Technology Department- Behind the Scenes Heroes

Rome City School District Technology Department- Behind the Scenes Heroes
Posted on 12/22/2020
December Spotlight

The massive undertaking of an entire school district becoming remote is something that would not be achievable without the tireless efforts of the Technology Department. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, approximately 5,000 Chromebooks and 200 iPads have been deployed and 200 hotspots have been made available to families.
Getting Chromebooks ready is not just simply handing them out. Each device must be unboxed, enrolled (set up with google domain, settings and wifi), labeled, registered with the student, and deployed. Chromebook duties do not end once distributed. The Technology staff continues to help with any troubleshooting questions (there are a lot) and broken devices, long after they reach the student’s homes. PC Specialist at Bellamy, Darlene Plumb said “This year has been extremely different and difficult at times. I miss being able to work more with our students. Since the pandemic has occurred our jobs have shifted to more troubleshooting and repairing devices rather than educating the students on the different apps and programs. Trying to troubleshoot over the phone has also become increasingly hard at times. As we have continued through this time, I feel that our department is at the forefront with getting our staff and our students to be successful utilizing the devices and programs associated with remote teaching and learning.”
Countless Professional Development segments have been available to get teachers who were previously unfamiliar with google classroom ready to utilize it daily. Not only help for teachers, but also helping the students enroll in their classes and become ready to learn via Google Classroom. PC and Integration Specialists have taken on both a Technical and Instructional role. Their team has worked diligently to help the process of online learning not only be possible but engaging.
On top of getting the district functioning digitally, the Technology Department has been responsible for replacement of the entire phone system district wide. Phones are in the process of being fully replaced which includes collecting data from the previous system. With anything new comes many questions, and the Tech team has been there to answer them.
Mary Ann Urbanik, PC Specialist at Joy, looked back on March 2020 before COVID hit “the technology was unreal, we had a daily WJOY newscast and I had just started a Girl’s Technology Club. They came two times and that was it. We were working taking toys apart, seeing how everything works, and being able to recreate something. That was not something I could send home with them. I lost that, they lost that.”  Now a lot of her job is “Chromebook issues galore”- doing google meets with students and parents showing step by step how to use/troubleshoot their device and creating documents with instructions. Urbanik described a team effort, “We collaborate well together”. Technology staff started their own database for problems they have encountered with different possible solutions. As anyone who utilizes technology knows, troubleshooting is not one solution fixes all, there is a lot of trial and error. “We’re here for the children... said Urbanik, kids are super savvy with technology, I’ve also learned from them.” Mary Ann’s message to students and staff with technology frustrations is “Don’t panic, call Urbanik!”
“As the director of them, I’m very proud of what they’ve done. We have literally transformed the district. It has been a huge team effort outside of just my team, but in 6 months we’ve set-up and deployed 5000 Chromebooks. Most districts take years to just distribute 1000. What we have done is pretty amazing. It is generally working. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but we are supporting it. We are learning as we go and so far, so good” said Director or IT, Patrick Sullivan. Sullivan explained he is worried about burnout and his staff taking breaks “they love helping people but on the same token you do have to disconnect”
Take a minute to thank a member of the Technology Team, they are working extremely hard behind the scenes to keep our district running during these unprecedented times. Their jobs have been totally transformed, and like all district staff, they miss the students. It is certain that without them, remote learning would not be possible.

RCSD Login/ Google Classroom Parent Handbook
Rome City School District Technology Department
Patrick Sullivan- Director of Information Technology 
Bellamy Elementary 
Darlene Plumb- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
Denti Elementary 
Susan Alger- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
District Office
Wendy Ahles- FTE- Data Analyst
Anneliese Carinci- FTE- Schooltool Coordinator
Brittany Gaffney- FTE- Integration Specialist
Paul Hurlburt- FTE Network Tech
Stacy Keyser- FTE- Schooltool Coordinator
Steve Mottley- FTE Network Tech
Kyle Yagger- FTE Network Tech
Gansevoort Elementary 
Rochelle Fazekas- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
John Joy Elementary 
Mary Ann Urbanik- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
Ridge Mills Elementary 
Maura Tarbania- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
Rome Free Academy 
Mike Bates- LAN Tech
Brad Barth- Computer Specialist
Carl Manganaro- FTE Webmaster/Integration Specialist
Margaret Voci- PC Specialist
Staley Elementary 
Dorothea Iselo- PC Specialist

Stokes Elementary

Ruby Pedde- PC Specialist/ Tech Integration, Professional Development
Strough Middle School
Brittany Gaffney- FTE- Integration Specialist
Joel Wyman- PC Specialist

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