How One School District Is Making Technology Invisible
The San Leandro Unified School District is dedicated to providing a comprehensive, innovative educational program to all of its students. The district employs 450 teachers and serves 8,800 students across eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, and one alternative high school. It also serves 5,000 adult students in its adult school. However, the district’s technology needed to catch up with the times in order to provide a modern learning environment. When Superintendent Dr. Michael McLaughlin arrived in the district, he encountered an antiquated infrastructure with poor performance, a sub-par wireless network, and a lack of focus on integrating curriculum with technology.
“These are tools and skills that students need today,” said McLaughlin. “If they don’t understand technology, we’re failing them. It goes way beyond simply having student laptops and online testing. We want to get to the point where the technology isn’t talked about, where you don’t have to worry about the network or WiFi in the background. In fact, I want to get us to a point where technology is not part of my strategic plan.”
Requirements for a New Infrastructure
For the San Leandro School district, the first step forward was putting an infrastructure in place that could support everything required for 21st-century learning. The existing network was built on 10/100 Mbps switches and low-speed OM1 fiber connections. It was unable to deliver the performance needed today to support 1:1 learning or high numbers of concurrent users, much less future requirements. In addition, the school planned to connect to the city’s new fiber loop, but without high-speed connectivity across the district, the benefits of that connection couldn’t be realized.