By Idrissa Davis
March 10, 2021

Fortunately, our strategic planning put our District in a good position when the pandemic hit.  We had previously deployed iPads to student’s grades K – 12. For those students that didn’t take devices home we scheduled family pickups at elementary sites and implemented home deliveries.  We quickly found out that we needed to extend our Service Desk services to families.

So, we created a family support email and phone number that was communicated out to families.  We also partnered with Communications and Family Engagement to ensure we had enough interpreters available for the multitude of languages spoken in our District.  Curbside support was established for families and staff for walk-in appointments. 

On the Cybersecurity front we worked with a local Cybersecurity company to conduct a PEN test to ensure we caught vulnerabilities that may have been created by services we had to open externally.  We also conducted Phishing campaigns and deployed social engineer training to keep staff aware of suspicious emails. 

Overall, we learned that good strategic planning; along with flexible leadership made a huge difference in weathering the challenges created by the pandemic. 

Idrissa Davis is Executive Director of Technology Services for Saint Paul Public Schools in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Transformational, business-focused CIO, Davis is known for building world-class technology organizations and creating a culture of diversity that drives positive change and profit within diverse operational environments, domestically and globally