Friday, November 14th, 2008...8:13 am

Involving Students is Worth the Effort

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Jim Ermert, Jr.
District Technology Coordinator, CET Instructor
Corning Public Schools, Arkansas

I have had a student administrator program for eight years now.  It is a big success story around here.  We have had several students work for the district and then go to college and get a degree.  I have some who just go out and start working at night to make a little extra money also.

The main problem I had starting this program was selling it to the super and board.  After the first year I was able to show how much time and money the district saved by allowing students to work for me instead of having a study hall.  One of my prior Student Admins, Cody McGrew, was the ExplorNet IT Student of the Year.  He is now the network administrator for the John Deere dealership here and just finished his BS in MIS at Arkansas State University.

Here are the steps I use to choose candidates for the program:

  1. The student must take my A+ class in the 10th grade and pass with at least a B average.
  2. The student can apply for the admin program by submitting a “job application”.
  3. If chosen, the student becomes a “Junior Admin”.  This means he job shadows a “Lead Tech” for a semester to learn proper PC repair and how to act in classes.  There is ZERO tolerance for cut-ups or stealing.  They can have fun, but must act like professionals in front of teachers and their classes.  Another task as a “Junior Admin” is they have to do the “dirty” work for the Lead Tech, such as running cables in ceilings, carrying computers and monitors, etc.  This gives us a level of hiearchy which helps me keep them in line and stops any arguments on whos turn it is to go out on a job.  This usually is not a problem, but somethimes I have a few get lazy close to graduation.
  4. When they are in 11th grade they can become “Lead Techs” and start going out on their own and work for the district.  My Lead Techs have parent permission slips that allow them to go to my other campuses and work.  They have a lot of trust and rope given to them, but I find they are mature enough to handle it.
  5. At the end of the year,  the Admins are given a certificate honoring their work for the school.  Many of my students use this work experience on their resumes and I am always getting calls asking about their abilities.  We do three different community projects which gives them the community service they need for scholarship apps too.  We maintain the Corning Police Dept network, Corning Community Center’s computers and donated computers to the newly opened Sarah House which is a home for disabled young people who are finished with school and don’t have anywhere to go during the day.

I have presented this to several techs in the state and some are doing it.  I think it is a win-win situation for the kids and district.  They get valuable hands-on experience and the school gets free tech support!  Hope this helps.

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