TERREBONNE PARISH SCHOOL

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Terrebonne Parish School District used a stroke of good luck and 17" NEC LCDs to help prevent disaster to its student and employee records.
 
 
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Quick Facts
  • Facility: Terrebonne Parish School District
  • Location: Houma, Louisiana
  • Challenge: Increasing efficiency for its paper-to-digital data project
  • Solution: 17" NEC MultiSync LCD1715
  • Date: May 2006

Technology is an important tool for the long-term success of educational environments as it increases students’ motivation and achievement, advanced skills and problem-solving opportunities, while preparing them for future job-related skills. The administrators at Terrebonne Parish School District in, Houma, Louisiana, (about 60 miles outside of New Orleans) recognized this need after enduring catastrophe during Hurricane Katrina.

The Terrebonne Parish School District consists of 43 public schools from elementary to high school and like many school districts, it lacks full educational resources for all students. In addition, the school district experienced a 100-person layoff a few years back, which resulted in a more prudent approach from its administration with regards to expenses.

The Challenge

Louisiana law requires student and employee records to be kept on file for their future reference, and Terrebonne Parish has kept its records since the start of its school system more than 100 years ago, including handwritten journals. These records are important for many residents as they are the only proof of their high school graduation. With the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, school administrators quickly recognized the need and urgency for preserving its critical documents in a digital database to ensure their long-term security.

The school district was working with CRT monitors at the time, and the administration recognized that these outdated monitors were not responding quickly enough and occupying too much space in their offices. This led to the realization that LCDs were necessary for the district’s success with this project.

The Solution

In order to transform their old paper files into digital files, Terrebonne Parish began facing the challenge with the purchase of six LCD monitors. Once the administrators were able to compare the quality of the new LCDs to their old CRT monitors, they quickly realized the urgency for more LCDs to help complete the project. However, the school district did not have the resources to fund such an investment.

A little good fortune came its way, though, when Terrebonne Parish entered the LCD Makeover Contest held by NEC Display Solutions (NEC-DS), in which they could win 25 17" NEC MultiSync LCD1715 displays. The contest, which was open to all K-12 schools, asked why the school could use LCD monitors. In early 2006, Christopher Babin, the school district’s network administrator, learned of the contest from CDW-G and submitted the online application with a brief, heartfelt overview of why he felt his school deserved to win. As an employee in the IT department, Babin fully understood the need for new LCD monitors. “At that time, (everyone at the school district) was very uncertain about the economic impact of the storms on the area and the school district,“ he said. “While everyone was trying to be optimistic, things were very blue around here.” A few months later, Terrebonne was notified of their winning the contest and received the new displays a couple weeks later.

The monitors are currently being used by faculty and part-time Cooperative Office Education (COE) students in the district’s central office. “They have been key in capturing existing old records from old filing systems, journals and microfiche, and cataloging them in our new document imaging system,” said Babin.

The Benefits

The LCD monitors brought instant relief to the school district with improvements in workflow becoming immediately evident. According to school administrators, the document transfer into digital archives could not have been possible without the NEC monitors. As soon as the displays were put to use, they noticed the clarity and quality of the NEC monitors. “(NEC’s monitors) kept things in motion and flowing,” said Babin.

In order to upload the old documents with speed and accuracy, the school district needed several displays. The NEC LCDs were able to display the scanned documents with optimal legibility because of their high resolution and clear image projection. The old monitors would not have been able to do this because of their low resolution and inability to support the new computer programs required for this process.

With NEC-DS’ help, the school district has been able to re-create their digital database of historic documents and student files, and they are eliminating much of the paper that used to be necessary to transfer information. Implementation of the NEC monitors has resulted in significant savings in time and money, specifically the reduction of costs that formerly went towards paper and office supplies. Prior to the arrival of these displays, Terrebonne faculty would photocopy or print notices for all students, school board meeting minutes and reports and school announcements. With the ability to upload announcements and other important information online, everyone is now able to access this information at any time rather than using paper copies, thereby improving the communication flow throughout the district.

The new NEC LCDs brought about an instant change in the faculty’s outlook as well. “This project sparked new life into the central office staff,” said Babin. “Many (employees) had already received new computers and new tube monitors, but that did not have the impact that these monitors did. People were acting more positive because of the new changes and improvements the NEC monitors made. You would not believe the excitement these monitors created around here. I think if I walked around and gave everyone a $100 bill, it would not have made as much of an impression on morale as the distribution of these new monitors.”

With the Terrebonne Parish School District now caught up in digitally documenting old files, it intends to send most of its LCD monitors to school sites for student use. However, the displays’ strong influence in the school district has motivated administrators to purchase new LCDs fairly soon.

 

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