Partnerships and Projects: Some of What's Happening in Our World

Direction: Partnership opportunites and activities explored with other organizations.

Phillip W. Branstetter, Riverside County Office of Education

The previous DataBus included an article about CEDPA's theme for the coming year. It seems appropriate to continue that discussion by detailing events that have taken place since that article was published, and to update CEDPA readers about current projects and active groups of particular interest. It seems also obvious that none of us can keep abreast of all the activities, committees, task forces, and events that shape our collective destiny without networking together--there's simply too much going on.

Since the last DataBus the Board of Directors met in Palm Springs and discussed partnership opportunities at some length--specifically focusing on the CUE organization. We have had two very productive meetings with representatives of CUE talking in general about how our respective constituencies can leverage each other's members' expertise; and specifically about conference planning and the possibility of future conferences being held adjacent (both time and location) so members from each organization could participate in activities and sessions from either conference. At the very least sharing speaker names on pertinent topics is plausible. Both organizations are keenly interested in working together with the stated provision that individual organizational identity is maintained.

Other organizations and activities of particular relevance include the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), the Education Council for Technology in Learning (ECTL), and the Golden State Educational Network (GSEN) committee.

CCSESA is a relatively new and very active participant in technology-related issues. The Telecommunications/Technology Task Force is of particular interest to CEDPA members and is currently involved in several activities relating to developing a telecommunications /technology plan on a statewide scale including:

CCSESA will also be the key organization in implementing the provisions of the recently chaptered AB3141, follow-on legislation to AB1200 which deals with several issues most notably (to CEDPA members) telecommunications standards.

The ECTL was created by SB1510. ECTL is also very active in technology projects although not typically well known to CEDPA members. Their activities primarily support classroom projects and model sites. ECTL funding is behind the "Building the Future" grants and the RFI and RFA projects to provide Internet access. Internet seems to be the tie that binds all technology project--at least for the moment. ECTL meetings are open and, from a CEDPA perspective, I found sitting in the audience to be a valuable lesson in what activities were taking place and in understanding relationships among players.

The GSEN committee is a task force of the ECTL working to forward recommendations on a strategy to build a statewide infrastructure for voice, video, and data networks consistent with the Building The Future: K-12 Network Technology Planning Guide. The committee is currently working in sub-groups to put individual pieces in place to be combined in a larger document. In theory the GSEN document will lead to development of an architecture of comprehensive network services for districts and COEs to attach to. The document is nearing completion, probably in the next several weeks, then we may get a sense of the GSEN impact or relevance on individual networking plans. Its actual value will depend very much on what happens in Sacramento to provide resources to implement a voice, video, and data network.

Another relevant issue is the imminent demise of the Migrant Student Record Transfer System (MSRTS) in Little Rock. MSRTS has been used for years as a national system to gather and pass information about migrant education students. MSRTS is sunsetting, effective in June, and each state appears left to its own devices to fill the void. With all the effort California has put into CSIS as a student record transfer mechanism it seems to me that it is a natural building block for tracking migrant, homeless, and other highly mobile student populations. What is needed is a short-term solution to MSRTS going away, a systemic study of the highly mobile student record keeping needs, and development and implementation of a comprehensive solution built on CSIS principles and some form of a statewide network infrastructure. Look for this to be a relatively hot topic, particularly among COEs, during the next few months.

There are probably a hundred other items of significance taking place. As we become aware we will continue to share information and ideas.