The Tech Department Year

It took me three years to realize that the tech department year follows a different rhythm than do teachers and students.

The tech department year starts in April, when we finalize acquisition and installation plans for the next school year. In May, we ramp up preparations, researching best practices, software configurations, and new hardware models. As soon as school lets out, we place orders, spending 50% of our budget by mid-July. All this equipment arrives in the middle of the summer, and we gradually unpack, install, and configure the units in order to upgrade user workstations and computer labs. Summer is also time for server overhaul and user account cleanup, easiest to perform when most users are away. August is a frentic month of final preparations before everyone returns to start the year.

When school starts, we orient new teachers and students to our systems and support returning teachers and students as they adjust to new tasks or upgraded equipment. The volume of support requests and training needs is high through the first semester. By second semester, things settle down considerably. February and March are especially slow months, allowing us to take vacation, immerse ourselves in the life of the school, and mentally prepare ourselves for the accelerations ahead.

Other departments follow different rhythms too — Summerbridge, Admission, Development, and the Business Office make up an incomplete list. Once I realized that we belonged to that group, it became a lot easier to manage our work.

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