The District 106 Board of Education, administration, and staff have been at or near the leading edge of educational technology for over 20 years. Beginning with computer labs, classroom computers, connecting every classroom to the Internet (1995), laptops for every staff member (2004), classroom projectors and sound reinforcement in every classroom (2006), one-to-one computers for students in grades 6-8 (2008), one-to-one computers for students in 5th grade (2009), and one-to-one iPads for students in grades 2-4 (2017-2019), our students have benefitted greatly from an increasing ability to customize instruction to meet student needs.
The primary function of the technology department at District 106 is to provide and maintain the infrastructure, tools, and expertise to allow the implementation of a personalized learning model for our students. In 2014 the District 106 Technology Committee developed the following vision and mission statements:
Vision: To create and support differentiated virtual learning environments.
Mission: Advance District 106 Strategic Priorities by utilizing innovative technology to facilitate independent and small group differentiated instruction, publish to authentic audiences, and increase communication with all district stakeholders.
The district's philosophy towards technology as a facilitator of a quality education can be summed up with these belief statements:
We believe that effective and continual professional development for educators and administrators is critical to our district’s ability to achieve sustainable growth in student achievement.
We believe all students deserve comprehensive access to a wide range of educational technologies to provide the most differentiated educational opportunities possible.
We believe the essential "teaching" of core technology skills is most critical in the primary grades (K-5).
We believe that technology should enable collaboration without restrictions of location or time.
Personalized learning has been a priority at Highlands since the fall of 2008 when the board of education accepted a recommendation from teachers, administrators, and community members to issue every student in grades 6 through 8 a personal laptop to use 24x7 during the school year. This gave our students instant access to information on the Internet, productivity apps to create writing, audio, and video projects, and to have voice in both the way they learned and the methods they used to demonstrate what they had learned. In 2009 that program was expanded to include 5th grade. In the spring of 2017 the school board voted to extend the personalized learning initiative to second grade over the next three years. Individual iPads will be issued to 4th grade students in the fall of 2017, 3rd grade students in the fall of 2018, and 2nd grade students in the fall of 2019. Kindergarten and first grade will have iPads available in their classrooms at a two to one ratio starting in the fall of 2017.
District 106 Student Data
For many years, students, parents, and teachers have had access to a comprehensive list of test results through the District 106 Assessment Portal. The portal is an in-house data warehouse that connects to all of the important testing services that District 106 uses to track and predict student performance. Parents and students alike can keep tabs on scores to make sure learners are on-track to meet their growth goals. Teachers and administrators use this same data to plan and implement instruction that is personalized to each student’s needs.
District 106 uses Schoology as our learning management platform, Powerschool as our Student Information System, and G Suite for student productivity and collaboration. We also participate in Project Lead the Way in our middle school to give students experience in engineering and hands-on science.
Acceptable Use Policy
All students and their parent/guardian are required to sign the district's Acceptable Use Policy to gain access to district computing resources. You can find a copy of that policy here.
FERPA / COPPA
In the spring of 2017 District 106 engaged with Education Frameworks as a resource to evaluate the websites and applications that are used by students. Education Frameworks reviews the privacy policies of the companies that develop and distribute programs and services schools use and scores them based on the following criteria:
Collected data used for school purposes only
Parents ability to request deletion of student data
Ability of parents to make such requests via an online form
Student data transfers protected by encryption
Backup of student data
Data retention for school purposes only
Student data stored in encrypted formats
Privacy scores are obtained prior to the deployment of any new program or application by students and all known technology resources are being retroactively examined to make sure they are compliant as well. Parents can view a current district dashboard of applications and their ratings. If you have any concerns regarding data security or privacy please contact Eric Callis, Director of Technology at 708-485-3134.
We pride ourselves on professional and responsive technology support. The District 106 help desk is available to assist with student and staff needs during its regular hours of 7:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. during the school year. If you have a problem with your school issued computer, the best thing to do is to bring it to the help desk for us to take a look at. If repairs are needed, a loaner will be issued. If you have a tech issue that does not require immediate attention, please fill out a workorder and we will address your issue as we are able. The help desk can also be reached at 708-485-3303 via an outside line or at x3303 internally.
Learning Resource Center
Another program District 106 has created internally is our card catalog / LRC management system. Students, parents, and staff can search for books related to their current area of study or just for recreation. The system is connected to our Assessment Portal to retrieve each student's Lexile level to further help young readers select books appropriate for them. In 2015 we expanded the card catalog to include our "Leveled Library" books which are tied to student Fountas and Pinnell reading level. These books are used by classroom teachers to improve student fluency, comprehension, and love for reading.
Students in grades kindergarten through fourth grades receive technology instruction in their homerooms several times per week. District 106 strives to tie this instruction to the standards-aligned curriculum being executed in their core classes to create a more authentic experience for students. Lessons are scaffolded throughout the grades to ensure growth over time and a mastery of vital technology based skills.
Middle School students participate in weekly keyboarding practice during their homeroom to keep their skills in that area sharp. Additionally, middle school teachers have examined their curriculum to ensure grade appropriate NETS and Illinois State Learning Standards are covered in core classes.
District 106 maintains social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Our district facebook account is the place where we celebrate all things District 106. Student successes, new programs, performances, and awards will all be featured on our facebook page. Each of our two schools has its own Twitter account to share timely bits of information that parents and the community can use to stay up-to-date with important information and deadlines in addition to quick picture shares of what is going on in our schools. The district office also has its own twitter account to push out emergency information along with information about registration, district programs, and other information that is timely in nature. Please follow or like us...
A safe and secure environment for our employees to work and our students to learn is paramount at District 106. To support those ends, just shy of 50 security cameras have been deployed by the technology department to record and monitor the building and grounds of District 106. Designated district officials have the ability to access live images or recorded footage from anywhere in the world if needed.
Every classroom in District 106 is fully wired for video and sound with HD Epson projectors and sound systems. Additionally, elementary classrooms all have sound reinforcement systems that allow the teacher’s instructions or lesson to rise above the level of classroom noise to make sure every student can hear what is going on.
The district’s public spaces such as the middle school gym and lunchroom, elementary school multi-purpose room, and conference rooms across the district are also served by high-quality AV solutions that support meetings, performances, and assemblies that range from a few to as many as six hundred people.
With the personalized learning approach that the district has adopted, solid wifi access is our front-line application and we pay close attention to it. District 106 has had universal Wi-Fi coverage since 2006. We currently supports the newest 802.11ac Wave 2 specification. Guest network access is available in public spaces including gyms, lunchrooms, the LRC, and conference rooms. Guest access requires a pass. Contact any school or district office for help obtaining a guest pass.
Capacity, reliability, and redundancy are the priorities for providing our stakeholders with access to the Internet. The district currently has redundant internet connections with two separate providers that allow over 200 mb/s, even in the event of one connection having an issue. Web access is filtered and scanned for inappropriate content, malware, and intrusion attempts. The data that is generated is shared with district administration and the board of education to make sure our connection is delivering the performance and security our students deserve.