Instructional Technology FAQ
The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the use of instructional technology (IT) in District 401. To see the answer to a particular question, simply click any part of the relevant question.
Although both departments work for the common purpose of providing District 401 with the best technology environment possible, their specific areas of focus differ.
The IT Department concentrates on instructional practices and how technology can be used to impact teaching and learning. IT also provides support on Google app-related issues. The department is headed by Mr. Aaron Celmer, Director for Instructional Technology, and reports to the District's Director for Curriculum & Instruction.
The Technology Department concentrates on network infrastructure, connectivity, information security, hardware and non-Google software support, data management, the PowerSchool student information system and the Mastery Manager student growth module. The department is headed by Mr. Tom Kinane, Director for Technology, and reports to Mr. James Jennings, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations/CSBO.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of remote instruction, District 401 has effectively become 1:1.
Prior to COVID-19, under the District Technology Initiative adopted in 2016, Elmwood Park High School became 1:1 at the start of the 2018-19 school year (each student received a Chromebook), and Elm Middle School followed suit in January 2019. In addition, Elmwood and John Mills students increased their use of digital technology significantly.
As approved by the Board of Education in May 2016, District 401's Technology Initiative called for every student at Elmwood Park High School to be equipped with a laptop device by 2018-19, with Elm Middle School students to follow by 2019-20. Both of those goals have been achieved. EPHS became 1:1 in August 2018, and Elm became 1:1 in January 2019.
Meanwhile, Elmwood and John Mills elementary schools benefited from the movement of existing laptop carts from the high school and middle school, so that all teachers and students saw increased opportunities for technology use throughout the day.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary suspension of in-person instruction, District 401 has effectively become 1:1.
In addition, the use of Google educational tools and apps have saturated the District, with all grade levels operating under Google Classroom by 2019-20.
An essential part of the District Technology Initiative was extensive professional development for faculty and staff, to ensure that District 401 educators became proficient in the use of Google apps and related digital educational tools. This training began in 2016 under the leadership of then-Director for Instructional Technology Dr. Jessica Iovinelli. (Dr. Iovinelli was succeeded by Mr. Aaron Celmer on July 1, 2020.)
The original answer to this question, which was posed several years before the COVID-19 pandemic forced our schools to suspend in-person instruction, went like this:
"Currently, our teachers do not require internet access as part of assignments. However, students are encouraged to use community resources such as the Elmwood Park Public Library."
Since the advent of the pandemic, our District has ensured that all of our students have access to devices and internet access.
Yes, there is such a program.
District 401 understands that not every family has high-speed internet access at home. If that's the case with your household, we want you to know that you might be eligible for Comcast's "Internet Essentials" package.
Under this package, Comcast provides high-speed internet to your home for $9.95 per month (plus tax). Details are available on the IT Department's Comcast Affordable Internet Access page.
Yes. The District issues each teacher a laptop computer for work.