Wheatland School District

Deploy helped to attain the motto of “Work smarter not harder.”
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Wheatland School District
Wheatland School District - T H E  O V E R V I E W

T H E  O V E R V I E W

California’s Wheatland School District enrollment is over 1300 students and is made up of 3 schools, one charter academy, and a preschool.

Over the past several years, the school district has grown and gone from a school computer lab environment to now providing all students with their own devices. They use Windows 10 devices because it allows students to do more than they could if they had Chromebooks. However, that environment comes with more complex management requirements.

  • Their IT team of 5 includes 3 site technicians
  • District technician, Nick Steenberg
  • Chad Swaim in the role of Director of Technology
  • In total, the team manages 1,500 computers
  • And 1,000 other devices like TVs and printers.
Wheatland School District - T H E  P R O B L E M

T H E  P R O B L E M

Windows and Application Updates

When Swaim and Steenberg joined the District in 2010 and 2013 respectively, they were relying on Windows Server Update Service (WSUS), System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), and Group Policy Objects (GPO) from Microsoft. These solutions were complex and difficult to manage for both updates and imaging. Windows updates weren’t reliable or would run at inconvenient times. It wasn’t uncommon for Swaim or a member of his team to spend as much as 2 days troubleshooting a failed Windows update or image, only to have similar issues a month or so down the road.

The team would rely on apps they built from scratch to roll out updates or software to their computers. He recalls spending “hours and hours” creating an app to update the secure browser they use for student testing. After development and testing, it would require as much as a week to push out to all student computers. Even then, not all installations were successful and there was no centralized way of telling what devices it was or wasn’t installed on.

<b>Nick Steenberg</b>

“Sometimes it felt like you had to be a programmer to use these Microsoft tools effectively.”

Nick Steenberg

District Technician, Wheatland School District



Prior to using Deploy, Wheatland School District used SCCM for imaging. The process was managed by one of the technicians who had some experience using it. However, he left the department and the responsibility fell to Steenberg. He describes the SCCM process as “clunky and time consuming” but it did meet their basic needs for imaging. Problems arose because the imaging process often failed and Steenberg would spend time researching and resolving the issues. Also, the SCCM images weren’t comprehensive, and the team had to install software after the fact for the computer to be up and running for the students.


Remote access during Covid

Covid restrictions presented a challenge for the IT department. With WSUS, all the computers had to be on the same network for patching to occur. However, at the start of restrictions, all students and staff were at home with their devices, leaving them with no way to access those computers.

District Technician, Wheatland School District - T H E  S O L U T I O N

T H E  S O L U T I O N

“Deploy definitely fits our IT department motto of “Work smarter not harder.”

Wheatland School District also has a Professional Services contract in place with Faronics to provide them with a dedicated Technical Account Manager. The goal is to have a single point of contact for the District and ensure that they’re running all the best practices with Deploy.

“I’m always talking to the same friendly voice at Faronics who can help me with any questions I have. What I love is feeling supported, feeling like I can reach out to someone and can help me with what I’m trying to. I’d recommend this approach as it’s well worth the investment,” said Steenberg.

<b>Chad Swaim</b>

“It saves us so much time in so many areas of what we do every day. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by the staff and students who appreciate that the IT department has more time to be visible, accessible, and engaged with the people they support”

Chad Swaim

Director of Technology, Wheatland School District


Windows and app updates

“It’s pretty astronomical the number of hours Deploy has saved our techs,” said Chad Swaim, Director of Technology, Wheatland School District. “Now they can spend more time in the classroom helping teachers with other things.” This has been especially critical during the pandemic when new issues have emerged for classroom staff.

Swaim estimates that on average they used to spend 2 or more hours per day working on updates and patches. The cost savings by using Deploy to free up a least 10 hours per week of his technicians’ time to focus on other things is notable.

For Steenberg, he appreciates that updates can be rolled out without the need to create complex apps, silent install, or switches. “Deploy has completely changed my world. The first time I pushed out an update for our secure browser, there was nothing to it. 5 minutes later all 1,400 student computers had the update,” said Nick Steenberg.

Director of Technology, Wheatland School District


For Steenberg, who took over the responsibility of imaging their computers, the process is so much simpler and faster with Deploy. The District recently rolled out 400 new devices and used Deploy’s imaging tools to make it a smooth process. They created a lab environment where they could connect 20 computers at a time to the ethernet and configure them all identically.

Using the imaging feature to configure student devices has been a huge time saver for the team. It’s a fast and simple way to set up the machines without having to manually configure each one. Plus, they know that they can simply hand the computer over to the student and it’ll be 100% ready to go.

Director of Technology, Wheatland School District

Remote access

The District started using Deploy shortly after Covid restrictions were put in place. With Deploy they are now able to:

  • Remotely wake up a machine in order to access it.
  • Use VNC to remote into an already in session student computer.
  • Use RDP to log out a student and log in as an administrator if necessary.

The District now has a hybrid schedule with students alternating between at school and at home. This arrangement added some complexity. While many of the updates could be done remotely, some require the device to be on the local network for installation. They are able to manage this with Deploy by sending out the patch to all devices in the morning when half the students were in school. The update fails for students who were at home in the morning, but they push it out again in the afternoon to update the students in attendance then.

<b>Nick Steenberg</b>

“With Deploy, we’re 100% able to get into the student computers. Without it we would have had to get on the phone and talk the parents through any troubleshooting we needed to do.”

Nick Steenberg

District Technician, Wheatland School District



Wheatland School District is just starting to explore the inventory features of Deploy which simplifies tracking information like computer models, serial numbers, available harddisk space, and memory. It’s also an easy way to review application and computer utilization to inform smart, strategic IT decisions. In the past they tried to track this information in a spreadsheet but that process became too time consuming.

<b>Chad Swaim</b>

“We’re looking at the inventory features because we see direct value in being able to manage warranty information, device age, and issues with our network.”

Chad Swaim

Director of Technology, Wheatland School District

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