Technology team making progress on districtwide upgrades

December 7, 2016

Cy-Fair High School English II teacher Tashanda Franklin stands in front of her Promethean ActivPanel, an intelligent touch-screen monitor, one of more than 2,000 in CFISD classrooms throughout the district. (Photo by Kirby Niermeyer, Cy-Fair HS)
Cy-Fair High School English II teacher Tashanda Franklin stands in front of her Promethean ActivPanel, an intelligent touch-screen monitor, one of more than 2,000 in CFISD classrooms throughout the district. (Photo by Kirby Niermeyer, Cy-Fair HS)

By Kirby Niermeyer, Cy-Fair HS

Dec. 7, 2016—Over the course of the awaited holiday season, the CFISD technology team will receive a much-needed break.

This past summer, Frankie Jackson, CFISD chief technology officer, and her team took advantage of the absence of students to disperse and visit two schools per day to install wireless connectivity in the elementary schools. Last year, her team installed wireless upgrades in all secondary schools.

There was a mission to upgrade 60,000 devices within schools and install wireless internet in elementary schools, as well as roll out the new LANDESK computer software.

These goals were indeed accomplished before the hallways of schools across the district were yet again filled with bustling students.

A surprising component that delayed the work of Jackson’s team during the summer was the cleaning schedule that took place within the schools.

Frankie Jackson, CFISD chief technology officer, responds to questions about the progress of district technology upgrades during the high school press conference on Nov. 16 at Cypress Ridge High School.
Frankie Jackson, CFISD chief technology officer, responds to questions about the progress of district technology upgrades during the high school press conference on Nov. 16 at Cypress Ridge High School. 

Jackson explained how frequently they had to move out various devices in order for cleaning to take place and reinstall them afterwards, while addressing student journalists at the high school press conference at Cypress Ridge High School on Nov. 16. She also mentioned the challenge of trying to stay out of the custodians’ way, as they were performing their own updates and maintenance.

When searching for new technology for the district, Jackson’s team seeks the most effective.

“Students and teachers deserve the best,” Jackson said.

While selecting technology, the team resorts to the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company known as the Gartner Report. All technology is name brand, and Jackson states that they would never go to the Board of Trustees with anything less.

CFISD possesses the same brand names as airports, the National Football League and universities, proving just how reliable the devices that are chosen for the district are.

A recent enhancement in educational technology has been through the Promethean boards that have been installed in many core classes such as Spanish and English. These dynamic touchscreen boards have many advanced features, opening more innovative ways for teachers to teach.

“Projectors and white boards are too simple in this day and age,” Cy-Fair sophomore Trey Luebano said. “The technologically advanced Promethean boards serve as a creative educational source.”

Along with students, many teachers have a similar opinion on these new boards.

“Promethean boards are totally radical because we are able to get in the front of the classroom with a touch screen at our fingertips,” Cy-Fair English II teacher Tashanda Franklin said.  “It enhances our learning experience.”

Students may notice a change in monitors, because Jackson’s team always stays up to date on the latest updates of software and devices available. Kim Bowlin, a member of the technology team, is responsible for changes like the updated monitors.

The future plans for CFISD technology are broad. Integration of technology never stops improving.

One of the plans for Jackson’s team is to fulfill the completion of the $217 million portion of the voter-approved bond package that was implemented in 2014. The bond consists of 15 waves, nine of which are currently completed. The completion of the bond will result in an enhancement in technology throughout the district. 

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