explain our approach to professional development at the conclusion of this section of the Action Plan.



Professional Development and Staff Competency Goals

Technology integration is a learned skill. The rapid evolution of educational technology, including the explosion of multimedia and networked environments, has created a need for a widening range of technological skills among educators, thereby generating a pressing need for professional training in Thetford. It is only through training that all educators will develop an appreciation and facility for technology as a creative and integral tool in education.

Educational technology allows levels of productivity and creativity never before possible. It changes the ways in which we think and work. Educators who are competent and confident technology users recognize the need to develop new learning activities and new expectations of students in order to realize the benefits of technology. This shift of mind set will not occur without comprehensive, high-quality training.

Educators who continue to grow professionally in this field will understand the inherent value in using technology in the workplace as well as in the learning environment. Training can offer valuable dividends for educators and schools as it helps achieve the goals of Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDP) and school improvement plans.

Integration of technology is critical to all members of the teaching-learning community in order to function in current and future learning and work environments. Significant allocations of time and money must be committed in order to achieve our goals and to make best use of hardware and software expenditures. High quality, cost-effective training can best be achieved through coordination of efforts.

As noted in our discussion of goals in Section 4, the professional staff alone is not sufficient to realize the overall goals of this plan. The volunteer component of ThetNet is crucial for the success of this enterprise. Promoting staff competency, therefore, includes training volunteer staff.



ThetNet commits itself to support efforts to qualify for E-rate, the federally-funded program which is part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Act’s intent is to improve technology in schools and libraries by applying savings from discounted "Plain Old Telephone Service" (POTS.) E-rate provides a 50% discount on POTS and certain qualifying expenses related to networked services to ThetNet member institutions. The savings to ThetNet institutions over the next two years under this plan should be at least $25,000. The result should be to increase technology spending on further discounted goods and services, rather than funnel this money to support other programs. The drafting of this plan is an important step in E-rate qualification.

ThetNet will also seek outside grant funding. ThetNet was born in June, 1997, as a result of a $17,000 Technology Literacy Challenge (TLC) grant. In February, 1998, we submitted another TLC proposal for $15,000 to expand the capabilities of the TA lab to become a district wide Mac training site for teachers. We believe that Title II/ Eisenhower funds should be sought to finance training.

Although the two fundraising events (1994 & 1998) at TES netted a total more than $17,500, some people in the community have expressed the opinion that technology improvements should be planned and funded through the regular budgetary process, not through fundraising. ThetNet would support occasional fundraising for purchasing extraordinary items over and above this plan. We would, of course, welcome private donations at any time.

At first glance the $227,592 two-year cost of implementing this plan looks daunting. When existing budget items are segregated, we can see that this budget represents a relatively small increase.

We expect that the total cost to ThetNet institutions will be reduced to $213,860 by the E-rate discount. ThetNet institutions now spend approximately $13,000 per year for POTS; that savings reinvested in the plan reduces new money required to $200,860.

The cost of personnel, which reflects an increase in FTE for the TES technology coordinator position, is $134,000. This is based on an estimate that librarians already spend approximately 40% of their time on technology support within their regular positions. The total expenditure for all non-personnel program improvements is $66,860.

Funds still available in the FY 1997-98 budget (local funds, fund-raising, and TLC grant) are $12,860. If we apply that amount to this plan, the total needed over the next two years from the three institutions comes down to $54,000.

Presently we are waiting to hear about a new TLC grant that will fund a 56k line for one year and about the settlement with Bell Atlantic that will provide us with a free, partial T1 line for 3 years. These programs would reduce expenditures by up to $9,000. That means that local funding for all improvements (excluding personnel FTE increases) would cost between $45,000 and $54,000.

Although it has not been decided exactly what percentage will be funded by each participating institution, if expenses are divided in a 6:6:1 ratio with the schools paying the equal portions and the Library Federation paying the smallest portion, this would translate into a per year cost range of $10,385 to $12,462 for each school and $1,731-$2,077 for the Library Federation. This does not include future donations or fund-raising activities.
7. Monitoring, Evaluation and Revision of the Information Technology Plan

7.1 Monitoring and Evaluation Process

In order to assess our progress in achieving the objectives of this Plan, we will need to use three kinds of of evaluation:

1. Check achievement: Some strategies call for development of a single product (for example, a purchasing protocol) or event (for example, offering a training workshop) that can be clearly identified as “achieved” or “not achieved” by the target date. The Action Plan codes these strategies as “CHECK______” with a space for noting the date of completion.

2. Monitor records: Other strategies require monitoring of results and data collection on a regular basis before success or failure can be determined. (For example, “establishing a regular schedule of ThetNet Consortium meetings” is an aim whose achievement can eventually be verified, but only after it is assessed over time.) For these strategies, we will monitor relevant documentation, such as meeting minutes, user logs, and other data for analysis. The Action Plan codes these strategies as “MONITOR...” with an indication of the type of record or data to be reviewed before the target date.

3. Establish ongoing evaluation: Certain strategies will incorporate continual evaluation, in order to decide what comes next and how to proceed. (For example, “identifying ThetNet’s role in serving the community as needs change” will be, by its very nature, a fluid process adapting to a moving target.) It will be necessary to strengthen our habits of self-study and our commitment to keeping even fluid processes grounded in specific goals and tasks. We anticipate that this will be the most challenging aspect of the monitoring and evaluation process, but also the most significant for ThetNet’s future. The Action Plan codes strategies requiring this approach as “ONGOING.”

7.2 Incorporation of Evaluation Information for Ongoing Planning

As noted in the section above, an active commitment to using results in planning will be essential to the long-term viability of the ThetNet Consortium technology initiative. By identifying evaluation methods for each strategy associated with our objectives in the next two years, we intend to hold ourselves accountable for the outcomes. The ThetNet Team, acting as a continuing steering committee, will have ultimate responsibility for monitoring and interpreting results, and for applying these interpretations in the next stage of planning. Although certain objectives (for example, requiring individual staff goals for professional development ) will be assessed by building administrators, the ThetNet Team will coordinate assessment requirements, schedules, and reports.


7.3 Process for Reporting to Stakeholders

Some specific strategies for reporting are implied as part of Communication and Information Access objectives in the Action Plan: maintaining home pages with regular updates, and increasing e-mail access. The ThetNet Team will take responsibility for planning and monitoring reports via these media, and will coordinate reports in other formats, including, at a minimum: annual summaries in the Town Report (March) and Town School District Report (May); updates in quarterly school and library newsletters; and annual presentations/demonstrations for governing boards of ThetNet institutions (Thetford School Board, Academy Board of Trustees, Library Federation Board.)

7.4 Process and Timeline for Ongoing, Long-term Planning

Ongoing planning will reflect several principles. We recognize that planning must be flexible, responsive to rapidly changing developments in technology itself as well as in the needs of our learning community. We know that we cannot expect to make detailed plans too far in advance, but can expect that planning will become increasingly concrete as the future draws nearer. At the same time, we recognize that successful long-term planning will continue to use the models established in this initial plan as a foundation--namely, the developmental learning model (which will require its own upgrading for redefinition of the higher levels as learning opportunities advance) and the “wheel” schematic defining the basic relationships among ThetNet stakeholders. In addition, as already stated, all planning will need to proceed from objective analysis of actual results, rather than speculation or impressions unsupported by data. We will always need to answer the question “What shall we do next?” by first establishing the answers to other questions:
“Where are we now?” and “What do we know?”

In September, 1999, the ThetNet Team will begin formal development of a new two-year Technology Plan to take effect in June, 2000. We expect that this planning will proceed logically and relatively easily from the groundwork laid in the current Plan.

We have made a concerted effort to use the planning model required for this submission: to understand and respect the categories as given here, and also to make our own meaning within those categories. This has been a useful process. We hope--and we strongly recommend-- that the format for future plan submission will not change significantly, although we will expect a new section asking us to report and reflect on the achievements of this first Plan.

At present, the people who have participated most in developing this document have also become the people most invested in it and most committed to its success. A final aim for our ongoing, long-term planning process will be to expand the number of stakeholders with this kind of comprehension and commitment to ThetNet planning. Those of us who have written the plan will need to model the value of this document for others, making it a standard reference point in ThetNet Team meetings, member governing board meetings, public reporting, and decision-making about all aspects of the Consortium’s endeavors. When new ideas arise and new decisions confront us, we must always ask: “What does the Tech Plan say about that?” If we develop this habit, and model it so that others adopt the practice, we will keep the Plan in view, literally and figuratively. Our aim is to make sure this document escapes the fate of so many educational and institutional plans, which end up sitting untouched on a shelf. The best way to prepare for long-range planning is to use the current Plan as wallpaper, not a dust catcher: to make it a meaningful, practical, publicly visible part of our environment.


 

1998 ThetNet Technology Plan #

Last Modified 3/30/98 by Bill Weyrick