Students Click with Technology on MOUSE Squad, Manhattan Times
Some middle school students at I.S. 528 Bea Fuller Rodgers School are preparing to take on what would make some adults feel powerless: the everyday technical glitches that foul up computers and printers.
After several months of training, the student-staffed technical support team is offering its after-school assistance to the Wadsworth Avenue school’s teachers and staff. The students take on all sorts of tasks, like hooking up Internet connections, printing school IDs, creating the school’s yearbook and overseeing the sound, lighting and technical aspects of the school’s performances – presentations like its Pie Day, spring dance performance and holiday show.
Arialis Ortiz, 13, said while the job detail may sound unexciting, it’s anything but that as real-life computer snags put student’s skills to the test. “You’re learning more by having fun,” she said. That same enthusiasm was apparent with 13-year-old eighth grader Patrick Vasquez. “I really want to learn to fix everything,” he said.
Formally dubbed the I.S. 528 MOUSE Squad, the 11-student crew works with MOUSE, a nonprofit that offers training and support for student-run help desks with elementary- through high school-age students. The MOUSE squad at I.S. 528 is one of 10 Manhattan schools working with the organization and the only Washington Heights participant.
Luz Minaya, the school’s technology coordinator and Spanish teacher, oversees the school’s team. She first started the team seven years ago and began partnering with MOUSE three years ago. She hopes students learn to be unafraid of difficult technical tasks after working on the technology team. “There’s always 101 ways to do one thing,” she said, adding that skills students learn on the team will make them more marketable in the workplace as they grow up.
Some members say they’re already seeing the benefits. For instance, Ismelda Monegro, 14, first carried over the skills she learned at school when she fixed a printer at a friend’s house 1ast year. “I felt so proud of myself because I finally fixed something,” she said. Likewise, Mitchell Luzuriaga, 14, also said these technical skills have helped him in his everyday life, such as fixing computers for friends.
While MOUSE is ostensibly focused on technical training, the organization’s focus also builds students’ character and confidence, said Susan Schwartz, MOUSE communications director. “They feel good about themselves with an opportunity to go and solve a problem, especially for a teacher,” she said.
Team members from the school attended a MOUSE-sponsored weekend training session in November where they took apart and reassembled computers. Alexandra Reyes, 13, said the weekend session at the Access School on 35th Street was like being back at school – only more fun.
And as the team’s older members learn new skills, they are also beginning to pass along their knowledge to younger students. Mariluz Rosa, 13, said she was forced to be sure of her own skills when recently teaching a seventh grader how to start a Gmail account. “At first I was confused. I hope they got it as well,” she said.
While the team is now made up of eighth-grade students, Minaya explained that seventh graders will have the chance to join in the spring. The eighth graders will then become the teachers for the fresh crop of MOUSE Squad technicians at that point, she said.
Educators at the school agree that the benefits of being part of the group go beyond gaining technical expertise. Norma M. Perez, the school’s principal, said participation in the technology team instilled discipline and a sense of leadership and responsibility in its members. “It gives a sense of ownership of the school,” she said. Perez said it’s easy to watch students’ self-image grow when they troubleshoot for teachers – and sometimes herself. “You see that joy in their face,” she said.
Minaya takes factors like grades and attitude into account when selecting members but specifically looks for students in need of a nudge in finding some more self-confidence. She especially tries to bring girls onto the squad in order to help start leveling the playing field in the male-dominated world of technology. She said she’s witnessed participation in the group improve students’ grades and attitude towards schoolwork. Five of the group’s members are now in ninth-grade algebra, she said.
“It’s actually inspiring,” Ortiz said of being a part of the team and feeling like a technician as she handled computer problems. “Once you get older, you know you’re going to do all these things.”
The list of what I have learned from the MOUSE Squad program can go on forever. The training has helped me to be confident about what I do and has taught me... read more ›
– Jessica Alberto, MOUSE Squad Member, Thomas A. Edison Career & Technology High School
TechCrew allows me to start my day working with a group of students that have true passion and dedication…TechCrew teaches our students how to work as part of a group and leaves them... read more ›
– Marcos Alcozer, Northside College Prep High School, Chicago
MOUSE has helped me to gain job skills and it has been a great opportunity. The Squad has taught me many valuable lessons, the most important being responsibility and leadership. read more ›
– Khaleel Anderson, MOUSE Student, P256Q
MOUSE Squad has provided invaluable assistance to our school and made technology easy for our entire staff. Those on MOUSE Squad are surrounded by students who are successful inside and outside the classroom. read more ›
– Anthony Barbetta, Principal, Thomas A. Edison Career & Technology High School
I recognize MOUSE for its dedication to providing our city’s schools with the technological tools and support to keep our children competitive in the information age. read more ›
– Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City
The experiences that MOUSE provides its participants help ensure that high school graduates are prepared for good jobs during the summer and in their future careers. MOUSE’s unique emphasis on technology training... read more ›
– Gale Brewer, New York City Council Member, Technology Committee Chair
I love finishing school and coming to MOUSE. I love the teamwork and the time to learn new things about computers. read more ›
– Aram Buenaventura, MOUSE Squad Member, High School for Arts & Technology
MOUSE and SAP apply the same core values – quality, integrity, commitment, and passion – to our organizations. We see MOUSE Corps students as our next generation of employees and customers. MOUSE empowers... read more ›
– Ron Carolan, Chief Financial Officer, SAP Global Marketing
We must leverage technology to provide engaging, powerful learning experiences for all students, giving them authentic tools to solve real-world problems and opportunities to become better prepared for our globally competitive workforce. read more ›
– Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education
MOUSE Squad has been a life changing experience for many of our students. They feel good about their role with technology, which builds their confidence and makes them more successful in... read more ›
– Kristy De La Cruz, Bea Fuller Rodgers School (IS 528)
When I started the internship, my manager brought me to the trading floor. It was the best thing in the world to see all the traders and to know they were my clients,... read more ›
– Duckens Durosier, MOUSE Squad Alum, George Wingate High School
Being on MOUSE Squad adds to my experience in school by making me confident about myself. read more ›
– Daniela Fernandez, MOUSE Squad Member, Sylvandale Middle School, California
Our MOUSE Squad students stand a little taller. They recognize that they have special skills and are respected for it.
– Dr. Katherine Flori, MOUSE Squad Coordinator, W.C Byrant High School, New York
To me, programs like this don't exactly go to every school around. I enjoy the program and what they teach. My interest in technology has enhanced greatly because of MOUSE Squad. read more ›
– Ally Garcia, MOUSE Squad Member, High School for Arts & Technology
Participating in the MOUSE Squad gave me a true sense of purpose. I never could have imagined in just 8 years, I would be CEO of my own technology consulting firm and... read more ›
– Juan Garzon, MOUSE Squad Alum, Robert F. Wagner Secondary School for Arts & Technology,
The people at MOUSE are a living, breathing testament to the notion that when an organization is centered around a thoughtful and attainable goal—staffed by competent, bright and passionate individuals—there is very little... read more ›
– Mehran Ghaffarsamar , MOUSE Intern, Baruch College
MOUSE provides a unique opportunity for students to give back to their school, deepening their sense of leadership and responsibility, and improving their relationships with peers and teachers—all the while getting hands-on experience... read more ›
– Maureen Guido, Principal, The Paula Hedbavny School
Our MOUSE Squad students are demonstrating leadership skills, learning about responsibilities and how to communicate with adults. This program is inspiring our students and giving them a glimpse of future career opportunities. read more ›
– Carla Haakma, Principal, Los Arboles Elementary School, California
MOUSE Squad students learn many skills frequently cited by employers as keys to success in the workplace, including leadership, communication, teamwork problem solving and time management. read more ›
– Jan Half, Program Director, MOUSE Squad of California
We recognize that student attendance and graduation are increasingly important issues facing public schools. We are looking to target specific schools as we have seen the TechCrew program have a positive impact in... read more ›
– Victor Herrera, Director of Technology, Theodore Roosevelt High School, Chicago
For our school, MOUSE Squad plays an integral role in supporting our technology, saving us both time and money. But more importantly, students participate in positive experiences that give them a strong... read more ›
– Seth Hubbert, MOUSE Squad Coordinator, High School for Arts & Technology
The MOUSE program should be in every school in New York City. read more ›
– Robert Jackson, Member, New York City Council
What excites me most about MOUSE Squad is going to fix computers and hanging out with friends. I really think MOUSE Squad pushes you to try and learn new things. read more ›
– Danielle Jacobs, MOUSE Squad Member, Cooper High School, Abilene Texas
I feel like I'm a part of an important team that keeps the school running more efficiently...Being on TechCrew helps improve the leadership qualities that we, as students, are developing for the future. read more ›
– Edwin Le, Northside College Preparatory High School, Chicago
I joined MOUSE to explore my passion for technology and be a part of an organization that values communications and teamwork. read more ›
– Rigel Leonard, MOUSE Corps Member, School of the Future
“I am amazed at the eagerness and enthusiasm of my MOUSE Squad. They have dedication and motivation, and are the reason I want to come to school every day.” read more ›
– Victor Lopez, MOUSE Squad Coordinator, MS 328
MOUSE has had such a positive impact on my life, including my college and work experiences. MOUSE has exposed me to aspects of this world that I would not otherwise have had the... read more ›
– Ryan Mason, MOUSE Squad Alum, School of the Future
MOUSE that trains tech-savvy students in inner-city schools to become tech support leads and ambassadors within their schools and then provides mentorship opportunities to help them take their digital expertise to the next... read more ›
– Caroline McCarthy, Social Media Marketing Manager, Google
MOUSE Squad has taught me the skills I need for the future. read more ›
– Ismelda Monegro, Bea Fuller Rodgers School, New York
MOUSE has been one of the best things in which I have participated in my 21 year career. It continues to be good for both students and teachers at every school where I... read more ›
– Nathan Monroe, Coordinator, Academy of Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Science, Texas
MOUSE brought me where I stand today and gave me real life work experience. MOUSE taught me about leadership and teamwork, and that there is no such thing as a bad idea. read more ›
– Dhondup Namgyal, MOUSE Corps Member, International High School
Being on the MOUSE Squad motivates and inspires me, and has helped me to learn to aim higher. read more ›
– Zainab Oni, MOUSE Squad Member, Hudson High School of Learning Technologies
MOUSE students are innovators that use technology to change the world. read more ›
– Neimat Orengo, MOUSE Alum, MOUSE Student, James Madison High School
The MOUSE Squad students are very curious and want to learn. Everyone knows about the MOUSE Squad in this school. read more ›
– Emmanuel Ourum, CUNY Intern, PS 43 MOUSE Squad
My internship with Sullivan & Cromwell would not have been possible without the help of MOUSE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help students integrate technology into their everyday lives and ultimately... read more ›
– Ivan Pereda, MOUSE Squad Member, Baccalaureate School for Global Education
Leadership, pride, self confidence and a sense of responsibility -- this is the impact of the MOUSE Squad program on our students. read more ›
– Norma Perez, Principal, Bea Fuller Rodgers School, New York
Our MOUSE students realize that this is just the beginning. They can go on to college to study computer technology, and become help desk technicians and repair specialists…and many do. read more ›
– Irwin Queen, School of Cooperative Technical Education
MOUSE Squad has proven time and again that students who graduate after participating are more equipped for the next stage in their lives, especially in today’s vast information technology world. This program... read more ›
– Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council
Thanks to Abilene Independent School District (AISD) for incorporating such a program and major kudos to Nathan Monroe, MOUSE Squad Coordinator, ATEMS. He actively leads a group that daily makes the teacher’s lives... read more ›
– Rebecca Rampy, Instruction Technology Specialist, Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science (ATEMS) in Abilene, Texas
Juniper's community engagement vision is to use the power of the new network to take on the toughest challenges facing our communities and to connect and empower people everywhere. MOUSE exemplifies this vision... read more ›
– Darryl Ramsey, Public Sector - Americas, Business Development and Technical Strategy, Juniper Networks
MOUSE empowers students to lead and support the use of technology in their schools, while also helping them to discover their creative, technological, and learning potential. read more ›
– Linda G. Roberts, National Consultant on Technology and Education
At Best Buy, we believe in the power and potential of youth. We are proud to be long-time investors in MOUSE, an impressive and growing organization that is having a dramatic impact on... read more ›
– Susan Bass Roberts, Senior Director, Community Relations, Best Buy
I thank MOUSE for starting my career. Without MOUSE, I would not be as successful as I am today. read more ›
– Mendy Rodriguez, MOUSE Squad Alum; Junior Analyst, IT Service Desk, Time Inc.
MOUSE has taught me many valuable lessons that will help me in life. read more ›
– Madeline Sariol, MOUSE Student, In-Tech Academy
Thanks to efforts of MOUSE, young people throughout New York City will have the opportunity to better their lives and become productive members of our society.
– Charles E. Schumer, United States Senator for New York
I commend MOUSE for improving the educational opportunities for young people, motivating them to attend college and preparing them for high quality jobs in the future. read more ›
– José E. Serrano, Congressman, 16th District of New York
Watching MOUSE Squad grow from a pilot to an established entity has been a thrilling experience. I’ve seen my students grow from tentative kids, virtually afraid of touching machines, to savvy technicians,... read more ›
– Kiri Soares, Principal, Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women
MOUSE has provided life changing experiences for me that have added tremendously to my passion for technology… regardless of the company or industry, you will always need technology and the skills we learn... read more ›
– Leroy Tindi, MOUSE Squad Alum, Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy
We try to focus on career readiness, laying the foundation and opening their eyes to careers they might consider in the future. I tell my students that if they want to be... read more ›
– Matthew Valia, MOUSE Squad Coordinator, Berta A. Drefus School
MOUSE is an excellent example of rethinking how to put students at the center of their own learning and reorganizing schools around their motivations and strengths. read more ›
– Arthur VanderVeen, Chief of Innovation Strategy and Policy, NYC Department of Education
Through the CPS TechCrew program, I have learned how to explore computers, how to fix problems that are usually deferred to someone else, and what it's like to work on a team that... read more ›
– Simon Vecchioni, CPS TechCrew Member, Northside College Prep High School, Chicago
I believe strongly in public education and the opportunity it can and should provide to all. MOUSE provides a valuable service, closing the gap between heavily resourced schools and those in underserved areas. read more ›
– Peter Vincent, VP Human Resources, National Audubon Society
What excites me most about being part of this program is that I get to interact with other students who share the same goals and who hope to learn more on how to... read more ›
– Monique Williams, Chicago TechCrew Member, Tarkington School of Excellence