Question of the Week: Summer Time
The summer vacation is almost over and it's time to clear the cobwebs from your classrooms, computers and lesson plans. What do you dread most about the start of school?
Director of Technology Services
Tyler Independent School District
I’m actually not dreading the start of the coming school year. This past year has been the one with the greatest changes our district has seen in a long time. I’m thinking that next year will actually be relatively quiet. This past year saw the introduction of a new finance, purchasing and payroll systems. Also we have just completed our first school year using our new virtual desktop infrastructure. Those new systems are great and have put us, as a district, in a position to have more, better and accurate data and given greater access for our students. Those are all things we feel great about now that the conversions are out of the way. This coming year will be more about refining our use of them and expanding the features that are available to our staff and students.
While those changes we’ve accomplished are great that, of course, doesn’t mean that there aren’t some storm clouds on the horizon. We are still facing budget cuts and uncertainty as to how the upcoming legislative session will affect us. Will the legislature cut the budget further? What affect will the pending lawsuits over school funding have? Our district is also preparing for a bond election that could bring about the construction of new schools. What will be included in our bond package? Will the voters approve the bonds? How much will be allotted for technology in the new schools? Will the E-rate program be available to assist us with the cost of installing the needed technology? Many questions are waiting to be answered.
Enjoying this relatively quiet summer and opening of the coming school year may very well be a short respite and the last one we see for several years to come.
Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools
I believe the start of school is an exciting time for IT personnel. Typically there are at least a few new staff members who need to be trained in district IT policies and procedures, but most of the new staff members who are hired are tech savvy and need little, if any, training in technology. The policies and procedures are unique to each district, but typically other school district employees handle this type of training.
The start of school sometimes brings new equipment if these purchases are in the budget. If so, getting the equipment unpacked, configured, and ready for students and staff is probably the most tedious and time-consuming part of the late summer/early school year period. In addition, putting new students and staff members in the network and deleting those who graduated or withdrew can be laborious depending on the numbers involved.
Another part of the beginning of the school year is to make sure all staff members are aware of any new technology that has been developed for use in the classroom. If the district is lucky enough to be able to afford the latest technology, bringing staff members up to speed on how it can be used can be time consuming but exciting.