School tech dept. tries to solve issues
New NCSS applications created to help save time and money

COVINGTON - The technology department at the Newton County School System is busy at work hoping to save the school system some much-needed money.

At no cost, technology workers created and developed a new online work order system and a new computer application that will save the system some time and money they would otherwise have to spend.

Earlier this year, the department finished an online work order system that allows school system employees to report their technology problems electronically. Users will electronically submit any problems to the technology department and will receive a response once the problem is fixed; the application also allows the department to report problems to the manufacturer, which will speed up the process of receiving replacement parts.

The technology department tested the application from July to September, and it's now available at all of the schools.

Gary Shattuck, director of technology at NCSS, said the old system had some flaws, so his department searched for a new application.

"Everything we found was too expensive, so we decided to create our own," he said.

Shattuck said it takes time to train teachers to use the system, but he said the number of work orders being submitted already has increased.

"This e-mail notification will allow for better communication between the technology staff and all end users," said Dr. Linda Hayden, association superintendent for curriculum and instruction, in her October report to the Newton County Board of Education. "One of the most important features of this new system is that it will allow for e-mail updates to be sent to the end user whenever there is a status change to the reported problem."

Shattuck said the new communication feature is the most important one he wanted for the program when a technology specialist developed it.

"The new system greatly enhances our ability to respond to technology work orders," he said. "Every technician receives an e-mail from every school they are responsible for when a work order has been escalated to them. This instant notification allows us to respond fast to problems."

He said the department hopes to develop a report that will determine the average response and repair time at some point in the future.

The technology department also created a new application that will force every computer to shut down if it has been left on after 9 p.m. each night.

"I have communicated to all employees on several occasions reminding them to shut down their computers," Shattuck said. "The auto shutdown feature is a fail-safe plan to shut down all computers that were left on accidentally."

Hayden said that if a user is on his computer when the shutdown starts its process, he will be able to cancel the shutdown.

"This program should save the system considerable money over the course of a year," she said about the power-saving technology.

Since the new program started in mid-October, the department shows that it has shut down an average of 1,000 computers each night, Hayden said.

"Based upon power consumption usage data and based upon Snapping Shoals electrical rates for the school system, we have estimated that the total savings to the school system will be $2,400 per month," she said in her report to the board in November.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.