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WATSSA NEWSLETTER 2021 - tERM 1

Wave Rock, Hyden

PRESIDENT'S WELCOME

Welcome back to 2021 everyone, it’s so great to be back with you all.

Wow! 2020! What a crazy year. Not what we had planned for WATSSA. Back in January the Executive team spent 2 full days over the holiday break drafting up all the Professional Learning plans for each Term and a bigger and better Conference for this year. We all had such high hopes talking with the Apple, Google Teams and other vendors to develop and deliver some great events for our members.

Then somebody sneezed and it all got blown out the window!

So what did we achieve in 2020?

An AGM and dinner. That was the least we could do to say thank you to everyone for continuing to support WATSSA. We quietly had our 2nd birthday. We finally managed to get a new website up and running, with some matching branding. We have locked in a business plan, by-laws and our constitution. A huge thankyou to Shaun Barnett for the countless hours he has put in getting those ready. If you haven’t already seen it, jump on to http://watssa.asn.au to see the results.

We are continuing to work with the Department of Education and Kinetic IT to achieve changes and implement new features. Our Executive team have been meeting on a term basis with David, Glenn and Tim to open communication channels between DOE and WATSSA, ultimately to benefit every student across WA. We’ve had our first meeting for this year and it was great to hear what progresses have been made.

Although we didn’t get to do much of what was planned in 2020, we still had committee meetings when we could. And we managed to have 2 school based events over the last school holiday break. Thanks to Shaun and the team at Joseph Banks Secondary College and George, Andrew and Matt from Fortinet for the Cyber Security event; and thanks to Wade Ninness and John Curtin College, Ross Oakes and Ralph from Superloop for the Cyberhound showcase event.

It was really great to at least be able to provide these events for everyone and to give us a chance to network and catch-up again.

I would like to say a big thank you to the outgoing WATSSA committee of 2020, and a special thanks to those who won’t be re-joining us 2021; Damon Radburn, JD Khan, Kylie Harman, Luke Marshall, Thekla Power and Wade Ninness. It has been an honour to have you as part of the WATSSA team and I hope you might return in the future.

And we would like to welcome Paul Norris and Shanaka Herath to the team. We are excited to have you both on our committee.

There are still positions available on the committee for this year, so if this interests you please drop me a line.

Looking forward to 2021, what can you expect from WATSSA?

  • We will continue to meet with DOE and key industry members to grow our network and communication. All aimed at increasing the benefits to our members, and all WA schools.
  • We will introduce an Aspirant Network Administrators Course; this course is designed for progression from a Technical Support Officer or Network Support Officer to a Network Administrator. Shaun will be in touch with our members to provide more information.
  • Developing more online resources through our website for our members.
  • And of course, our 2021 Conference. Please save the 2nd and 3rd of September for our conference. We are working hard to bring back a great event for us all to enjoy.

And so to everyone, I thank you. I am very optimistic about what 2021 will bring. As already mentioned, work has already started on the Professional Learning plans and our Conference. I’m so excited we are bringing it back this year bigger, better and heaps more fun.

Michael Raymond - WATSSA President

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The 2021 ICT Update Conference by WATSSA

It's 2021 and the year is rolling along already. One term down and only six months to go until our ICT Update Conference by WATSSA for 2021.

This year the conference is being held on September 2nd and 3rd. The venue is the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre (PCEC). We know you will want to mark this in your calendar as a not to miss event of the year.

We are having even more sponsors this year and another great line up of speakers and workshops covering separate streams; Teaching, Leadership, Technical, STEAM and much, much, more.

We will announce ticket prices and other details in our next newsletter. But be sure to start the conversation with your school and organise who you want to attend with you this year.

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ICT Excellence Award for DOE

Congratulations Astrid!

Astrid was the proud recipient of the first ICT Excellence Award for DOE.

From Left to Right: Glenn Veen, Michael Raymond, Astrid Morris, David Dans and Tim Yorke

Astrid has been working hard raising the bar for women employed in Technical support in our schools. And we at WATSSA would not have been able to achieve what we did at our 2019 conference without her experience and expertise in events management. We are so lucky to have Astrid on our committee.

Well Done Astrid!!

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Saasyan Assure POC

WATSSA and Lynwood SHS will be hosting an event 9:00am – 12:00pm Wednesday the 14th of April and it's open to all schools to attend. We will be presenting our recent POC with Saasyan Assure, a trusted Fortigate partner which allows for greater reporting and control of the SIG. Saasyan Assure is a student safety and wellbeing solution with a focus on creating #SafeVillage global community.

With parking at the front of the school

Morning tea will be provided.

Jon Stanley – WATSSA Vice President

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Financial Report

As of the 1st of March, WATSSA is still in the black.

After 2020 and COVID, things are looking up this year and planning for the conference is well under way. The venue has been secured, as have the dates the conference will be held. We've had a strong response to sponsorship with many existing sponsors re-sponsoring, and a great number of new sponsors have come on board. We are confident this will continue well into the year thus making the conference the best we have offered so far. So, other prospective sponsors will need to act quickly if they want to secure a place this year.

Onto a less exciting topic. WATSSA have had to invest in a commercial package to manage the finances. We knew this day was coming back in the days when the planning for an association was taking place. At the start, we opted with a free package called WAVE Accounting. It served our purposes as an online package to track our expenses and income as well as to look more professional when invoicing and receipting sponsors and members.

In 2019, WAVE announced that it would no longer support banking integration for those outside the USA and Canada. It also announced that eventually WAVE would not be available to anyone outside those two countries. Existing customers would still be able to access their accounts though. Then late in 2020 it announced that the accounts would eventually be frozen with read only access. This meant that we, as an association, had to find another solution.

WAVE offered 12 months’ free access if we went with Zoho Books. WATSSA accepted the offer, and signed up with Zoho Books as our accounting package. On the weekend of the 20th of March, data migration was undertaken to move all current transactions to the new platform, starting from March 1st this year. Invoice and email templates were then set up with the WATSSA logo and other details. Other finer details will be ironed out as we go forward.

WAVE Accounting has been finalised and reconciled to the 28th of February this year. The account will still be available for future reference, for now. But to make sure, all data was exported and will be kept centrally on the WATSSA SharePoint server. The final report and reconcilliation was mailed to the WATSSA Committee. As always, members can request financial reports if required.

So in summary, WATSSA is in an excellent position to host this years Conference. We have secured the venue and paid the deposit. Sponsors have been invited to support the conference very early in the year and this has resulted in a very positive response that we expect will continue.

Michael Boughton - WATSSA Treasurer

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Cyber Security tips for schools

With the ever-increasing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches, it is important that school ICT staff follow good cyber security practices to protect school systems. The Top 5 cyber security controls specified by the WA Security and Emergency Committee of Cabinet (SECC5) are:

  1. Patching and vulnerability management
  2. User access and privileges
  3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  4. User application hardening
  5. Password filtering

What can you do at your school?

  1. Update/patch school managed (Tier 3) servers – develop a plan and schedule updates regularly. Upgrade from older unsupported operating systems.
  2. Update/patch school managed (Tier 3) applications – if there are security patches released for any applications used specifically at your school, update them.
  3. Back up school managed (Tier 3) servers – set up regular backups of school servers.
  4. Manage administrative access to servers and systems – use the principle of least privilege when granting access to users (staff and students). The National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines this as “The principle that users and programs should only have the necessary privileges to complete their tasks”.
  5. Educate users about cyber safe practices – advise users regarding sharing their passwords, identifying malicious emails, updating their devices and using MFA. Encourage staff to access the cyber security section of the Professional Learning page within IKON and watch the cyber awareness videos.

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

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Our Public Schools Across the State

Hyden Primary School

  • Established: 1934
  • Number of Students: 56
  • Number of Staff: 16 (9.2 FTE)

"Hyden Primary School, established in 1934, is at the heart of our proud town.

Our school has a very stable cohort of students, the majority of whom belong to farming families, or to families working in allied agricultural services. Staff are extremely supportive of our school and communuty and know each student in many capacities. By working together our community fosters a collective sense of responsibility to open every possible avenue for a great education and to ensure that each student has every opporuntiy to achieve personal excellence in all facets if life."

Hyden Primary School Website: https://www.hydenps.wa.edu.au

If ever you are visiting Wave Rock, don't forget to pop in and see this small but important school. It's a wonderful example of how our rural communities value and support eduction and their students in our very large state.

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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 at your school that you think might be of interest to all who support ICT for our students? Then this is the place to do it.

Simply email Michael Boughton (WATSSA Treasure and Newletter 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.