Whitehouse ISD students join newly formed IT ‘Cyber Squad’

Whitehouse ISD Cyber Squad

WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KLTV) - Whitehouse ISD students now have a chance to squad up and learn new ways of interacting with technology.

When Whitehouse ISD began remote learning, students received Chromebooks and with hundreds of devices throughout the district, it can get overwhelming for the technology department to help with all the repairs. Whitehouse ISD has created a student technology team, The Whitehouse Cyber Squad, to help with work orders and updates.

The group consists of students who want to work in IT someday and this gives them real world experience. The idea to have students help repair the devices was brought to Computer Science Teacher, Garrett Jones in November and the program began this semester. Jones said the goal is to support the one-to-one initiative.

“We’re going to have hundreds of Chromebooks in students’ hands and it was imperative that we’re able to keep up with the demand to repair and troubleshoot those,” Jones said.

The students repair keyboards, screens, cameras, and more. They’ve been able to replace more than 30 Chromebooks since Christmas. Junior Chase Russell said he is interested in building his own computer and felt the course would be beneficial.

“Knowing all the individual parts of a computer has always been interesting to me, so I figured this would be a good way to learn about it and get a hands-on experience with working on computers and what’s inside them,” Russell said.

Kailynn Andrews is a sophomore who joined the course because she enjoys working with computers. She said there’s a range of problems they help solve.

“I’ve had to repair a few keys. We had a kid that had their mouse disappear so we had to get that pulled back up, and then for a teacher I had to go in and fix their projector because their projector was acting up,” she said. “It depends on what we get. Some of the projectors can be harder to do because they’re up in the air. Some can be easy like fixing a mouse that’s disappearing, we can do stuff like that.”

There are more opportunities than just repairing devices. Some students are coding websites and Russell said he is working on an app for the Agriculture Department.

“Where students will clean dogs and it will allow the customers to get an app on their phone that they can sign up to be able to get their pets cleaned,” Russell said.

Jones said they are also looking at several Google and Microsoft certifications for students as well and hoping to implement them next year.

“I always push my kids to go to college, but to me it’s more important to at least get a trade, to at least get a skill,” Jones said. “Those are papers that they can take with them, they can create a resume as a freshman in high school with a piece of paper that says, ‘I know how to do this. I’m a professional at doing this. I can code in Python, I can code in Java,’ and can possibly go out and get hired, even here in Tyler, Texas.”

Next year, Jones said the course will be a two block class where they’ll have more time to work on devices and get certifications.

No matter the issue, the students are there to help with the support of Jones.

“It’s a lot of fun. We get to work together, we’re like a little family and we’re able to communicate, and help people out,” Andrews said.

Teachers and students are grateful for the help and say ‘thank you.’

“That’s more than enough for me,” said Russell.

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