Despite earlier reports, Blair will retain the same number of computers
Despite its earlier suggestions that Blair might lose computers because of decreased enrollment, the MCPS Department of Field Operations (DOFO) announced in a January meeting with MCPS principals that Blair will retain the same number of computers after a change in policy. Under the revised rule, old computers can be refurbished by having their memory and other aspects updated rather than be taken away. Blair IT staff learned about this decision on Feb. 26.
Blair will receive around 660 new computers and 200 refurbished computers, according to Hall. The DOFO calculates the number of new computers a school will receive by dividing the school's enrollment by five and adding the number of computers for the administration and special education students, according to DOFO Director Michael Cady. The Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget provides funding for these new computers, creating a one-to-five computer-to-student ratio. Under the new policy, refurbished computers can make up any difference in the number of new computers and the school's previous number of computers, according to IT specialist Peter Hammond.
But because MCPS is building new schools and shifting students, individual school enrollment is decreasing in many schools across the county, according to Cady. When many schools complained to the DOFO after learning that they might lose computers because of decreased enrollment, the DOFO decided to change its policy and refurbish old computers instead of taking them away, according to Cady. "The idea is not to hurt the schools - it's to help them," he said. "We became sensitive to the fact that we couldn't take away computers."
In the review four years ago, Blair did not receive enough computers and former Principal Philip Gainous used revenue from school vending machines to purchase computers to make up the difference. Hall believes the experience four years ago was a factor in the DOFO's decision to not reduce the number of computers at Blair. "I think that MCPS has learned from our difficulties," Hall said.
Blair IT staff alerted department chairs to the possibility of losing computers earlier this school year. Staff members including English resource teacher Vickie Adamson had expressed disappointment over the original announcement. "I was discouraged since we were going to lose resources," she said. "We were preparing ourselves for the worst."
Computers will be replaced based upon their age and function. According to Hall, technology education classes and other classes that use advanced software programs will receive the newer, faster and more powerful computers, while other old computers will be updated and refurbished.
Next year, the tentative plan is for all PCs in the school to run on Windows 2007 XP instead of the current Windows 2003 XP and be upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007. In addition, Blair will run on a Windows 2003 server instead of the current Novell server, according to Hall. Macintosh computers will be altered to be compatible with these updated computers, Hall said.
Alisa Lu. Alisa is an (almost) junior in the magnet, which is not a good thing, since it means she will be looking like a zombie for the next few years. While not obsessing over school, she can be found on fictionpress.com reading sappy stories and then … More »