A new email system, electronic
student information system, and pilot iPad programs highlight significant
enhancements to Beachwood Schools' technology platform for the 2012-2013 school
The most noticeable change for students and staff is the transition to Google
Apps for Education, a cloud technology platform that includes email, document
sharing, calendar collaboration, and "chat." This web-based, "green" solution gives students and staff greater access to files and emails that are stored online; they can work collaboratively to edit papers, develop group presentations, and get feedback - anywhere they have internet access to their computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
"The transition of Google paves the way for better use of cloud
technology," says Ken Veon, Beachwood Schools' director of curriculum and
technology. "The collaborative nature of the Google platform allows for
more creativity." Veon also noted that Google is less expensive and
contains a more dependable spam filter than FirstClass, which had been the district's email client since the mid-1990s.
Staff email addresses will remain the same, while students email addresses will
have a new "@beachwoodstudent.org" domain. The staff transition is
complete; the student email transition will be complete by the first day
of school. Students and staff will have 25 gig of available storage space on
their Google accounts, which is more than 50 times what they had previously with FirstClass.
The district will also
transition to a new electronic student information system, replacing eSIS with
Infinite Campus. Infinite Campus is a more powerful, secure web-based tool that
allows staff, students and parents to more effectively track schedules, grades, attendance, contact and medical information, and more. These
core features will be implemented by the start of school.
Other features, such as a
more robust parent portal, communication tools, and fee payment service will be
implemented later and will consolidate several third-party tools the district currently
uses. This software will also eventually help the district “Go Green” when all
forms will be submitted online through the parent portal.
Other summer technology updates
- Beachwood High School's network wiring and equipment will be replaced to accommodate 30-40 devices
per classroom. The school’s IT center will connect to a power generator so
no loss of connection will occur during a power outage.
- 45 short-throw projectors
and Apple TVs for teachers to wirelessly display content in their classrooms from their iPads and
- A new pilot iPad (40) program
for 5th grade reading to promote literacy, research skills, composition and
- One new iPad cart for
student use at BHS for math classes.
- 25 new iPads for teachers,
who attended a training session on how to best utilize iPads for instruction.
- New MacBook Pros at Hilltop
Elementary School – three per classroom for student use.
“We are providing staff and
students with the technology tools to enhance the educational experience in
Beachwood,” said Veon.