Computer Support Specialists

Computer Support Specialists

Creating Future Technology Leaders

The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) and Communities in Schools of Philadelphia, Inc. (CISP) have partnered to create the Computer Support Specialist (CSS) program to provide technical support to high schools and selected central offices. This Information Technology initiative is designed to enhance technology maintenance and support services. Now in its fifth year, the CSS program has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry as a registered IT Apprenticeship program and is providing support to over 32 schools and offices. The Computer Support Specialist program builds upon the Digital Service Fellows initiative which offers recent School District of Philadelphia high school graduates the opportunity to serve for one year as Information Technology Apprentices with District master technicians. Computer Support Specialists are primarily recruited from the pool of qualified Digital Service Fellows alumni and graduates of District technology programs.

CSS Logo

Not only does the Computer Support Specialist provide on-demand break/fix support, school Technology Teacher Leaders can now focus more time on implementation and application of technology in the classrooms. The Computer Support Specialists ar supervised and mentored at their respective locations by the schools' Technology Teacher Leader and administration.

Passing it on…

The Computer Support Specialist teaches and mentors middle and high school students through the District's summer technology camps. The camp, entitled Digital Miracles Project, provides an opportunity for participants to learn hardware components, software installation, troubleshooting skills, and various software applications by refurbishing a used computer. Students complete a 40-hour training and develop a service-learning project to apply the newly acquired knowledge. Upon completion, students show off their skills in a special family event, and get to take home the computer they refurbished.

The Computer Support Specialist also leads or assists with after-school technology clubs and participates in pre-graduate course work at accredited higher learning institutions to enable him/her to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies.

Not only does the Computer Support Specialist mentor and teach Philadelphia school students, they have provided technical support for a variety of conferences, including NECC 2005 in Philadelphia (National Educational Computing Conference), The Student Anti-Violence Summit, and the National Service-Learning Conference. The CSS program has also been recognized as a "Best Practice" for technology support services for the School District of Philadelphia.

Committing to the Future

What is next for the Computer Support Specialist program? Although the program will maintain its focus on SDP high schools and central offices, plans are in the works to expand these critical services to middle and elementary schools. Additionally, the computer Support Specialist model has received state-wide recognition and has been evaluated by other school districts as a way to help maintain their technology infrastructure.

We look forward to the coming years with enthusiasm and excitement. We hope to continue to support the infusion of technology into the classroom and help to keep our children on the forefront of learning technologies.

CSS Buzz

Here's what's being said about the Computer Support Specialists…

"This is a great program. By having an on-site technician we are able to be more productive and integrate our technology better within the school." - Principal

The Computer Support Specialist program is designed to meet the growing demand for full-time technology support staff for teachers and students.

The Computer Support Specialist program offers former graduates of the School District of Philadelphia, with an interest in technology career, an opportunity to gain technical skills and utilize those learned skills in Philadelphia high schools.

Contact Us

Computer Support Specialists is a program of the Educational Technology Group, Office of Information Technology, School District of Philadelphia.

For more information about the CSS program contact Edison Freire, Director, at efreire@phila.k12.pa.us, telephone 215.400.5107.