The Denton ISD Division of Technology & Information Systems is one of the fastest growing aspects of the Denton school system, utilizing today's newest equipment to deliver superior services to the students and staff across the district's 180 square mile boundary. From integrated software supporting the objectives of the curriculum to filtered Internet access in every classroom to Voice Over IP (VoIP), the Technology & Information Systems Division (Technology) strives to meet the needs of it's most valuable customers - the students and staff of the Denton ISD.
Under the leadership of Mr. Ernie Stripling, Technology faces each day with a single purpose - to meet the information needs of the students and staff throughout the district to the highest level of satisfaction possible. Three departments - Data Processing, Instructional Technology and Network Services - work together as a team to provide the infrastructure and technical assistance to allow information to be delivered to the end user as transparently as practicable. Whether VoIP, distance learning, or streaming media, each department shares in the delivery of the product to the students and staff.
The Data Processing staff, using the Pentamation software suite running on the HP/UX platform, maintains personnel, financial, and student records. Recently added is the GradeSpeed gradebook, which empowers the classroom teacher to take attendance and maintain grades at the point of need - the classroom.
Learning is enhanced through a multitude of age and content appropriate instructional software selected and maintained through the Instructional Technology department. In-service workshops keep DISD teachers up to date on the latest software packages and techniques for integrating technology into the classroom, meeting and often exceeding state-mandated requirements. Secondary campuses are served by Campus Teacher Technologists who empower teachers to maximize the effective use of technology in the daily learning process.
Distance learning classrooms at the secondary campuses offer for-credit courses to the district as well as the Region 11 consortium. Mobile units in all schools enable DISD to offer specialized courses, electronic field trips, and staff development across the district, reducing the need for additional support staff.
Network Services maintains the infrastructure for the district. Our gigabit fiber optic Wide Area Network (WAN) was finished in the summer of 2006 from the 2004 bond package. The district maintains fiber connectivity to every DISD site and has connections to the Denton Police, UNT and TWU. The "server farm" located at the Technology Center, serves out data to each campus via the fiber network. The districts network traffic is managed using seven core Cisco 6513 switches. The server farm consists of over 100 servers, some of which are attached to a 10 terabyte Xiotech Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN). Systems such as email, the file servers and others are clustered for high availability. The district houses a Disaster Recovery Center equipped to keep the districts network alive during a major catastrophe to the Technology Center.
During the summer of 2001, DISD switched the phone system from a Nortel PBX style system to a Cisco Voice Over IP solution, which saves the district thousands of dollars annually. There are six Cisco Call Managers located at core sites for both redundancy and efficiency. The staff is served voicemail through Cisco’s Unity Voicemail system. There are over 3000 voicemail boxes and two Unity servers working in tandem for redundancy. The emergency 911 system is protected by Cisco’s Emergency Responder System. Each phone in the district is zoned for location within each large building campus map. When 911 is called, the county 911 service can “call back” the phone for verification purposes while the district Helpdesk, campus principals, campus nurse, and district emergency staff are alerted through voicemail and text messaging that a 911 call was placed from the stated extension. This rapid deployment of information allows the staff to meet the emergency responders as they arrive and direct them to the location of the incident.
September 11, 2001 was a wake-up call for our district. Phone lines were jammed, news websites were overwhelmed, and a mild panic swept over our nation. In response, DISD installed eight Cisco IPTV servers to aid in the dissemination of information across the district. Selected cable TV channels, satellite dish programming and staff development on VHS and DVD is distributed to every desktop in the district. IPTV allows the district to broadcast live events in addition to prerecorded content.
Help is only a phone call away - and excellent help at that! DISD is fortunate to have outstanding help desk technicians available to assist staff with technical questions during normal business hours. Utilizing the HEAT call logging software, the Help Desk maintains a log of all calls, enabling them to monitor trouble spots and diagnose problems before they spread throughout the entire district. In August 2003, the district implemented the Cisco Information Center (CIC), a fully integrated package that monitors over 400 separate systems, parameters, and thresholds and reports their status to the help desk technicians. Using a sophisticated set of rules, the CIC can take action within seconds, many times solving the problems before the staff is aware a problem exists.
When problems do arise, the Repair Technicians are more than capable of dealing with any computer or peripheral repair situation. Certified on PC hardware and peripheral devices, the Repair staff is ready to get the hardware back up and running in the shortest possible time.
Denton is fortunate to have one of the most technologically advanced school systems in the state - or even the nation. For a tour of the Technology facility or for additional information please contact the Help Desk at (940) 369-1234.