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The ‘IT’ Factor: Canyons District Celebrates IT Professionals On Their National Day

If you’re reading this story instead of gazing at a spinning wheel of death or staring at the numbers 404, you can thank the IT Department. Go ahead and give ‘em a virtual high-five — they might prefer that, honestly — for the many times they’ve helped resolve the aforementioned issues and myriad other technical glitches. And for all of the systems they build, maintain, improve, and innovate.

It is their day, after all.

In honor of Tuesday, Sept. 20, being National IT Professionals Day, we gratefully recognize the invaluable information technology experts who keep computer systems running smoothly even when — and especially because — some of us forget our passwords, accidentally delete files, or spill soda on the keyboard and desperately need their help.

Fixing co-workers’ technical faux-pas is far from the only thing IT pros do, thankfully. As noted in “The Phoenix Project,” a best-selling novel about DevOps, “IT is not just another department in an organization. It’s pervasive, like electricity.”

That’s absolutely the case when it comes to education. Tech has become so pervasive and integral to everyone’s daily lives, it’s almost easy to take for granted — until something goes wrong, of course. Like any other employer, Canyons District knows it takes an army of network engineers, coders, security experts, and computer support personnel to keep an organization’s computer systems running smoothly.

On this, their day, Canyons sends all the positive emojis to the District’s team of about 75 IT personnel who do amazing behind-the-scenes wizardry as field techs, engineers, Help Desk experts, business support developers, web managers, in-house development team members, tech specialists, and management.

“We’ve got a really great team,” said Canyons Director of Information Technology Scot McCombs, who dropped in as a special guest on this week’s Connect Canyons podcast.

The talented CSD IT team oversees 120 different applications to help students, teachers, administrators, District personnel, bus drivers, scoreboard operators, and numerous other education support professionals with seemingly a gazillion tasks.

“We try to be data-driven and provide the right resources to the right students and the right interventions at the right times,” McCombs said. “We want to provide any technology, any application, any system that helps our students and staff be the most successful that they can.”

That includes servicing 350 servers, problem-solving at 50 different sites, overseeing computer systems on 200-plus buses for safety and security, keeping marquees and scoreboards around the District functioning well, managing an extensive system of desk phones and cell phones, and administering to large networks, both wired and wireless.

From processing grades to producing paychecks, sending out important messages to parents, and keeping bus routes updated, and so much more, IT touches just about every facet of the education process.

“That environment is challenging and exciting to try to maintain,” McCombs added.

Knowing the breadth of tech around Canyons District, McCombs said he used to joke that there was about only one area where IT wasn’t a factor — on the asphalt. That, he noted, might change in the not-so-distant future. He attended a presentation on the future of technology that introduced a concept in which tech is embedded in roads to create dynamic lanes and crosswalks to make transportation even safer for students.

Added McCombs: “It’s crazy to think how pervasive technology is and is a foundation that much of our lives are built on.”

Oh, by the way. Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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