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Spring 2019 Issue One
Lorrie Owens
Cetpa’s Community Spirit and Dedication Helps Fire Victims
by Peter Skibitzki

Over the past 58 years, CETPA has built a reputation of supporting its members and the LEA’s they serve. This year our members and vendor community exemplified that spirit through their acts of generosity with time, money and resources to support those effected by the recent fires.

It has been almost three months since one of the worst fire events in California’s history occurred. The “Camp Fire” as it was named began on Nov. 8, 2018. The blaze destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and claimed the lives of 88 persons. In the wake of the disaster, survivors were left with little more than the clothes on their backs. The flames engulfed and destroyed nearly every square inch of the once tranquil and picturesque town of Paradise.

With the fires still raging and no containment in sight, many wondered if the upcoming CETPA conference would be cancelled. With the fires a safe distance from Sacramento, the CETPA Board decided it was still appropriate to move forward with holding the conference. At registration it was openly apparent that our members and vendor community had those affected by the fire in their thoughts and prayers. Many asked if there was anything they could do or how they might be able to assist those affected by the fires.

Prior to the fires breaking out in Paradise, the CETPA Board had designated that all proceeds from its annual conference raffle would be donated to a local charity. This year’s recipient of those proceeds would be the Mustard Seed School for Homeless Children. Shortly after the fires broke out, the CETPA board made a decision that it would provide matching funds to the proceeds from this year’s raffle and donate equal amounts to fire relief funds in Northern and Southern California. In years past, the annual raffle usually netted somewhere in the range of $2,500. At the opening session of the conference the decision to provide matching funds to fire relief funds was announced to a very supportive audience. Upon hearing this announcement sales of raffle tickets skyrocketed. By the end of the conference, total proceeds from the raffle amounted to $5,800. Thus a total of $17,400 dollars would be donated on behalf of CETPA members and its vendor community.

By Thursday of the conference, air quality in Sacramento was in the extreme unhealthy range. As a result, the board decided to cancel the conference golf tournament. Normally a cancelation of this type would result in the course assessing a cancelation fee, golfers being returned green fees, and sponsors being refunded. Not in this case, the course at Teal Bend waived cancelation fees & both golfers and sponsors asked that their monies be included in support of the fire relief efforts. These acts of generosity from our members and vendors were only the beginning. In the coming weeks after the conference the fires were finally contained. Plans to restart educational efforts in the affected area of Paradise were scheduled to begin shortly thereafter. Unlike other disaster recovery efforts, all the school facilities for the Paradise area were destroyed by the fires. Plans called for the use of nearby public facilities, vacant office buildings, and libraries. One of the major obstacles facing the district in this plan was technology infrastructure and end user devices to help facilitate learning.

In preparing to support start up efforts, Adam Vesely, the Director of Technology for the Paradise Unified School District, and Steve Monahan, the Director of IT at the Butte County Office of Education, reached out to the CETPA community and vendors for assistance. In reaching out they hoped to secure a multitude of hardware, software, and licenses to assist administrators, teachers, students, and parents to jumpstart the rebuilding and learning efforts. Upon reading their email I thought to myself, how can CETPA help and how can I help? I immediately contacted Steve Monahan to inquire about the exact needs to insure whatever could be secured would be of use. In speaking with him, Steve indicated that Wireless Controllers, Access Points, Wireless printers, Mobile Hot Spots, Projectors, and Chromebooks were the biggest needs. At first these seemed like some big requests based upon the quantities needed to support an entire district. After speaking with Steve, I gathered my thoughts and again asked myself, what can CETPA do and what can I do to assist? As a CETPA Board member I could reach out to vendors that are a part of our Corporate Affiliate Program and those who have participated in our conferences as exhibitors. On a personal level I could leverage the long standing relationships I have developed with other directors in the IT community. Both proved to be of great assistance to the cause. In reaching out to the vendor community, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile donated large quantities of mobile hot spots and wireless routers for internet access. HP, Dell, and Microsoft provided a number of tablets and Surface devices. Ruckus and Aruba helped in providing wireless hardware and licensing. Samsung and NuLine provided a number of Interactive Panels. This is just a small snippet of the vendor community that heeded the call to assist in this time of need.

From the CETPA member side, the level of support was unprecedented. The Val Verde Unified School District (Matt Penner) provided (2,000) chrome books and arranged to have them shipped. From the Gold Country Regional Group, the Rocklin Unified School District (Mike Fury) provided (160) projectors and (130) document cameras. The Placerhills Union School District (James Gamble) provided (6) network wireless printers. The Nevada Union High School District (Bob Lyons) provided (100) Chromesbooks. My own office, the Placer County Office of Education, provided (5) Aruba Network Controller and (80) wireless access points. And the William S. Hart School District provided (Jon Carrino) (2,600) Chromebooks which I personally drove 16 hours round trip down and back in the same day to pick up.

Acquiring these assets was just the beginning. Enough can’t be said about the monumental efforts being put forth by the IT Staffs of Steve Monahan at Butte COE and Adam Vesely at Paradise Unified School District to set up and equip the temporary spaces that are being used as classrooms during the long rebuilding of the community. In our fast paced 24 hour news cycle you would be hard pressed to find any mention of Paradise now that the fires are out. But our membership and vendors associated with CETPA have not forgotten, and continue to work and support the efforts of the community to rise up from the ashes like a phoenix.

Thank you to all our members and vendors, your support and contributions to the relief efforts are shining examples of the good we can accomplish when we come together.

Publications Library

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Fall 2019 PDF (23.28 MB) Administration 12/13/2019
Summer 2019 PDF (3.67 MB)  more ] Administration 7/23/2019
Spring 2019 PDF (4.75 MB)  more ] Administration 7/23/2019
Fall 2017 PDF (6.64 MB) Administration 5/13/2019
Fall 2018 PDF (41.2 KB) Administration 5/13/2019
Spring 2018 PDF (4.48 MB) Administration 5/13/2019
Winter 2018 PDF (2.68 MB) Administration 5/13/2019