Power has been restored to the District’s Educational Services Center, but a separate power outage is now impacting schools across the northern portion of the District. Power and/or internet services are currently down in the following schools:
- Liberty HS
- North Central Junior High
- Wickham Elementary
- Grant Elementary
- Garner Elementary
- Penn Elementary
- Van Allen Elementary
Linn County REC has been contacted, but we do not have an ETA for service restoration.
Further, the District has been notified that many residences on the east side of Iowa City are without power. This outage has not yet impacted any District facilities, so we will not receive communication from MidAmerican Energy regarding this issue.
Happy first day of school, everybody! Unfortunately, the District has experienced a power outage impacting the Educational Services Center, which serves as the District’s administration building and home to the technology help desk.
We have a generator that will ensure that our servers and network services stay up, so there should be no substantial impact to services like Canvas, Seesaw, G Suite, etc. Our Help Desk has been interrupted, however, and we are currently redeploying staff to facilities that do have power. We will continue to work through requests as quickly as possible, but be aware that phone and chat support, in particular, will be disrupted.
MidAmerican Energy reports that they expect to resolve the outage by approximately noon today (9/8/2020).
For a number of years, District schools and facilities have been served by a combination of the centralized Help Desk, along with a technician who is assigned to a group of buildings. Typically, technicians are responsible for 6-10 schools, depending upon school size, and handle almost all types of support requests generated from those buildings. The three comprehensive high schools are each served by a full-time technician, each of whom also have responsibilities related to the student technician internship program.
While this approach provides consistency for our schools and other sites – who can generally anticipate being supported by a single individual – it creates substantial challenges in terms of coverage for long-term absences, limits our ability to efficiently specialize support, and makes it difficult to respond to demand surges (at the beginning of the school year, for instance).
Implementing a New Model
Beginning today, we will be implementing a new model that maintains the high school building technician roles – support services for the high schools will remain largely unchanged – but expands the role of our Help Desk while converting technician assignments to support category-based rather than building based for all other schools and sites. For example, if a printer-related ticket is submitted by Borlaug Elementary, the technician responding will be one who has printing as a category assignment, rather than a technician who has Borlaug as an assigned school.
The support categories align with those in our ticketing system, and include:
- Accounts, Software, and Cloud Services
- Classroom Technology, Networking/Internet, and Printing
- Hardware Repair and Support
Each category will have two assigned technicians, providing greater resiliency in the event that one staff member is unavailable. Service will still be delivered via the Help Desk and in schools and classrooms, and this model will allow the department to more accurately assign support requests to the proper technician(s), to target our internal professional development around areas of specialization, and to provide more consistent service throughout the District. Continue reading Tech Support Changes