Ferndale Brings in Oakland Schools to Solve Technology Troubles

Ferndale Brings in Oakland Schools to Solve Technology Troublesessential

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 18, 2014)

The Ferndale School District’s new administration team started the school year off with a nasty surphttp://oaklandcounty115.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21551&action=editrise – costly technology troubles.

When the Harding Administration Building lost power during the storm of Aug. 11, the batteries to the uninterruptable power supply failed and the servers crashed.  A few days later, servers crashed again and the Harding Administration Building shared drive failed, as did the teacher shared drive.

There had not been any backups of the data since 2012.

“We’re still assessing what was lost,” said Ferndale gallowaycollens1School Board President Jim O’Donnell. “We do know that teachers had hundreds of hours’ worth of work that is now gone.”  O’Donnell said work on the teacher’s drives included worksheets, lesson plans and other essential documents.  “We’ve had teachers say they asked about having cloud storage in prior years and were told ‘no,’ that it wasn’t necessary because the data was backed up.”

Files used to create the district’s website were lost, and files used by the former Superintendent over the years.  The drives were sent away to a specialist, but initial reports indicate the data is just gone.

With the computer crisis threatening to hinder preparations for the school year’s start, Superintendent Blake modern natural baby inprogressPrewitt called in the experts from Oakland Schools and spent most of Labor Day weekend working to fix the systems that had failed.

The School Board approved a contract with Oakland Schools at their meeting on Monday, to provide comprehensive technology services for the next three years.  The contract saves the district $40,000 in the first year and $50,000 per year for the following two, in addition to the savings seen by efficiencies.

“They have already identified savings in time and in terms of expenses,” O’Donnell said. Streamlining programs and processes are among the basics of a well-run IT department, so making sure everyone is using the same firewall protections, for example, will make IT service more efficient and make the system less vulnerable.  Because they work with several school districts, Oakland Schools has bulk buying power for seed017_darlene_bignottiequipment, meaning even more savings.

Another issue they will address is the amount of service ticket requests.  They start their new task with over 700 requests for service.  “That is ridiculous,” O’Donnell said.  “Oakland Schools says that once they get caught up, that number should be more like ten at any normal time.”

A team of tech professionals will continue getting Ferndale’s systems up to speed, and a dedicated IT manager will be on hand full time.

“We know how much work our teachers put into their job, and seeing that gone is devastating,” O’Donnell said.  “But now we have a professional team in place, with appropriate backups so we can prevent this in the future.sidebar01reader_support

‘The School Board is grateful for Superintendent Blake Prewitt’s leadership toward resolving this event. He turned a very negative situation that he inherited into one that had minimal impact on students and will truly enable teachers to make better use of technology for years to come. This is just one of many examples where his leadership, along with other administrators and staff, are moving the district forward in a way that helps Ferndale Schools’ students.”

Oakland Schools also provided IT services for Royal Oak Schools, Pontiac Schools, Oakland Schools Technical Campus, Joblink Workforce Development, Clawson Schools, Southfield Schools, West Bloomfield Schools, Clarenceville Schools, and Michigan School for the Arts.

To learn more about Oakland Schools IT Services go to http://www.oakland.k12.mi.us/departments/technologyservices/tabid/932/default.aspx.

For more on Ferndale Schools see www.ferndaleschools.org.

 

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