NJ district boosts bandwidth, learning

School districts throughout New Jersey continue to turn to fiber to cut voice and data costs and remove the bandwidth boundaries that have traditionally stifled connected learning opportunities. Optimum Lightpath®, provider of Ethernet-based communication solutions for New York metropolitan area businesses, today announced that River Dell Regional School District has used the company’s 100% fiber network and access to bandwidth to introduce new learning opportunities for its middle and high school.

River Dell Regional School District comprises 1,615 students, and 142 faculty and staff across its middle and high school, the latter of which was recently included in Newsweek's List of America's Best High Schools. When Director of Technology Marianthe Williams arrived at the school district a few years earlier, she quickly contacted Optimum Lightpath to take advantage of its cost-effective, scalable and highly reliable Ethernet-based services.

“I was an Optimum Lightpath customer in a previous district and knew that I could take advantage of the best service and value by working with them again to fulfill all of River Dell Regional School District’s telecommunications needs,” said Williams. “And while cost savings certainly factor into decision making for any project, it is ultimately the ability to improve student achievement that drives any project undertaken in the school. We needed to upgrade from our inadequate 3 mb bandwidth connection, which did not provide the students and teachers with the resources necessary to become 21stcentury learners. Today, we are in a situation where teachers and students can use Web2.0 technologies without limits.”

As a result of deploying Optimum Lightpath’s 100 mb Dedicated Internet Access from the Education Services Suite of products, River Dell Regional School District was able to introduce a variety of technology-infused programs and initiatives. Students are able to take advantage of a broad range of online digital resources and textbooks, while teachers can distribute assignments and work interactively with students. As a result of a one to one computing initiative, students and teachers are completely mobile, enabling students to submit coursework and assessments digitally without exchanging a single piece of paper. Math teachers take advantage of interactive white boards that are connected to tablet computers, students use Skype service to connect with other schools and student-produced programming on River Dell TV can stream via the Web for improved access. Finally, the classroom has become a student-centered environment that challenges student to author their own videos, documentaries, podcasts, music, pictures, book trailers, video essays and more.

In the middle school, interactive white boards are used in every classroom. The school also boasts five computer labs where computer engineering, literacy and music are taught, and students have access to an interactive library. Laptop carts also roam between classrooms, giving teachers the opportunity to enhance problem-based learning. In both the middle school and the high school, parents can log into a student information system for real-time updates on student performance and attendance.