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SVP volunteer provides bridge to efficiency

Dear Janet, David, and Paul,

Thank you for your contributions to SVP during the Microsoft Alumni Foundation event! We are so grateful for your generosity and your unwavering commitment to SVP over the years. 

Since you are so intimately involved with SVP, we wanted to share a story you haven’t heard before.  This one comes from Tré, the Executive Director of Powerful Schools.

I would have to say that this past year our work with SVP most impacted our internal technology capacities and systems. Last year we highlighted our work in marketing and messaging. This year we moved from focusing on how we “look on the outside” to improving the systems we rely on to “operate on the inside,” in other words, expanding capacity at the deepest layers of what actually gives us ability to do our work – our technology.

No matter how strong of a strategic plan we have in place, without the proper technology and systems to support the work, the strategic plan is inoperable. I cannot understate how important growing our technology capacity has positively impacted our ability to achieve our outcomes. Often, a non-profit our size does not have the resources, in-house staff expertise, and/or equipment to keep pace with the growing needs of the organization.

For example, our new assessment framework relies on our ability to increase the frequency of our program monitoring and track more real-time student progress. This requires the proper technology platform that supports rigorous data outcomes management and the ability to access info quickly and efficiently. Technology also plays a role in the recruitment of top talent. Aging technology that is not able to fully support the growing demands of the organization, not only increases costs and reduces effectiveness, it also affects employee morale and the recruitment of top talent.

We went really deep with our technology work this year, taking on a project that included:

  • A technology assessment and review on every machine and our server
  • Purchasing new and retiring old machines
  • Updating each staff workstation with the latest Windows software (some stations were still running on Windows XP, which was released in 2001)
  • Virus vulnerability assessments and protection updates
  • Assessing computer speed levels on every machine (including troubleshooting slower machines)
  • Guidance on setting up the wiring and technology in our new office
  • Migrating our emails and all user accounts (16) to the cloud and training the staff on the new system
  • Assistance with cleaning up and migrating years of files from the p:drive to the cloud
  • Decommissioning our aging server to a dedicated NAS (network attached storage) – reducing costs by thousands of dollars

The stellar volunteer who accomplished all of this was of course, Kevin Phaup! His initial project was to do a technology assessment. The initial project grew to become several, much needed projects. This was in part because the severe state of our technology that turned out to be in worse shape than I anticipated, and because of Kevin’s enthusiasm for the work of Powerful Schools.

Kevin has simply been amazing to work with! In addition to providing pertinent assistance, guidance, and staff training, the results of his work has greatly increased the capacity of Powerful Schools and even greatly increased employee morale (imagine discovering Windows 7 or a faster computer). In addition, he documented much of his process, which allows us to continue the ongoing work of maintaining our technology, with some assistance from our tech maintenance company.

All of these technology projects would have cost us thousands of dollars to do on our own and we simply do not have the resources or staff time to invest in the level of work that Kevin provided us. I am convinced that without Kevin’s guidance, the technology costs associated with our move would have been far greater, as well. Focusing the bulk of our year on our technology has positioned Powerful Schools well into the 21st Century with the framework to support our strategy, staff, and goals for years to come.

– Tré, Executive Director of Powerful Schools

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