Successes - Custom Computer Specialists

P.S. 152 Gwendoline N. Alleyne School

The Vision

Families in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens depend on Public School (P.S.) 152, the Gwendoline N. Alleyne School, to provide nearly 1,400 PreK-6th graders with the highest levels of academic excellence. P.S. 152 prides itself on offering standards-driven instruction in a safe, nurturing environment that emphasizes collaboration among teachers, administrators, students and the community. According to Enid Maldonado-Salgado, P.S. 152 assistant principal, educators and administrators have a vision for improving student achievement that relies on integrating technology and curriculum to provide relevant, immersive learning opportunities. “We want to change the way we use technology in the classroom and integrate it with everything we do,” she explains. “We see it as a critical tool for supporting teaching and learning.” To assist in technology planning, deployment and professional development, P.S. 152 brought in Custom Computer Specialists, a Long Island-based technology provider that specializes in large-scale technology implementations, IT consulting and Professional Development. Custom has been a New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) systems integrator for nearly 20 years.

Google Apps for Education Provide College and Career Readiness

Following Custom’s implementation of a state-of-the-art Mac lab , P.S. 152 worked with Custom to launch Google Apps for Education – the free, cloud-based productivity software that includes email, calendaring, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, website creation, discussion groups, file storage and other communication and collaboration features. “Google Apps for Education gives our students and teachers access to so many different tools that allow them to do things that we couldn’t dream of doing before,” says Maldonado-Salgado. “It allows us to develop a curriculum that emphasizes students college and career readiness.” For example, P.S. 152 students have been developing electronic portfolios that follow them through their school career. “We are having our students launch ePortfolios in the fourth grade, so you can see a progression of their work as they advance through middle and high school. The students have the ability to remove and add their work, so they’re empowered to make their own decisions, in compliance with Common Core.”

The tools have increased collaboration among students and communication among students and teachers. Compliance with the Children’s Internet Privacy Act (CIPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
(COPPA) brings relief to Maldonado-Salgado. “The teachers have been fantastic about maintaining electronic communication with the kids,” she notes. “The kids reach out and respond, and it’s private—there’s no fear
that someone unauthorized will see any of their communications or schoolwork.”

Professional Development Ties it All Together

The Google Apps for Education deployment included five days of professional development by Custom. “Our educators had a wide range of experience in integrating technology in the classroom,” says Maldonado-Salgado. “With so many new tools, it’s essential that everyone be on the same page in terms of knowledge and skills.” The initial training was so well received that Maldonado-Salgado invested in 56 additional days of professional development to cover a broader range of goals, including:

  • More in-depth training on Google Apps for Education, especially how to create, update, share and interact using document and website creating tools
  • Identifying the methodology to create ePortfolios, and implement ePortfolios in the classroom
  • Integrating iPads into the curriculum according to content area, and identify and evaluate appropriate iPad apps that correlate to Common Core standards
  • More effective use of existing interactive whiteboards

“When you do PD and training around technology, it’s different from regular PD,” notes Maldonado-Salgado. “It makes people uncomfortable because they worry that students will notice if they make mistakes, so they’re hesitant to take risks. Custom showed our teachers that it’s OK to be a risk taker.”


With the help of Custom’s seasoned technical and training experts, P.S. 152 modernized its student Mac lab, launched an iPad pilot and deployed Google Apps for Education school-wide. “Technology procurement and deployment tends to have a lot of red tape, which can sometimes be frustrating,” says Maldonado-Salgado. “But Custom stepped up to the plate, bringing in the experience and skills to navigate those issues and put all the pieces together.”

“Plus, they were able to create a professional development plan that empowered us to provide ongoing, peer-led training,” she continues. “Custom trainers had a great rapport with our teachers and got them excited to work with the technology.”

“Our technology implementations and professional development were a huge undertaking and we couldn’t have done it alone,” Maldonado-Salgado concludes. “The end results are worth all the effort.”