About the Bellnet Office

Light years ahead of all other LAUSD server-client school networks, the Bellnet network boasts what is by far LAUSD's most robust school-based server farm in size, complexity, capacity, capability, reach and ease of use, and the most heavily-used school network in the District (based on traffic.) With over 1,600 computers (including 16 static/mobile labs), several dozen printers, an ever-growing number of mobile devices, some services inherently incredibly issue-prone (e.g., Microsoft apps via network access, SuccessMaker, Rosetta Stone, etc.) and more than a dozen servers all vying for attention, the list of ongoing and new tasks presents a never-ending Sisyphusean dilemma.

Handling it all (or...most of it!) is the overwhelmed staff of the Bellnet Office, currently four-strong (not including the cabinet containing the downright scary supply of caffeine!) They frequently talk to inanimate objects, switch moods from one moment to another, have more ups and downs than a superiority of camel, speak using unintelligible word entanglements, and at times befuddle others more easily than politicians can (even on their best days), but the ever-present goal of this small staff is to allow all the users on the network to use technology without having the technology itself become a barrier. Herculean task? Yes...but we try!

Bellnet Office staff can be reached via the office at the back of the Library, via telephone at (323) 832-4821, or via (submission form coming.)

See Also Notable Accomplishments

GAO - Security Breaches
Health Info Breaches
Loss of Privacy
NIST
SANS Reading Room
 
Apple Computer, Inc.
Cisco

  • First LAUSD classroom computer network (Mac +/SE appleTalk network, 1988)
  • NASA grant and first non-LAUSD Internet connection (via USC), 1994
  • Networked all of Cluster 23 (eight elementary schools + Nimitz, 1995) via Bell HS
  • Year 1 $350,000 E-rate grant, 1997 (LAUSD was still rejecting the Internet as 'passing fad' and 'would never be needed in schools', thus no need for E-rate)
  • Ongoing live broadcasts to/from major TV networks in Japan via the network, 1990's
  • Servers/infrastructure presented to a highly impressed John Kerry, John Ensign and the rest of the U.S. Senate Subcommitte on Comm., Technology and the Internet in 2007

See more ...

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  • Creation of the Instructional Technology Commission (ITC), which allowed schools to collectively pressure/force LAUSD's prior unresponsive/pathetic action(s) in areas of technology, 1994
  • NSF grant, 1996 (description coming shortly)
  • DHS grant, 1996 (description coming shortly)
  • Prop BB, 1995-97 (description coming shortly)
  • Overnight hijacking of Prop BB's wiring/equipment, which allowed for every single classroom at Bell HS to be part of the network, 1997 (prior to this, two remote A Bungalows, since removed, were not part of the network)
  • Leveraged E-rate, the DHS grant, and Prop BB against each other, creating one of the leading school network infrastructures in California, 1997
  • (more items coming shortly)

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Bellnet Office Team Members

Roman, Network Admin and Team Leader

Roman, Network Admin and Team Leader

Since 'giving birth' to Bell's first classroom network of Mac+'s back in (year withheld!), in addition to seeing his job turn into a (literal) 24/7/365 endeavor (starting in 1994, when teachers were able to access the Internet at night and on weekends via modem dial-in to Bell HS) his encyclopedic knowledge of networks/technology, his deep knowledge of both Bell's and ITD's technology history and infrastrucuture, and his never-ending drive to see technology used to the benefit of staff and students has allowed him to achieve much for Bell HS, all via pushing, cajoling and joining a lengthy list of Bell denizens eager to see Bell HS benefit from ongoing advancements in technology. See more ...

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Note: It has always been, and remains, Roman's contention that, without the tremendous dedicated efforts on the part of many others to contribute corollary/matching ancillary efforts, Roman's contributions would amount to nothing/nada/zip. The Bell High technology system has always benefitted from dogged persistence from a diverse group of individuals whose efforts have combined to create a 'best of the best' result. Just a few from the bountiful list of contributors: Mary Ann Sesma, Mike/Bonnie Goldberg, Tom Campbell, Brian Defer and scores of others whose fingerprints are still over the Bellnet system. With teamwork, anything can get accomplished!
Note: In 2005, in order for ISIS to work, network connections had to originate within LAUSD; connections made from Bell through USC were rejected by LAUSD. Thus, in order for ISIS to function at Bell, Bell HS had to acquiesce to LAUSD after ten years of LAUSD's insistence that we drop the USC connection. We had always won the battles, based on the true logic that doing so would result in a significant downgrade to Bell's capabilities. This awful network and 'ownership' transition downgrade for Bell HS finally came to fruition in 2005, obliterating many of the network benefits that had been created in the previous ten years, some of which are listed below.

On an ongoing daily basis, some of Roman's activities include:

  • coordinating and playing traffic director for all Bellnet Office activities, which include Job Ticket entry, assignment, tracking and final disposition of said Job Tickets; inflow and outflow of equipment; contact and coordination with vendors; walk-ins throughout the day; handling dozens and dozens of phone calls each day; checkouts/inventory changes, and prepping/handling new equipment
  • maintenance of over a dozen servers, which run a wide diversity of services
  • account creation for new students
  • addressing a wide range of network issues that crop up (greatly hampered by the 2005 downgrade! See above.)
  • maintenance of many FileMaker databases used by others, e.g. the 'Stickers' database
  • dealing with harsh/confusing software licensing issues
  • handling student access issues (passwords, account issues, usage issues, etc.)
  • attempting to solve 'techie of last resort' conundrums
  • collaboration on planning (e.g., how to handle upcoming lab upgrades, which machines to buy for which offices, etc.)
  • trying to keep up with changes in technology, e.g., operating system upgrades, server/mac/pc/ipad upgrades, etc (this task is way beyond impossible)
  • designing, engineering and implementing complex solutions in order to further abilities of staff and students to work more efficiently, e.g., transformation of the Daily Bulletin creation and distribution process
  • 'making himself heard' when he gets upset with something (in all fairness, he also is heard when he is pleased with something)
  • gulping down loads of Diet Coke in an attempt to deal with all the above!

As the chief techie and button-pusher all these years, he has:

  • set up and configured the entire infrastructure of Bell's original network, including all routers, switches and firewalls (and when LAUSD saw its success, finally adopted Bell's strategy)
  • configured all school-wide servers dating back to 1995
  • enabled teachers to interact seamlessly with Bell servers from home.
  • become LAUSD's first-ever officially Cisco-certified network engineer (looong after setting up and configuring all the network equipment at Bell HS)
  • coordinated with countless groups of outside intruders (i.e., ITD/vendors that come in to do 'upgrades' and such)
  • engineered/coordinated a parallel network solution for the 2005 E-rate upgrade (District: 'that's not even possible...it's far too complicated'; Roman proved otherwise.) This solution prevented about nine months' worth of daily random network interruptions
  • periodically advised LAUSD how to fix things when they couldn't see how what they were doing was breaking things
  • periodically lent advice when solicited by LAUSD, e.g., when downtown wanted to emulate Bell's successful live broadcasts to Japan, but were unable to make it work
  • advised repair folks on how to make repairs, e.g., network h/w and s/w issues with District-controlled equipment at Bell; these problems so, so often are 'over the heads' of the repair folks
  • (more coming shortly)

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Bilal Elreda, Assistant

Bilal Elreda, Assistant

Though absolutely indispensible to both the office and the school due to his expertise and his ability to continually fulfill his tasks under a completely unrealistic workload, one would never guess the pressure under which Bilal performs simply due to his pleasant demeanor when he fulfills these tasks; it has long since become standard that Bell HS personnel break into big smiles when approaching Bilal to explain issues to which they've become victims. See more ...

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Upon joining the Bell HS family, Bilal had keen insight and experience fixing Windows/PC issues, but he had never used a Mac; since, he has become as well-versed (better, actually) on Macs than on PC's. This is particularly critical since his office mates have long since thrown their hands up in despair at trying to handle many issues on the progressively (on purpose!) fix-unfriendly Windows operating systems. So unfriendly have these issues become that Bilal has turned into a de facto advisor to both ITD and Arey-Jones, who have similarly given up when trying to resolve issues on PC's. (Just one example: ITD could not make Norton 11 work on SIS machines, so they gave up and downgraded all new SIS-destined District PC's to Norton 10; this changed when Bilal demonstrated to ITD that the arcane issue was fixable, thus allowing ITD to deliver more functional PC's.)
 

Obvious to many is that Roman rarely seems to allow Bilal out of his sight for more than five minutes/time. Roman's reluctance to leave Bilal alone stems from Bilal's abilities to help when handling server issues/structure, advanced complex programming, network issues and everything else that crops up along the way. Among those types of issues: taking idea/process designs from Roman's head/drawings and meticulously adhering to all the details (down to pixel-level) when implementing them, even though this often requires hours of mind-numbing tedium in order to get everything perfect. (This page is a result of collaboration between Roman's brain and Bilal's sharp coding/implementation skills.)
 

Surprise! Roman and Bilal have spent significant off-hours discussing and planning ways to handle design issues, process issues, implementation methodologies and more... all of them hours which Bilal has volunteered due to his assessment that the topics being discussed simply could not wait.
 

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Ralph Sanchez, Assistant

Ralph Sanchez, Assistant

It came as no surprise to most that Ralph, after graduating from Bell HS in 2003, came back shortly thereafter as an employee, complete with his dedication to both the school and community; it's his always-visible undying spirit and loyalty that keeps him in constant multi-tasking mode as he, while scurrying between Job Tickets, tends to auditorium issues, Short Flags issues, photography needs at Bell, and audio/video prep for meetings/events (often without the required 48-hour advance notice when someone requests audio/video for such gatherings!) See more ...

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Most striking about Ralph is the tremendous amount of off-hour time he contributes both to the office and the rest of the school. Rarely does a week go by that Ralph doesn't call/text Roman at home for help in handling a 'network down' or 'server down' or some other issue during off-hour time; that Ralph is at Bell at all is because he's already there volunteering his own personal time to operate the lighting during a school play, or coach the Short Flags during a sports event, or help with a Saturday activity, or (way too many things to list.) That such emergency calls not-untypically last 30-120 minutes, at the expense of Ralph's plans, is known to few.
 

What annoys Roman the most is that Ralph going above and beyond is one thing; that Ralph typically refuses to leave until the problem(s) is completely resolved has frequently earned him some nasty adjectives when being ordered to leave the school/office in order to let the problem(s) wait until regular hours.

 

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Mario Rosales, Assistant

Mario Rosales, Assistant

After starring as a baseball player and graduating from Bell HS, Mario returned from starring on Iowa State's baseball team to guide the Bell HS team; currently, he is the coach of the JV team.

Since Mario has taken part in the installation of most all the Macs at Bell HS, he is relied upon heavily for fixing all the little (and big!) issues that crop up with them, particularly in replacing machines that have had hardware failures after years of classroom use. So many machine types, so many s/w versions, so many disk images... See more ...

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With activity that begins immediately upon entering the office in the morning (he is the first one to do the rounds assisting subs with login issues), Mario rarely can get back to the office without encountering more issues along the way; thus, he often adds additional Job Tickets as soon as he gets back...thus, another typical day.
 

In all likelihood, Mario will be the one answering the phone when you call the Bellnet Office, from where Mario spends a large portion of the day directing service workers to classrooms to pick up and deliver machines. Meanwhile, he preps new/replacement machines, and repairs/reimages older machines. Consequently, it also falls on Mario that he gets to contact Apple, KIS and Arey-Jones on an almost-daily basis to coordinate inflow and outflow of computers that need repair/parts from the outside.
 

Important to note about Mario is that, during baseball season, he has a constant flow of his baseball players into and out of the office, as he keeps very close tabs on their performance(s) in the classroom. He is absolutely rigid in allowing only those who perform well in the classroom to perform on the field.
 

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Jerry

Jerry

Jerry is the Mac SE/30 that sits high on a shelf in the Bellnet Office.

Jerry's long history at Bell HS will be detailed here soon.