Virtual Meetings on Chromebooks

Google has identified an issue with Chrome OS 85 and virtual meetings (Zoom, Google Meet, Bluejeans, WebEx, etc). This issue causes freezing, audio degradation, video degradation and connectivity issues.


Google has confirmed that OS Version 85 enabled security mitigation patches that caused an approximate 30% increase in CPU utilization causing Virtual Meeting issues.


Google will roll back the security mitigation patches within OS 85. This update will be pushed to users

Resolution Timeline:
OS Build: Due EOD Friday, 9/25
Testing: 9/25 thru 9/28
Phased Rollout: Starting Monday, 9/28
100% roll out anticipated by Mid-week or 10/1.

Cyber Security

padlock through a paper contract

Please be aware that we are seeing additional phishing emails and malware attempts.

COVID-19 has led to an increase in attacks on schools. With schools using more and more online tools, the bad guys are attacking. Simply spending more time on computers can lead to “security fatigue”.

Malware and phishing attacks can be devastating.

A couple of tips:

  • Your principal isn’t in a “meeting” right now and needs you to respond to with your contact information.
  • Be wise about plugging in drives to a computer that you’ve taken home.
  • Look at the REAL from address in emails.
  • If something “seems wrong” or odd, slow down and be careful.

We have taken appropriate security measures to help protect the district. This is a moving target, so we are constantly updating our policies and practices. At times, this means that you may be restricted in what you can install. This impacts district accounts using Google extensions and PC devices specifically.

FERPA Resource

FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) is a federal law that all educators must follow. Many teachers are familiar with the general guidelines when posting material within a building. FERPA must be followed in online situations as well. As we move to more and more online materials, all educators must follow FERPA.

There are a couple of acronyms to be familiar with: FERPA and PII.

  • FERPA – Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • PII – Personally Identifiable Information
  • COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
  • PPRA – Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment

Below is nice graphical flowchart that should be considered BEFORE signing students up for an account with any outside vendor.

Application Vetting: An Overview
Understand what data the
Provider collects, uses, and
discloses, and how the data is
Review the agreements that
outline the responsibilities
between the Provider and
the School System. 
Communicate the decision
to teachers, students and
Is Student Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Being Disclosed to a Provider?
Will the Provider Collect the PII Directly from Students?
Is Parental Consent Required to Disclose PII To The Provider?
 Will the PII be used for Marketing Purposes, and not for the School Purpose?
Does the Provider’s Privacy Policy Provide Clear Information About Collection and Handling of PII?
Does the Provider’s Privacy Policy, Terms (or Contract) Provide Sufficient Assurances to Make an Informed Selection?

The original document is posted on the CoSN site.

Chrome Slow?

If your Chromebook or Chrome browser seems to be running slow, there is a simple task you can do to speed it up.

Clearing the cached images can make a BIG difference in using Google Chrome.

To clear the cache:

  1. Click on “More” options (Customize and control Google Chrome) – This is the 3 vertical buttons the far right of the URL bar.
  2. Select “More tools”
  3. Select “Clear Browsing Data”
  4. Select “Cached images and files”
  5. Click on “Clear data”

Please note that there are other options to clear data out (like “Cookies and other site data”). These can also be cleared, but you will have to sign back into any sites that you visit.

You may want to do this daily if it helps improve your browsing experience.


Flyer of RESA PD on Google Applied Digital Skills

This Thursday, May 7th, RESA is hosting a professional learning opportunity on Google’s Applied Digital Skills, a free project based curriculum that gets students creating and collaborating as they practice their digital skills. The curriculum is geared toward middle school and up, but there are lots of ideas that you can glean from the lessons and modify for elementary students. The attached flier contains the times the workshop is being offered along with the registration information. There is no cost to participate.

Registration Link

Connecting a Chromebook

If students have issues connecting their Chromebooks, please have them do this:

  1. Turn off the Chromebook (holding the power button is okay)
  2. Turn the Chromebook back on.
  3. Connect to your home WiFi.
  4. You should see a screen that says “Sign in to your Chromebook”. Leave the Chromebook on this screen for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Restart the Chromebook again.

Internet Options for Families

This is being provided for your information only. Dearborn Public Schools does not specifically endorse a particular vendor. This information is being provided as information only.


In response, please be advised that Comcast has increased the speeds of its Internet Essentials home internet service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps.  Additionally, households who enroll now will be eligible for 60 days of complimentary service. The formal announcement is attached for your reference and is also available here.  As a reminder, Internet Essentials provides $9.95 per month home internet service exclusively to low-income households.  

Update: Comcast announced late Friday, 3/13/2020 that it is suspending enforcement of its data cap and overage fees for 60 days during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Comcast is also making its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots free for anyone to use. Millions of the hotspots are scattered throughout the country; you can find hotspot locations here.

EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunities by connecting everyone to the internet. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has facilitated access to affordable technology solutions–in-home internet service, desktops and laptops–and free digital literacy trainings through our offer locator tool, cross-sector partnerships, and local programming efforts. We work closely with schools, public housing communities, and other diverse organizations to facilitate internet adoption.


   *   Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

    *   Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.

    *   For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer 


  • Up to $10 per month (plus taxes)
  • 10 Mbps
  • No term commitment
  • No deposit
  • No installation fee
  • In-home Wi-Fi modem included

Find out if Access from AT&T is in your area: Click here.

Frontier Fundamental Internet Service

  • $19.99 per month (plus taxes), includes $14.99 for service and $5 router charge
  • Speeds range depending on type of service
  • No term commitment
  • No installation fee

Find out if Frontier Fundamental Internet is in your area: Click here.

Spectrum Internet Assist

  • $14.99 a month (plus taxes)
  • $5 more per month for in-home WiFi
  • 30 Mbps
  • No term commitment
  • Modm included

Find out if Spectrum is in your area: Click here.


The benefits of EmpowerED 2.0.

  • Participating schools can receive up to $200 per student to put toward mobile internet devices, including hotspots, laptops, and tablets.
  • 24-month service agreement required. See full terms
  • Sign a two-year contract on a qualifying unlimited plan for $20/month
  • During congestion, the small fraction of customers using >50GB/mo. may notice reduced speeds until the next bill cycle due to data prioritization. Video typically streams on smartphone/tablet at 480p. Unlimited on our network. 
  • Reliable service and support.
  • Count on planning, implementation, deployment support, and content filtering to help prevent access to inappropriate content.


WOW (Wide Open West) also provides cable service to parts of Dearborn. Plans appear to start at $34.99/month

WOW COVID-19 Response

MyPD – Remote Learning Course

The Remote Learning Course in MyPD is available for all Dearborn Staff. It includes some great information like this:

Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Please join and subscribe if you are a Dearborn Teacher.

Thoughts on Online Learning

Recently, there has been a good bit of focus on online learning opportunities. Some of this has been in response to the COVID-19 virus. Some are suggesting implementing online learning for students. 

Dearborn Public Schools has been supporting and championing online learning for over 10 years. We are internationally* known for our online learning and support through iLearn (which is based on Moodle). Every teacher has the ability to create an online course through iLearn. There are currently over 700 courses created in iLearn. Every day we have students accessing iLearn from within the district and outside the district. 

We have a rich history of meeting student needs. For example, over the last few years, we have had several students who are homebound. We have provided opportunities for the students to be part of their class through video conferencing and other supports. We had a recent case where a student had a medical issue, came to school, but couldn’t physically join the class. We quickly set up a video conference so the student could fully participate in the class. We have a student with a visual acuity who can’t see the board. We’ve enabled this student to see and hear everything clearly. We have created resources like a spelling course for fourth grade that is student-focused and self-paced. Teachers only monitor the spelling course to provide additional support when needed. The entire course is online. We created a summer school Biology course that is completely online as well. 


So, what are some of the tools that we provide? These are all tools where we own the data. Student information is NOT shared with an outside vendor.


iLearn (which is based on Moodle) is a truly online classroom experience. Teachers can provide a wide variety of activities and resources. Below is a small sample of the things that teachers can do:

  • Self-paced study guides
  • Interactive Video
  • Peer Editing
  • Online quizzes
  • Formative Assessments
  • Choose Your Own Adventures
  • Flashcard creation
  • Glossary creation (both personal and classroom shared)
  • Discussion formats


BigBlueButton (BBB) is integrated with iLearn. BBB allows teachers to create their very own “WebEx”. BBB includes video, integrated whiteboard, screen sharing, break-out rooms, and chat. Students can join, but only teachers can create a “class”.


E-Voting allows teachers to quickly perform Formative Assessments. Integrated through iLearn, once set up it doesn’t require the students to log in. This is a great tool to collect and evaluate understanding. It can also be used to highlight believes, misunderstandings or just catch the attention of students.

Student Sites

Student Sites allow students to create their own blogs and web sites. This is based on WordPress (which powers roughly a third of the Internet). Student sites are limited to viewing within Dearborn Public Schools members for security and privacy concerns.


Mahara is our ePortfolio system. This allows students to create an electronic portfolio. The portfolio can link to existing work or work created within the portfolio. This is also integrated within iLearn.

Teachers can also use Mahara to create a portfolio. Some of our teachers submit their Mahara portfolio as part of their annual evaluation.


MyPD is where we provide online professional development for our staff. This is also based on Moodle. This not only provides learning and resources but allows teachers to experience Moodle as a “student”. Recently, we have extended some of that training to other local school districts as well. 


All teachers should have a web site through iBlog. This allows teachers to keep students, families, and the community aware of activities within the classroom. Parents can subscribe to receive email updates.

Other Tools

We also provide links to additional tools that the district does not host.

  • GSuite – Google Tools including Docs (Word Processing), Sheets (Spreadsheets), Slides (Presentation), Drawing (well, Drawing), Drive and more.
  • Google Classroom – a way for teachers to share, collect and organize documents from students
  • Discovery Education
  • Khan Academy – a variety of videos
  • Edmentum – some schools by subscription
  • Edgenuity – special enrollment required
  • Read Seed – integrated through iLearn.
  • Hypothesis – integrated within iLearn. Allows students to Annotate websites and PDF’s.

There are more tools available. Check out our website. Click through to the Student Portal.

Curriculum Resources

The reality is that many of our curriculum resources have online material. Many of our textbooks and teaching materials are now available online. Here is a partial list of the resources with online components that we currently use:

  • AgileMinds
  • iReady
  • Ready Gen
  • Eureka Math

Technology Coach

We have a Technology Coach who supports teachers in implementing technology in their classroom. Amy Gwizdz (our Technology Coach) partners with teachers throughout the district to support technology use. We offer training every summer on the effective implementation of technology through iLearn. This year, we’ve even added Saturday training for teachers. 


Realistically, technology can’t replace a teacher in the classroom. Teachers and students vary in their technology skills. Access to online tools varies for students and staff. While we have a robust, dependable network within Dearborn Public Schools, home access can vary greatly. This is true of network speed and type of device. Doing online work on a rate-limited cell phone plan with a cell phone that has a four-inch screen is very different than completing that same work on souped-up PC with 27” inch monitor that is connected via fiber.  


Again, Dearborn Public Schools has a long tradition of supporting and providing online learning. Not only have we long been leaders in online learning, but we continue to support effective technology use throughout the district. 

* Chris Kenniburg was invited to be the Keynote Speaker for the MoodleMoot in Japan. Chris Kenniburg and Troy Patterson have presented at the United States MoodleMoot. Amy Gwizdz, Robert Harrison, Chris Kenniburg, and Troy Patterson also presented at the MountainMoot ( a regionally recognized Moot). Troy Patterson and Chris Kenniburg have both been acknowledged as “Particular Helpful Moodlers” by the leadership of Moodle.

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