Questeq Team Member Cycles for Good Cause

At Questeq, we believe in supporting our community, which includes our wonderful team members and partner schools. When Steve Leslie, one of our Technology Specialists at Aliquippa School District shared this opportunity to give back, we were excited to share with our customers, friends and family.

In November, Steve will be joining other cyclists for the 2018 72 Hours to Key West – 280 Mile Charity Bike Ride, which benefits the TinyHands Foundation. The foundation helps families in need during the holiday season by providing meals and gifts. This year the riders have also partnered with Starting Right, Now, to help end homelessness for youth through one-on-one mentoring and education.

The 72 Hours to Key West is a limited entry ride with around 70 riders each year. The ride itself is a 3-day event from Fort Meyers Florida to Key West. Day 1 is 120 miles, Day 2 is 105 miles and the final day is 55 miles.

Steve Leslie, 2nd from right at this year’s MS 150 ride.

If you are interested in learning more or donating to the ride, please visit the organization websites and donation page. Donations should be received by October 30, 2018.

TinyHands Foundation: http://www.tinyhandsfoundation.org

Starting Right, Now: http://startingrightnow.org

Donate: https://fundly.com/steve-leslie-2018-72-hours-to-key-west-280-mile-charity-bike-ride-new#home

We asked Steve how he got involved with these charities and why they are important to him. Here is what he had to say, “I started doing charity rides about 1998 when I did my first MS 150 ride which benefits Multiple Sclerosis research. I have also done the Tour de Cure ride for Diabetes several times. This coming summer will be my 10-time riding the MS 150 ride, which I have done each year since my brother-in-law was diagnosed. I am always looking for new and interesting rides, and this sounded like a great challenge for a great cause. We are really looking forward to having the chance to join the other riders in helping the families and children supported by this event.”

Effective Communication for Back to School Success

This year’s Back to School is packed full of exciting new gadgets, initiatives, and opportunities for all learners. As technology leaders, we tend to assess and develop school startup game plans focusing on areas of greatest impact. When creating this type of plan, it’s important to keep in mind the needs of the students first and leave extra time for the unexpected. During this time consider each day as a new opportunity for you to gain knowledge, build your skill set, and share your enthusiasm for technology.

Brad Klingelhoefer, Questeq Technology Coordinator, works with students at our partner school ACLD Tillotson.

The effectiveness of implementing new technologies and objectives can be a challenge. At the ACLD Tillotson School, we like to follow the technology trends in education and also try our own ideas. This year we are introducing school-wide, an application called Nearpod. Nearpod is a popular web-based application for delivering classroom lessons interactively for all subjects and grade levels. The initial reaction I received from the teachers was a bit of a shock. The response was overwhelmingly positive and they’re really excited to start using Nearpod in their classrooms. We are also implementing a digital citizenship course through Nearpod where the students will have the ability to enter a lesson using a code on their new 2-in-1, touchscreen Chromebooks. We’re continuously implementing new digital curriculum and platforms throughout every subject. It is very important for our students and staff to have as many devices and resources as possible. A few years ago, we started a 1-to-1 initiative with Chromebooks and this year we are expanded by adding iPads, Surface Pro Laptops, and even a few 3D printers and Apple Homepod speakers. While there are still challenges with multi-platforms and different operating systems in a school environment; there are far more benefits for everyone to learn by reducing the barriers and allowing everyone to use different types of devices effectively.

The start of the school year is an exciting time for everyone, but it can also be very demanding. It’s important to work together and communicate with your peers. Take time to review your communications strategy and ideas as this will be time well spent. Effective communication reinforces your knowledge, skills, and relationships. This is a two-way process as you will learn more when you are listening than when you are speaking. Allow yourself time to be organized and prepared. This time of year, the workload can seem unbearable at times. It’s essential to stay positive through it all and take time to reflect back upon the accomplishments you’ve achieved over the summer. Everyone really does notice that you’re doing your absolute best and they truly appreciate everything you do. The greatest thing you can do is be in the moment and successes will come.

– Brad Klingelhoefer, Questeq Technology Coordinator – ACLD Tillotson School

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A note about Brad and Questeq: Brad has been with Questeq since 2005 and has worked his way up through several roles and responsibilities. He started his Questeq career working at the Help Desk. Brad then moved into the Desktop Engineer 1 position, working in several of our customer sites. From there he was promoted to Desktop Engineer 2. In 2017, Brad was promoted to Technology Coordinator at one of our most unique sites, ACLD Tillotson School. The ACLD Tillotson School provides supports and services for students who have complex learning disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders. Brad has excelled in this role and has become an invaluable resource to our company and to the students, teachers and staff at ACLD Tillotson.

We have written about our partnership with ACLD Tillotson School over the years. Check out our past posts here:

Questeq Participates in Tillotson School Benefit Walk
ACLD Tillotson School Expands Partnership with Questeq

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