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Leyden High School District 212: Students Take Over Level 1 Tech Support

Leyden High School District 212
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A shift to 1-to-1 teaching and learning at Leyden High School District 212 three years ago inspired administrators to train students to provide tech support to their classmates and run the help desks at each campus.

In 2012, the suburban Chicago district issued all 3,400 students Chromebooks, potentially increasing the pressure on its limited number of tech personnel. The initiative began with a new “Tech Support Internship” elective that meets every period of the school day and trains students in basic tech support.

Students now create all help desk work tickets and either fix the problems themselves or elevate the issue to a professional in the tech department. Beyond repairing Chromebooks, students also get the real-world experience fixing PCs, interactive whiteboards, projectors and printers, among other technologies. They also learn valuable lessons in customer service.

In the tech support class, students can earn industry certifications and study app development, programming, networking, website design, communications, and propose their own projects. The skills learned have helped many students in the program get full- and part-time jobs and internships. It also has given them a jumpstart on their college studies.

Since the class launched, students have closed 20,500 work tickets—that means they fixed 91 percent of the issues themselves. One graduate of the program became the first freshman and first female hired to run one of her university’s help desks. Another student was hired to run the help desk at a pharmaceutical company while many others have been hired by area schools.

Another benefit has been that the district has saved money by not having to hire additional tech staff.

"Tech support internships allow our students to earn job-ready certifications, follow their individual career paths, and support the technology in our district every day,” Superintendent Nick Polyak says.

In recognition of the innovation and success of this initiative, Leyden High School District 212 has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. Leyden was among 30 districts that were honored in the July 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program.

“We are pleased to honor Leyden as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, Leyden High School District 212 serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”

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Application deadline: 11 pm ET, March 1, 2017