California Educational Data Processing Association
The DataBus - Vol. 36, No. 1
December, 1995-January, 1996

President's Corner

Commitment: Expanded services to be offered to CEDPA's members.

Ken Jones, Lodi Unified School District

When I joined the CEDPA Board six years ago, I had no idea how important the organization would become to getting my job done. The ability to network with peers from around the State and have a voice in some of the workings at CDE has been invaluable. My current position with Lodi Unified School District has been that of starting a new information systems department and bringing in all new administrative technology. CEDPA has been a wonderful way to figure out all my options and get real world opinion from people who have already been through what was happening in Lodi. Looking back at the accomplishments of my first year and a half at Lodi, I have not done one thing that was original thought. That may sound a little boring, but I prefer to give my employer the best solution rather than the most clever, leading edge solution. Call me strange, but I like my job!

What I discovered in my adventure at Lodi was that there is not a comprehensive list of software or hardware solutions available from any source that I could find. For example, when asked what student information systems we should be looking at, I could name a few but I knew that I was leaving some potentially wonderful choices out. Where was there a list of all the vendors? Who do you contact as you start down this road? The bottom line is that CEDPA was really my one and only choice.

CEDPA will be expanding the services it provides its membership during the next year. We believe that sharing information amongst our members is one of the most effective ways of keeping our members abreast of legislative issues and technology enhancements and we will be doing several things to enhance that communication.

First, all 1995 conference attendees have been provided a complete list of conference attendees. We know that a lot of networking takes place during the conference and we also know that sometimes that "connection" is broken after the conference concludes because you don't know how to get a hold of those people you had that important discussion with.

Second, we will be looking at hiring the services of someone who will help us analyze and provide information to our membership about the massive number of bills and other activities at the state and national levels that affect technology in education This will be reported back to the membership as a regular column in The DataBus.

Third, CEDPA will increase the number and frequency of regional meetings it sponsors throughout the year. At present there are three "Special Interest Group" meetings that are conducted during the year. One meeting each is held in the Northern and Southern sections of the state, and the third meeting is conducted during the annual conference. It was the consensus of the members who attended the SIG meetings during the October conference that CEDPA should change the focus of these meetings from a structured meeting that supports special interests (such as SISNET and the MIS Managers) to one of a more general "networking" nature. These "networking" sessions would be made available to the general membership and might cover a wider range of discussion topics. CEDPA will attempt to schedule these meetings every other month in both the Northern and Southern sections of the state, making a total of six luncheon meetings available to CEDPA's membership throughout the year.

Fourth, CEDPA will expand its presence on the Internet. We believe the Internet is rapidly becoming the universal vehicle for communication and sharing information. In addition to publishing an electronic version of The DataBus and providing other information about the organization, we plan to expand our services by implementing a bid clearinghouse web page that will contain information about recently-concluded bids that include "Piggy Back" clauses. How do we propose to collect this information? By using the Internet, of course! We plan to implement a series of online forms designed to collect information ranging from bid information to equipment and software surveys and will be depending on you to give that information to us via the Internet. All collected information will be publicized on the World Wide Web and also in The DataBus.

What is in the future for CEDPA? CEDPA is your organization and will be whatever you want it to be. The Board's view is that we will continue to spend time in several important areas. They include, but are not limited to, influencing legislation at the state and national levels, sharing information about how people like you are handling the upcoming 2000 date problem, what to do about upgrading your legacy systems to modern technology on a shoestring, how to build that network the instructional folks are screaming for (and how to support it after you build it!), and war stories about things that worked and, more importantly, things that didn't work.

Stay tuned--and we sincerely thank you for supportting CEDPA. You don't get to be 35 years old without doing something right.

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