K12 Public Schools – Anyone working in the technology department of public K12 schools know the limitations of resources to service our school community. In fact, industry standards state that a IT support personnel to computer workstation ratio is generally 1:250. Unfortunately, I have seen far worse ratios up to 1:600. With the growing needs of technology in conjunction with budget decreases, how does a technology department continue to support the needs of our teachers, students, and staff.
CTE Vocational Programs – In a competitive industry such as IT technical support, experience is usually the key to landing a job in the industry. Many CTE programs teach theory and provide laboratory experiences with technical support. However, the programs are generally shorter than traditional degrees and they do not offer all the practical real world experience needed to land that key job. That is why many CTE programs offer externships for their students, where upon finishing their studies, CTE students are required to spend a certain amount of hours interning in the industry.
Creating a Win-Win Situation – As a teacher at heart, I decided to create a partnership with a local Computer Systems Technician program where I offer their students real-world experiences supporting a network infrastructure. As part of my partnership, I provide technology learning opportunities for interns to learn basics of troubleshooting and managing a network infrastructure. In return, the interns extend my quality of service by having more technicians on site for my staff and students.
The End Goal – Since developing this partnership, I have been dreaming of building an authentic technology learning center where CTE interns, teachers, and K12 students have opportunities to experience all aspects of technology. I have always believed technical professional development is the key to any K12 infrastructure. The more training and professional development, the less technical support will be eventually needed. The end goal is to empower our entire community with technical agility.