District Administration April 2018 - 52

DISTRICT CIO

HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE

Windshield time
Los Angeles USD operates a central help
desk but 90 percent of its 210 techs work
in the field providing support to individual schools or moving among a few
nearby buildings.
The techs have a lot of autonomy in
scheduling their days in order to react
quickly to the demands of teachers and
students. They do get overall marching
orders from central headquarters and
have periodic training sessions to make
sure everyone is on the same page.
"They can get the lay of the land
and anticipate users' needs," says Themy
Sparangis, LAUSD's senior director of

information technology and IT customer
services. For instance, just about every
school experiences a web overload during
lunch when students (and teachers) check
social media or watch videos.
Balance between techs on site and
those at headquarters is therefore key,
Sparangis says. "We want to make sure
that everything is working at the schools,
but still have some people on call for the
entire district."
Other IT teams within LAUSD focus
on networks and servers or handle software and E-Rate payments. All IT techs
interact frequently on social media,
regardless of whether they're in San Fer-

Tech specs:

Many IT teams use social media
and mobile apps to communicate
with headquarters and each other

LAUSD, which spans 720
square miles, stations 90% of
IT techs at individual schools

70 to 80 of Leyden 212
High School District's
3,300 students intern with IT

Busiest bandwidth time at
LAUSD: Lunch, when students
and staff check social media
and watch videos

These interns are not allowed
to service teacher laptops that
contain confidential material or
change network passwords

Beaverton School District dedicates
34 techs to its 53 schools

52 April 2018

nando in the north or San Pedro in the
south. Among other things, they share
what the most prevalent problems are,
and discuss fixes. "We use an all-of-theabove approach to communications,"
including phone calls, software ticketing
and social media, to make sure that every
problem is solved, Sparangis adds.
For a district covering nearly 720
square miles, this decentralized approach
to support pays off. Due to LA's notorious traffic, it can take a couple of hours
to drive from one end of the vast district
to the other.
Having techs close to the action at the
schools cuts the wait. "Windshield time
is our greatest enemy," Sparangis says. "It
means they're driving or stuck in traffic
rather than fixing the problem."
Emergencies can bring out the best
in IT support organizations. "The recent
fires in our areas forced school closures
and evacuations," Sparangis says. "We
rerouted technicians from the normal
duties of visiting schools to the affected
sites to assure that technology was supported and maintained."
Oregon IT trail
By contrast, windshield time isn't as big
a concern at Beaverton School District.
With 53 schools spread over 57 square
miles west of Portland, middle and high
schools get a full-time support tech, while
elementary schools share a person.
"For us, the split is about three-quarters at our schools and one-quarter at our
central help desk," says Stenehjem, the
manager of user services. "We dedicate 34
people to specific schools so they know
what the users want, but still have enough
people ready at our headquarters."
School-based techs are free to schedule their day to streamline operations.
They meet monthly to go over contingency planning, coordination and general
trends, and to train for specific events.
And with eight technicians held in reserve
at HQ, the district can react quickly to
districtwide problems without pulling
people from the field.

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2018

District Administration April 2018 - Cover1
District Administration April 2018 - Cover2
District Administration April 2018 - 1
District Administration April 2018 - 2
District Administration April 2018 - 3
District Administration April 2018 - 4
District Administration April 2018 - 5
District Administration April 2018 - 6
District Administration April 2018 - 7
District Administration April 2018 - 8
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District Administration April 2018 - Cover3
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