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IT department at Valley school district helps parents, students get connected to online learning

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Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-04 00:46:00-04

PHOENIX — Justin Wright is the information technology (IT) director with the Madison Elementary School District in Central Phoenix. With eight elementary schools and nearly 6,000 kids, keeping everyone online is not an easy task.

"There's a lot of relatively simple things, but to the parents, to the families, it's all new," says Wright.

Since going back to school on August 11, Wright says his team has had over 700 phone calls into their newly created parent tech helpline.

This new tool is available at any time. Parents can leave messages, and if it's after hours, a technology staff member will get back to the parent as soon as possible. Parents who call the line during school hours are taken care of immediately.

"We distributed it on paperwork that went out with every Chromebook that went home. That was 5,000 Chromebooks and everyone got a printout on how to connect to Wi-Fi and also the number if needed," said Wright.

Wright admits parents usually call IT after trying several ways to fix the problem on their own and by the time they call for help, the frustration can be sensed. His team is available to walk parents through the issues in order to get the child back online as soon as possible.

"Sometimes we get those calls 'help, it's broken,'" says Wright.

It's been four weeks since school started, and the volume of daily calls has slowed down, says Wright. When he learned of the gratitude shared during a Madison Elementary School board meeting, Wright says he's happy to hear the thank you's because it's something they aren't used to getting.

“We are kind of used to not getting much accolade... whenever we do, it's appreciated for sure," adds Wright.