Helpdesk Heroes


Thanks to a partnership with Dell Technologies, a new JUSD program is promoting college and career readiness through hands-on experience and industry certifications. Dell Student TechCrew is a two-semester program that began at all three comprehensive high schools this past fall, with a modified program also at Mission Middle.

Mr. Sanson with students“It gets them prepared for at least the introductory level positions, such as helpdesks or hands-on technology support,” said Mario Sanson, Jurupa Valley High teacher.

The first course is lecture-based, with students learning technical and soft skills including customer service, ethics and privacy, career options, and computer basics. At the end of the semester, students take an exam to become Dell TechDirect certified, which allows them to fully participate in the second course: a student-led helpdesk for Chromebook repairs.

“The first semester was more of a learning process,” said Bethany Stevens, JVHS senior. “We were learning about the technical parts and now this semester it’s more hands-on.”

Helpdesk students diagnose Chromebook issues, order and replace parts, and make repairs that range from easy to complex. Students agree that the hands-on portion is the best part of the program, but the helpdesk comes with more challenges than the lecture portion. While some students struggle with remembering proper procedures, others find determining the issue to be the most difficult. 

Dell Tech student showing off chromebook part“Diagnosis is, I’d argue, one of the most important parts of the whole process of repairing [a Chromebook],” shared Jesus Montes, Rubidoux senior. “Everything that comes after relies on the diagnosis.” Jesus explained that if he diagnoses a problem incorrectly, he is likely to order the wrong parts, which slows down the repairs process. Other consequences include a lower performance score on the Dell TechDirect web portal. 

In addition to providing hands-on experience to students, Dell Student TechCrew provides a service to JUSD schools, with the student-led helpdesk improving turnaround time for Chromebook repairs because the computers do not need to be sent to the district office. Having students repair the Chromebooks of their peers has also increased feelings of school pride.

"I notice my students have taken more ownership in the school,” said Todd Chard, RHS teacher. Mr. Chard believes that in running the helpdesk, his students feel like they are contributing and making a real difference.

Dell tech studentAbove all, Dell Student TechCrew is giving those who seek a career in information technology the foundation for life after high school. “What makes me most excited about the program is the opportunities it gives our students,” stated Josh Lewis, Director of Education-Information Technology. “They are learning skills and a trade that, after they get certified and after they graduate from high school, could get [them] a great job.”

Many students currently enrolled in the program are interested in directly entering the IT workforce, receiving further certifications, or pursuing a college degree. While some came into the program with these aspirations, others have discovered an interest by participating. Mr. Sanson credits TechCrew with “igniting a fire” in students who previously never considered the career option.

“Seeing students kind of broaden their horizons, I think that's one of the best things about this class,” added Mr. Chard. “They’re realizing this is opening up pathways for the future.”​


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