Category Archives: Alerts

Password Resets and Policy Development

We experienced a number of issues yesterday morning with students being unexpectedly forced to change their passwords; we avoid this type of unanticipated password change requirement due to its clear, negative impacts on instruction.  We believe that we have resolved this problem as of 10 AM yesterday morning, and have begun reviewing our policies to ensure that this does not occur again.  

On a related note, we’ll be beginning work next week to update our password policy to ensure that we’re safeguarding our students and staff while making sure that accounts are accessible and easy to use.  This work will be driven by newly released standards from the federal government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); you can read the full Digital Identity Guidelines here.  For a nutshell version of some of the changes between the newly-released guidelines and previous recommendations, check out this article.  

I’ll be posting more information as we move ahead with the process of updating our policy.  

SMART Notebook License Notification

We’ve had a number of teachers contact us in recent days because of a message being displayed by SMART Notebook that our software license would soon expire. 

The software maintenance license was renewed, and our testing indicates that machines should now be getting the current license information; as soon as this happens, the expiration message should no longer appear.  If your SMART Notebook installation is still giving this message, please reboot your computer, ensure that you are connected to the internet after restarting, and then launch SMART Notebook again.  

As a point of clarification, this license renewal will not affect the software installed on district computers, and does not require that software be reinstalled or replaced.  

Update: Internet Upgrade Delayed

Our internet service upgrade – scheduled for last night – has been delayed until next week after we encountered an unexpected problem.  We do not have a specific date/time for the next upgrade window, but I’ll post that here as soon as we’ve completed a conference call with the involved parties. 

What happened?

At 5:00 PM, ICCSD network administrators, working with Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and Lightedge Solutions engineers, switched our internet connection from our current 1Gb ICN connection to the new 3Gb ICN connection.  A component of this switch also includes moving from our current internally-managed Palo Alto firewall to a Lightedge-managed Fortinet firewall; staying on our existing Palo Alto hardware is not an option, as it cannot handle the 3Gb throughput required for the new connection. 

The internet connection worked properly, as did all but one of the mission critical services that we had previously identified as potential points of failure during the internet service upgrade.  One service, however – a VPN tunnel to a particular site – was not successfully brought online after implementation of the new firewall.  We attempted troubleshooting until the close of our announced upgrade window, but with no success were forced to revert to the previous settings and service.  

What should I expect moving forward?

As previously mentioned, we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade window as soon as possible, likely for next week.  We’ve already identified the steps necessary to solve the issue with the site that didn’t come up, and now need to coordinate availability on the part of ICN and Lightedge.  I’ll post a specific date/time as soon as we have one. 

Since the upgrade was not successful, I expect that internet performance issues will continue for the coming (approximately) week.  Our network administrators have been tuning quality-of-service settings over the past couple of weeks in order to prioritize critical or interruption-intolerant traffic, and will continue to do so in order to make the most of the 1Gb service we currently have.  

As mentioned in my previous post on this topic, we expect all internet performance problems to be immediately resolved following the successful upgrade to 3Gb service.  We appreciate your patience as we work through this process.  

Internet Service Upgrade 9/27/17

UPDATE: This upgrade was unsuccessful (details here); we’ll be rescheduling the upgrade for next week. 

Tonight is a big night for our internet service in the Iowa City Schools; a long-planned upgrade will take place beginning at 5:00 PM (on September 27th) that will expand our service from 1Gb bandwidth to 3Gb.  Here’s what you need to know: 

Continue reading Internet Service Upgrade 9/27/17

Network Outage Late Afternoon (Hills, Weber, Transitions)

Due to an emergency router replacement, the wired and wireless networks at Hills, Transitions, and Weber will experience outages today beginning at 5:00 PM.  This will impact ability to use the internet, access network resources, connect to the ICCSD wireless network, and use phones from those buildings. 

We expect that the outage will last for approximately one hour.  We appreciate your patience as we undertake this work. 

Google Services Restored

Google is reporting all services are functioning normally after the brief outage this morning. If you are still having problems with any of the Google services, please submit a KACE ticket or contact the Help Desk.

Nationwide Google Outage

Google is experiencing a nationwide outage that is affecting Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. You may notice that Google services are not loading normally or are running very slowly. Google is aware of the problem and working on a resolution. For more information, you can check out the G Suite Status Dashboard, available here. We will also post updates as they are available.

Google Drive Service Restored

Google Drive service has been restored. You should now be able to access your Google Drive normally. If you continue to have problems accessing Drive, please submit a KACE ticket or contact the Help Desk.

Nationwide Google Drive Outage

Google Drive is experiencing a nationwide outage this morning, September 7th. You may notice your Google Drive is not loading normally or is loading very slowly. Google is aware of the problem and is working on restoring service. For more information, you can check out the G Suite Status Dashboard, available here. We will also post updates as they are available.

Brief Network Outage at Hills, Weber, and Transitions

In order to complete necessary maintenance related to a problem impacting Hills Elementary, network service – including internet, internal network services, and phone service – will be briefly disrupted today at 5:00 PM.   This issue will impact Hills Elementary, Weber Elementary, and Transitions.

We expect that this outage will last between 5 and 10 minutes.