February 2021 — Customer Spotlight: Anthony Florio, Network Specialist
How an IT leader in New York accelerated his district’s response to COVID-19 by making the most of the Google Services Offer
In March 2020, Anthony Florio, an IT leader at Elmsford Union Free School District just outside of New York City, received the disruptive announcement that so many of you remember. The school leaders in his district had made the decision to move to remote learning in an effort to keep students and staff safe during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This information was shared with Anthony on a Thursday and the goal was to have Chromebooks to every student on the following Monday, in an effort to maintain learning continuity for students.
During this quick move to remote learning, many questions ran through his mind, and the minds of school IT teams across the country. Budgets, infrastructure, and hardware became critical factors to ensure a successful transition. With an IT department of two active technicians, he immediately leaned on products and tools to support this transition. Luckily for Anthony, many of the supporting systems he needed to accomplish his goals were directly funded by Google through the Google Services Offer promotion.
This story highlights one school’s technology journey throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and showcases how leaning on the tools and services from Amplified IT, funded through the Google Services Offer, led to successful outcomes for staff and students during this time.
Gopher for Chrome simplifies inventory management
As a forward-thinking technology leader, Anthony recalls, “While I advocated for Chromebooks for the students in my district for years, far before they were a staple in education, I needed a tool to efficiently manage inventory. I’m grateful that Amplified IT’s Gopher for Chrome helped extend my team’s resources for years, but especially at a critical time in education.”
While his students were already accustomed to a 1:1 Chromebook model prior to remote learning, students generally did not take Chromebooks home and computer carts assigned computers to students. Gopher for Chrome allowed Anthony to assign computers to students at scale, manage inventory, and make mass updates that saved him hours of time during the transition to remote learning when every minute counted. Gopher for Chrome syncs big data sets rather than relying on individual record updates directly in the Admin console.
Anthony highlighted the peace of mind that Gopher for Chrome provided as a cloud-based tool, sharing that, “During the pandemic, IT staff members could be intermittently quarantined due to exposure and required to work from home. In these worst-case scenario situations, team members could continue to lend a hand and make decisions from home, or anywhere, using the cloud-based Gopher for Chrome product.”
Once fully implemented, Gopher for Chrome saved Anthony’s small IT team at Elmsford Union Free School District time, money, and resources by making it simple to manage and reconcile inventory, and make mass changes in a world where IT leaders are often interrupted with urgent phone calls and downtime issues to solve.
Little SIS unlocks remote classroom access
The pandemic created the need to allow remote access to delegated users who need to view, analyze usage, join as co-teacher, and perform administrative actions on flexibly-defined groups of Classroom classes. Teachers were changing Classroom rosters and having the ability to easily automate guardian syncing, as well as update sections of classes, was pivotal. Little SIS for Classroom solved these Google Classroom issues. The tool took only 30 minutes to implement and the time and resources saved has been exponentially greater, freeing up Anthony’s small team to focus on more complex problems and tasks.
Google for Education Audit ensures configuration best practices
During the shift from in-person to remote learning, there are a lot of changes that need to happen within the Google Admin console. Updates must be made to settings and there may be additions of third-party providers. These changes were compounded by the fact that Google itself was making updates regularly. Anthony addressed his rapidly changing environment with a Google Workspace Audit, which gave Anthony and his team the necessary peace of mind.
While his team was able to stay on top of best practices to ensure security and optimal user experience, Anthony valued the third-party review Amplified IT provided and the confirmation our audit team made of his configuration decisions. Our team also made custom recommendations based on his unique district and also gave him supporting evidence to move toward better and more realistic compliance standards. The audit confirmed Anthony’s expertise and that confirmation was, in Anthony’s words, “worth its weight in gold”. Furthermore, he shared that “There are not many advanced technical minds in this world that really understand Google for Education in-depth, and I’m grateful for the ability to have a third party confirm my decisions in the Admin console.”
Google Services Offer makes it all possible
Anthony and his team thrived through this crazy year, due to a conversation with one of our regional account managers. In that discussion, Anthony learned about the Google Services Offer (GSO) and how he could maximize support for both his team and his staff through the program.
The Google Services Offer is a promotional program that provides funding for Amplified IT services to K12 & Higher Education institutions through the purchase of Chromebooks or Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses. Through a simple conversation with Ryan Pronk, regional account manager at Amplified IT, Anthony helped his IT team receive free services using the GSO at a time when budgets were tightening and technical needs were at an all-time high.
From tools that created efficiencies for his small IT team, to customized audit services that provided Anthony’s staff comfort during a time of uncertainty, the Google Services Offer made these opportunities possible. If you are purchasing Chromebooks or Google Workspace for Education Plus licenses this year, your district is also eligible for free Amplified IT services. Learn more about this year’s Google Services Offer here or connect with an Amplified IT team member to learn which tools and services can best help you solve your top technology challenges this year.
Head of Marketing
About the Author:
Jennifer Lux, Head of Marketing, joined Amplified IT with 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and client experience. With a degree in Neuroscience, she is passionate about the intersection of psychology and marketing. While involved in marketing efforts for educational institutions throughout her career, witnessing educators struggle to adapt to digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to join the Amplified IT team. When she isn’t studying business strategy and leadership, Jennifer is active skiing, hiking, and running with her family in the Colorado mountains.