As school districts approach the end of the school year, one document is being reviewed and updated. The document that has captured the time and effort of technology departments in K-12 public schools? The technology end of school year (TEOY) procedures. The document captures the specific wisdom of putting away district technology for the summer. It can cover a wide variety of technologies, from computer labs to staff-issued laptops. In this blog entry, we’ll explore some general tips and offer a sample copy of an end-of-school year procedure.
Tip #1 – Review and Update
It may come as little surprise that the first tip is focused on reviewing and updating your TEOY procedures before April or May. Some quick ways to review it is to begin a multi-step process that involves stakeholders. Stakeholders can include:
- Classroom teachers: This group of stakeholders offers practical insights into what works, or does not, when it comes to packing away technology. For example, leaving the classroom desktop computer(s) out for the summer may not work. While the technology department may want these left out for quick remote imaging, custodial staff may have a different idea about packing these devices up prior to stripping and cleaning floors.
- District custodial support supervisor: This can involve the person(s) responsible for all custodial staff in the district and whoever sets the schedule for taking care of things.
- Campus technical/instructional technology staff: Often, these individuals have walked the campuses and classrooms affected. They know what’s worked and what hasn’t at the start of the school year.
In fact, remember to make notes at the start of every school year. Check on whether last year’s TEOY procedures worked or just set everyone up for turmoil the following August.
Tip #2 – Dispose of Old Equipment
While some school districts hold onto technology until it dies with a pop or a quiet whimper at a critical moment, best practice says that the technology department should set expiration deadlines. Modern inventory management systems (e.g. Hayes, WASP, REI) allow you to “age” equipment. That is, you enter the date of manufacture of the device and then set the expiration date based on your district’s equipment replacement plan (obsolescence ranges from three to five years depending on the type of equipment and usage). One point to keep in mind is that technology in classrooms and lab should not be any older than the equipment you accept for donations and vice versa. Many a school district has been caught with donations that are obsolete on arrival.
Tip #3 – Take Advantage of Cloud Computing
In spite of the technology department’s best efforts, staff with a low level of technology proficiency may create hundreds of documents on their device. Unless you have forced users to auto-save documents direct to a cloud storage solution (e.g. Google File Stream), then you will need to revisit this topic. Remind staff that they have access to cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive or OneDrive). They should make every effort to move their files from the local drive of the device they use (e.g. Windows/Macintosh computer) to the work cloud storage location.
Tip #4 – Store Equipment at the Right Temperature
Nothing chaps my hide more than walking into a school during the summer only to find custodians and technology stuck in an un-air conditioned wing of the campus. Both people and technology equipment need to be at a temperature that won’t melt or shorten the life of components. Here is an excerpt of some of the top recommendations in the sample TEOY procedures for your review:
- NEATNESS COUNTS. Neatness is essential when stowing away network cables, as well as input devices like mice and keyboards.
- LABEL EVERYTHING. Tag every piece of equipment with the teacher’s name to whom it is assigned.
- BOX IT AND TAPE UP THE BOX. Box up your equipment and be sure to tape the box up. Consider using baggies to house dust-sensitive items or components.
You can find more tips in the sample procedures.
Tip #5 – Put Policies in Place for Technology Issued to Staff
Every year, technology walks away and disappears. This is true in large and small school districts. While I support checking out equipment to staff (if the principal can take an iPad home and let her five year old get it all sticky, shouldn’t other staff have that opportunity?), it’s important to hold folks accountable.
Checked out equipment can also be problematic when staff transfer from one campus to another (and twice as big a problem when working with administrators). When staff on one campus discover they are moving to another campus, it is expected that they will return all equipment issued to them to the highest ranking administrator on campus or his/her designee.
A help desk work order can be submitted to have all confidential information wiped from the computer once necessary work files and documents have been backed up appropriately. A digital form, whether in Eduphoria, Microsoft or Google Forms, that gets reviewed works fine.
Put these simple procedures into place and both your end of school and your start of school will go smoother!