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School IT Departments — Leading America’s Youth

April 3, 2020

To our school district IT departments,

All eyes are on you right now. Most school IT departments are under-budgeted and understaffed. Every teacher, parent, student, and employee is dependent on your leadership. Your superintendent is looking to you for answers that they can convey to the press, parents, staff, and state superintendents. You’re now the most critical part of your school district. For most of you, your district is the largest employer in your county or city. All of your work, leadership, and budgeting over the years is under the limelight. 

The criticality of the IT department is changed forever and the only way school happens is with you. You’re leading the entire organization; what you do now will be remembered.

 

You’ve probably implemented a lot of this but to ensure a smooth transition to remote learning that demonstrates leadership and experience:

  • Training is now more important than ever for all of your teachers, instructional technologists, principals, and counselors.
  • For each group, documents and videos should be created for connectivity, systems access, security, rough troubleshooting, and remote learning distribution. 
  • Parents need to be supported. Come up with a document and/or ticketing system that can handle them. Consider systems that can give parents control of your devices and set schedules at home.
  • Formulate your budget for the superintendent that will enable FULL distance learning, and if that amount is not available, show a phased approach with different budget allocations. 
  • Security is also of utmost importance. CIPA compliance is important whether you’re supplying the device or not; if you’re a Google district, a filtering extension should filter devices when students are logged into their account.

 

Your tenacity and instinctual reaction to the pandemic so far is unprecedented. You’ve already pivoted your strategy 180 degrees and it’s working.

School IT department importance now has a new level of responsibility and it will be respected and viewed in a different light forever. You’ve got this!

 

Ross Young

VP, North America, Linewize


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