With student achievement as the end goal, 17 districts from throughout Nassau County worked with Nassau BOCES on a variety of technology projects this summer. Collectively, these districts invested nearly $24 million in technology upgrades within the 10 week summer period. This is the time when schools are mostly closed, allowing us the opportunity to accomplish these upgrades. These projects ranged from wireless connectivity and complete network refreshes to implementing new email systems. In addition, Nassau BOCES technicians readied more than 29,000 computers, laptops and mobile devices for students and administrators for their first day back.
For the techs, solutions are always more important than the technology. “Our conversations with our districts always start with ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’” said Sandeep Dhillon, who oversees our Nassau BOCES technicians. “Then we talk to them about the best options to get those results. We’re not married to any specific brands or types of technology. We strive for the best outcomes using the most affordable methods to achieve them. In addition, our cooperative buying power saves districts money and helps them meet their goals.”
Sometimes these conversations lead to more comprehensive projects, an example is one Nassau BOCES handled for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich CSD. “They requested that we help them develop a five-year technology plan for the district,” said Dhillon. “Once we reviewed it with them, they realized that the best thing they could do to help students become college and career ready is to completely refresh their system.”
Oyster Bay-East Norwich CSD updated its technology infrastructure, added wireless connectivity and replaced laptops and other computers throughout the district. “They now have a system that can sustain them for up to 10 years,” said Dhillon.
East Rockaway UFSD wanted help prepping their network for the district’s new 1 to 1 initiative, which will pair each sixth grade student with a laptop. After helping the district select the best device for their needs, each of the laptops had to be prepared for student use. They all needed software and filters so that students cannot access inappropriate websites.
Improved collaboration was a key goal for many districts. To help with that, Nassau BOCES Technology Services recommended switching to Microsoft Office 365’s free email product, which has many features that allow teachers and administrators to work together. Seven districts – East Meadow UFSD, East Rockaway UFSD, East Williston UFSD, Long Beach City SD, Malverne UFSD, North Merrick UFSD and Oyster Bay-East Norwich CSD – were all migrated to this new system over the summer.
To complete some of these projects within one budget year, many districts need to use financing. Nassau BOCES has taken a leading role in this arena as well, and our Business Services Department ensures that our districts obtain low rates.
“More and more districts are working with us because of the level of expertise that our technicians have and the economy of scale that we can provide,” said Anthony Carfora, Executive Director of Nassau BOCES Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology.
During the school year, the technicians work with districts to maintain their systems and troubleshoot technology issues. The technicians are supported by student workers from Nassau BOCES Barry Tech, a career and technical education high school program, and other high school and college programs.