Westerly Public Schools is fortunate to have a community of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and a school committee which values technology. Support for technology has always been a priority for the district but it has also gained momentum over time, particularly during the last four years culminating in the completion of the Westerly High School renovation which concluded in 2012 and included a multi-million dollar technology budget.
The tremendous advocacy and support for the technology department goes beyond the impressive hardware, software and infrastructure. During these challenging fiscal times of budget cuts and consolidations, the staff of department has actually increased to its current staffing level of nearly 8 FTE. In addition to these positions, with the support of the Superintendent, the WTA, and the Westerly School Committee, 7 building based teachers receive a modest stipend to support both professional development and to provide basic troubleshooting in their individual schools. Finally, in addition to all of this traditional support models, we wanted to engage students and give them practical hands on experience in the form of an unpaid internship. By working with Westerly High School’s administration and guidance department, we have created positions for 9 WHS student interns over the last 4 semesters. Currently we have six interns and the program is “trending” positively in terms of its popularity. At any given time, our staff of IT professionals, teachers, and student interns are supporting over five thousand accounts, shared among thirty five hundred staff and students, utilizing over one hundred virtual servers and two thousand end user nodes, as well as BYOD in nine buildings.
Westerly Public Schools looks forward to hosting this event for RISTE and its membership. We hope to share information and best practices by networking with other schools and districts in order to improve our own delivery of services. In addition to our build out of staffing, we will tour a typical high school classroom complete with renovated hardware and software. During our RISTE open house we may tour our data center depending on interest. Other topics for discussion may include BYOD, RIDE’s WCI, VMWARE, and our Dell / Equallogic server / storage platform, as well as our HP ProCurve switching and wireless infrastructure.
I hope to see everyone on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.