How Connecticut Schools Have Addressed IT Challenges

Connecticut schools face IT challenges similar to those faced by other schools across the country.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first began impacting Connecticut schools, district and school leaders alike scrambled to launch remote learning programs and procure enough technology for distribution to students. Without access to reliable internet service or a computer, after all, leaders’ efforts to scale distance learning programming would have little impact and threaten to undermine instruction for thousands of students.

But even after school leaders launched remote learning programs and secured enough laptops for their students, issues remained. For one, many students didn’t engage with instructional content to the same degree as they had during traditional, in-person instruction. Sitting in front of a screen for hours and hours each day, students began to “check out” and disengage from the day’s lesson. Even more troubling, many students began to forego class entirely, losing contact with their teachers and school leadership at the height of the pandemic.

Compounding a lack of engagement, schools often encountered software or other technology glitches that halted remote learning for days at a time. Teachers were forced to alter their lesson plans or forego certain units entirely without a “quick fix” to these and other common technology issues.

Below, we outline these and other IT challenges facing Connecticut schools and outline how managed IT firms like CTS can support school and district leaders in tackling their most complex IT challenges. Now more than ever, as remote and hybrid learning programs persist in many parts of the country, schools need an effective IT thought partner to help them maintain high-quality, reliable distance learning programming.

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For students attending class remotely, disengagement and absenteeism have been particular challenges.

As students and teachers were forced to sit in front of their computers for hours at a time, day after day, student engagement plummeted. Where some students would gladly volunteer to answer questions in class, show up on time each day, and meet assignment deadlines during traditional, in-person instruction, these same students slowly began to disengage from instructional content during remote learning.

What’s more, as teachers opened their Zoom classrooms each day and took attendance, they began to note high rates of absenteeism among certain students, especially those who were already behind academically before the pandemic. In some rare cases, once remote learning began, certain students were never heard from again, “going dark” as teachers and leaders scrambled to reach them. In response, the state government devoted significant federal dollars to addressing student absenteeism and disengagement, both of which threatened to undermine students’ academic progress.

Software glitches have also threatened to undermine remote learning.

Likewise, even when students showed up to class each day and completed their assignments in a timely manner, software glitches and other issues with student technology frustrated teachers’ and school leaders’ remote learning efforts. For example, if a student couldn’t log in to an online instructional platform, they would need to contact either a central office or a designated IT helpline for assistance. As they waited for a resolution, students missed out on precious instructional minutes that, over time, could accumulate to hours of lost instructional time. In some cases, entire platforms like PowerSchool or Microsoft Teams were rendered inoperable for days at a time, halting remote instruction across the state.

A managed IT provider can support Connecticut schools in scaling and maintaining technology programming.

Schools in Connecticut and across the country can benefit from the support of a managed IT provider. With a limited number of staff and a high volume of IT issues, many schools can understandably struggle to manage day-to-day troubleshooting and long-term technology planning. With a dedicated help desk staffed by educational technology experts and on-site technicians familiar with a broad range of educational technology products, managed IT providers can walk and chew gum at the same time, meeting teachers’ and students’ immediate needs while also thinking ahead to the next week, semester, and academic year. A managed IT provider can also recommend several popular educational technology products that have been shown to engage students and combat absenteeism, supporting schools’ broader efforts to ensure students show up on time each day ready to learn.

At CTS, we help Connecticut schools solve their most pressing IT challenges.

Our team has partnered with more than 60 schools across the U.S. to navigate the challenges of remote learning. Armed with decades of experience in the educational technology space, our team understands the unique constraints of the school and non-profit environments and can recommend programming changes that are both effective and fiscally responsible. From brand new schools to established networks, our team is ready to craft technology solutions that align with a range of instructional models. Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.