What is a leader to do with end-of-year surplus?
If you are like most school districts, you will end the year with a small amount of unspent general funds. This is not due to inaccurate or inefficient budgeting. In fact, even perfect budgeting will be just a little loose to account for "unknowns". End-of-year funds can be even larger than anticipated due to a wide variety of reasons: warmer weather than predicted, salary avoidance due to unfilled positions, unexpected grants, and many other variables.
But how can the savvy administrator ensure that end-of-year surplus is invested wisely, and not simply frittered away? Does the district really need another pallet of paper or another box of toners?
Consider applying your funds to next year's technology contracts. Most districts have annual expenses associated with printer contracts, or consulting agreements, or cloud license agreements, or some other kind of ongoing expenses that can be partially pre-paid by using end-of-year funds.
By prepaying* some or all of next year's technology agreements with end-of-year funds, you can reserve space in next year's 101 and 201 budgets with additional time to plan on how to best use the resources!
Curious about how to budget for technology spending more efficiently? K12Panel.com has a full budgeting module to allow you to plan your annual refresh cycle effectively, and to budget accordingly. Contact us to learn more!
*Make sure to follow your auditor's guidelines for prepayments.
Many districts are struggling with ChatGPT. Should we allow it? Should we block it? What should we do?
A quick recap
ChatGPT is a tool that will generate human-like responses to questions. Many schools (especially higher education institutions) have seen a rise in students using ChatGPT to generate research papers. This has led a lot of schools to blocking ChatGPT.
Let's look at a few reasons why you SHOULD NOT block ChatGPT, and then look at a few reasons why you SHOULD block ChatGPT.
Why you SHOULD NOT block ChatGPT
Why you SHOULD block ChatGPT
So what do I do??
What is the savvy district administrator to do? The most important thing you can do is to be purposeful. Have an open dialogue with educators, students, parents and board members about your overall content filtering philosophy and strategy. Remember WHY you filter content, and as a district, write it down. Follow your own policies and procedures, and if you don't have solid ones - now's the time to think them through.
Want some help? Contact us!
As you may have read in previous articles, I'm quite taken with ChatGPT, so I decided to explore AI-generated art. We have a long way to go. You can't unsee this image, created from the phrase "Happy woman using a computer".
Those demon teeth - why? :)
What puts this smile on anyone's face?
I'm coming for you...
Securly released the following statement today regarding ChatGPT and changes about how the company will handle the tool in the future:
"Securly has had ChatGPT and other parts of the OpenAI website categorized in our URL database for the past couple of months. After careful review via internal discussion(s), conversations with school districts, and ensuring CIPA compliance remains uncompromised, we have reached the decision to remove ChatGPT from our database. This allows the decision to be made at the school/district level on whether or not you prefer to allow or block the URLs. Adding the URLs to block lists (globally or by policy) should keep the site blocked at the respective levels. Our goal is to hopefully afford you the opportunity to get your policies configured how you want prior to us removing the URLs from our database, thus preventing any surprises around the site being open. We will be removing ChatGPT from our database on Monday, February 13, 2023. If you have any questions on how to make sure the URL is configured properly in your Filter console please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org."
You may have heard a bit about ChatGPT in the news. It is turning out to be a fairly disruptive technology in academia. You may have heard comments like "This tool makes cheating easy!" and "You should block ChatGPT from your school network!".
These thoughts deserve discussion, but let's start with the most basic question: What is ChatGPT?
To answer this, I decided to ask ChatGPT to explain ChatGPT with this simple question:
Write a 200 to 300 word blog entry explaining ChatGPT and GPT
Here's the response I got from ChatGPT:
ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is capable of understanding and generating human-like text. It is based on the GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) model, which is one of the most advanced language AI models currently available.
GPT-3 is a neural network-based model that has been trained on a massive dataset of written text. This training allows it to understand the context and meaning of words, as well as how they are used in different sentences and paragraphs. This allows GPT-3 to generate text that is very similar to what a human would write.
One of the key features of GPT-3 is its ability to perform a wide range of language-based tasks such as translation, summarization, and question answering. It can also be fine-tuned for specific tasks, such as writing essays or creating code. This makes GPT-3 a powerful tool for a variety of industries, including education, content creation, and programming.
In addition to its language processing capabilities, GPT-3 also has the ability to generate text that is hard to distinguish from text written by a human. This can be used for various tasks such as chatbot conversation, content creation, and more.
ChatGPT is a specific implementation of GPT-3 that is optimized for conversational language understanding and generation. It can be used to create advanced chatbot and conversational AI systems that can understand and respond to human-like text.
Overall, GPT-3 and ChatGPT are powerful AI models that can be used to improve a wide range of language-based tasks. Their ability to understand and generate human-like text makes them well-suited for a variety of industries and use cases.
Want to try ChatGPT yourself? Head over and give it a whirl! https://chat.openai.com/chat
posted on 1/9/2023
!!! CLERKS !!! Read this !!!
Montana schools are actively being targeted by a sophisticated electronic phishing attack that looks like an employee is requesting a direct deposit change - BEWARE OF THIS ATTACK!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
There is an active phishing (email) attack circulating Montana schools right now. The attack is designed to trick you into changing an employee's direct deposit information. The phishing email looks as if it has been sent by an employee and is very convincing. If you get an email from a district employee asking to make a direct deposit change, you are likely the target of this attack!
The email looks as though it comes directly from one of your employees and it doesn't look like a fake! Here's a sample email of just ONE of the MANY emails that K12 Montana has seen in real clerk mailboxes across the state over the past several weeks:
WHAT TO DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR DISTRICT