May 18, 2021
Category: Champs

KPS IT Team: Hard-wired For Student Success

At the 14th Annual Champs Celebration, presented by Kalsec, the Kalamazoo Public School Information and Technology Team was honored with a 2021 Champ Award which was sponsored by Chase. CIS Executive Director James Devers presented the award.

[If you missed this event or want to experience it again, the full live-streamed video is available here throughout May. For the rest of this month, you also have an opportunity to honor one or more champions in your life with a gift made in their name. Click here to honor a champion you know!]

CIS has always depended upon the kindness and expertise of the KPS Information and Technology Team. Working hard behind the scenes, they have provided us steadfast support and troubleshooting.

Last March, when schools physically shut down and Kalamazoo Public Schools—like much of the country—went virtual, we all leaned on them more than ever.

Nathan McLaughlin is the Director of Technology for the district. He said that when the pandemic hit and students had to suddenly shift to virtual learning, his team of 13 had to do a lot and do it quickly. That they did.

Working with a number of school and community stakeholders, they began tackling this cyber gap and now 909 Hotspots have been distributed to 867 families. In addition, over 11,000 Chromebooks were loaned out and more than 1,200 were donated to students. CIS staff said the relief and gratitude felt by students and families has been palpable. We all know what it feels like when our computer crashes. Imagine what that must feel like for a child when that technology they depend upon for learning is severed. Team member and Help Desk Specialist Craig Campbell relays this example in which the team received a hand-written apology letter from an elementary student. In it, she expresses sorrow for breaking the Chromebook and explains how it broke. She enclosed three dollars.

Thanks to the tireless efforts and agile thinking of the IT Team and the numerous new systems and technologies they have spearheaded, we have been able to support our kids and achieve our program goals even in the midst of a pandemic.

The 1,358 students receiving one-one-on CIS support and 610 students receiving support in academic and social emotional learning through CIS after school use technology to bring forth familiar and caring faces: their teachers, CIS Site Coordinators, Success Coaches, Youth Development workers, tutors, mentors and others.

In this era of isolation, when our kids have missed us and we have missed them, this small but mighty team reminds us that while we might be isolated at times, we are connected and belong to each other. KPS Information and Technology Team, thank you for empowering kids to realize their full potential in school and beyond.

On behalf of the KPS IT Team, Nathan McLaughlin (right) and Craig Campbell (left) accepted the Champ award.

Come back to Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids this Thursday for a special treat. We popped a quiz on these two and you’ll not only learn more about Nathan and Craig, but you’ll learn more of the behind-the-scenes work the IT team puts in for our 12,000+ kids.

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