Saddleback Valley Unified School District, California case study

Saddleback Valley Unified School District

Pioneering in pioneer country

Trabuco Elementary School is a historically preserved schoolhouse—the second-oldest in California—where students still learn to care for farm animals and take excursions through Trabuco Canyon. Trabuco Hills High School, located 15 minutes away, is home to over 3,000 students, boasts state-of-the-art athletic facilities (the junior varsity water polo team won a tournament last year), and is an Orange County Stellar Technology Model High School.

What do these two schools have in common?

They’re among the 34 schools across five southern California cities that belong to the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. They help illustrate the diverse challenges posed to Michael Morrison, Director of Technology Services, and his Computer Analysts, Paul Klepp and Mike Tu. The environment they manage is also diverse, consisting of about 7,000 machines—3,500 of which are Macs.

Cross-platform conundrum  

To help mitigate this divergent system, Saddleback Valley trains users at each location to be the on-site technical point of contact. The central management software needed to allow for district-level oversight, but be easy enough to use that the onsite users could benefit as well. Initially, SVUSD implemented a cross-platform enterprise management system.

“The PC side worked fine,” says Tu, “but the Mac features were really lacking.”

“It seemed like it was really built for PC environments and the Mac side was an afterthought,” adds Morrison.

This led to a difficult process of Mac management—two or three monolithic images per school that required a lot of individual maintenance and updates. It also required a level of technical expertise that often exceeded that of the individual school administrators. Fortunately, Tu had been introduced to the Casper Suite at MacWorld.

“I signed up for the JAMF Nation newsletter,” recalls Tu, “so I was aware of what we could have with a Mac-specific solution.”

Saddleback, simplified

Since adopting the Casper Suite, things have changed for the better. The easy-to-use tools and Self Service application allow the onsite administrators to expand their level of support. The Casper Suite’s inventory managementtools help maintain proper use of site licenses and software copyrights. Imaging has been greatly simplified as well.

“Now with packaged, policy-based images, I only have to maintain one base image per operating system,” says Klepp. “We can re-image once per year and make sure all new machines are imaged here at the district office.” 

And thanks to centralized software deployment, district administrators don’t have to make the trek down into the canyon—or to any of the other locations. The Casper Suite’s Mac-specific feature set has made the difference.

“It has been a huge advantage to partner with an expert on enterprise on line in the Mac space,” says Morrison. 

Sound support

Overall, Morrison, Klepp, and Tu have been impressed with the capability to distribute support. And when they require support themselves, they know they can trust JAMF Software customer service.

“Technical support and client management have been very consistent,” says Tu. “From when I was first introduced to the product at a conference through issues or feature requests as a customer.”

“The training for the Casper Suite was intensive,” says Klepp. “Now our Casper Suite environments don’t require a full-time admin for effective support.”

Whether they’re re-imaging a technological model school’s lab computers or updating testing software in a historic canyon schoolhouse, the Casper Suite helps simplify a diverse and challenging support environment. 

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