Monday, December 19, 2005

Status of Infrastructure Awards

CSDE received one hundred and twelve proposals requesting almost $12,000,000; substantially more than the $5,000,000 that the Bond Commission has allocated for this year. The attached list (click on it to increase the size) represents the list of projected awardees. Although official award letters cannot be sent out until such time as the Bond Commission releases the $5M, letters indicating the projected awards will be mailed out before the end of this week. (The next meeting of the Bond Commission is scheduled for January 27, 2006.)

CSDE is indebted to the thirty-seven readers who gave of their time and expertise to read, discuss and score the proposals that were submitted. I would also like to give special thanks to Assistant Superintendent Tim Howes from East Windsor for his help developing the database that housed the summative evaluations of the proposals.

If you would like a copy of your proposal’s summative evaluation please send an e-mail to

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Online Writing Assessment Awardees

Congratulations to East Haven Public Schools, Bristol Public Schools, New Fairfield School District, Glastonbury Public Schools, Windsor Public Schools, Killingly Public Schools and Stonington Public Schools; official award letters are on their way!

Fifty-two proposals were submitted for this grant opportunity. Special thanks to the thirty-seven readers who had the difficult task of scoring these rfp's. The readers indicated that there were many wonderful applications...they would have liked to fund many more than the $500,000 would allow.

If you would like a copy of the summative evaluation of your district’s proposal, send a request to

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let's Keep up the Pressure...

Over 7,300 emails to Congress in the past weeks opposing major education technology cuts in the FY06 education appropriations bill.

Today, your efforts have paid off! This afternoon, the House of Representatives rejected, by a vote of 224 to 209, the conference report on the Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill, which would have slashed the Enhancing Education Through Technology program to $275 million, which represents a 45% cut over last year. Without further action on this legislation this week, EETT and all education programs will operate for the next month under a Continuing Resolution, which funds EETT at $300 million.

This action in the House gives us a second chance to press Congress for more education technology funding. Let's use it. Please call and email your Senators and Representatives and tell them to use the opportunity provided by this dramatic vote to increase EETT funding to at least last year's $496 million level.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

One More Week to Tell Congress to Fund Ed Tech!

Congress and the Administration are in the process of finalizing how much money to devote to EETT for FY 06. The EETT program provides states and school districts with funds to purchase hardware and software, engage in professional development, develop database systems, operate online assessments, and conduct outreach to parents. Nearly 25% of states rely on EETT as their sole source of education technology funding. Last year, the program received an appropriation of $496 million.
At the beginning of this year, the Administration proposed in its FY 06 budget proposal to eliminate EETT entirely. The full House and the Senate Appropriations Committees disagreed with the Administration's position, proposing to fund EETT at $300 million and $425 million, respectively. Since Congress failed to approve final funding figures for all education programs by the end of the 2005 Fiscal Year (September 30), EETT has been operating under a temporary funding measure, known as a Continuing Resolution, which funds EETT until November 18th at the House's $300 million funding level.
The disaster wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has thrown the entire FY06 Appropriations process into further tumult. A number of Congressional members are seeking to pay for the federal costs of reconstruction by cutting FY06 funding for all programs from 2% to 5% and eliminating some programs entirely. If either option is adopted, EETT could receive funding even less than the House's $300 million figure, which already represents a substantial cut from FY05 levels.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Status of Recent RFPs

Fifty two proposals have been submitted to SDE for the Laptop/Online Writing Assessment rfp. Readers have received the proposals and will be getting together at ACES to compare their notes and develop final scores. Since the funds for this grant are from the general budget, SDE hopes to send out award letters quickly, hopefully, before Thanksgiving. Although neither a reader nor scorer, I did review many of the requests; some very exciting projects have been proposed. If we can show that the online writing assessment tools make a difference in our students’ writing, then we will have hard data that can be presented to the state board of education and eventually, to the state legislature for funding. Our aim is to provide free, exemplary resources on the Connecticut Education Network (CEN).

Many of our districts have responded to the Infrastructure grant. More than 100 proposals were received as of November 4th. Proposals should be mailed out to the thirty readers by November 10th. On November 21st., all of the readers will gather at CREC. At that meeting, Rob Vietzke and John Vittner (from CEN) will be available for questions and will assist the groups of readers in their scoring. Although the database of scores that should be completed on the afternoon of the 21st. will give us the projected awardees, announcements will not be made for some time. SDE is not allowed to send award letters to districts until the funds are released by the Bond Commission. Although the $5M has been legislatively allocated, SDE must go back to the Commission to request the release of the funds. This can only be accomplished when SDE knows who the awardees will be. Although there is a December Bond Commission meeting, submissions to become agenda items for that meeting had to be submitted no later than November 4th. We expect is to be placed onto the January agenda.

If you have concerns or questions about either of these proposals, do not hesitate to contact me at (860) 713-6553 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Infrastructure RFP; Can You Lease Fiber?

Bond funds are targeted at long term purchases. If you cannot purchase fiber at a reasonable cost, you may lease fiber and frontload its cost, as long as, the lease represents an upgrade in connectivity that reduces an existing bottleneck or if the fiber provides connectivity to a new site. Proposals that request funding for leased fiber, must remove monthly maintenance costs from the proposal. If the proposed leased fiber does not remove a bottleneck or increase the performance to the network, the lease will not be allowed.

If you have any concerns about your proposal, please call me (860) 713-6553.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

iCONN - Connecticut's Digital Library

Did you know that iCONN saves our universities, school districts and libraries millions of dollars a year? The subscriptions for many online databases and journals are paid for through our state library funds. Download iCONN's latest brochure detailing the extensive services available for free along with suggestions on how to get started using iCONN at your school. You may also download the iCONN Times , monthly newsletters that will keep you abreast of what's happening at Connecticut's Digital Library.

Visit the iCONN booth at the CECA and CEMA conferences for more information.

Timeline for Laptop/Online Writing Assessment RFP

Over forty proposals have been submitted! They should be on there way to the readers by October 27th. Each application will be read by at least four readers. On November 9th, the readers will gather @ ACES to discuss and score the applications. CSDE hopes to have award letters out along with notification of the grantees on this site before Thanksgiving.

Good luck to all that have submitted!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

CEMA Annual Conference November 6-7

"Literacy Grows Through Strong Libraries"
A “Green” Conference; Bring Your Own Bag
November 6-7, 2005
Radisson Hotel, Cromwell

registration form
conference flyer

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

CECA Conference October 24th

Join Governor Rell on Monday, October 24, 2005 at the Thomas Edison Magnet Middle School in Meriden for the annual CECA Conference.

registration information

Saturday, October 15, 2005

RFP Due Dates

The dates for the latest RFP's are approaching! The Laptop/Online Writing Assessment pilot is due on October 21st and the Infrastructure Wiring proposals are due on or before November 4th.

Senate Passes One-Year ADA Exemption

On September 15th, the Senate agreed to the insertion in its Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill (H.R. 2862) of an amendment that exempts for one year the E-Rate and all of universal service from the Anti Deficiency Act (ADA). . While E-Rate advocates have been pushing for a permanent exemption to ADA and two pieces of legislation that would achieve that goal – S. 241 and HR 2533 – have continued to gain cosponsors, this action might prevent E-Rate funding disruptions next year. The Senate’s CJS spending bill now heads to conference with the House’s version, which does not contain any ADA exemption language. It is not yet clear when a final CJS bill will be ready for final passage.

...from the EdTechActionNetwork (ETAN)

Legislation Passed to Keep the Government Running, But It Slashes EETT Funding; More Work Ahead for Education Technology Advocates

Congress passed legislation (called a Continuing Resolution) that provides funding to the Federal agencies that have not yet received their FY 06 funding allocations, thereby averting a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. The Continuing Resolution states that each program will be funded at the LOWER level of the FY 05 appropriation, the FY 06 Senate Committee Bill or the FY 06 House bill. The EETT program will therefore be funded at $300 million, the lowest of the three allocations and 40% less than its FY 05 funding level of $496 million. The Continuing Resolution will expire on November 18. Because the Department of Education will not distribute funding under the EETT program prior to November 18, the Continuing Resolution will not have an immediate impact on the program. However, it is possible that Congress will attempt to extend this Continuing Resolution to the end of FY 06, thereby gutting EETT to $300 million for the entire fiscal year. To prevent this outcome ISTE and CoSN will join forces with education organizations and will activate the ETAN network in the coming weeks to make sure Congress hears from the education community that this approach to funding is unacceptable and EETT must be funded at the $425 million level that was included in the Senate Committee bill.

...from the EdTechActionNetwork (ETAN)

Friday, October 07, 2005

NetDay; Speak Up Time!

It’s Speak Up time again!

Since 2003, NetDay has been hosting annual Speak Up Events. Our Speak Up events provide a unique opportunity for K-12 students and teachers to share their ideas on technology use and 21st century skills with national policy-makers and local decision-makers through an online survey.

To date, 377,000 K-12 students and 11,142 teachers representing 5,000 schools from all 50 states and American military bases worldwide have participated. Speak Up data contributed to the U.S. Department of Education's “National Education Technology Plan” and the “Visions 2020.2 Student Voices” joint report with the U.S. Department of Commerce. (See both the plan and the report at

Last year, 1,141 Connecticut students submitted online surveys as part of Speak Up Day for Students. We are excited to tell you that the Speak Up event will take place again this October – and we are very excited that to announce that we are also concurrently hosting Speak Up for Teachers. The registration system has been open for 2 weeks and so far 262 students and 51 teachers have registered from Connecticut.

This year's survey will follow up on many of the technology issues addressed in the 2003 and 2004 student and teacher surveys. In addition, new questions cover hot topics in education such as online learning, one-to-one computer initiatives, professional development, science and innovation, and 21st century workforce skills.

· The survey only takes 15 minutes to complete and all responses are 100% confidential. We do not collect any identification information from your students with the exception of gender and grade; we do not collect any email addresses from any survey participants.
· No individual data will be shared with anyone. To participate, a school or district simply registers their site online and then provides their students with the URL and secret code to access the survey.
· The survey will be open for participation at between October 21 and November 18. Students and teachers can take the survey anytime, anywhere, anyplace with an Internet connection and their school code.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Grant Readers Needed

We need you!

Grant applications are due on October 21st. for the Computer Assisted Writing RFP ( Readers will be given approximately two weeks to review between three and six proposals. Whether or not you have ever read a proposal before, your input is valuable. On November 9th., readers that have read the same applications will come together to summarize their findings.

Soon to be released is the new RFP for Infrastructure Wiring. If you are someone that uses the terms routers, switches and firewall as part of your everyday vocabulary, we need you to assist in the reading. Each reader will be given several proposals to read and then will have the opportunity to come together on November 21st. to compare their findings with other readers.

If you are interested in becoming a reader for either of the RFPs, please send me an e-mail ( with your contact information. If you want more details about the reading process, please call me @ (860) 713-6553.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Technology Plan Template is available now! (Rollout session date change @ ACES)

Current district technology plans are due to expire June 30, 2006. The Technology Plan Template that will be used to develop new three year plans (from July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2009) will be introduced through the RESCs during September. Tech plan template rollout sessions have been scheduled at CES-9.19.05 @ 1:30PM, LEARN-9.21.05 @ 1:00PM, ACES-9.22.05 and 9.26.05 @ 9:00AM, CREC-9.29.05 @ 8:30AM, EASTCONN (Windham Mills)-9.29.05 @ 3:30PM, and EdConnection-9.30.05 @ 9:00AM.

The template has been mailed out to superintendents and can be downloaded @ You may also request a copy by contacting your local RESCtech or by sending me ( an e-mail.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Laptop/Online Writing Assessment RFP

The RFP for Computer Assisted Writing, Instruction, and Testing (AKA- Laptop Pilot Program Grant) has been posted and is going out to Superintendents today. It is available at under the Curriculum heading. Note that there will be a Bidder’s Conference to review and discuss the RFP on September 19, 2005 at ACES (205 Skiff Street, Hamden) from 1:30 – 3:30.
Questions and Karen Kaplan (860) 713-6781 or e-mail

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

We need your help with an online E-Rate Survey of Schools

The State E-Rate Coordinators' Alliance (SECA) has just developed an online E-Rate Survey of Schools, which asks questions we don't think have ever been included in any prior survey. The survey consists of 28 straightforward questions and they estimate that it should take between 10 - 15 minutes to complete. It's being asked of all schools in the country, with each state then analyzing their own schools' data. The survey will close at 8:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, September 7. If we are going to maintain the $2.25 billion E-rate program, we need to have clear data to present to the policymakers that are thinking that the program isn't successful and is not vitally needed.

Please complete the survey only if your district completes the Form 471 (the billed entity), regardless of whether individual schools within that district apply separately.

What will happen to the data? All contact and identifying information will be kept confidential; it’s being collected in order for the State E-Rate coordinators to contact the schools if they have any questions and to determine if duplicate responses were submitted. Please know that the individual responses will be kept confidential, except where indicated. The data will be compiled and analyzed to determine areas for program improvement, the ongoing need for E-Rate, etc. They also hope to compile the aggregated data which we'll make available for everyone to see. The survey is located at:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

20 Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have

Laura Turner authored a must have article ( in the June '05 issue of T.H.E Journal Online ( This resource includes ten pages of links to tutorials on everything from traditional productivity tools to articles on WebCT and Blackboard, digital photography, computer security and copyright.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

'05-'07 EETT Grantees

On behalf of the SDE, I would like to thank all of the districts that submitted proposals for this year's EETT funding. The readers, volunteers from CAS, CABE, CAPSS, CECA, CEMA, along with non-ed tech SDE consultants and district personnel, deserve special thanks. They spent hours reading and re-reading your grant applications. Each local competitive application was read by at least six individuals. All of the readers came together for a day of summarizing their notes and scores. (Summative score sheets are available upon e-mail request from )

You may enlarge the table by clicking on it.

Student Technology Assessment Tools

The Alliance of Regional Educational Service Centers, funded in part from an Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) grant, was asked to review the availability of assessment tools that could be used to measure eighth grade technological literacy. A number of free and commercial tools were analyzed, along with several instruments that are currently being used in CT public schools. For a copy of the report as a self-starting CD, send a request to

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Assessment of 21st Century Skills: The Current Landscape

Assess 21

Assess 21 is a Web-based repository for information on assessments of 21 st century skills. Assess 21’s goal is to highlight what assessments are available as well as make visible where particular gaps in the assessment of 21 st century content and skill domains exist. Initially stocked with current assessments uncovered in the Partnership’s research, this repository is designed to serve as a central hub for background information on 21 st century skills assessments as they become available through submissions through the website. The online tool can be found at

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

More Infrastructure Money!

SB 2003
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1 , 2006

Department of Education

Sec. 13(g)(1) Sec. 32(g)(1)
Technology wiring of schools: Grants-in-aid to municipalities, regional school districts, and regional education service centers for the costs of wiring school buildings
FY 06: $5,000,000, FY 07: $5,000,000

RFPs will be mailed out to LEAs during early October!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New CT Legislation; Public Act No. 05-245 Sec. 39

Public Act No. 05-245 Sec. 39. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2005) The Department of Education may establish, within available appropriations, a pilot program for the use of technology in providing computer assisted writing, instruction and testing, in the ninth and tenth grades in the public schools, including the regional vocational-technical schools. The Commissioner of Education for purposes of the program may award grants to local and regional boards of education and regional vocational-technical schools for demonstration projects. Boards of education and vocational-technical schools seeking to participate in the pilot program shall apply to the department at such time and in such form as the commissioner prescribes. The commissioner shall select a diverse group of participants based on the population, geographic location and economic characteristics of the school district or school. Local and regional board of educations and regional vocational-technical schools awarded grants under the program may use grant funds for expenses for computer hardware, computer software, professional development, technical consulting assistance and other related activities.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

EETT Progress Reports

It's that time again. Every six months all EETT Local Competitive and Blue Chip School grantees are required to submit progress reports.

To locate the directions and forms that you need, select the SDE Educational Technology web page and then scroll down to Latest Documents. Here you will find the appropriate progress and final report forms for your grants. Your efforts to submit the reports on time will be greatly appreciated. Progress reports are due on or before June 30th and final reports are due no later than July 29th.

We are fortunate in that EETT has been placed back into the Federal 2006 budget (although at a substantially reduced rate). SDE is hopeful that the evidence that will be provided by our evaluator’s summary of EETT activities, will encourage Congress to increase the level of level of proposed EETT funding.

Draft version of Technology Plan Template is Available

As you are aware, LEA three year technology plans must be updated by the end of June 2006. Each plan is required to adhere to specific guidelines for compliance to both NCLB and E-Rate. When you have developed a draft of your plan, you may submit it to your local RESC for review. RESCs will begin accepting and reviewing drafts in the late fall of 2005. In order to give RESC personnel time to review drafts and offer suggestions to LEAs, RESCS must receive plans no later than April 10, 2006.

The new tech plan template will be submitted to SDE's forms review during July and should be available for distribution during the last week of July. If you would like a draft copy of the template, please send an e-mail request to Art Skerker.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

EETT '05 - '07 Local Competitive Update

READING AND SCORING: Forty people volunteered or were volunteered by their colleagues as readers. Eighteen of the readers represented the RESCs. Additional readers came from CEMA, CECA, CAPSS, CAS, CABE and the classroom. Each application was read by at least six readers. On June 7, 2005, all of the readers came together @ CREC to discuss, score and comment on the proposals. By the end of the day, the scores and comments were entered into a database.

IF THE EETT SCORING HAS BEEN COMPLETED, WHY IS SDE NOT INFORMING THE WINNERS? SDE expects to have $1,000,000 available to award to the highest scoring proposals. Unfortunately, until we receive our official award letter from the Department of Education, we will not know exactly how much money is available for dispersal and the number of projects that can be funded.

WHEN WILL THE LEAs THAT SUBMITTED EETT PROPOSALS BE NOTIFIED? We project that within three to four business days of SDE's receipt of its award letter (in 2004 it did not arrive until August), an e-mail will be sent out with a spreadsheet identifying the awardees. The offical award letters will follow within two weeks.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

State Educational Technology Director's Association (SETDA) Toolkit

The SETDA Toolkit contains resources for eLearning, 8th. Grade Technology Literacy Assessment, technology embedded curriculum development, resources for program evaluation, and tools for the evaluation of online learning resoruces.

(You may view the 2004-2005 Toolkit online or download the entire 228 page Toolkit in .pdf format.)