WATSSA Newsletter 2021 Term 2

Mount Nameless - Tom Price

Michael Raymond - WATSSA President


Happy 3rd Birthday WATSSA

Here we are again, nearly through another term. I hope everyone has been traveling well.

WATSSA have been full steam working on this year’s conference on the 2nd and 3rd of September, and tickets will go on sale at the start of term 3.

We’ve locked in our friends from Apple, Google and Microsoft again to help with some workshops and have some exciting keynote speakers for this year.

WATSSA has again been talking with the leaders up in central office. There is some good news on some SIG reporting software that has the green light after some extensive POC and trials.

Over the next few terms, we will also get to sit down with Customer Service Centre teams and consult on the upcoming redevelopment of the SOE. This is also your chance to help us with providing WATSSA with valuable feedback around what functions and features you’d like to see in the new SOE. To help with this, we have created a simple form for you to leave feedback.

Network Redevelopment Feedback Form

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say farewell to another one of our great School Network Administrators for Carine Senior High, Chris Stevens. Many of you might remember Chris from our 2019 conference where he gave the SOE Supplemental presentation. And was also on the Panel discussions. Chris has also been an active member of ICT-Collab. He has always been happy to share his knowledge and expertise with others on how to solve some of our problems. I know many schools followed his “how to guide” when we had to change over to Adobes new subscription model. Chris we wish you all the best in your new endeavours, I know we will all miss you within our WATSSA community.

Chris Stevens

I was also going to wish Brendan Bradshaw for Manjimup Senior High up big farewell too, but I see you’ve just joined us up in the big smoke. So I hope all goes well for you at your new SOR school. I hope you didn’t leave shoes too big to fill back in Manjimup.

That’s all I can report for now. I look forward to your suggestions for SOE and to see you all at the Conference. Thanks again for supporting WATSSA.


Michael Boughton - WATSSA Treasurer


This is a very brief report for this terms’ WATSSA Newsletter’ as there is very little to report on.

As of the 1st of June, WATSSA is still in an excellent position financially and we are still in an excellent position to host the conference this year. We have paid the second payment to PCEC. This has cemented our tenure there to hold the conference which is exciting news.

Sponsors are continuing to come on board to support the conference and to showcase their products and show how they are being used in an educational environment. So a big thankyou to the sponsors for making this conference possible.

Other than the conference, there are no other items that need to be budgeted for at this stage.

Please stay safe and bye for now.

Jon Stanley - WATSSA Vice President

WATSSA IT Support Staff Day

July 31 is the international Systems administrator day. This year, under our business plan, WATSSA would like to use this day to acknowledge and thank all IT support staff in schools specifically. As most would agree, technology and its use is ever growing in schools and is constantly requiring support. Sometimes a support person can be a teacher, education assistant, Principal, MCS, or a technical support officer. Particularly in remote or rural areas, it is whoever has some technical prowess more often than not. The role of “IT person” could mean many things, as IT itself is a very broad brush. Often the IT person is the go-to for network issues, hardware issues, website issues, account problems, database issues, electrical problems, security cameras and the list goes on and on…. This can often mean the role is stressful and sometimes thankless, mainly because each problem is the most critical problem in the world! However, the IT person is usually the most popular person in the school! This year we really want to celebrate them and everything they do in schools. To celebrate the day, WATSSA will offer a rebate for schools who opt-in to the program. This money will help pay for a morning tea for staff to acknowledge the fantastic and ever-challenging work they do. We will also send a cake topper for the morning tea!

To opt-in, schools simply need to complete the link below. Once submitted, we will send you a goodie package. After the event, schools can send us a copy of their invoice. As a not-for-profit association, there are limits to what we can cover. WATSSA will match the school in their purchase up to the value $50. So if a school spends $100, we will rebate $50. If they spend $60, we will rebate $30. If they spend $120, we will rebate $50.

We would also love schools to send us pictures of the morning tea for our next newsletter!


Apple Classroom 3.4 update now available

Apple is excited to release an update to of one of our most popular tools for teachers, the Classroom app, introducing new remote learning features and a redesign of the app interface.

Classroom turns your iPad or Mac into a powerful teaching assistant, helping you guide students through a lesson, see their progress and keep them on track. With Classroom, you can easily launch the same app on every student iPad or Mac at the same time or launch a different app for each group of students. Classroom helps teachers focus on teaching, so students can focus on learning.

What's New in Classroom 3.4?

Join Classroom sessions remotely over the Internet or nearby via Bluetooth proximity.

  • Students are notified with a ringtone and banner when there is a request to connect to a remote Classroom session
  • Enhanced controls allow students to disconnect from a remote Classroom session and set a time to auto-disconnect once their device is asleep
  • Classroom sessions can simultaneously support a mix of nearby and remote students
  • Use the sidebar navigation to easily create, manage, and edit groups in fewer taps
  • Use smart groups to quickly view students based on proximity or remote connections and foregrounded app
  • Manage students’ devices based on device status, including device type, online or offline, and low battery

Classroom 3.4 for iPad requires iPadOS 14.5 or later

Classroom 3.4 for Mac requires macOS 11.3 or later

Further information is available in the following Classroom User Guides:

As always, please reach out if you have any questions.

Patrick Lawrence, Systems Engineer - Apple Education


Fastvue Reporter for Fortinet (SIG)

Over the last 2 years, WATSSA has been working on finding a solution to getting easy to view reports and logs from our Schools SIG. Especially student internet activity. We have gone through several Trials and Proof of Concepts with the CSC at central office and have finally got a green light on a new solution. Fastvue Reporter.

• If you want to see a quick video of the solution, have a look here:


Fastvue and Honeylight will be at this year WATSSA Conference if you have more questions.

We’ve also secured some discounted pricing, but this opportunity is unique to WATSSA through Honeylight and will need registration.

If you would like to register your interest, Click on this link.

This is only with eligible WATSSA members schools.


School Self Service (SSS) - Application Update WebEx Event

Please register to attend this event in PLIS

The focus of this WebEx session is to highlight some of the notable additional features, enhancements and bug fixes.

The complete list of changes, including the School Managed Package Deployment (SMPD) functionality. Documentation will be available in the SOE Variation Procedure Help File and from the SSS > About section on the 18th of June.

It is recommended that you refer to the release document prior to this WebEx session.

New features, Enhancements & Bug fixes

  • School Managed Package Deployment (SMPD) functionality
  • Group Policy Management | Windows Settings (Student-based GPO only)
  • Print Queue Management & Scan Folders Management

Details of the WebEx meeting will be sent out prior to the event via email.


Cyber Security tips for Schools

Keeping Servers and Websites patched and up-to-date

Hackers are attacking unpatched systems and websites to steal data and cause damage to organisations. With the increase in cyberattacks against schools, it is important to ensure that school websites and Tier 3 servers are regularly patched and kept up-to-date. Control 1 of the WA Security and Emergency Committee of Cabinet (SECC5) Cyber security controls is to address Patching and Vulnerability management.

Recently, ICT has noted a global increase in cyber attacks targeting ‘edu’ domains, searching for website vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities to alter webpages or change the page’s links to redirect to inappropriate or malicious websites. We strongly encouraged schools to check their school websites and liaise with their website contractors or managers to ensure that links are not compromised. They should also ensure that the websites, plugins and underpinning systems are up-to-date and patched regularly.

Malicious actors have also been targeting unsupported operating systems such as Windows Server 2003, 2003R2, 2008 & 2008R2. Continued use of these operating systems poses a significant security risk for schools and the Department. Communications have been sent to affected schools. Schools must now plan to upgrade or remove these servers to mitigate the risk.

For cyber security guidance and other support services, please contact the Customer Support Centre through the ICT Self-service Hub.

The Cyber Security Team - Department of Education


Our friends at Frogponds have reached out to us and asked if they can help our schools. So who are they?

Frogponds simplifies sourcing. The Frogponds web application is a user friendly, software solution that solves the sourcing issues for buyers and opens opportunities for providers.

The pond is free-for-all buyers to use and gives them access to quality education CUA providers and more for anything they need for their school. Not only do schools save money and time when using Frogponds but they also skip the sales pressure by remaining anonymous (‘infrognito’).

Featured School

Tom Price SHS

Tom Price sits within the Shire of Ashburton and is some 747 metres above sea level, making it the highest town in WA and a haven for the weary traveller. It’s a modern, fully serviced town designed to blend with the natural environment. Tom Price has three public schools servicing the community. Tom Price SHS, Tom Price Ps and North Tom Price PS.

Tom Price SHS (TPSHS) is our featured school for this term. Currently, there are 286 students across years 7 to 10. There are 55 staff that support the students, 43 of them being full time. The staff at TPSHS work tremendously hard to achieve an above average of 87% student attendance.

TPSHS ask their students to pursue excellence and opportunity through a range of education programs including ATAR, VET, social and sporting. They have formed a working partnership with UWA through the ASPIRE program that supports and enables their Year 12 Tertiary bound students.

If you are journeying through the Pilbara, either for work or a journey of discovery, be sure to drive past Tom Price SHS and give a thought to the hard-working staff and students that are a hub of this vibrant community.

Do You Have Something to Say?

Do you have something to announce that would benefit others working to support ICT in schools? Do you have a topic that you would like to write and share with others in our community? Is there an event happening, or has happened at your school that you think might interest all who support ICT for our students? Then this is the place to do it.

Simply email Michael Boughton (WATSSA Treasurer and Newsletter Editor) with your details and a draft of your article or announcement. Michael will contact you to discuss it further and work with you to get it included in our WATSSA Newsletter.