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Chutes and Ladders

October 28, 2021

There are too many words to describe the rollercoaster that our community has been on regarding all things Cary Academy technology. Never would have thought that I would be discussing system installs, policies, or computer distribution information this late in the year (or later) – yet here I am. 

For the Information Services department, this year has been less like a rollercoaster than a game of Chutes and Ladders, with the final space being the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. Fortunately, CA has had many more “ladder” experiences but there has been one big “chute”–missing computers—that we’ve been looking out for.  I am happy to say that we have passed “the big one”, I hope! 

You may have heard the rumor, which I am quite happy to confirm, that there is a handful of shiny new computers on campus. While it is not the complete shipment, it’s enough to start getting new machines into some students’ hands. The remaining bulk of the machines are still out in a warehouse, boat, or truck; however, there is a good chance that they may arrive at the end of November (*knock wood*).  

Once machines arrive, it is hard not to want to emulate Oprah by standing in the center of the Quad, pointing and yelling “You get a computer!” to everyone that passes by. Sadly, however, there is a lot to be done before we can start distributing machines to users. Thankfully, that process is already well underway; we are diligently working through our checklists to ensure that each machine received is in full working order, loaded, and ready for use by the time it reaches our students. On that front, keep an eye on your inbox for more information coming early next week. This is a good “ladder.” 

A second great “ladder” has been the department’s ability to provide experiential learning to our Computer and Networking Essentials (CANE) students. Mr. Rokuskie has done a fabulous job getting students who have, or are currently taking, a CANE course ready to act as student technology prefects for the community.  

It has always been a goal of the department to provide students the opportunity to intern within the Information Services department. Our CANE class teaches students about hardware components, troubleshooting, and the skills they would need to become an IT support specialist. Students who excel in the program and are selected to intern, earn the title of Technology Prefect and are part of the Cary Academy Helpdesk team. It has been very exciting to see students formally helping members of the community. 

I cannot express how impressed I have been with these students and can honestly say their help has allowed the department to focus on preparing our new computers and other high-priority projects. Ongoing work in the Upper School, some internal re-organizing within the department, and general day-to-day support have all moved forward thanks to the help our Technology Prefects and my incredible team.  

I’ve been talking with a lot of prospective employees lately. Inevitably, we always talk about what it means to be part of the Cary Academy community. This year, I have pointed to the incredible flexibility, collegiality, and resilience that our community has demonstrated in the face of these significant disruptions to the global supply chain—disruptions that have had enormous impacts on the way we teach and learn–as proof positive of how we live our mission every single day. In the face of challenge, we lean into collaboration and our core values of respect, integrity, and compassion. As I begin to see a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel, I extend thanks on behalf of myself and my team.  

Written by Karen McKenzie, Director of Technology & Innovation

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