Information Systems

Tech Talk

  • IS Staff Changes

    Posted August 26, 2015

    The new school year brings some IS staff changes you should know about.

    Adding a second person for tech support at Earl Shapiro Hall has always been part of a larger plan for IS, and we’re delighted it could happen this year. HC Technical Support Specialist Sarah Drehobl has been assigned to join Louis Coronel at ESH. Her excellent troubleshooting skills should bring more balance to Louis’ role in tech integration and professional development support.

    Eric Schmidt has been hired as the new Instructional Technology Specialist in the World Language Lab. replacing Colin Warren. Eric comes to us from the Livonia, MIchigan public school system, where he has worked as a teacher and technology specialist for ten years. He’ll be starting September 1st.

    Gerardo Galvan will join the Help Desk team on the Historic Campus as a Technical Support Specialist, starting Monday. Gerardo brings several years of computer and audiovisual support experience at the Spertus Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Columbia College, where he was the Coordinator of Latino Cultural Affairs.

    We are still working on filling the Data Systems Analyst position vacated by Phillip Thomas’ absence and hope to have a candidate in place soon.

  • Welcome Back!

    Posted August 26, 2015

    All of us in IS extend a hearty welcome back to those who take summers off! We hope you return rested and refreshed, ready to tackle the new school year with all the vigor and creativity our wonderful students deserve.

  • We’re Moving, Like Tomorrow

    Posted August 26, 2015

    It’s IS’ turn to do what so many others at Lab have done in the past couple of years: move. On Thursday and Friday, August 27-28, we’ll be moving to Belfield 134, formerly the band room. On those two days, we will only be available to respond to the most urgent requests for tech support. In addition to moving ourselves that day, we will also be assisting with at least 9 other moves, so time will be extra tight. We should be up and running as usual (or as close to it as we can come) by Monday, Aug. 31st. The usual methods of contacting us for help will not change, only our physical location.

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  • A Plea for Patience: Semper Gumby!

    Posted August 26, 2015

    The IS team is committed to getting everything done that is asked of us. At the same time, the level of demand for IS services has reached epic proportions as we prep two buildings for renovation, open a brand new building loaded with new technology, and relocate for just the second time in 17 years (anyone remember the Lillie House days?). We gently ask for an extra measure of patience during this peak time. We know things will settle down somewhat in the weeks ahead, but the next three weeks or so will be especially challenging. Thanks.

    Some of us have adopted the slogan “Semper Gumby” to remind one another about the need for constant flexibility when there are are so many variables to consider on the big projects in process. You can read about this slogan on Curt’s most recent blog post.

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  • Computing Capital Expenditures: Call Will Come Out Sept. 21

    Posted August 26, 2015

    You may recall that Curt shifted the timing for the computing capital expenditure process from last winter to this fall (and boy is he glad he did). A/V requests were already gathered last spring. The call for those requests will be coming out September 21, so you may want to start thinking about this and talking with your principal or supervisor about requests that, if approved, would return demonstrable value to the Schools’ instructional or operational programs.

DIT Bits Blog

  • Semper Gumby

    08/21/2015 4:18 PM

    Last time I outlined what was ahead of us as the new school year draws ever closer. As of this writing, we are kind of in this situation:


    We're making headway, and it's all uphill, but at least we cans see the crest of the wave. We're almost done packing for our move next week, when we will also be moving lots of other people. We had a staff meeting this week where we agreed not to talk about moving and construction and focus instead on all the tasks we would normally do to prepare for a new school year. That turned out to be a good idea. 

    From a leadership and management perspective, being part of a massive building project is one of the best tests of one's ability to stay focused on what you can control and let go of what you can't. The venerable 7 Habits literature does a good job of helping delineate the two. 

    If you're not able to do that very well, a project like this will absolutely throw you and your work group into a kind of disarray that's hard to escape. You must confirm regularly and clearly with your team what your priorities are and are not, and you must also expect and model a high level of flexibility and resilience when carefully crafted plans inevitably get turned upside down by external events beyond your control. It is a master class in "adapt, improvise, and improve" as the Marines say, and encapsulate even better with "Semper Gumby" (for younger DITBits readers, here's who Gumby is). 

    More reports from the belly of the construction beast next time. In the meantime, "Semper Gumby!"