The Stanfield mascot with a tablet running in the desert.

Upgrade coaching helps Arizona tech director plan for success

“2014-15 is the Year of Technology for the Stanfield School District,” Maurice Kerckhof, Technology Coordinator for the Arizona district, enthusiastically declared. As a small rural district about an hour outside of Phoenix, Stanfield appreciates the power of digital learning to expand students’ educational opportunities and improve academic outcomes.

With devices and online learning tools purchased and deployed, Maurice and the district have much to be proud of. On the first day of school this year, every 6th, 7th and 8th grade student in the district received new Chromebooks – with roll out to the remaining grades planned over the next two years. As Maurice explained, “students were smiling and taking an interest in and ownership of their new computer, [which] confirmed to the team that all of the extra hours of hard work were worth it.”

However, having just joined the district as Tech Coordinator that July, Maurice quickly realized that his work had only begun. As is the case in many other districts, Stanfield’s end-of-life, outdated network was slowing technology to a crawl and preventing true adoption. Recognizing that he was already overloaded handling the many day-to-day IT demands placed on the Tech Coordinator’s plate, Maurice applied for EducationSuperHighway’s district coaching program for help developing a network upgrade plan that meets Stanfield’s digital learning needs.

After discussing Stanfield’s educational goals, Maurice and his EducationSuperHighway upgrade coach, Brian, determined that two key things needed to take place prior to implementing a successful upgrade: (1) a clear definition of the district’s business and education bandwidth requirements and (2) a network-wide assessment of the district’s existing infrastructure.

With Brian’s support, Maurice has been working for the past month to uncover the district’s gaps in wired and wireless infrastructure, Internet access, and network management and monitoring. To do this, Maurice has been conducting a survey of Stanfield’s existing bandwidth usage and current hardware inventory and working to align those to the district’s digital learning goals.

While Maurice’s upgrade planning is very much still underway, we are excited about the progress he has already made towards getting Stanfield’s network up to speed. As we coach districts across the country, we see other Tech Coordinators struggling with many of the same issues facing Maurice in Stanfield.

We will post an update once Maurice’s project is complete!