Lafayette public school families seeking help with password reset troubles, internet connectivity and navigating the technical challenges of learning at home have a new resource to consult for help.
The Link & Learn Help Desk is a partnership between the Lafayette Parish School System and the Love Our Schools technology initiative, Link & Learn. The Link & Learn program brokers deals with local internet providers for low-cost internet service and funds academic internet access in qualifying homes.
Jennifer Gardner, school system chief administrative officer, said details on the latter are forthcoming. Students who attend a community eligibility provision (CEP) school or who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, and have not had internet since July, will be considered for the program, she said.
Ryan Domengeaux, CEO of the William C. Schumacher Family Foundation, said the Link & Learn initiative grew out of months of meetings with the school system and over 100 community stakeholders. Internet connectivity and device access and use were immediately identified as core issues that could create barriers to learning.
“What happens when these families need help? What happens when 32,000 kids and their families decide they don’t know how to use Zoom? Or they don’t know what Edgenuity is? Or they’re not sure how to connect to Wi-Fi?” Domengeaux said.
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Love Our Schools saw an opportunity to leverage their partnerships to address those questions and others, he said. CGI, a global information technology company with offices in Lafayette, spearheaded establishing the help desk, consulting on software options, personalizing the platform and compiling information on the website.
“I can’t stress enough that this is exactly what Love Our Schools was designed to do. It was to bring the community into the school system to help create solutions, to provide resources and to help the school system crawl out of the academic hole that the state has dug itself into over the last decade,” Domengeaux said.
Students and adults can access the help desk via helpdesk.lpssonline.com or by calling (337) 273-0755 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each Chromebook distributed to students was pasted with a sticker with details about the help desk.
The help desk website is outfitted with tip sheets, instructions and FAQs broken down by topic from Chromebook care to checking attendance on Pathblazer, said LPSS Technology Supervisor Lindsey Keely.
Visitors can search the tip sheets for answers before submitting either an online help request form or calling the help line. On the help sheet, the student or parent will be prompted to provide the student’s email address, the name of the student’s base school and a description of the problem, with the option to attach a file or photo showcasing the problem, she said.
The website has a landing page that houses all help requests so students and parents can see which tickets are active, Keely said.
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Domengeaux said 796 phone calls and 142 online ticket submissions were handled by the help desk since it launched last week, with an average wait time of 2 minutes and 14 seconds for assistance and an average call time of 5 minutes. Of the 938 help requests, 95% have been resolved, he said.
Keely said popular topics included assistance with student passwords, which were reset for the new school year, and questions about the Lafayette Online Academy; any academic questions about the program were referred back to the student’s base school, she said.
Gardner said LPSS staff members are running the help desk remotely. Each school has volunteered at least one staff member for a minimum of six hours a week to help man the help desk. Each help desk worker received training on how to take calls and troubleshoot problems, she said.
“We’re really glad we’re able to support our students in that way; not just handing it over to a call center. They’re ours and we want our families to know we believe in this and so we’re going to support it,” she said.
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