In the nearly two years I’ve been writing this blog, I may have used that headline a few times before. I drag it out whenever I read or hear of something that the district is finally getting around to – long after the rest of us have had knowledge of the program or idea.

There are two examples today, both of which are on the agenda for tonight’s school board club meeting at 6 p.m.

The first is a vote on whether to start using Google Analytics. According to the agenda entry, “Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.” And, “These metrics will assist the District in making better informed decisions on what information to provide to our stakeholders and where to draw greater attention. This information is crucial to ensuring that the Newport-Mesa Unified School District website is providing valuable, sought after information in an easily accessible manner and that important initiatives are getting appropriate visibility. Current metrics available through the District website vendor are limited and only provide overall website visit counts, which does not allow for the opportunity to tailor information for the benefit of our stakeholders.”

You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head in disbelief that the district is just now getting around to this. But here’s the kicker in the agenda item: “There is no direct cost associated with this agreement.”

Let’s recap: Google Analytics will provide more information to better serve website visitors and there’s no cost. So why did it take until 2016 to recommend its implementation? Because there has been poor leadership in the district for a very long time.

Another element of this tragedy is that the district is constantly pushing the need to teach our kids technology so they can prosper in the 21st [C]entury economy or world or galaxy or whatever. Yet, they don’t do as they say.

Need more proof? Here’s the other head shaker.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a proposal to approve $3,600 for time and materials expenses to Digital Scepter. And what business are they in? Why, they’re in the business of cybersecurity! From the agenda:

“The District utilizes several hardware and software services to protect the District’s network, servers, and confidential data.  To gain additional capabilities in detecting and preventing malicious network attacks as well as reducing bottlenecks in Internet bandwidth, the District purchased a Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall appliance.  Information Technology staff have been using the device to monitor network traffic, and configuring it to replace an older and slower predecessor appliance.

“This [software will allow the older device to be removed from the network, thereby increasing the District’s effective bandwidth while maintaining or improving network security.”

I’ve been asking for cybersecurity details since the break-in at CdM High. Now we find out what I suspected all along. This system should have been upgraded years ago. Many years ago. But again, the technology talk for students and teachers doesn’t match the technology effort on Bear St.

Then there’s the vote on a study to upgrade the facilities at the new CM High stadium. Sorry – “sports complex.”

Gee. ya’ think?

Steve Smith

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