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.
Per my post yesterday, PowerSchool configured a new server to host ICCSD’s PowerSchool instance and transitioned to the new server yesterday afternoon. The goal with this transition was to address performance concerns that have existed since August, but have been amplified in recent weeks.
ICCSD has been struggling with intermittent PowerSchool performance issues since the beginning of the year, with consistent problems with access and performance throughout the past week. As our site is hosted by PowerSchool itself, we’ve been working through Grant Wood AEA to address these issues on the hosting end.
PowerSchool has built a new server instance that they believe will rectify the issues we’ve faced, and will be transitioning our site to the new server this afternoon (11/7/19) at 4:30 PM. We do not have an ETA for an outage during this transition, but staff, parents, and students should expect that the outage will last into the evening of 11/7.
Once the transition is completed, we expect that our PowerSchool performance will be restored to normal, and that problems with grading, attendance, portal access, and synchronizations will be resolved.
There seems to be no end to the crazy weather we’ve had thus far this year! Now, not only has the weather complicated school day schedules and our academic calendar, but it’s also having an impact on technology.
ICCSD extended its second trimester to provide more contact time for Tri 2 courses that have already lost so much. In doing so, the District updated its term definitions in PowerSchool, extending the Tri 2 end date by a few days. In doing so, we accidentally broke Canvas grade synchronization. The bug is not one that Canvas was aware of, as it’s not often that institutions adjust term start/end dates in the middle of the year.
The good thing is that we have a solution. Teachers who utilize grade synchronization between Canvas and PowerSchool will need to reimport grading categories within each course. Instructions for doing so can be found in step 4 here, and after doing so, grade sync should work properly.
A new major update for Windows 10 (version 1809) is available in the district and will start attempting to install on your machine in the next week or two. It includes many new security features and some improvements to the wireless projection devices already installed in many of our district classrooms.
One thing to be aware of is that if your machine prompts you to restart, it may take longer than normal to complete the process and get back up and running. The tech department would highly recommend doing these restarts before and after school to avoid missed instruction time. While these updates can sometimes be annoying, it is important that we do them to stay up-to-date on current security and quality of life features.
The Iowa City Community School District has experienced multiple, short-lived internet outages this afternoon, and we’ve worked with our internet service provider – the Iowa Communications Network – to identify the cause as a denial-of-service attack targeting our network.
Direct denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are relatively common, and we have resources in place to mitigate the impact of this type of attack on our network. That said, we are working with the ICN to ensure that those mitigation strategies are fully and properly implemented, given the downtime we’ve experienced today.
We do not expect substantial additional disruption, and will be working with the ICN to avert future problems.
*UPDATE: 10:25 AM, 11/30/18* We have identified a fix for this issue, and are rolling it out district-wide at this point. It will take some time to apply the fix to all machines; if you have an urgent need to have the fix applied to your computer, please contact the Helpdesk.
Our Adobe software licensing transitioned last night ot a new model, and we’ve identified an unanticipated problem where users are being prompted to sign in with an Adobe ID (see below), and accounts that will work are currently not available to staff members and students.
We are working on this issue and will post a resolution as soon as that is available.
Portions of the district will experience a network outage beginning at approximately 6 PM today, November 19th, and lasting for 5-6 hours. This outage is due to work being done by the City of Iowa City on a fiber route along Dubuque Street that will allow for construction of a new building in the area.
Affected buildings will include schools in North Liberty and Coralville, schools in the western portion of Iowa City, and Longfellow Elementary School. For reference, users of portions of the City of Iowa City, Johnson County, City of Coralville, and University of Iowa networks may be affected by this work as well.
We don’t expect district-wide internet access to be impacted, and expect that the affected locations will come back up with no lingering effects when work is completed on Monday night.