It is time to reflect on another unusual year for the Information Technology Team. No matter the challenges, we remained committed to empowering students and teachers.
Construction and renovations to Penn Manor High School were a major focus of 2021. The project reached several key milestones. The incredible 900 seat auditorium was completed in the spring. In August, the new media center, student help desk, and building technology center debuted. With ample natural light, fun collaborative areas, and open workspaces, the design exceeded our expectation. In addition, a new digital design lab was installed in the beautiful art wing.
Students also took part in the inaugural Intro to Music Technology course, the third in a series of contemporary offerings that explore professional software tools and programming skills.
Cyber security was the other big virus story of 2021. Attacks on schools reached crisis level. As part of our ongoing security preparations, we implemented several internal actions to fortify student information and building networks. Our team adopted the CIS Control Benchmarks, a blueprint for enhanced cyber security. After months of focused work, we attained high levels of compliance on multiple priority benchmarks.
Without question, technical help is essential to every classroom, office, and learning space. In 2021, tech tickets totalled 5210, a 26% increase from 2020. Yet again, the team handled the surge with grace and tenacity! We had a few staffing changes as well. We welcomed Keith Henninger, Penn Manor’s first AV Coordinator. Jarrod Claar and Nick Joniec—two former student help desk apprentices—moved into new roles; systems specialist and systems engineer. And Steph Patterson shifted to building tech support.
But that’s not all! Throughout the year we:
- Launched updated tech support websites for students and staff
- Upgraded all middle school student devices to Chromebooks
- Led CS First/Scratch programming sessions for elementary students
- Facilitated multiple teacher workshops on Hummingbird Robotics, digital citizenship, Google Workspace, and the impact of future technologies on teaching and learning
- Upgraded and optimized network and server infrastructure in the district data center and school buildings
- Added 30 home internet hotspots for families, at no cost to the district, as part of the FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund
- Upgraded the district’s multi-function copier fleet (48 units) to new equipment
- Spent way too much time dealing with Print Nightmare
- Set the technical stage for the upcoming K-8 teacher Chromebook and Macbook laptop upgrade
These results are the work of ardent and innovative women and men who model a mindset of continuous learning and innovation. We are thrilled that our work helps the students we serve learn and achieve more.
I can’t wait to see what unfolds in 2022!