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Educational Technology

2019 Recap

To my ear, there’s something about the year 2020 that sounds innately futuristic. The date itself conjures up 50’s era sci-fi notions of rocket-powered travel and silver-suited robot butlers. We’re not yet playing 3D Gaga ball on the moon, but technological wonder is in every corner of our lives and schools. As we race into the roaring 2020s, it’s time to reflect on the past 12 months of technology projects and changes at Penn Manor School District.

Renovations and construction at Penn Manor High School became a focus in 2019. In late 2018, demolition work prompted the installation of new fiber cable connecting the school to Millersville University and the internet. In the fall of 2019, we successfully relocated the internet fiber, core network equipment, and district servers to a new and modern data center. And there’s another equally exciting construction project underway. As I write, crews working for Velocity Fiber are connecting all nine Penn Manor school sites via new single-mode fiber. When complete, the new wide-area-network will increase our bandwidth from a shared 1Gb circuit to 10Gb at each school building.

2019 marked the launch of Penn Manor’s first Esports program. And both of the high school teams made it into the NAESF Overwatch playoffs! Congratulations to the students and coaches on the terrific accomplishment. What a way to start the program.

We also applaud Max Bushong, student technology apprentice, on the publication of his article in the book “The Open Organization Guide for Educators.” Max shared his experience as a Help Desk apprentice for the high school’s one-to-one laptop program. Max is officially a published author—at age 15!

Our team evolved as some took on different roles, and we welcomed new staff. During the summer, Andrea Frey joined the team to provide data, registration, and building support. Diana Entrekin became the administrator overseeing district information services. Nick Marquette, a former Penn Manor High School student apprentice, returned in the role of a building technology aide. And Jarrod Claar was promoted to a full-time technology specialist. In December, we welcomed Kyle Carrick as a school building technology specialist. Kyle replaced Stephanie Svolto-Patterson’s position when she became the district software specialist.

But wait, there’s more! Our team also:

  • Replaced and refreshed all Penn Manor High School teacher laptops
  • Migrated to Sapphire Software’s notification system
  • Expanded the one-to-one laptop program to all grade 4 students
  • Migrated the help desk software and inventory systems to Snipe-IT and Zammad
  • Led summer Scratch code camps for nearly 200 elementary students
  • Expanded classroom computer science, coding, and programming opportunities as part of the PAsmart grant program

What a team. What a year. What a decade. I can’t wait for the next 10 years of innovation at Penn Manor!

Happy New Year!