Rocklin Unified School District
A conversation with Dean Moore, technology support specialist.
Headquarters: Rocklin, CA
Industry: K12 Education
“PDQ has been a lifesaver. The time it has saved me is truly immeasurable.”
A better way to update entire labs, systems, and districts
When Dean Moore, a technology support specialist at Rocklin Unified School District, was asked to update 500 district computers with Adobe Flash, he knew that he needed to find a patch management solution, and fast. The thought of manually updating 500 computers with the latest version of Adobe Flash made his skin crawl.
After several colleagues recommended PDQ, he downloaded the free version of PDQ Deploy and set it up. The update went seamlessly.
PDQ became a total game changer at Rocklin. As a small department that services 13,000 students across 16 schools in the district, the IT team wears many hats. Dean manages and pushes out software to all of the district’s hardware devices.
“After I found PDQ, it became an invaluable resource for me to be able to push out software efficiently.”
Using PDQ to support Rocklin’s exponential growth
Rocklin has grown substantially over the past 10 years, and they are currently building a new elementary school in the district to accommodate several hundred additional students. By managing all of the hardware from a central location with a patch management solution like PDQ, the district IT department has been able to support this growth with ease.
“In education, we have fewer people; we don’t have the resources of a big company. As a result, there is a single person at Rocklin to do the work of several people and wear many hats. It’s nice to have a product like PDQ that can do the work of many.”
Installing Adobe Suite on a lab of computers used to be a significant time sink. Using PDQ, Dean can update all five labs at a high school remotely and verify that the updates went through, all in a couple hours. Prior to PDQ, Dean had to touch each computer, which just isn’t sustainable with a district of their size anymore.
“I used PDQ just last week to update 180 systems, and I did the entire Creative Cloud suite in three hours’ time. This would normally take me an entire week. Now that I have been doing this for several years, I think this has probably saved me years of my life.”
Simplifying standardized testing requirements — remotely
As standardized testing for K12 schools moves increasingly online, there are increased software requirements to support these efforts. For example, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) is taken on a secure browser that must be pushed from a central server. Dean created a secure browser and set it to run on a schedule for all 13 of the labs at their high school.
“The secure browser isn’t a huge browser, but being able to send it out remotely is so huge. I’ve had great success with that.”
As student learning moves online, and states require additional software to facilitate learning, it makes sense to use a patch management solution like PDQ to streamline the setup.
PDQ Deploy & Inventory: The dream team
In addition to patch management, Dean also uses PDQ to keep an audit of the systems he has in place. PDQ lets him instantly check the stats of a particular device, such as the amount of RAM available. Managing those machines remotely lets Dean quickly assess which machines have which software and what has been deployed recently.
In the past, Dean had to maintain spreadsheets to break down computers and their updates. Instead of trying to consistently update which software is on which device, Dean can now view a high-level report of a machine’s key stats in real time, all at the click of a button. It’s not only faster, but it’s also much more thorough, which helps him make better decisions every day.
“I love being a part of the PDQ community”
One of the best parts of PDQ, from Dean’s perspective, is being able to use the knowledge base to see what other users have done. This makes it easy to send out software because the user base is so large and so broad.
“I don’t need to recreate the wheel. I can borrow knowledge from other users and use it myself.”
Dean also enjoys the weekly webcast that the PDQ team puts on. It’s one of the few places he has found that provides good information for IT professionals with a fun levity to go along with it. The whiskey tips are fun too!