By Jonathan Briggs, Director of Strategy, Technology, and Innovation

Eastside Prep has migrated through many technology paradigms, both as technology expectations increased and as our student population grew from our initial sixteen students to 530.


Our website launched in March 2003, introducing the Seattle area to a new school with aspirations to become the school we all know today. Our technology was run by an assortment of parents, grandparents, and contractors with Karen Mills managing day-to-day items. We had no projectors, four different Wi-Fi networks, and only the teachers had laptops. Each teacher had their own web domain where they posted some class materials. All final grades, checklists (the early version of progress reports), were written in Word, printed, and hand sorted into envelopes. An easy task when you had less than two dozen students. The following year, we were able to put a projector into the science classroom and begin using a portion of the top floor of the Middle School.

[2005-2008] TECH DIRECTOR

In March 2005, I was hired as the first Director of Technology and was tasked with researching tablet PCs, which were to be supplied to our first-ever Upper School students. Those twenty machines were graciously donated by the Levinger-Poole family for student and Upper School faculty use. In summer 2005, we ran fiber optics to connect to the original Upper School building. We also built EPSnet, which was a light learning management system built on SharePoint.

With eighty students, the fall term checklists process proved too onerous and Four11 was born. At that time, Four11 did nothing more than record and sort end-of-term comments, collate them, and print out a copy per family. Still, that saved a lot of time and reduced errors. We continue to use portions of that original code today. The next year brought in a digital directory of students, courses, classrooms, and advisors into Four11. Today Four11 houses everything from Gallup strengths and daily schedules to college counseling information.


Up until summer 2008, the school bought old technology equipment on eBay and cobbled it together to connect the school. Dr. Macaluso asked me to put together a three-year plan for upgrading the technology infrastructure. But, as often happens at EPS, she was able to raise the funds quickly and we proceeded to do the three-year plan in one summer. That brought proper Wi-Fi to the school, projectors in all classrooms, new enterprise grade network switches, and an upgrade from Small Business Server to Essential Business Server on four new servers. We also needed help getting everything installed and support for our increasingly large student base. Jack Nolan started with us July 2008 and instantly made himself an indispensable resource to students and staff fixing computers, computer labs, projectors, and printers. That busy summer set us up well for our first year having all eight grades on campus and our inaugural accreditation. It was also a major leap in technology performance and stability at the


In 2011, the tech team expanded to three, with Jennifer Cross, to cover website edits and help organizing TEDxEastsidePrep (which would continue through 2017). We also migrated our emailto Office365, becoming one of the first schools to do so. The Middle School was watching the computer use of the Upper School and was confident that its students could handle the responsibility of having a laptop. Laptops were rolled out to the Middle School in fall 2012 in conjunction with the adoption of Canvas as our learning management system (replacing EPSnet). EPS was among the first dozen K-12 schools worldwide to adopt Canvas and still holds the record for the fastest and most thorough transition and implementation.

2012 also marked the beginning of Makerspaces at EPS when we added a laser cutter to our fabrication studio (makerspace wasn’t really a word back then). 2013 brought an EBC Week experience—Make@EPS—which added more tools to our Makerspace (a second 3D printer, our vinyl cutter, and plenty of Arduinos).

2013 was our inaugural robotics team (FTC 8103) run by parent volunteer Gunnar Mein (who we would later hire as a tech teacher). 2015 would bring on Middle School First Lego League as well. This last year (2021-2022), EPS had three FTC and three FLL teams running.

2014 began the implementation of our Middle School tech courses, BOTZ, MAKE, and WEB. We had been teaching web design to eighth graders for a few years and now that the Middle School students had laptops as well, the program was able to expand. The program was fully rolled out, grades five through nine, for the 2015-2016 school year.  The tech team also expanded once more to cover our expanding infrastructure with Roger Mack. Gunnar would also sign on to teach some of our new MS tech courses.


The TMAC building brought a new home for the tech office, a purpose-built Makerspace, and an additional tech team member—Derek Clarke. The student response to the Makerspace was impressive as was the after-school use by the robotics teams, and a year later, Fusor Team which wrapped up this past summer (2022). EPSchedule was also created by Gavin Uberti (EPS Class of 2020) in 2015 and it continues on as an open-source, student-run project.

With the new space in the TMAC, we were also able to expand our student tech-intern program, which gets computers ready for new students, does tech maintenance on classrooms, and occasionally builds software such as the guest management system and our digital signage system. There was also the beginning of the scanning electron microscope project (2016) and the electric car project (2017). In 2017, we hired Jannell Denhart to better manage the flow of information around campus—now she also manages all of our infrastructure and Microsoft 365.

2015 also brought OneNote class notebooks to Canvas and EPS began using them immediately to enhance classes.


2018 brought on the TALI building, our largest building project, which required more network upgrades to both equipment and cabling. All buildings on campus were upgraded to 10gig connections and our servers moved into their new server closet in the LPC second floor.

Additionally, our Makerspace was getting so much use that we built a makerspace in the Middle School that was purposely focused on that age group. That Makerspace continues to be a favorite destination for students during study hall and after school.


COVID brought many challenges to the education world and EPS met them head-on, leveraging its built-up foundation of technology. In 2020, we launched classes on Microsoft Teams, outfitted classrooms with cameras and microphones, and moved the whole school community to various forms of remote and hybrid instruction and connection.
While it will never be anyone’s favorite era, it was one to be proud of as everyone dug deep and faced challenges to develop creative solutions.

2022 also brought us a new Middle School. The Middle School Makerspace is back online and our teachers have pen-input TVs with video conferencing capabilities. Functionality that would probably be another five years out if it weren’t for the accelerating effects of the COVID lockdowns.

New for 2022-2023 will be some additional tech courses and the launch of EPS R&D, which will support students in forming teams to engineer solutions to problems; directly tying to our vision of inspiring students to create a better world. There will also be an upgraded Wi-Fi system and improvements to existing software projects. All of which felt like huge endeavors in 2008, but now are routine.