Today’s Contributor: Melanie Hartman
I am a CTE teacher and CIC at Paredes Middle School. I teach Animation 1 and 2, Photography, Video Game Design, and Web Design to 7th and 8th graders. I have been teaching students and teachers technology for the last 13 years. I have been teaching in AISD for the last 6 years. My website is http://melaniehartman.wixsite.com/mrs-hartman Instagram @mrshartmancte Twitter @HartmanParedes
On September 25, 2017 the head custodian at Paredes Middle School received a call that the school was flooding. A pipe had burst in the teacher bathroom on the 3rd floor. This occurred sometime during the weekend and it dumped millions of gallons of water into the ceiling and down to the 2nd floor and eventually ended up settling on the first floor and down in the basement. There were at least 6 inches of water on the 1st floor and in the basement of our school. School was cancelled and the teachers were called in to make the tough decision of whether we were going to bus our 8th graders to a new campus downtown, or if we could pull together as a community and make school work here at our home campus. Many sacrifices would have to be made, but our team pulled together and mustered our Paredes Pride to turn this very difficult situation into a successful school year for our students. All of our teachers, admin, and support staff worked incredibly well together and really pulled through for our students.
We all shared classrooms during our off periods, many teachers were forced to move their classroom from period to period on a cart, and everybody worked together as a team. Instead of dividing our campus and our students, we united as a campus community and worked together to achieve the best for our students. Of the many sacrifices made during this period on our campus, technology certainly was a major one. All of our technology on two entire floors was removed and inspected for damage. This included two full computer labs, all innovation stations, and all teacher stations on those levels. In addition, there were several laptop carts downstairs at the time that also had to be removed to be inspected. Drywall and all electrical and ethernet wiring within the walls had to be removed and replaced. It was a giant project that took months to complete.
Undeniably, with our focus on mitigating the disruptive effects of the flood and managing this crisis, technology use on our campus did suffer. Teachers on campus were scrambling to manage the logistical, planning, and emotional effects of this flood, and did not have the time, energy, or focus to attend additional technology trainings or request technology intervention. Despite my role as CIC on campus, my attention and priorities shifted to recovery. I served as the primary technology support on campus as our rebuilding was underway; I set up newly refurbished classrooms, re-installed hardware, remapped and set up printers, ensured that all other peripherals including projectors were installed and functioning properly. Construction setbacks, such as unrun ethernet and dead ports, delayed the successful return of technology to our campus. Getting the computer classes set back up and moved around, while continuing to effectively work with lab groups of students was the hardest part of the whole situation. I am planning this year to institute and facilitate more PD in technology and help teachers use more technology in their classrooms now that we do not have a crisis to deal with. My teachers last year were just surviving. This year I know they will be willing to integrate more technology into their classes and I look forward to returning to the role of CIC and leaving behind the role of crisis management.