Earlier this month, a recent rash of spam emails from outside of the district led to some district email accounts being compromised and acting as SpamBots. Outlook Web Access was disabled, as that was the primary way the spammers were using the stolen user credentials for their attacks.
The district was lucky not to have been blacklisted, but that could easily have happened and would have led to severe email disruptions for weeks or more. To help keep this from happening again:
Outlook Web Access will be restored on 1/26/17 but could easily be turned off again if Technology Services notices another uptick in spam coming from district accounts. This time we were lucky, but the next time could have disastrous results. Please remember: Eternal vigilance is the price of email access. J
When Outlook Web Access was disabled, email service was still available on personal mobile devices via district Exchange accounts. Here are instructions for setting up your district Exchange account on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
The district’s wireless network (WiFi) has been upgraded for easier access and more licenses. All BPSD employees and all students in grades 9-12 (but NOT students below grade 9) can access the new BPS-SECURE WiFi network on their personal devices.
To use it, go to the WiFi settings on your mobile device, select the BPS-SECURE network, and enter your usual network login username and password. A certificate will be downloaded to your device, which you must Trust. You’ll then be connected with that device whenever you are in WiFi range.
BPSD employees and students in grades 9-12 should NOT try to use the BPS-GUEST or bpswireless networks. BPS-GUEST is for non-district users and can put district users into a loop. bpswireless is only used for district-owned devices.
Detailed instructions with screenshots on connecting to BPS-SECURE, etc. are online.
The district has been plagued with "phishing" attacks of late, where spammers and other crooks send an email trying to trick you into giving them your login credentials. It is vital that both students and staff protect themselves from these attacks.
District staff should NEVER respond to an email with a link requesting them to "authenticate" by giving out their login username and password to district email or Google or other services.
The district will NEVER send you an email message asking you to enter your login credentials to manage your mail account, re-authenticate your account, etc. If you receive such an email message, do not click any links or images in the email message and instead simply delete it.
Staff members or students who mistakenly give out their login credentials can turn their district-provided email accounts into spambots, which send out huge numbers of spam emails across the country. That gets our district reported for a security breach and can lead to our entire web domain being blacklisted from out-of-district email service for an extended period.
The attacks were so bad in mid-January, with dozens of users clicking on fraudulent email links, that the district has temporarily suspended its Outlook WebAccess email service for staff. Only Exchange accounts on mobile devices and Outlook accounts on a user's home machine within the district were still working.
Beginning on 1/26/2017, the district email system will add [External] to the beginning of the subject line of emails received from outside the district. This will alert you to be especially cautious about using any links or following any instructions in such emails. Please note that messages sent within the Canvas Learning Management System will forward to you as emails with the [External] prefix even though some are sent by fellow staff members. Only emails that stay entirely within the district email system will lack the [External] prefix.
Look for the correct domain name after https:// at the very beginning of the address bar when logging into any service
There are also some very clever attacks that try to fool you into thinking you are logging into Google or other services when you are not. You MUST pay attention to what is in the address bar when you login to any service.
Just looking for the correct domain name (e.g. accounts.google.com when logging into Google) is no longer enough. Clever phishing attacks have found ways to make it look like a site is safe when it is not.
When you think you are logging into an online service, always make sure the very beginning of the web browser address bar BEGINS with "https://" followed by the correct domain name.
Below are some examples of safe and unsafe address address bar entries when logging into Google services.
NOT SAFE - PHISHING ATTACK
Notice how in the final UNSAFE phishing attack you DO see "accounts.google.com" yet you are still being attacked. The lack of https://accounts.google.com at the very beginning of the web address and, in the Google Chrome web browser, the missing green lock icon, are the giveaways that this is NOT safe.
We encourage all users of district accounts to use the Google Chrome web browser and look for the green secure lock icon and the correct domain name at the VERY BEGINNING of the address bar in Google Chrome when you are trying to login to any online service.
The staff logins webpage on this website has more details.
Don't use your district username and password on non-district services
For your convenience, we link most district-provided services using the same credentials, but please do NOT use that username and password elsewhere. That increases the risk of your account being compromised.
The district's Technology Services department will suspend any accounts they KNOW have been hacked and will work with staff members on getting their accounts cleared and operational again.
Once again, please do your part. DON'T TAKE THE BAIT!
Granger Meador has created a customized user guide for the Dell Chromebooks now in use at Bartlesville High School:
The online version of the guide will be regularly updated as needed.
In the fall of 2016 each of the English classrooms in grades 10-12 received a cart of 20-35 Chromebooks for student use. The teachers in those rooms, along with the site's teacher technology assistants, also received one of the Chromebooks for their use.
By June 2017 all BHS teachers and administrators will receive a Chromebook. This will help them prepare for 2017-18 when all freshman students will be checked out a Chromebook and for 2018-19 when all 9-12 grade students will be checked out a Chromebook.
On the January 16 inservice day, all BHS teachers of freshman classes will attend an 80-minute training with Mr. Meador and English teacher Jen Ward on the Canvas Learning Management System. Other BHS teachers can sign up for a later 80-minute session of that same training.
Afterward, the district will publish a Kung Fu Canvas course. Once teachers in grades 9-12 earn their first belt in that course, they will receive their Chromebook. Teachers who go on to earn additional belts in Kung Fu Canvas can earn a carrying case, mouse, and other Chromebook accessories.
Over Thanksgiving Break 2016 the district updated from PowerSchool 9 to PowerSchool 10. This update has relatively minor effects at this point, as the district has NOT yet shifted from the older PowerTeacher 2.8 Gradebook to the new PowerTeacher Pro gradebook.
Alert teachers will notice a new "PowerTeacher Pro" link when using the PowerTeacher website, but that link does not load any data. You should continue to access the gradebook as you have previously, either with the Launch button in PowerTeacher or by installing the PowerTeacher Gradebook icon on your desktop.
Updating to the newer PowerTeacher Pro gradebook is on hold until summer 2017 for several reasons:
Attached at the end of this post is a flyer outlining advantages and disadvantages of the current implementation of PowerTeacher Pro.
Claimed advantages for teachers:
Claimed advantages for administration:
The district currently still installs by default Microsoft Office 2010 on district machines. So most staff are using six-year-old versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.
We plan to shift to Office 2016 during the summer of 2017, which will allow time for Technology Services to roll out the upgrade, provide updated Microsoft Office help files and links on the district website, and allow the business education courses to secure updated textbooks.
Since last year secondary school students have had Gmail accounts through Google Apps for Education.
Until recently, the district's federally-mandated web filter was blocking Gmail access for students on district computers. That problem has finally been eliminated. Students can now access their Gmail accounts on any district computer.
Student Gmail account addresses are in the form
email@example.com and accessible to students at https://mail.google.com
Most PowerTeacher accounts will be reactivated on Monday, August 15. The district waits until then because class schedules remain in flux as students pick up schedules, new students to the district are enrolled, and classes are rebalanced. While rosters will still be subject to change after 8/15, they are much more stable by then.
NOTE: While PowerTeacher 10 has been released, the district is staying with version 9 until the Canvas system being piloted this year at the high school has been updated to work with the newer version of PowerTeacher.
Over summer break, it is easy to forget how to login to various services. Remember that you can always access login help on the district website under Staff Links > Links and Information > Help with logins.
To help make services more accessible, you'll notice that if you go to the district website and hover your mouse on the Staff Links menu item, the pop-up menu now includes many one-click links to various services.
The My Big Campus service for classroom files and communications has been retired. All district teachers have had access to Google Apps for Education since 2015, and are encouraged to check out their capabilities, especially Google Classroom.
A highlight for a teacher is Google Classroom, where you can create a course, have your students join it with a code you generate, and share with them announcements, an assignments calendar, and create interactive assignments they can fill out and submit:
Here are some helpful links to get you started with Google Classroom:
There is online training for the various Google Apps under Staff Links > Technology Help > Google Apps for Education. There are direct links in a later section of this post.
Edusoft is like Mark Twain: the rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated. The online assessment service is eventually slated to be replaced, but its replacement is not yet ready and the district will continue to use Edusoft in 2016-2017 for benchmark assessments in the secondary schools.
The district plans to begin deploying Chromebooks to each secondary school student in the coming years:
While Google Classroom can be a powerful tool for digital assignments and class discussions, it is not integrated with the PowerTeacher gradebook and PowerSchool application students and parents use to track their grades.
So in 2016-2017, the district will be piloting the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) from Instructure across grades 9-12 for teachers to begin experimenting with digital assignments. It offers all of the features of Google Classroom, with other enhancements, and integrates with PowerTeacher and PowerSchool. This capability will become vital to harnessing the full potential of the Chromebooks as they are deployed to students in the coming years.
If you have trouble with technology at school, please do NOT try to grab or contact a technician from Tech Services. The department is shortstaffed and shares in the challenge of getting the renovated Central Middle School up and running with little lead time. They are very busy throughout the school year, and must use the Help Desk ticketing system (formerly known as TroubleTrakker) to manage their tasks efficiently.
Click here for a listing of individuals at each site who handle Help Desk tickets. You should contact them about technology issues. They will first see if an onsite Technology Assistant can address the issue and will file a Help Desk ticket with Technology Services when required.
The district has now signed up all district sites for The Eighth Floor technology training consortium in Tulsa. Any district staff member, certified or classified, can sign up for the FREE trainings offered in Tulsa and online by The Eighth Floor.
Laura Salzyn is the Teacher Specialist at the ESC who handles district technology training. She helped arrange for The Eighth Floor to offer some free trainings in August available to all teachers on Promethean Boards, Google Sites, and a Google Crash Course. We hope to offer some more in-district trainings on the January 2017 inservice day.
Even if you can't get down to Tulsa in time for an on-site training with The Eighth Floor, they offer some online trainings, and there is also various free online training offered by Google and Microsoft for their products:
There is online training available for the various Google Apps under Staff Links > Technology Help > Google Apps for Education. Here are direct links to those trainings:
Click here or navigate to Staff Links > Technology Help > Outlook for here for help with Outlook email, Webmail to access your school Outlook account from a desktop computer at home, and for help on configuring your smartphone or tablet for school email, calendars, and contacts.
Click here or navigate to Staff Links > Technology Help > Microsoft Office for help learning to use Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or OneNote.
That same page includes instructions for using online versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel on any web browser with Office 365.
In July the Board of Education approved a revision of regulation ECA-R:
Each site will have a procedure early in the 2016-2017 school year to disseminate this information to parents, asking them to complete, sign, date, and return the form. Ten days after forms are provided to parents, the district assumes FULL RELEASE media consent until notified otherwise. A student's release consent status will be posted in a Custom Screen in PowerSchool Admin.
Jason Langham at the ESC will be overseeing all aspects of Technology in 2016-2017 as part of his duties as Executive Director of Special Services and High School.
Lori Patterson is the Directory of Technology Services, housed in the Will Rogers Complex, and handles most aspects of technology support. She oversees a very busy squad of technicians.
Laura Salzyn, the Teacher Specialist of Assessment and Accountability at the ESC, coordinates technology training as part of her duties.
Barbara Parker at the ESC handles PowerTeacher and PowerSchool.
Michele Malaske at the ESC handles Edusoft.
Granger Meador, will be teaching physics at the high school and handling District Communications in 2016-2017, including overseeing all district websites. He is also coordinating pilot projects with Canvas and Chromebooks at the high school this school year, along with advising and conferring with the above personnel as needed on technology issues.
In June 2017 Granger is slated to become the Executive Director of Technology and Communications and will then oversee all aspects of Technology across the district. He will have the continued help of Ms. Patterson in her role as Director of Technology Services, along with assistance from Ms. Salzyn, Ms. Parker, Ms. Malaske, and other district personnel.
Click here for the directories of both district and site-level technology contacts.
We're seeing more "phishing" scams where fake emails are sent or phone calls placed to staff members requesting information. Below are some things to bear in mind when dealing with email and phone calls.
Examples of "confidential data" for the following list include Social Security numbers, birth dates, names of family members, and ANY student data.
When in doubt, have your site Help Desk Coordinator file a help desk request and Technology Services can check it out.
In October 2015 the district deployed Google Apps for Education for students and staff. This allows staff members to sign into Google services with their usual district network username and password (rather than a personal Gmail or Google account).
FOR DISTRICT STAFF TO LOGIN TO GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION:
These educational accounts provide special features, including:
Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.
Students can keep track of what's due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.
Previously, the district's had some generic logins for use by substitute teachers. However, that set the federally mandated internet filtering system at a low level, denying access to YouTube and other sites frequently used by instructors.
In order to provide our district substitute teachers a higher level of filtering access, in early 2016 we changed the way they log in. As of March 2016, every substitute teacher will use a district login user name and password that is unique to them. That will allow them to access videos on YouTube if that is part of the lesson plan for the students.