April 13, 2020 AZBSN COVID-19 Digital Access Task Force Teleconference Report
Attendees Steve Peters, Oris Friesen, Henry Goldberg, Mark Goldstein, Michael Amick, Sherri Bakker, Kirk Busch, John Champagne, Jerry Crow, Mark Dallmeier, Dave Doehler, Terence Ford, Gil Gonzales, Tim Harrington, Holly Henley, Steve Hill, Bob Jacobson, John Kelly, Alan Kost, Larry Light, Sophia Mayberry, Derek Masseth, Keedo Monroe, Mala Muralidharan, Lea Marquez Peterson, Ricardo Platt, Alan Pruitt, Tracy Rexroat, Lynda Santoro, Steve Smith, Jeff Sobotka, Dan Stormont, Cory TerEick, Nicole Umayam, Scott Ward, Nan Williams, Karen Ziegler
Purpose of Meeting Steve Peters explained the primary purpose of today’s COVID-19 Digital Access Task Force meeting is to discuss how MSS Management Consulting Services and Insight will work with the task force to develop actionable recommendations for the State government. This will be discussed later in this report. This meeting will also provide relevant updates from task force participants on the activities of The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Jeff Sobotka (State Broadband Director), and Mala Muralidharan on activities of the Arizona State Library and FCC E-rate Program waivers under consideration. Steve noted that the task force teleconferences may be transitioned to Microsoft 365 from Zoom, but if not AZBSN will soon acquire its own Zoom account for these teleconferences.
ISTE, ADE, State Broadband Director, State Library & FCC Updates ISTE Nan Williams, Executive Director of the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA), explained AzTEA is the local affiliate for the ISTE. ISTE has a COVID-19 task force with subcommittees including connectivity, centering equity, personalized learning, social & emotional learning, safety, and privacy & digital citizenship. Nan is co-chair of their connectivity subcommittee. They have recently begun meetings of this task force, and Nan requests that any agenda items for the ISTE task force be sent to her.
ADE Sophia Mayberry, Project Manager in the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at ADE, stated she is working with Milan Eaton (State E-rate Director at ADE) on conducting a research survey of state schools to understand the digital divide issues of Internet access and devices needed by students to continue learning during the COVID-19 school closures. The survey has been sent to school principals and school district superintendents (rather than families) to obtain as good overall data on needs as possible. So far they have received hundreds of responses, and the survey will continue through next week. They will be working with this task force to identify solutions including the appropriate use of federal funding. Lea Marquez Peterson commented that some students also lack access to Microsoft Office needed for completing assignments, and Sophia Mayberry agreed this issue also must be considered. Sophia added ADE is also partnering with the Governor’s office and others on obtaining hotspots and laptop donations.
State Broadband Director Update Jeff Sobotka explained many families lack Internet access at home and can use mobile hotspot devices in combination with mobile data plans to gain access. Jeff noted that the ACA has obtained over 200 hotspots from an Arizona warehouse that are compatible with Verizon wireless services and other service providers’ services. The ACA is partnering with ADE in launching a Hotspot Donation Drive to encourage private/public partners to donate surplus hotspot devices for students in need (as identified by ADE). Donated hotspots will be refurbished as required.
Jeff indicated Cisco is working with the Arizona State Library to trial boosters that will extend Wi-Fi signals to the parking lots and around the outside of the libraries during their closure. This will be trialed at two selected libraries.
Jeff noted the State government has assembled a telemedicine broadband action team that is putting together telemedicine needs across the state. From this, federal funding will be allocated to appropriate telemedicine requirements. Karen Ziegler, ADOA Public Safety Program Manager for FirstNet and 911, remarked that a problem occurred with a person passing out during a 911 call and his location could not be determined so appropriate telemedicine protocols are needed to handle such situations. Jeff responded that Nancy Rowe of the Arizona Telemedicine Program is responsible for considering telemedicine policy issues like this.
Arizona State Library and FCC Activities Mala Muralidharan, E-rate Administrator for Public Libraries at the Arizona State Library, and Holly Henley, Director of the Arizona State Library, noted many families who lack Internet access will be coming to library parking lots to get Wi-Fi access to the Internet. The Arizona State Library is doing a survey of libraries across the state to find out which libraries are providing Wi-Fi access from the parking lot, what are the barriers, and create a prioritized list for the ACA to work with the service providers to install boosters to extend Wi-Fi signals. Steve remarked he would put this survey on the AZBSN COVID-19 Digital Access Task Force website.
Mala explained the FCC E-rate program, which has provided Internet access for schools and libraries, is a sensible way to provide funds for students to obtain Internet access wherever they may be during the school/library COVID-19 closures. The FCC is considering various waivers in the E-rate program to respond to the COVID-19 crisis: designating off-campus connectivity for students as an educational purpose; expanding Category 2 funding to include end-user devices; expanding the eligible services list to include network security; waiving its 28-day bidding period in favor of local emergency bidding requirements; and allowing FY2020 Category 2 funding requests to be submitted until June 30, 2020. The previous FCC waiver of the gift clause will probably be extended until June 2021.
MSS Management Consulting Services and Insight: Task Force Planning Steve began by explaining that the AZBSN COVID-19 Digital Access Task Force wants to make recommendations in the next few weeks to the State government by forming subcommittees in each key area: Education, Libraries, Telemedicine, Communities, Service Providers, and Funding. Jeff Sobotka commented that a Telemedicine subcommittee may not be necessary given that there is already a Telemedicine Broadband Action Team and Arizona Telemedicine Council making recommendations to the State government. Henry Goldberg suggested Steve ask Janet Major of the Arizona Telemedicine Program, who serves on our task force, whether this task force should form our own Telemedicine subcommittee to make recommendations.
Steve has spoken with Mike Hawksworth, President of MSS Management Consulting Services, about our task force and he offered MSS assistance at no charge in managing the planning process to make the appropriate recommendations. As described at the April 6th task force meeting, Insight has also offered to provide planning assistance for the task force at no charge. Steve asked MSS to present to the task force today about the approach they see in moving the process forward most effectively.
Mark Dallmeier, Relationship Manager at MSS, and Cory TerEick, Advisor/Consultant at MSS, provided an overview of MSS and the way they see the task force planning process being managed to provide recommendations in the required time frame. MSS has operated in Arizona for 30 years, is ranked the #1 regional consulting firm in Arizona, enables client strategy and transformations, and has worked with many sectors across multiple functional areas.
Cory sees the task force’s previous four meetings as focused on identifying needs, connecting people, and information sharing, and that the task force now wants to establish subcommittees to make actionable recommendations within three weeks. MSS will provide program structure and oversight within the subcommittees to organize focus, scope out important areas, facilitate conversations, and drive appropriate recommendations. They will institute a 4-Step process:
Mobilize Subcommittees – includes identifying subcommittee champion(s)
Developing Plans – includes subcommittee mission, priorities, milestones
Collect & Consolidate Data – includes conducting research and organizing information
Deliver Recommendations – building consensus, delivering results to decision makers.
MSS has tools and template that help the process move along efficiently. See the attachment with this report for the full MSS presentation including contact information for Mark & Cory. Download the MSS presentation below
Terence Ford, Regional Services Account Executive – Enterprise Services Solution Sales at Insight, stated he sees an effective synergistic relationship between MSS and Insight in working together on this task force planning process. Insight will be focused on gap analysis for equipment and services in the next 30 days and supply chain requirements. The longer 60-90 day plan will take into account operations and maintenance processes.
Download Below: Insight - AZ COVID-19 Digital Task Force - Insight Action Items Proposed Next Steps
Steve stated he plans to meet with MSS and Insight in the next couple of days to discuss next steps. Mark Goldstein added he has long-term familiarity with MSS and expects their approach will be successful in organizing focus towards delivering recommendations. Bob Jacobson remarked goal-setting will be key, and Steve responded that task force members should look at the task force website to see the description of the mission.
Terence stated Microsoft Teams will be used as the collaboration platform for this task force. Steve stated Insight will provide training to the task force on how to use Microsoft Teams, and Cory and Mark of MSS will also provide assistance with this.
Steve added he will be meeting with AZ StRUT to discuss their work on providing laptops for K-12 students.
The Task Force concurred that the weekly task force calls on Monday mornings will continue for at least the next month. He asked task force members to send him agenda items for these meetings.
Next Steps The next AZBSN COVID-19 Digital Access Task Force meeting will be on Monday April 20th at 7:30 am, and overall task force meetings will continue to be held on Monday mornings for the next month.
Henry Goldberg and Oris Friesen will write up a summary report of today’s task force meeting.
Chat from Zoom From Nan Williams to Everyone: (07:31 AM) You can rename it by clicking on the three dots
From Sophia Mayberry to Everyone: (07:32 AM) Oh thanks Nan!
From Nan Williams to Everyone: (07:41 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org 602-525-6909
From Nan Williams to Everyone: (07:49 AM) Jeff, could you put the link to the Arizona site in the chat
From Sophia Mayberry to Everyone: (07:50 AM) (I was already planning to work today conducting student interviews for Superintendent).
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (07:50 AM) ArizonaTogether.org
From Sophia Mayberry to Everyone: (07:50 AM) https://arizonatogether.org/
From Nan Williams to Everyone: (07:50 AM) Thank-you!
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (07:51 AM) I noticed a few groups collecting used devices in the Phoenix area. Is anyone collecting in Southern Arizona? I'm happy to reach out to groups in Tucson to ask them to lead an effort if needed.
From Dan Stormont to Everyone: (07:53 AM) I would agree that the issue of not being able to open Word or Excel files is largely one of training of teachers and communicating to students. There are many free web-based or local options for opening Office format files. Lea, I've had some people contact me about wanting to donate surplus tech, but I don't know of anyone organizing collection and distribution of used equipment.
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (07:55 AM) Dan - AzSTRUT and Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation in Maricopa County so far
From Dan Stormont to Everyone: (07:55 AM) But none here in Pima County that I know of.
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (07:56 AM) I haven't heard of any yet
From Sophia Mayberry to Everyone: (08:03 AM) Teams is what we use at ADE it is great.
From Mark Dallmeier to Everyone: (08:15 AM) MSS Business Transformation Advisory www.mssbta.com
Relationship Management Mark Dallmeier O: 602.410.7793 E: email@example.com
From John Kelly to Everyone: (08:15 AM) Microsoft is willing to help with Teams training as needed.
From Bob Jacobson to Everyone: (08:20 AM) Setting collective and individual goals would be a good first step. So much s going on, it’s a bit chaotic in my simple mind.
From Mark Dallmeier to Everyone: (08:20 AM) Agreed
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (08:20 AM) Sounds like a good plan!
From tracy to Everyone: (08:20 AM) sounds good
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (08:21 AM) I haven't used Microsoft Teams and use Asana to manage many projects. I suggest we have a platform like that to use if it's not in Teams.
From tracy to Everyone: (08:22 AM) yes
From Lea Marquez Peterson to Everyone: (08:22 AM) I support weekly calls too
From tracy to Everyone: (08:23 AM) sure
From Nan Williams to Everyone: (08:23 AM) Teams is easy to use
From Dan Stormont to Everyone: (08:23 AM) Lea, Teams has the ability to create teams in the tool and associate files, wikis, etc., for those teams, but it doesn't have a work planning/tracking function like Asana. So Asana could be a good supplement.
From Dan Stormont to Everyone: (08:25 AM) The TEALS Program uses Teams and Asana.
From Malavika Muralidharan to Everyone: (08:27 AM) Will you attach the presentations to the minutes, Steve?