When it became clear that 30,000 kids would be going home and engaging in home learning, a lot was riding on technology.
“We knew there were a number of things we’d have to do,” says Andrew Moore, BVSD Chief Information Officer.
The IT Department kicked into gear a number of initiatives in a short span of time.
IT staff spent the weekend after schools closed dismantling Chrome carts that were in schools, cleaning the devices and prepping them for pickup. Schools then organized pickups for their students who needed one to come and get a Chromebook.
“We distributed around 6,000 devices,” says Moore.
With 6,000 new students at home using Chromebooks, in addition to those middle and high school students who already had a device through the 1: Web Program, the IT department also had to figure out a way to repair devices that stopped working. The department quickly launched the new program, IT Prime.
“We have two vans running throughout the district every day,” says Moore.
IT staff pick up broken Chromebooks and swap them in real time with a working Chromebook. The broken Chromebooks are then brought back to a central location to be repaired and ready for the next student who needs an updated device.
“[Families] seem to really appreciate the effort we are putting in to keep them in touch with their teachers,” says Brian Jones, Onsite Service Coordinator who has been delivering new Chromebooks to students.
“These kids are still getting the education they deserve. It's cool to see everyone come together to make sure that happens,” says Alex Mullins, Hardware Repair Technician.
Direct support to students and families
“It became clear quickly that we needed to take calls from parents and students that would be having trouble with technology at home,” says Moore.
IT opened up their service desk helpline to all students and families to call in for assistance.
“We can make their schooling less stressful. That is my goal,” says Carmen Ramirez Morales in IT Support. “We have to be fair to everyone and provide the same resources so they can succeed in their school.”
Internet access to those who need
The last issue the department needed to address was providing internet access for those who needed it. As of last week, the department has connected over 1,000 students to a wireless connection through different avenues — Livewire, Comcast, and hotspots— and with the help of community partnerships.
Shalene Onyango, a BVSD parent who received a new device for her student when their broke, was appreciative of the BVSD staff.
“Everyone wants these kids to succeed in this moment and is doing everything they can to make sure that happens.”