Statewide mandate prompts Connecticut district to upgrade network

Comcast Corporation today announced that it is providing Metro Ethernet Services to the Farmington, Conn. Public School District, which includes seven schools and more than 4,000 students.

Comprising four elementary schools, one high school, and two middle schools, the Farmington Public School District prides itself on its high achievement record, with more than 90 percent of its high school graduates continuing to two- or four-year colleges. The district also consistently earns a place on the lists of national publications as a highly effective district.

When the school first learned that Connecticut was moving towards the goal of offering online test taking for all students by the 2014-2015 school year, it needed to quickly look into new options to uphold its standards while maintaining the budget.

“Our objective has always been to help our students develop a passion for literature, math, science and history, no matter how the information is delivered – be it a printed page or via a portable device,” said Ted Lindquist, Director of Technology for Farmington Public Schools, who is currently testing the use of thin clients to replace a substantial number of the school’s existing desktop computers in the classroom. “The world is changing, and we want our children to be able to consume data in whatever way works best for them, so that they are better prepared for the technologies they will use when they enter the workforce. Having a state-wide goal to work towards was only one factor that led us to explore new technologies, but it certainly helped to expedite the process.”

With a tech-savvy student body, Farmington Public Schools needed to ensure that its online educational tools for teachers, students and their parents were accessible 24/7, regardless of whether they were in study hall, the library, or logging in from home. Approximately 92 percent of Farmington students in grades 7-12 regularly check grades and homework assignments online through PowerSchool, and the school’s E-Friday Folder program allows all notices to be emailed to parents, reducing a significant amount of copying and saving both dollars and time.

In short, much of the work of the district – from its educational, budgeting, and attendance tracking, to grading and other essential programs – is currently being housed online. And since the district also utilizes Discovery Learning online streaming video, it also needed a network provider that would offer higher bandwidth at an economical price.

“We may be called ‘a public school’ by most standards, but we think that a more accurate description is that we are ‘the public’s school’ – and this means that every dime being used towards technology cannot come at the expense of our students’ education,” continued Lindquist. “In order to continue providing our community with the very best, then, we needed to find a happy medium when it came to how we would actually make this happen. Comcast delivered a proposal right away, well within our budget, and we were able to switch to the new network without a single moment of downtime.”

The Farmington Public School District is now using Comcast Business Services’ Ethernet Network Service (ENS), which connects all buildings and provides access to all of the web-based services that the school’s students, parents and teachers have come to rely on every day.