Jan 17th Help Desk Hours

January 17th, 2020 the Help Desk will be closing at 1:00 PM but will remain reachable by chat and email until 3:00 PM. 

How to detect fake (“spoofed”) emails

Many people have recently reported receiving fraudulent messages that appear to be coming from John Bacon or other administrators, so I’m repeating an earlier warning that we sent out. Short version: if you receive an email from a colleague asking for any kind of personal information (or asking if you’re free, or asking for your phone number – those are common messages used by scammers), please check to make sure that their email address ends in @iowacityschools.org.

Email spoofing is a type of forgery that makes the email look like it’s from a boss or colleague in need. They will often send a short, vague and sometimes desperate email in attempt to get you to reply to the message. Recently, school districts (including ours) have been hit hard with these attempts.

You can generally tell that these are fake emails by looking at the email address the message is being sent from.  For example, the account doe.john@iowacityschools.org would be someone from the district and should be safe to reply to. However, an email from johndoe12@gmail.com, principaljohndoe@yahoo.com, or even doe.john.iowacityschools.org@gmail.com are fake and potentially malicious. These are only examples and this is not an exhaustive list.

Here are few email best practices put together by the Help Desk.

Do not send confidential or sensitive information via email.
Do not send money or gift cards via email.
Always verify the sender’s address.
Keep an eye out for a yellow or red warning across the top of an email.

As always, if you have questions or suspect a spoofed email, contact the Help Desk.

Help Desk Live Chat

Starting at 11:00 AM today, the Help Desk can be reached by phone at x4357, by email at helpdesk@iowacityschools.org, or by live chat.

In order to start a live chat access the ticketing system or the Tech and Innovation Blog and in the bottom right corner click on “Chat with Us”. 

Once you fill our the contact infromation and hit “start a live chat” you will enter the Help Desk queue and we will be with you as quickly as possible. 

Having printing issues? Try restarting your computer.

We’ve received multiple reports of printing issues that seem to be related to the internet outage that we had yesterday. Each time, the printing issues were resolved by restarting the computer. If that doesn’t fix your printing issue, please contact the Help Desk.

Internet outage resolved

The issues with the Secure wireless network have been resolved. If you continue to have problems, please first try restarting your computer and then contact the Help Desk if that doesn’t work (x4357, helpdesk@iowacityschools.org, or submit a Happy Fox ticket).

Internet outage

We are currently experiencing district-wide internet issues. Technology staff are aware of the problem, and are working on a resolution.

Tech Support Changes

For a number of years, District schools and facilities have been served by a combination of the centralized Help Desk, along with a technician who is assigned to a group of buildings.  Typically, technicians are responsible for 6-10 schools, depending upon school size, and handle almost all types of support requests generated from those buildings.  The three comprehensive high schools are each served by a full-time technician, each of whom also have responsibilities related to the student technician internship program.  

While this approach provides consistency for our schools and other sites – who can generally anticipate being supported by a single individual – it creates substantial challenges in terms of coverage for long-term absences, limits our ability to efficiently specialize support, and makes it difficult to respond to demand surges (at the beginning of the school year, for instance).  

Implementing a New Model

Beginning today, we will be implementing a new model that maintains the high school building technician roles – support services for the high schools will remain largely unchanged – but expands the role of our Help Desk while converting technician assignments to support category-based rather than building based for all other schools and sites.  For example, if a printer-related ticket is submitted by Borlaug Elementary, the technician responding will be one who has printing as a category assignment, rather than a technician who has Borlaug as an assigned school.  

The support categories align with those in our ticketing system, and include: 

  • Accounts, Software, and Cloud Services
  • Classroom Technology, Networking/Internet, and Printing
  • Hardware Repair and Support

Each category will have two assigned technicians, providing greater resiliency in the event that one staff member is unavailable.  Service will still be delivered via the Help Desk and in schools and classrooms, and this model will allow the department to more accurately assign support requests to the proper technician(s), to target our internal professional development around areas of specialization, and to provide more consistent service throughout the District.  

Continue reading Tech Support Changes

PowerSchool Performance Issues Resolved

Grant Wood AEA and the PowerSchool Hosting team believe that they have resolved the problems that led to the PowerSchool performance issues we’ve experienced through the past two weeks.  

ICCSD’s PowerSchool instance has been operating normally today.  We will be monitoring the performance of this system to identify and address any further problems.  

PowerSchool Performance Issues Ongoing

As was the case last week, we are seeing serious PowerSchool performance issues again this morning.  These issues have been reported to our service provider, Grant Wood AEA, to be resolved through PowerSchool’s hosting services.  

At this point, we do not have a resolution ETA, though we will update the blog with information as it becomes available.  

3:43 PM Update: PowerSchool hosting believes that they have identified the root cause of this issue, but the solution has not yet been fully implemented and tested.  I will post a follow-up to this post when we can verify a resolution and/or timeframe.  

Fellowship Opportunity for ICCSD Teachers

Digital Promise, one of ICCSD’s partners on research projects and initiatives related to computational thinking, data interoperability, and learner variability, has released a call for applications for the next cohort of HP Teaching Fellows. The HP Teaching Fellows program supports elementary and secondary school educators who demonstrate powerful teaching and learning with technology. Ideal candidates design authentic, personally relevant lessons that challenge students and encourage collaboration.

The program provides educators the opportunity to:

  • Bring visibility to best practices happening within their school and district
  • Share thought leadership at national conferences and in various publications
  • Build community with innovative educators across the United States and Canada
  • Share and learn best practices with their peers and experts at Digital Promise
  • Earn micro-credentials for free
  • Experiment with new tech tools in their classrooms

There is no fee to apply or participate in HP Teaching Fellows. For priority consideration, educators should apply by Sunday, November 17 at:  http://go.pardot.com/e/414542/2PC5m5W/5dwzzn/993837131?h=zUfL4fzaio1ANLM0VOULmtSD4tlkVogIhWkFwnqEnfs

Continue reading Fellowship Opportunity for ICCSD Teachers