Things That Keep Me Up At Night: Summer

Welcome to “Things That Keep Me Up At Night.” This is a quarterly series where we’ll discuss the things that are currently causing worry in K-12 tech, and maybe a few of things that we’re doing to reduce that worry. Think of this as our editorial board’s group therapy session. We hope that by airing some of our stresses and solutions you can relate them with what you’ve got going on in your school right now. In this edition we’ll be talking about summer worries, including all the things about our summer project and maintenance schedules that cause us to lose sleep. Have a read.  

Collective Insomnia

Moderator: This will be pretty simple, guys. We’re going to ask two questions. First, what’s causing you to lose sleep this week? And second, what are you doing to ensure you get a good night’s sleep? Jay’s up first.

Q: Jay, what’s causing you to lose sleep right now?

A: Funding and deadlines have been the main things that have kept me up at night. Waiting for funding approvals from our central office and the state on ESSER budgets have had an impact on project timelines. We have a summer school in June and another smaller one that starts in the middle of July. We only have around two and a half weeks to get a lot of work done and that limited amount of time is what stresses me out the most. We have new wireless access points to deploy, network cabling to run in buildings, computers to image, new computers to deploy, and security cameras to install. It’s a lot to do in such a short amount of time.

Q: Jay, how are you managing the stress?

A: Just this week I’ve received some clarity on timelines and funding for our projects, so that helps a bit. I am hopeful that we will be able to hire a couple of temp workers to help with imaging and grunt work for July. Our department is meeting next week to go over all the projects and timelines to make sure we are all in sync. We utilize a Trello board to help us all stay on task. To help destress I remind myself that it all usually works out in the end.

Moderator: I think something we can all relate to is the fact that we have to do all of our summer projects while starting a mini school year (summer school). But like you said, it all usually all works out in the end.  

Q: Aight, Chris, you’re up. What’s keeping you up at night?

A: Lots of important dates! Which means lots of changes/projects. Looking at July – Internet upgrade on the 6th, new wireless APs rolling out on the 8th, running some fiber on the 11th and that will take several days, MidwestTechTalk 17th-19th, new phone system install starts on the 25th.

Q: That’s a lot. How are you managing it all?

A: By staying organized. The fact that these dates are all on my calendar is a good thing. I’ve tried to pace them out so that my team has a half shot at making it through the summer without hating me for planning so much in one month! Of course with these summer projects and us being a school in Missouri, we have to work around building cleaning and floor waxing. I’ve been working with other departments to ensure we can all work together (and work around each other). All these projects mean a lot of details too. I’ve created tickets in our work order system to keep things documented well. The guys in the dept know to look at the tickets to see what the latest/greatest info is. We’ve also created shared folders and files to keep up with everything in an orderly manner.

Moderator: Since working with you, I can say that your organization and clarity in leadership is helpful. That definitely creates clarity of vision and helps keep everyone together throughout the summer. 

Q: Ok, onto Eric – what can you attribute your insomnia to?

A: Well, when I look at my calendar, I’m like hey it’s only June, I’ve got a whole summer ahead of me. But then when my head hits the pillow, I realize I’ve got about 500 things to get done and we have vacation, conferences, and training to get through. We’ve got 4 major AV projects going on and supply chain issues are slowing their completion. Also summer school has been a pain for my department and our custodians who are trying to get their buildings ready by next school year. In the back of my mind, I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to pull it all off by the time school gets here. 

Q: So what’s your secret to getting to sleep? Melatonin? Whiskey?

A: Mostly whiskey. Haha, just kidding. It’s like Jay said, somehow it usually works out, and I guess that can be attributed to proper planning that keeps everyone on the same page. I have a planning document with all of our projects for the summer listed out on it. I like to go the checkbox route in Google Docs so when we’ve completed the project we can check it off and get the satisfaction of seeing all the things we’ve accomplished. I try to control all the things within my control and just hope for the best on all things outside of my control. The projector I have backordered for my gym will get here when it gets here. One summer I had computers show up on a LTL truck 45 minutes before staff distribution. Somehow it always works out, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy ride.

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