Resources and Links
Technology News & Current Events
Training & Online Learning Sources
AceCentre Resources - Help you get started with AAC
Purchasing, Grants, and Funding Sources
Survey, Interactive Response , Meeting Tools
Cyber Security - Online Safety and Threat Protection
Technology Planning, Policy and Standards
Discounts on Technology Purchasing for Staff
With membership comes privileges. As a result of MAISD licensing or memberships the following businesses and organizations may offer discounts to our districts and their employees.
VERIZON WIRELESS - MAISD staff can receive up to 18% off their personal monthly cellular bill and up to 25% off accessories.
You must already be a Verizon Wireless customer, an active MAISD staff member, and have an active MAISD.COM e-mail account to participate.
After entering your MAISD e-mail address, discounts should be applied within about 2 billing periods.
MiCTA - The Montcalm Area ISD on behalf of all of our county school districts is a member of MiCTA which in turn provides blanket membership for all of our schools to receive discounts. Visit their web site to view their current bids and available discounts. Examples include, Verizon, Sprint and other telecommunications related industries.
REMC / SPOT Personal Purchase - As part of the REMC Device Purchasing Bid, several vendors included "value-adds" with their bids, one of which is a "Personal Purchase Program". These programs allow you to get great deals on devices, some of which are the exact same as awarded on the bid, for personal use! In most cases, the devices are the same price as on the bid, but you'll have to pay sales tax.
JourneyEd - This company offers staff and student discounts on software licensing and can be a good resource for Microsoft, Adobe and many others. To qualify you may have to send them a picture of your MAISD ID Card.
DELL Computers - Montcalm Area ISD staff, students, and family can shop 24/7 with member discounts. This is provided as an option for those wishing to consider Dell equipment and is not recommended or endorsed by MAISD. Typical savings are about 17% during sale events.
Technology Recycling & Shredding
We have a number of recycling options to meet the diverse needs of our region. Please consider the following options as you plan your recycling efforts.
Locally, Fair Salvage, offers recycling for most technology and electronics dropped off at their Sheridan, Michigan location. They will pickup for larger recycling quantities. Their web page offers a list of items and the amount they pay back for recycling.
Green Wave, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, provides pickup, data destruction, and recycling for most technology and electronics. Recycling is free and they pay back per unit for some items and $.02 per pound for all other electronics. They do not charge a disposal fee for most CRT and TV's except for certain televisions.
Schupan has recycling centers in Kalamazoo and Indiana. Recycling is free and they will pickup recycling of any size.
Montcalm County provides recycling services at various locations around the county. Reference their web site for the latest information. Montcalm County participates with Comprenew to offer a recycling center at the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, Stanton, MI. Please call 989-831-7504 for the latest information.
Comprenew, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, provides free electronics recycling with the exception of CRT's and small appliances. Drop off recycling is available at any of their recycling locations any day or time.
Goodwill Industries locations are available for drop off and donation of electronics and technology for recycling. For larger recycling events, Goodwill Transportation Services can arrange for semi trailers and gaylords at no charge.
Batteries Plus with location in Mt. Pleasant and Walker, Michigan, accepts drop off of lead acid and dry cell batteries for free recycling.
Pace Butler provides recycling of cell phones and provides promotional materials, drop boxes, and shipping containers with shipping labels.
Shred-it USA offers document shredding with options for onsite shredding, routine pickup, and totes or dumpsters.
West Michigan Document Shredding offers document shredding with options for onsite shredding, routine pickup, and totes or dumpsters.
Website ADA Compliance
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) as a federal agency is responsible for monitoring and enforcing proper access to digital information for people with disabilities. Schools are responsible for ensuring their website and other digital resources are accessible. Anyone can file a complaint and OCR is required to investigate. If OCR investigates and finds deficiencies they will work with the district to provide corrective measures.
Do not ignore an OCR complaint. A complaint is the district's opportunity to improve communication and equal access. OCR has the power to withhold federal funding if a complaint is not resolved in a timely manner after it is reported, investigated, and deemed to be a legitimate issue. If a district is not responsive they can ultimately penalize non-compliance to force compliance with RA Section 504 or Title II of ADA by withholding federal funding.
What can I do now?
- Post a notice on your district web site for visitors so they have a contact for reporting minor website issues which will reduce the possibility of a complaint directly to OCR.
- Assign an individual or form a group responsible for scanning the web site to ensure errors are corrected in a timely manner.
- Educate staff who are publishing or maintaining the web site about proper techniques for publishing and working with documents.
- Review district policy regarding the web site.
- Review section 504, IDEA, Title IX, OCR Case Processing Manual (CPM) Section 302 and 303B.
- Scan your web site and resources for accessibility issues and fix them.
- If available, use tools built-in to your website provided by your host for checking accessibility.
- Use the web accessibility evaluation tool (WAVE) for free at wave.webaim.org to scan your web site. Other more extensive tools are available for a fee from SiteImprov, Monsido, and others to provide weekly scans and reports.
- Use the tools available in programs such as Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office to assist creation of accessible documents and to scan for accessibility.
What must be compliant?
- If you receive federal funds and have a web site it must be compliant.
- If you have social media accounts managed by the district that provide district information or are related to district activities the content must be compliant.
- Compliance is not limited to academic programs. Other resources and programs such as athletics, extracurriculars, school sponsored events, class reunion sites, online services, course registration, business services, library services, and ticketing must be compliant.
- Teacher personal sites that are used to provide information to students or parents are considered district resources and must be compliant.
- It is up to the district to ask vendors providing a service if they are ADA compliant and then ensure they are meeting the guidelines.
- A district cannot contract or continue to contract with a company that is not compliant or accessible.
What if I have questions?
- Web accessibility is a "work in process" and the law and guidelines are developing. While OCR is mandated by law to follow up on complaints, they are also available to help. Call them with questions, scenarios, or things the district is considering but do not specifically ask them about something the district is already doing.
- There are still open questions about student produced work and the depth required on social media and 3rd party sites.
Here are a few key points:
- If the digital resource is a "school sponsored" program or activity it must be in compliance. (Examples: Web Site, Learning Management System, Online Resources, Instructional Materials, Social Media, Digital Promotional Materials)
- A link on the district's web site to another resource that is not under district control is not the responsibility of the district.
- The district can't contract with or continue to contract with services that are not compliant or accessible.
- OCR provides guidance on emerging technology where the law has not fully developed.
- The goal is to provide equal access for all individuals to "Receive all the educational benefits provided by the technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner."
- Schools are not required to provide services if it would result in fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or the district can prove undue financial or administrative burden. Bear in mind it would be difficult to prove undue burden because it is our responsibility to communicate effectively under ADA.
What are some basic starting points for creating accessible content?
Use simple consistent text formatting so it can be effectively read by a screen reader.
Use pre-set formatting such as title, heading 1, heading 2, etc., and left justify all text.
Photos and PDF's must at a minimum include "Alt Text" information to adequately describe images.
A visitor to your website should be able to tab and enter through content with a keyboard alone using available screen reading tools.
Videos must be captioned. A caption file can be uploaded to Youtube and the Youtube player is accessible. TechSmith Camtasia, Adobe Connect, StreamText, Caption Encoder, Dynamic Captioning, and others have tools available for automating the captioning process.
Mobile Apps are considered software, are outside the definition of web content, and may be considered an alternative method of receiving the same information.
Where can I find more detailed information?
Website Requirements Schools Should Know
ADA.GOV Technical Assistance and Guidance
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1
US DOE Office for Civil Rights
Michigan School Public Relations Association (Membership Required)
Follow on Twitter for informational feeds and upcoming training at no cost.
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) - Free website accessibility scanning
Foxbright Accessibility & Compliance - Since many K-12 institutions use Foxbright as a web host, they've provided a web page of links for getting up to speed on ADA compliance.
Level Access - Latest news on Accessibility
Free or Reduced Cost Internet and Devices
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.
The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Spectrum / Charter Communications
Spectrum participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program for reduced cost Internet.
Point Broadband participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program for reduced cost Internet.
Verizon Wireless participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program for reduced cost Internet.
Click here for information on Verizon's ACP
T-Mobile Project 10Million
T-Mobile in cooperation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America provides free Internet and mobile hotspots to eligible students.
Click here for information on T-Mobile's Project 10Million
AT&T participates in the Affordable Connectivity Program for reduced cost Internet for eligible new or existing customers.
Click here for information on ATT's ACP