While some teens spent the summer earning extra money with part-time jobs at the mall, a few of their peers gained experience while helping the Upper Arlington City Schools save money on technology projects.

While some teens spent the summer earning extra money with part-time jobs at the mall, a few of their peers gained experience while helping the Upper Arlington City Schools save money on technology projects.

Through the Tech YES (Youth Employment for the Summer) program, five students installed new projectors in classrooms and performed other audio and video system installations. Three of the students worked full-time, while the other two served as substitutes during absences.

One of the most helpful tasks the students performed was taking inventory of old computers and helping set up new ones, said Jeff Collett, the district's director of operational technology. He reported to the board of education at its Sept. 14 meeting.

"It was amazing to see what took me two weeks to accomplish (last year), they knocked out in two days," Collett said.

With the students' help, the number of new projectors installed throughout the district is 220. Since each projector would have cost about $405 to be installed by an outside company, the district saved an estimated $89,000 by having the students perform the work, Collett said.

Projectors couldn't be installed in some classrooms because of construction projects at Greensview and Barrington elementary schools.

"Barrington had the most amount of that," he said.

Projector installations will continue when the construction projects are completed by year's end, Collett said.

"By next year, we'll be able to say we have a projector in every classroom," he said.

The Tech YES program was such a success that, upon completion, the students asked to return, Collett said.

"They were asking toward the end of the summer, 'Can we come back next year?'" he said.

In addition to the work that the students performed, the district also recently completed an upgrade to its telecommunications network that will enable videoconferencing and wireless technology.

"We got all the new networking equipment in with only six days of disruption to the buildings," Collett said.

Board member Robert Arkin said the technology upgrades have increased efficiency for teachers and students alike.

"I've heard less complaints from teachers and students throughout the district about technology capabilities," Arkin said. "It seems like we've made some real strides in terms of hardware and software."