2000 Computers and Counting…

At recent School Board meetings when the budget has been discussed, there has been a collective sigh of relief, that as the District receives a meager 2.3% increase in funding from the State (over last year’s 6.6% decrease in funding) – which mostly consists of one-time money which can’t be used to begin programs or hire teachers since it is not guaranteed for following years – we are using our reserve funds to meet student needs:  One way we are doing that is by hiring one more Building Computer Specialist (BCS).

 Up until this hiring, a handful of dedicated individuals were responsible for all of the technology in the District, meaning each person was responsible for 1,300 pieces of electronic equipment. Everything – Smart Boards, desktop computers, laptop computers, iPods, iPads, Android tablets, servers, Wi-Fi equipment, projectors, Apple TVs, Sentio Clickers, webcams, and everything else you can imagine a 21st Century School District requiring.  Every time a computer doesn’t boot up, someone can’t remember their login password, an iPod’s screen won’t turn on, a laptop won’t connect to the network, or the Smart Board won’t read the computer, our BCSs get a call.  It is never ending, essential work, without which our students would not be prepared to succeed in a world flush with technology.

 But that’s not all.  As technology changes and improves, so must the infrastructure to support it.  The Sioux Falls School District has invested heavily in the transmission of data to and from our servers to schools, between schools and ultimately between the students and the world of knowledge at the tips of their fingers. Our schools now enjoy faster, stronger connections than ever, more reliable wireless connections than before, and the bandwidth and power to support teachers who choose to use a variety of sources to engage students. As promised, after the groundwork was laid, the computers come next.

 And come they have.  In the last 11 weeks, our BCSs have not only continued to answer their frequent calls for help, but they have also installed more than 2,000 new computers at Patrick Henry Middle School, Lincoln High School, Washington High School, Roosevelt High School, Memorial Middle School, Axtell Park Middle School, Edison Middle School, Joe Foss Alternative School, Whittier Middle School, Eugene Field Elementary, Terry Redlin Elementary, Jane Addams Elementary, Renberg Elementary, Laura B. Anderson Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Pettigrew Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, Robert Frost Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Anne Sullivan Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Discovery Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, Laura Wilder Elementary, John Harris Elementary, Hayward Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, Lowell Elementary and John F. Kennedy Elementary.

 This is a monumental task, and one that deserves recognition and thanks. The addition of one more BCS with the FY13 budget will mean that the ratio of technological equipment to individual able to fix them will fall to 1,000:1… a modest improvement, but a long-awaited one. Virtually everyone can relate to that feeling we get when technology fails us … and the relief when someone can get it back up and running. These people do it for 22,000 students and 3,000 employees every day.

 Thank you, Building Computer Specialists.



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