Hopewell Area School District to Host edcampPGH

edcampPGH

Questeq partner school, Hopewell Area School District has been selected to host edcampPGH. This free, unconference event will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Teachers and other educational stakeholders are welcome to attend this unique professional development opportunity, centered around collaborating, sharing and learning from your peers. In this collaborative environment, presentations are not pre-scheduled but are determined on the day of the event. All attendees have the opportunity to present and share their expertise with interested participants.

For eligible attendees, DPW Credits and Act 48 Credits will be offered in partnership with WQED Education and Trying Together.

Questeq is pleased to be able to sponsor breakfast and lunch at the event. Congratulations to the dedicated teachers, staff and administration for bringing this exciting event to Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

For more information and to register, visit the edcampPGH website or registration page.

Becoming a Technology Department of “Yes!”

Wilmington Area School District has transformed into a regional leader in Educational Technology and is a pinnacle example of how Questeq can transform K-12 schools from tactical to strategic.

Wilmington Area School District Faculty and Staff

Just over two years ago, Wilmington partnered with Questeq with the hope of revitalizing their technology and every aspect of it. The District had major issues at every level. As Wilmington’s new Technology Manager, I believe that if “school choice” is going to be a thing, then Wilmington will be the best choice. Over the past two years, Aaron McConahy, Infrastructure Engineer, and myself have worked hard to make that happen.

The District is now 1:1 K-12 with a solid infrastructure. Everything has changed for the better, and it all started with a change of culture. We’ve turned the Tech Department into a Department of “Yes!” where we do everything possible to meet the needs of our faculty and staff. No matter how small or insignificant the request might seem to us, it may mean the world to a teacher. So, we exhaust every effort to say “yes” instead of defaulting to “no.” When the default response of technology staff is “no,” faith in the Tech Department will diminish so far that most teachers won’t bother to ask for help. With a positive change in culture, the whole district has regained trust in their Tech Department, and teachers are eager to learn and try new technologies.

Recently, Wilmington has fully immersed itself in everything Google. We are 1:1 with Chromebooks 5-12, and are using G Suite for Education extensively. The usage of Google Classroom, for example, is a requirement of all middle and high school teachers. Several teachers are now Google Certified Educators, and many more have expressed interest. Wilmington’s usage of Google products and services has spiked so high that even Google took notice. In July, we were selected as a Google Reference District.

Google Reference Districts are distinguished schools that utilize everything Google and are intended to show other districts what Google can do for education. Becoming a Google Reference District can only start with an invitation and involves a detailed application process. There are less than 200 districts in the world with this distinction. Needless to say, everyone at WASD is very proud!

Questeq’s impact at Wilmington has been positively remarkable. In just two years, Wilmington has changed its entire culture and is now a leader among leaders. We’ve shown that enrollment numbers don’t matter. Any district can accomplish the same feats regardless of size. All it takes is a Technology Department with motivation, perseverance, and a heap of gumption.

– Matthew E. Maine, Technology Manager

Questeq Technology Coordinator Receives G Suite Administrator Certification

It’s no secret that the innovative juggernaut, Google, has found its way into many educational institutions worldwide. Their website boasts that 70 million users and seven of eight Ivy League schools utilize their education suite of tools. This suite, called G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google for Education), uses a philosophy perfectly fit for today’s schools: To provide simple, innovative, and cost effective solutions tailored for the education workspace.

In 2015, the Cornell School District partnered with Google to help deliver a fresh learning experience. While at first reluctant to change, teachers have embraced the switch and are pleased with the results. Every year, more of our educators get on board and set up their own ‘cloud’ classrooms where students can access lessons anywhere, any time, and from any device. Adding Google Chromebooks has enhanced classrooms and continues to be a driving force in personalized learning. But to make it all work effectively, the students can’t be the only ones learning.

Professional development is a must in any occupation, especially dealing with technology. As a technology administrator at the Cornell School District, I’m always looking for ways to do my job more effectively. Because of my limited knowledge of G Suite for Education, I decided to take a relevant online course created by Google. This course is called “G Suite Administrator Fundamentals” and is specifically designed for administrators who manage G Suite for their organization. Completion of the course takes 15-30hrs and is provided online through Coursera. In summary, the course teaches organizational best practices as well as how to manage users, control access to apps, configure security settings and much more.

I completed the course in July and passed the end of course exam to become a Google Certified Associate – G Suite Administrator. The biggest benefit for me was learning what is possible through the suite. For example, there are advanced email options to authenticate organizational email, which can be used to prevent email spoofing. This feature will more than likely be implemented at Cornell since the school has been the target of multiple email spoofing campaigns. I definitely recommend taking this course and exam for any administrators using G Suite for Education. My gained knowledge will be a small contribution to helping the Cornell School District in their on-going mission of pursuing excellence in public education.

– Cody Thull, Questeq Technology Coordinator @ Cornell School District

Technology Director Honored as CIO of the Year Finalist

Dave CharlesQuesteq Technology Director, Dave Charles has been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Pittsburgh CIO of the Year Awards. As the Technology Director at North Hills, Dave is responsible for strategic IT planning and ultimate IT oversite, as well as the overall management of Questeq’s onsite technology staff. North Hills has been a valued Questeq partner since 2011.

Each year, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Greater Pittsburgh CIO Group honors the region’s top information technology and information security executives at Pittsburgh CIO of the Year. The 2017 awards will be held on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. You can learn more about the event here.

We congratulate Dave on this wonderful accomplishment, which is well deserved. Members of the Questeq leadership team will be at the event to celebrate this honor with him. Congratulations and good luck!

New Team Members Join Growing Network Operations Center

The Network Operations Center (NOC) and Project Services team at Questeq supports customer sites as part of our Educational Technology Management (ETM) service. We provide three classes of service:

  • Preventative such as server maintenance and network monitoring
  • Reactive by resolving tickets submitted to the NOC by Questeq onsite team members
  • Transformative by implementing project requests for servers; storage area networks; switches; wireless; Office365; Google for Education; and backup / recovery just to name a few.

Prior to the 2016-17 school year, the NOC added more engineering talent to address the peak summer project season. Michael Lipnicky, Jason Allen and Curtis Smithley recently joined Keith Brant, Mark Wolfe, and Mike Miller. The new team members are quickly becoming familiar with Questeq processes and technology at our customer sites.

Looking forward, Questeq anticipates adding several more school districts to our customer list this year. The new team members will help maintain and grow our high level of customer support to both existing and new sites.

Now that the summer rush is over, Project Services is currently working with several of our districts on the following projects.

  • Technical design for the 2017-18 school year E-rate bids
  • Migrating to Gmail and G Suite for Education (formally Google Apps)
  • Implementing inTune and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
  • Moving on premise servers such domain controllers and email to the Microsoft Cloud

These are only a few of the projects and ongoing support that the NOC and Project Services provides to all of our ETM sites located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.