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How a Small Colorado District Upgraded its Network

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Though for many school districts, slow download speeds in classrooms serve as the impetus for a network upgrade, there are many reasons district leaders strive to revamp their broadband infrastructure. For Lewis-Palmer School District #38 in Colorado, it was clear that even if the district had sufficient bandwidth today, building the strongest possible network at the most affordable possible costs could only help its students and staff both now and in the future.

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Assessing Affordability and Beginning Modernization

After using Compare & Connect K-12 and evaluating their pricing information, Lewis-Palmer’s technology team, saw that the district was paying far more for their internet access than neighboring districts of a similar size were paying. The question then became: for what Lewis-Palmer was paying, were they getting the most value they possibly could?

The broadband itself was sufficient for the number of devices they had now, but what if they wanted to use more devices? Or if they expanded their curriculum and professional development programs to include greater use of digital tools? As it stood, the district did not yet have universal Wi-Fi, and the Wi-Fi they did have was not as robust or reliable as they would have liked.

It was clear to Lewis-Palmer School District that though the urgency of a bandwidth upgrade may not be felt now, it would certainly be felt in the near future – and it was better to start the process rather than to wait for the situation to become urgent. Before the upgrade, Lewis-Palmer was at 500 Mbps at a cost of $3,800 per month, and now has 1 Gbps at $2,750 per month.

“I have found initiatives work best if done slowly, and without a mandate.”

In addition to pursuing increased bandwidth, the LPSD tech team gradually rolled out upgrades to their internal networks. The district upgraded its secondary schools first and then moved to the elementary schools. The upgrade sparked increased device use in a few early adopters, for whom the team provided training and support. As others saw the results those early adopters were enjoying in the classroom, the usage of digital tools grew slowly but surely. Now, after a considerable spike in demand for devices, the district does almost everything through Google apps, and staff members are beginning to explore Canvas as well.

Having a more robust broadband infrastructure has fostered a sense of innovation in Lewis-Palmer’s teachers, and not just in traditional subjects. Teachers of art and P.E. have taken advantage of the opportunity to use digital tools to enhance their students’ education.

Creating Staff Development Opportunities

Expanding a district’s broadband network can have significant benefits not only for students, but for staff as well. The district is leveraging the increased connectivity to explore expanding online and blended learning opportunities to facilitate anytime, anywhere learning for staff as well as students.

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