Pretty teenage girl laying on a grass at the park

Tempe Union High School officials took advantage of the fall break last week to help students who forget the passwords on their school-issued laptop.

Passwords were put in place so students can verify themselves and not have to reach out to tech support for resetting passwords. 

As this system progresses through the school year, it will provide students with a single sign-on launch pad so they can get into multiple accounts without having to remember so many passwords, Michael Anderson, an IT representative for the district said.

Over the last six months the Tempe Union High School District has been working diligently to ensure online learning for students is as easy as possible, district officials say.

When COVID-19 hit, “nobody could anticipate a global pandemic that was going to shut down schools to the extent it did,” district spokeswoman Megan Sterling said. 

Sterling said she has distinct memories of the initial meetings as the district was leading up to  the announcement of school closures and cannot believe it has been almost six months. 

Since the time of those initial meetings, the district has prioritized making resources available for the students, she said.

The district introduced a new one-to-one program that gives incoming freshman an opportunity to check out a computer that they will use all four years they attend Tempe Union schools. 

Within four years all students in the Tempe Union High School District should have a computer they can keep with them for the duration of their time in the district, Anderson said.

A phone call tree was set up to make students feel more comfortable reaching out to tech support. 

Students can call a number, answer a few short questions about their tech issues and be directed to someone who can help. 

Faculty support has also been a high priority for Tempe Union. 

A study conducted by Education Development Trust recommended that districts provide guidance, training and resources for teachers to be more supported in moving towards effective online learning.  

All Tempe Union teachers received training on how to be successful in online programs and access to new software to help engage students, Sterling said.

The district is also currently in the process of giving teachers new hardware, said Anderson. 

Hardware includes updating all the classrooms, so they have a smart camera in the room that will follow a teacher around 360 degrees.

They will also be provided with Bluetooth headsets so they can hear and understand students online and in the classroom at the same time. This ensures that virtual students are not being held back by lack of technology, added Anderson. 

The district has been trying to be as “proactive as possible” with education technology over the last six months, Sterling said.

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