COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY
This chapter reviews the organization and management of information technology (IT) at Dallas Independent School District (DISD) in four sections:
- A. Technology Planning
- B. Training and Technical Support
- C. Instructional Technology
- D. Infrastructure
The responsibilities of the IT departments of Texas public school districts vary. Some IT departments support administrative functions only, while others, such as DISD's, support administration and classroom instructional programs. Generally, IT offices are responsible for a number of duties, including:
- The district's information technology infrastructure, including the implementation, support and administration of the district's wide area network (WAN);
- Support for Local Area Networks (LANs) in schools and administrative offices;
- Maintenance of the district's Internet Web site and Intranet site;
- Operation and support of Management Information Systems, including programming services and custom database and report-writing services for financial, administrative, inventory, budgetary, accounting, grants-tracking, asset management, inventory and other applications;
- Operation and support of legacy computers, including mainframe applications and hardware;
- Management of computer security, power backup and electronic file storage procedures;
- Operation of the district's telephone system;
- Operation of technical support or help desks;
- Management and operation of computer repair;
- Support for classroom computer laboratories;
- Support for the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and other state and federal reporting;
- Creation of standards for computer hardware and software;
- Preparation of classroom teachers to use and integrate technology;
- Instructional technology technical support;
- Management and upgrades to technology to support technology applications;
- Development and dissemination of strategic guidelines for integrating technology into classroom, school and district instructional programs; and
- Defining the technical infrastructure for instruction, training teachers to use technology in their classrooms, integrating technology into the curriculum, supporting technologies used for instruction, and developing and delivering technology training.
The use of technology is as integral to teaching students as it is to the business operations of school districts. At DISD, the Technology Services Division is responsible for some aspect of all of the services listed above.
Technology operations in DISD are handled by the Technology Services Division, which is responsible for administrative computing and instructional technology services in the classroom. The mission of the Technology Services Division is:To develop and implement the comprehensive strategies, which will support, facilitate and enhance the use of technology in every aspect of the educational environment, so as to enable DISD access to global information resources, communication tools, and in realizing the creative potential, which can be provided by technology today and in the future.
The chief technology officer (CTO), who reports to the deputy superintendent for Evaluation, Accountability and Information Systems, directs the Technology Services Division. The CTO said decisions about technology investments hinge on the answer to a basic question: "Is it going to help more kids graduate?" The deputy superintendent for Evaluation, Accountability and Information Systems is part of the executive management team of DISD and reports to the general superintendent.
While the division stores the data from PEIMS on one of its administrative computing systems, the chief evaluation officer of the Evaluation Division manages the PEIMS process on behalf of the district. The Technology Services Division organizes its work in six areas, all of which report to the CTO: technology services, management information support, network services, computer resources, web services and instructional technology. Exhibit 9-1 presents the organizational structure of the Technology Services Division. The chief technology officer is responsible for 171 positions. Thirteen are currently vacant.
Exhibit 9-1Source: DISD Technology Services Division, April 2001.
Technology Services Organization
Exhibit 9-2 presents a summary of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions within the Technology Services Division.
Exhibit 9-2Source: DISD Technology Services Division, January 2001.
Technology Services Division Staffing by Functional Group
Functional Group Number of FTE Positions
(Vacant Positions) in Group
Percentage of Vacant
Positions by Group
Executive Office 3 (1) 33.3% Instructional Technology Group 16 (0) 0.0% Tech Services Group 47 (4) 8.5% Network Services Group 48 (4) 8.3% Management Information Support Group 34 (2) 5.9% Computer Resources/Mainframe Group 20 (1) 5.0% Web Group 3 (1) 33.3% Total 171 (13)