Bloom Township District 206 Technology
about 1 year ago
By Andrew Schmitt
Bloom Twp District 206 Technology Department is proud to support our students and staff with a World Class Cisco Network. Every great connection starts with a solid and reliable infrastructure. Since 2011, Bloom Twp District 206 has been able to win over 2.1M in Federal E-Rate Funding to acquire hardware, services, and telecom. We have been able to successfully implement a network of Routers, Layer 1 and 2 Switches, High-speed Fiber connecting cabinets in each area of the buildings, and Cat 5 and 6 cabling to our end user devices. In 2017, we completed a two year project to install 278 Cisco Meraki Cloud-Managed Wifi Access Points, which ensures that every classroom can provide at least 3 devices per user. Whether wireless or through media, AT&T channels 2 Gigabytes of Managed Internet Service into the District and a 1 Gigabyte pathway connecting Bloom High School to Bloom Trail High School with 100 percent reliability, other than environmental electrical issues. We have also incorporated a Best Practice Layered approach to Network Security, with the use of a Cisco ASA as our Firewall, Cisco Umbrella as our Web Filter, and Microsoft Endpoint protecting our user computers. Our phone system is also part of our IP Network which allows for call handling and voicemail to go directly to staff email.
Our District maintains over 2,000 pcs which include 10 full-sized computer labs and a library complemented with computers in each high school. Our teachers are able to enhance their lessons with the use of our 21st Century Classrooms, which are equipped with desktop computers, teacher Chromebooks, overhead projectors, document cameras, and interactive whiteboards.
In 2013, the District adopted Google Apps for Education as our student and staff email, calendars, word processing, spreadsheets, data storage, and sharing. Google Classroom is a paperless solution which allows for our Teachers to create assignments, share, put into student calendars, and grade. All this can be done on our over 3000 District owned Chromebooks which are securely stored in Chromebook Carts in classrooms for student use on a daily basis bringing us close to a 1-1 collaboration with students, teachers, and devices. The District also has a “Bring Your Own Device Policy”, which allows students to pull up their student email, assignments, documents, and calendars on their personal tablets and phones.
We have also made great strides in staying connected with our community. This is done with our PowerSchool Student Information System, where parents and students can see their grades and assignments in real-time. Powerschool also has an all-call system to send messages over voice, email, sms, and since 2015, allows for Online Student Registration so we can get the best possible data on our students and make timely connections to our parents. We maintain 3 District websites showing school news and events and a separate 8 to 18 website showing Athletics. Bloom Twp District 206 also connects to the community with the use of our own District 206 App, which has a 24/7 Tipline. There are also numerous social media accounts sharing student news, activities, and documents. Dr. Navarre also personally updates current events on his Superintendent Twitter Account.
Our Human Resources Department leverages the power of Frontline Education. This is done with two software applications. Absence Management is an automated way to fill teacher/staff absences. While AppliTrack is used to post and allow for online applications, and internal routing of application process for interview screening. Other departments such as Treasury, daily use other online applications and resources through our secure bandwidth. Our buildings are also monitored 24/7 by over 200 cameras while heating and cooling units are also connected to our network.
All of this could not be maintained if it wasn’t for skilled people. Our department has over 60 years of experience in networking, computer and server repair, and professional development. Our goal has always been to stay ahead of the curve and make tough decisions based on fiscal and current trends. During this last decade, we have been able to make these significant changes while cutting the budget by one third. Our goal is to continue to provide the tools for our Administration, Teachers, and Parents to provide the best possible opportunities to our students.