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The IT Department: A Bridge to the Future

William Y., Staff Writer

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Have you ever run into difficulties with technology? When you do, it feels like the bridge to the future is burned, leaving you stranded and helpless. Luckily, Westminster has a department dedicated to helping students and staff with these issues.

The IT department is a part of the school which much of the time acts behind the scenes. This division is increasingly vital as Westminster goes deeper into the 21st century.

Although students may disagree with individual policies, a recent survey given to all middle schoolers, where 78 people responded, shows about 90 percent of students hold positive views of the IT department.

IT, short for information technology, means that they are responsible for numerous aspects of technology, one of which is to manage is the web filter.

An infrastructure engineer, Randy Jackson, said, “Because it’s a school, it’s always a challenge to keep devices secure and safe, while maintaining freedom and fun.”

Most students recognize the positive benefits of the web filter, while simultaneously lamenting the lack of access to sites. “Games should only be blocked during the school day,” said Alex W., an eighth grade boy.

Sometimes, websites that can be used for learning are blocked as well. Eighth grader Kara S. said she thinks blocking Wikipedia is unnecessary.

Joey Jarrell, a science teacher in the middle school, said, “Rules are born out of necessity. They [The IT Department] know how to protect our network much better than we would.”

Another job of the IT department is to help students with technical issues. This is the more visible side of the department, also known as the Knowledge Bar. Almost all of the middle schoolers surveyed, 97 percent, have utilized the help of the savvy Knowledge Bar personnel.

Photo by William Y. The IT Department is happy to help students and faculty anytime.

When asked about his favorite part about the IT department, Mr. Jackson said, “I like that we have the right equipment and are able to keep everything running without interruptions to students and faculty.”

One of the other main jobs of the IT department manages is handing out loaners. These loaned MacBooks have saved middle schoolers much grief when computers aren’t working or are left off-campus.

A great opportunity for Westminster students to gain experience in the IT field is the IT department’s internship program. In this program, students work and learn alongside IT personnel, who use a badging system to track each intern’s progress. Besides working during the regular school year, students can also work as paid interns during the summer.

Unfortunately, this program is currently available only to the Upper School, but the Intern Coordinators are working on expanding the program by bringing it to the Middle School.

The impact of the IT department on the Middle School is immeasurable. The seventh grade boys grade chair, Robert Cochran, said, “Most middle schoolers would not function well if IT didn’t exist to bail them out.”

Others agree. “We couldn’t operate without them; they are very crucial,” said Mr. Jarrell. He points out that IT also manages many other aspects of the school’s relationship to technology, such as networks, sound, and AV.

Although they may work behind the scenes, their aid unquestionably benefits the Middle School. Their multifaceted efforts form a bridge from the Westminster of the present to the Westminster of the future.

 

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The IT Department: A Bridge to the Future