Customer Voices: Smart Lockers Manage Substitute Devices at Niles Township

September 7, 2022

Background: About Niles Township High School

Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, Illinois serves 4,700 students at two high schools. With such large student bodies come large staffs, and large logistical challenges. The district employs roughly 450 full-time teachers and a pool of 100 day-to-day substitute teachers.

It’s always been a priority to set teachers up for success by minimizing any unnecessary roadblocks or cumbersome SOPs. Now in a post-pandemic world with nationwide teacher and sub shortages higher than ever, it’s critical.

Challenge: Managing Mobile Devices for Substitute Teachers

On any given school day, the District 219 sub coordinators would get in at 5am to line up subs and lesson plans for the day. As a district with a take-home 1:1 device program for students and teachers, subs would later show up for their assignments and have to hunt down their own laptop.

It might be that the teacher left it for them, but oftentimes they’d have to borrow one from the department, or if not available there, go check the tech service center. The district recognized that this frazzling start to the day was leaving subs close to their breaking points, and this process needed to change.

They considered the idea of sub coordinators managing the technology check-in/check-out process, but not only were their plates full as-is, their workdays start and end earlier than the regular school day. This means subs wouldn’t be able to return laptops at the end of the school day to the coordinators who were already clocked out.

Solution: Automating Device Management with a Smart Locker

The IT team for District 219 knew smart lockers for schools would be the answer to this muddled process. They quickly began searching for the right ones. After comparing available products, the LocknCharge FUYL Tower™ Smart Lockers were selected. According to the Director of IT Services Management, Phil Lacey, it was the design of the product, ease of management and robustness of the cloud app that ultimately set the FUYLs apart from the competitors.

The FUYL Towers are housed in the main offices of the two high schools. Subs use the same PIN to clock in and out for the day as they do to access their laptop in a FUYL Tower. The IT team worked directly with sub coordinators to implement the new workflow. Both teams have access to PINs and can make new accounts on the fly when needed.

Results: Reduced Stress and Overhead

Lacey explains that the FUYL Tower check-in/check-out process for subs has reduced a lot of stress and overhead for everyone. The user interface is simple to navigate and intuitive for both admins and users. Getting buy-in was easy, rollout was easy, setup was easy – it was the kind of project that has a very satisfying and straightforward solution. Maybe they didn’t know how much they needed FUYL Towers until they made life easier.

What’s Next?

Based on the success of this workflow for substitute teachers, Lacey believes it won’t be difficult to make a case for future Towers – perhaps starting with a break/fix workflow by integrating Incident IQ with LocknCharge to automate the process. The team is constantly working to improve the user experience and sees exciting potential for future integrations with LocknCharge to manage their devices more easily with smart lockers for schools.

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