The critical role superintendents can play in network upgrades

For almost every school district in the country, getting the right Internet network in place to support digital learning is not a simple task. In order to serve many users in many locations, a district network is much more complicated than a home network; and more expensive, too. But district leaders know that getting the network right is important for their students. With this in mind, EducationSuperHighway developed “Network Essentials for Superintendents,” an actionable guide to help district leaders get started with successful network upgrades.

Since we began pursuing our mission of upgrading America’s K-12 school networks in 2012, we have spoken to hundreds of districts about their networks. We have visited and heard stories from all across the country – from districts facing challenges with broadband availability, broadband pricing, and network reliability and maintenance. We’ve spoken with districts with small budgets and large budgets; with three schools and 30 schools; and with many service provider options as well as with none. Nationwide, we’ve been impressed with the determination that district leaders and staff have shown to connect their students, despite the obstacles.

One important takeaway that we have seen in all of the districts we’ve encountered is the importance of superintendent involvement. Effective network improvement projects are complex, and require educational alignment, careful budgeting, and stakeholder management to be successful. As with all major district initiatives, superintendents play a crucial role in making sure that the money and time spent on the network is spent efficiently – and for the ultimate benefit of students. “Network Essentials” will help superintendents understand what the biggest financial and technical options are during a network upgrade, and which decision points are most important.

Every page of the guide is informed by the work that district professionals are doing every day to bring technology to their schools and greater opportunity to their students. “Network Essentials” makes the best practices we’ve seen across districts available – and actionable – for all districts to benefit from.

The complete “Network Essentials for Superintendents” guide is available for download here. Stay tuned for a highlight on bandwidth planning next week.