The Ysleta independent school district used traditional teaching tools for decades. When they determined it was time to upgrade the classroom, the tech they needed didn't exist. Team 1st Technologies, VTI and OneScreen joined forces to created customized tech and a template for helping schools everywhere.
Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) is El Paso’s third largest district, with 64 schools serving 44,000 students in K-12. YISD schools are spread out across a wide region near the border separating Texas and Mexico with a student population that is 93% percent Hispanic.
In 2015, YISD leaders determined that something had to be done to upgrade their classroom technology. District leaders recognized that they had to better prepare their students for the demands of an increasingly technological world, especially in the workplace. It took an unprecedented brainstorming session among three trailblazers in technology to design the perfect solution for YISD schools.
Ysleta's special customized tech was developed in a collaborative effort with reseller Team 1st Technologies and regional distributor VTI.
For decades, YISD had relied on traditional educational tools like blackboards and projectors to keep students informed and engaged. YISD students were ready for more, but off-the-shelf classroom technologies didn’t match up with the district’s needs or their budget. Fortunately, YISD had an ace in the hole thanks to their connection with Dave Dworsky, President of Team 1st Technologies LLC and a leading reseller of educational technology in the southwest.
Dave explained, “Over several meetings, we helped the YISD team understand how powerful flat panel displays could be for teachers and students. At the same time, from an operational viewpoint, he knew the district would never be able to get thousands of hours of use from their existing technology. They needed a serious upgrade on a modest budget.”
“It was clear that what we needed did not exist,” said YISD Technology Specialist Jose Soto. “We weren’t happy with what options we had but couldn’t find what we were looking for anywhere.” The answer would have to be something entirely original.
The unique set of specifications, the budget window and the need for high quality materials narrowed down the field of possible vendors to one. “OneScreen was the only vendor to come back to us with a true solution that met all our needs,” Jose said. “Then they went ahead and exceeded our expectations.”
To solve the YISD challenge, Dave contacted Kevin Talentino, CEO of Virtual Technologies Inc. (VTI), the distribution partner of OneScreen, and Sufian Munir, CEO of OneScreen. It took the combined resources of all three to find the sweet spot where the possible met the practical. Dave stated, “OneScreen and VTI knew exactly what it took to get the job done in the right way. That meeting was the start of something magical.”
For Kevin, what brought OneScreen to his attention was Sufian’s capacity to bring to bear serious engineering resources for virtually any challenge -- and then support it with confidence. “Building solutions means nothing without a dedication to support and training,” Kevin said. “I had just about seen it all after 35 years in the industry and working closely with leading IFP brands in North America. Sufian and I shared the same vision of where the industry needed to go.”
In the end, Dave returned to YISD with a solution that solved their immediate needs while addressing the long-term viability of keeping it up to date. Dave explained, “YISD needed intuitive, 20-point-touch interactive flat panels with enhanced WiFi capabilities that could handle variations on their local networks. These devices also had to run on Windows or Android OS to be compatible with existing systems and be reliable enough to handle 24/7 usage for years. OneScreen and VTI really delivered.”
With his first three customized interactive flat panels in tow, Dave toured YISD schools to gauge the reactions of teachers and staff. Right away, teachers said they wanted OneScreen flat panels for their classrooms and district leaders wanted them for their offices. From an initial order of 100 flat panels in the first year, YISD doubled that the following year and have now secured close to 2,200 units.
Over the years, OneScreen has made quite an impact at YISD. Teachers have made it a competition among classrooms to see who has seen the greatest increase in performance scores thanks to OneScreen Hubware. Statistics are tracked in OneScreen Zuni Learning and prizes are awarded by the YISD board at the end of the year.
On the national level, YISD kicked off 2021 with an Excellence in Teaching award from the National Education Association (NEA).
Meanwhile, a series of collaborations involving OneScreen, VTI and Team 1st have brought unique technologies and experiences to a range of school districts across the region.
OneScreen CEO Sufian Munir observed, “I’m proud of the work we’ve done together. Both Dave [Dworsky at Team 1st] and Kevin [Talentino at VTI] have taken the lead in many successful implementations since our early days at Ysleta. We learned not only what it takes to serve our customers well, but how to rely on each other in a productive partnership that has no rival in the industry.”