Access to the Internet
The Technology Services Department is primarily concerned with providing access to the Internet for the students and staff of Tuolumne County. Across 15 sites, on an average day, there are 1,360 computers online. We accomplish this by acting as a hub site for the K12 High Speed Network, which is run by the State of California. This allows the Districts access to a high-speed, high-bandwidth connection to the Internet. As part of this connectivity, we must also provide several peripheral services – email, content filtering and website hosting.
We provide email access for 826 users across 12 school districts. A daily average of 18,433 emails arrived for these users during the month of January. The spam filtering system that we operate blocked 86.11% of those emails as spam (approximately 15,749 emails per day). Staff members can access their email through either our email server or through our website.
The Content Filtering system that we manage and monitor controls student access to wide variety of websites. Each School District specifies which categories of website they wish to either block or allow access to (the Content Filter vendor places 24.5 million websites in 125 categories). We work with the school districts to fine-tune the Filter as needed (for instance, a teacher may need access to a blocked site for a valid instructional reason). We also monitor the Filter logs to discover loopholes that have been found by students.
We operate the equipment that provides the ‘space’ for several Districts to maintain their own websites (although we do not provide the content – each District is responsible for that).
If a school district has a difficult technical problem, we are available to assist them on an as-needed basis. Typically this involves supporting a school owned computer that has broken down, affecting the entire District.
In addition to Internet access, we provide direct technical support for the 105 computers and 76 users at the County Superintendent of Schools Office and its associated sites. This includes troubleshooting all of the various printers, projectors, telephones, alarm systems and various other electronics at five different locations.
That’s all existing equipment or networks. If a staff member decides to initiate a new project or initiative, we will become involved by researching the necessary equipment to support that project. Right now, we are researching four new systems – centralized wireless access, high-definition video conferencing, even faster Internet access and an updated phone system.