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Decatur School Board hears technology update

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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The Decatur School Board Monday received a report on the district’s technology components.

District Technology Director Troy Bagwell said his department now supports more than 3,500 users, more than 3,300 computing devices, wireless access points in every classroom, more than 300 telephones and more than seven miles of fiber optic cable.

“We do have the largest network in the county and the largest user base in the county, and it’s probably going to be that way for the foreseeable future from what I can tell,” Bagwell said.

He also gave an update on the technology part of the 2015 bond package.

All of the surveillance cameras have been installed and are operational. Bagwell even showed the board a couple of recordings from the surveillance cameras to show how clear the images are.

The middle school iPad refresh actually became a Chromebook purchase a year ago. Bagwell said the department held off on refreshing computing devices at the elementary schools last year due to discussion about possible changes in grade configurations, but they will revisit that need soon.

The next scheduled big technology purchase will be replacing laptops for secondary teachers this fall. A laptop replacement for high school students is scheduled for next spring.

The bond also included money to replace overhead projectors for classrooms throughout the district, but Bagwell said many other schools he’s visited with are returning to televisions on a cart to allow for more flexibility.

The department is also looking at the possibility of running fiber optic cable under U.S. 81/287 to reach schools on that side of town. Bagwell said they are looking at the possibility of putting in a larger pipe to allow other entities to travel along that space as well.

“Our biggest issue has been getting from my building across town,” he said. “We run over U.S. 81/287 now, but squirrels have actually been the biggest problem.”

In other business from the meeting, the board:

  • heard a report on McCarroll Middle School’s use of Chromebooks and Google’s G-Suite Apps for Education, which included a demonstration of their use by two students and a teacher;
  • received an update on Decatur High School students’ Hurricane Harvey relief efforts which included nearly $3,000 in cash donations;
  • honored high school students Katie Wunrow and Madison Kyle for being named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists;
  • honored high school history teacher Cherie Hocevar as the educator of the month; and
  • honored Carson Elementary technology teacher Lisa Hicks as support staff employee of the month.

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