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

Crawford Central School District Extends Partnership with Questeq

Crawford Central School District has agreed to extend their existing ETM partnership with Questeq by signing a new five-year agreement. The newly signed agreement includes adding two full time Technology Specialists to the existing onsite technology department. Questeq’s onsite technology team has been instrumental in the recently approved one-to-one program. The program will begin by providing devices to students in grades seven and eight during the 2017-2018 school year. The rest of the secondary students are set to receive devices the following year. In preparation for the one-to-one program, the district has been making significant investments in networking technology, cloud storage and application virtualization. Crawford Central has also recognized the need to enhance data security, by implementing Dell DDPE (Dell Data Protection & Encryption), as well as Microsoft EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite) for their laptop and email solutions.

The district serves approximately 3,800 students in Crawford County, located in northwestern Pennsylvania. Questeq has provided ETM services to Crawford Central since 2013. When powered by Questeq’s Educational Technology Management (ETM) service, schools experience a positive cultural change towards digital transformation.

The agreement was celebrated by the Crawford Central technology team along with CEO, Jeff Main and COO, Jason King, during an all-team meetup in July.

Crawford Central Meetup July 2017

Questeq Supports Video Conference Program

Questeq customer, Cornell School District and their elementary third graders had a very special visit with children’s author, Megan McDonald on May 3rd. With the support of Candlewick Press, Questeq, and several other partner organizations, the best-selling author was available to speak to students and sign books in their classrooms.

Ms. McDonald, 58, has 35 million books in print, including the popular Judy Moody franchise. She also has written the Julie Albright series of American Girl books, as well as dozens of others.

A longtime California resident, she returned to her roots in Pittsburgh’s North Hills area. Following the program at Cornell Elementary, Megan also spoke with patrons at the Northland Public Library in McCandless, where she once worked as a teenager.

Megan’s program at Cornell was webcast to include students and patrons across the globe. An estimated 40,000 students in over 500 classrooms participated in the video conference program hosted at Cornell Elementary, with live questions from students in Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky, Alaska, and Vancouver. The Cornell third graders were on the edges of their seats and as they left their classroom that Wednesday, several proclaimed, “Best day ever.“

Books were central to Ms. McDonald and her four older sisters. Her father, an ironworker who worked on the Fort Duquesne and Andy Warhol bridges, dropped out of school at 14 to help support his family after his father died. Books filled in for him where formal schooling left off.

There was one rule in their house: no books at the dinner table. And when her father suspected that rule was being broken, the sisters knew the threat: “If I catch you reading, I’m going to tear out the last page and you’ll never know the ending.”

Other than the one prized hardback book each girl got for Christmas, their reading material came from weekly trips to the big green bookmobile that would visit the neighborhood from the Carnegie Library.

That experience set Ms. McDonald on route to becoming a children’s librarian and author. The author visit archive can be viewed at: https://kinber.njvid.net/show.php?pid=njcore:103551.

The program at Cornell Elementary was coordinated through Mr. Kris Hupp, Director of Technology & Instructional Innovation, Candlewick Press, Questeq, and KINBER, with the support of Stephanie Flom of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures.

This is part of a series of classroom programs supported by Questeq.

Questeq Sponsors 2017 Roberto Brain Health Challenge

Questeq is always looking for and investing in programs that engage and impact students, inside and outside of the classroom. This year, we were pleased to sponsor the 2017 Roberto Brain Health Challenge program. The program is “…the fun and revolutionary app from RC21X. You play a series of video games that challenge different parts of your brain. Memory, balance, decision making and reaction time all are included. Each session creates a detailed report that tells you how well your brain is performing.”

On June 14th, students from Moon Area, West Mifflin Area and Hopewell Area School Districts received cash prizes for participating in the spring challenge. Questeq CEO, Jeff Main, attended the Moon Area and West Mifflin Area scholarship ceremonies to present the awards to the students.

You can learn more about the Roberto Brain Health Challenge by visiting their website.

Click here to read about the challenge and scholarship recipients at Moon Area High School.

CEO, Jeff Main, presents award checks to Moon Area High School.

In addition to the Roberto Brain Health Challenge, Questeq recently awarded six, $1000.00 scholarships to graduating seniors attending postsecondary programs in the fall. We also were pleased to sponsor The Challenge Program for students at the Beaver County Career & Technology Center for the 2016-17 school year. Read about our sponsorship of The Challenge Program and the BCCTC student named Student of the Year.

At Questeq, we are dedicated to reinvesting back into our partner schools through sponsorships, scholarships and other beneficial student programs.