Kenton County School District

100-2,499 Employees
Team Engagement

Team engagement is the magic that happens when everyone in your workforce is connected effortlessly to the mission, to each other and to customers. When it works you feel it in your culture and on your balance sheet—and your customers feel it most. Barriers disappear. Productivity rises. Our team engagement solutions get you there.

Kenton County Schools

Benefits

Increased Productivity
Network Scalability
Reduce Cost

TURNING WIFI AND INTERNET RESOURCES INTO POWERFUL EDUCATIONAL TOOLS

Background

The challenge of keeping Kenton County ahead of the curve falls to Vicki Fields, the District Technology Coordinator. Fields is in charge of information technology in the district, including all hardware and software purchases. It’s also part of her job to make sure the multi-campus wireless network can handle the mobile computing demands of its 14,700 students, spread out across 3 high schools, 4 middle schools, and 11 elementary schools.
 
To achieve the district’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy, Fields set out to identify and deploy a wireless infrastructure that could both handle growth spurts and fit within the district’s budget.
 
Fields and her team needed granular and up-to-the-minute reporting on the number and types of smartphones and tablets being used. She considers herself a steward of the taxpayers’ money, and would rather not purchase new access points (APs) unless reporting trends indicated a sustained increase in traffic, rather than just a temporary blip.
 
“We want the taxpayers to know that we’re saving them money,” emphasizes Fields. ”We’re just not out there randomly buying access points and installing extra cabling unless there’s a proven need.”
 
Fields realized that it made good financial sense to install a Gigabit Ethernet Switching Infrastructure with support for the Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard. That way, Kenton County could lay down only one high-bandwidth wire in its buildings to provide both communications and DC power.
 

Challenges

• Meet the growing needs of nearly 15,000 wireless-enabled students
• Enable teachers to utilize media-rich resources from the Internet
• Identify high-traffic areas in the schools; quickly deploy new access points as needed
• Control spending on wireless hardware; make new purchases only when justified

Value Created

• Network scalability and flexibility, supported by granular reports showing devices used as well
       as traffic hot-spots in the schools
• Wider coverage area versus other systems, providing excellent signals with fewer drops, resulting
       in lower cost per end user and lower total cost of ownership
• Rich media resources for students and teachers, using a wide range of familiar devices
• Improved compliance with federal, district, and parental standards for use of Internet by students

Partnering with Avaya for value and service

 
“I was already impressed by the service and pricing we had received from Avaya in the past, so when it was time to set up the initial cable plant for the district’s buildings, we again turned to Avaya,” Fields says.
 
“I appreciated the kind of service their people provided, and I knew their expertise in technology for education would be very helpful to us.”
 
Fields adds, “At the time of the initial deployment, we weren’t really sure of the number of devices that were going to be brought into the building, so we went sparingly at first, knowing that we had all of the data drops we needed. We designed 10 to 15 percent additional capacity for growth.”
 
Kenton County initially deployed the Avaya Wireless LAN 2300 Series and then migrated to their next generation Wireless LAN 8100 Series. Each of the Wireless LAN 8100 Controllers supports 512 Access Points, which in turn, can handle up to 16 separate Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs).
 
Fields comments, “One of the big advantages of Avaya’s access points for us is their wider coverage area versus other systems. We can get an excellent signal in our larger rooms with fewer drops. This results in lower cost per end user and lower total costs over time, which is extremely important for a school system.”
 
After the initial deployment, Fields was excited to have a scalable base for enabling students and staff to use their personal smartphones and tablet computers.
 

“I was already impressed by the service and pricing we had received from Avaya in the past, so when it was time to set up the initial cable plant for the district’s buildings, we again turned to Avaya. I appreciated the kind of service their people provided, and I knew their expertise in technology for education would be very helpful to us.”

 
Vicki Fields, District Technology Coordinator
 Kenton County School District

Handling the unexpected

As a trailblazer in education, Fields was learning key lessons about student and faculty habits and how they impacted the wireless network.
 
For example, holiday season can be tricky for Kenton County School District, with students bringing in a large number of brand new devices. Following one year-end holiday period, Fields’ team noticed an unusual burst in traffic, traced to several hundred Amazon Kindles brought into classrooms for the first time. Fields, though, was ready. Avaya had previously advised Kenton’s IT group on keeping the network accessible to new devices and usage patterns.
 
Fields commented, “Avaya helped us determine how best to accommodate network surges, and they coached us on how to selectively restrict access in order to conform to the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act. Our network handles additional traffic and new student gadgets without glitches, or any complaints from parents.”
 
What is the ultimate driver behind network usage? Teachers. Kenton County’s faculty regularly explores new applications and content on the Internet, most of which are free or very low-cost. For example, Apple announced it would be offering a new iBook option, which lets teachers customize rich-media classroom content.
 
Teachers will be taking advantage of this new iBook feature in the coming year. Kenton County will be ready for the increased demand on bandwidth. There are currently almost 300 Avaya Wireless LAN 8100 Series Access Points, covering the district’s 900 classrooms and other spaces. With spare capacity built into the network design, Kenton County School District is in a good position to handle this initiative in stride.
 
Recently, Fields was given a mere ten days’ notice to prepare for a school event that entailed 1,000 students bringing in mobile devices to use simultaneously in several district auditoriums. Tapping the Avaya support team, Fields rapidly developed a cost-effective design to build-out the infrastructure to guarantee high-quality service for the event.
 
“I relied on Avaya to determine how close we can put access points to get the best performance,” says Fields. “With Avaya’s help, our student BYOD gathering was a success with no congestion issues reported.”
 

Richer educational experience within budget

Fields has found this to be an exciting time for K-12 schools, as education professionals learn to creatively combine the huge content resources of the Internet with a new generation of low-cost devices. By leveraging students’ personal devices, Fields helps save money for the district. “Avaya is an important part of what we’ve been able to achieve using resources from the Internet. Their responsive service is one of the main reasons that our WiFi network is reaching its goals.”
 
Avaya has also helped the district keep within its IT budget through a more comprehensive reporting system for providing details on which devices are linked to given access points at a specific time. With this information, Fields can more efficiently allocate her inventory of access points to the right hot-spots.
 
”With the Avaya reporting software I can update my Superintendent and Board Members once a month,” notes Fields. “This data is critical in helping us monitor the network and intelligently plan for new situations.”
 
Kenton County’s BYOD and WiFi initiatives are helping students learn more, and at their own pace. For example, students who are shy or uncomfortable asking questions in class have the option to access Google from their iPad or other device to find answers to questions they may have.
 
In the near future, the school district would like to provide every student, regardless of income level, access to mobile Internet services in Kenton County classrooms. “Two years from now, we hope to be able to put a device in every child’s hand,” says Fields. “We will have to purchase some for those children with special financial needs, but with the money Avaya has saved us, the district will be able to afford that on a limited basis.”
 

Learn More

For more information contact your Avaya Account Manager or a member of the Avaya Connect Channel Partner Program, or access other collaterals by clicking on Resource Library at www.avaya.com.
 

"One of the big advantages of Avaya’s access points for us is their wider coverage area versus other systems. We can get an excellent signal in our larger rooms with fewer drops. This results in lower cost per end user and lower total costs over time, which is extremely important for a school system.”
 
Vicki Fields, District Technology Coordinator
Kenton County School District
 

 

 

CUSTOMER PROFILE
Kenton County Logo
  • Headquarters:

  • United States

The Kenton County School District, which encompasses greater Cincinnati and rural parts of Northern Kentucky, is a long-time innovator in using technology to enhance K-12 classroom environments. The district’s leadership has actively encouraged its teachers and students to explore educational use of the Internet. On a typical day in Kenton County Schools, it’s not unusual to find students researching history assignments from their smartphone browsers or math instructors using Web-based graphing tools as part of their lectures.

What our Customers are saying
“One of the big advantages of Avaya’s access points for us is their wider coverage area versus other systems.”

Read more testimonials >
  • Vicki Fields

  • Kenton County School District