It’s that time of year again. You and your team have finished or are about to finish all the big summer projects, but what might you have missed in the shuffle? Here are a few things we re-check at Brewster just before students arrive for the winter term.
Certificates are something you should have well handled and probably on a team calendar for renewals. After all, there are plenty of them across many services, and missing one could have dramatic consequences, especially at the beginning of the school year. So double-check even if you’re sure you’re all set. Apple Certificates such as Developer and Deployment ID certificates - require yearly renewal. In JAMF Pro, double-check your Push Certificates, PKI Certificates, and your Apple School Manager/DEP integration to make sure everything is syncing properly.
It’s nearly universal that educational software developers have this tendency to release new major updates in the weeks leading up to September. Policies setup and tested in June or July may no longer be properly up to date. For us, secure testing browsers are a big one to check. NWEA, AP, TOEFL, etc. Also, did your faculty need to run any OS updates to meet new software requirements? If they were off all summer, they only have a few days of meetings before classes start. Make sure they are aware of their update needs.
It’s a good time to triple-check account functionality across all systems. Lots of things change over the summer, and we have potentially identified new software updates that might affect this in the previous step.
Test your ALL automated and Self-Service policies at least once, again.
Over the summer you, your users or your devices have upgraded Operating Systems, Configuration profiles, Applications, Printers, and so on. It’s always worth re-testing every policy in the week or two before school. We catch a surprising amount of items that could use tweaking, no matter how many times I swear everything will be all set.
Do you have adequately prepared Loaner devices?
Everyone needs loaner devices. Are yours ready and up to date? We recheck and charge all loaner devices the week before school starts just to be extra sure everything is 100% ready to go.
Do you have all the adaptors you’ll need?
At this point, we’re lucky enough to be universally using USB-C/Thunderbolt for all power and I/O needs. Do you have enough spare power cords, HDMI/VGA Adaptors, etc? Do you have enough lightning or USB-C cables for your iPads and iPhones? Do you have older devices that might need to connect to new Projectors, TVs, or even less thought of Science probes, etc? Make sure to have a list of all the adaptors you expect to have and how many you should have!
Check for firmware/software updates and driver updates for all your Printing/Scanning devices as well as any AV resources your users will need to connect to. Two weeks before the start of school we review all AV installations in person. While we can make sure all of our AppleTVs, Promethean boards, and TVs are up to date remotely, we still need to check and make sure the remotes are charged and that all classroom audio works. That can only be done in person.
From paper to projector bulbs. Make sure you’ve ordered what you need ahead of time, and that any auto-replenishment programs are updating properly. For me, I always get worried I’ll forget to have an extra box of copper staples for each team. That beginning of the year paper rush never seems to go away.
Now that you’ve reviewed all of these items, you might want to update any existing documentation you have (from policy to FAQs) or create new documentation for new software, updates, or services. Make sure your team and faculty know where these resources are.
Hopefully, you read through this and already have everything sorted, but just in case. Here’s to the start of another great school year!
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