Mission Critical: A Tribute to IT Staffers

I had a plumbing problem earlier this year at my house. It affected the kitchen sink, which we had to use sparingly for a weekend. Fortunately, I was able to call my plumber, and he rearranged his schedule and responded quickly. My wife and our family happily returned to using the kitchen sink to prepare the food we enjoy.

So it is with our work with instructional technology. We are currently striving to get technology into every aspect of the school day. We want to make it available to every student, everywhere, all the time. We want students and teachers to be cooking up wonderful learning opportunities. However, sometimes we realize how much we need the plumbers.

This September we had a power problem in our data center. The result of the issue was that most of our main servers were not functioning for the beginning of the morning. I found out about the problem at 4:20 AM. Our high schools start at 7:35 AM. After some great work by two of our systems engineers, Louie and Brad, and the facilities team, these servers started to power back up at 8:55 AM. The rest of the tech support team provided great help to the teachers and students both during and after the outage and I will talk about them in a later post.

This incident reminded me of our need for the “plumbers.” It was those systems engineers who I needed to provide their expertise so we could get the network infrastructure back up and running. During that first hour and a half of the school day, our ability to use technology for instruction was greatly hampered. Our “kitchen sink” was not functioning properly. They had to get it back up and running again so that we could “cook” with technology in our classrooms.

My family at home was grateful that my plumber responded so quickly to the issue with the kitchen sink (as a result of this blog post, I think I also need to send a note to him, thanking him for his service at that time). In the same way, I am grateful to the “plumbers” on my staff for their diligent work every day that enables technology in classrooms. I have made sure that they know my appreciation, both verbally and in writing, for their work.

Please remember the plumbers on your staff. They may not always be front and center in every teacher’s mind, but when technology is not flowing to the classroom, we all desperately need them and are grateful for their help.

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