Kenton County School District

100-2,499 Employees
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“Avaya's responsive service is one of the main reasons that our Wi-Fi network is reaching its goals.”

—Chris Setters, District Technology Coordinator, Kenton County School District

Benefits

Increased Productivity
Network Scalability
Reduce Cost

TURNING WIFI AND INTERNET RESOURCES INTO POWERFUL EDUCATIONAL TOOLS

Avaya Wi-Fi Enables District’s Vision of a Device in Every Child’s Hand

The Kenton County School District, which encompasses greater Cincinnati and rural parts of Northern Kentucky, is a long-time innovator in using technology to augment K-12 classroom environments. Its Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative is connecting students at all grade levels with Internet-based resources to support and enhance learning.

Chris Setters, Kenton County District Technology Coordinator, is in charge of all information technology in the district. That includes ensuring that the multi-campus wireless network can handle the mobile computing demands of its 17,400 students, spread out across three high schools, four middle schools, and 11 elementary schools.

“At any given time, there will be 10,000 wireless devices connected to our network,” Setters explains.

He needed a reliable, affordable wireless infrastructure that would grow with the district and accommodate evolving technology needs. He found just that solution in Avaya.

“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,” Setters 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.”

CHALLENGES

  • Meet the wireless needs of 17,400 students
  • Support the evolving technology needs of the District
  • Enable the District’s BYOD initiative

VALUE CREATED

  • A Wi-Fi network better engineered to support future instructional decisions
  • An easy-to-install, cost-effective network that saves taxpayer money
  • Enhanced access to information and opportunities for students

Partnering with Avaya for Value and Service

When the district first rolled out its BYOD strategy, the goal was to deploy a wireless infrastructure that could handle growth spurts and fit within the district’s budget.

Setters and his team required granular and up-to-the-minute reporting on the number and types of smartphones and tablets being used. They didn’t want to purchase new access points (APs) unless reporting trends indicated a sustained increase in traffic, rather than just a temporary blip.

The comprehensive reporting capability of Avaya Wireless LAN Orchestration System provides real-time details on which devices are linked to given APs at a specific time, allowing Setters to more efficiently allocate his inventory of APs to the right hot spots. It also helps keep the district within its IT budget.

“With the Avaya reporting software I can update my Superintendent and Board Members once a month,” notes Setters. “This data is critical in helping us monitor the network and intelligently plan for new situations.”

After the initial deployment, Setters was excited to have a scalable base for enabling students and staff to use their personal smartphones, tablets and computers.

A Successful Wi-Fi Implementation

The ability of the Avaya Wi-Fi network to handle the unexpected was put to the test almost immediately with a surge in devices on the network following the holiday gift-giving season.

“Following one year-end holiday period, we noticed an unusual burst in traffic, traced to several hundred Amazon Kindles brought into classrooms for the first time,” explains Setters. “We were ready though. Avaya had advised us to keep the network accessible to new devices and usage patterns.”

In another example, Setters 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, Setters rapidly developed a cost-effective design to build out the infrastructure to guarantee high-quality service for the event.

“With Avaya’s help, our student BYOD gathering was a success with no congestion issues reported,” recounts Setters.

Setters also comments, “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.”

Richer Educational Experience within Budget

At the outset, the District’s goal was Wi-Fi access in select areas. That has since evolved into ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage, enabling Kenton County to put a device into the hands of every student.

“We are huge proponents of BYOD. We would like one day to provide every student, regardless of income level, with access to mobile Internet services in Kenton County classrooms,” Setters explains. “That’s why we’re really focusing on the infrastructure, so that whatever instructional decisions are made, we have the backbone network to support them.”

To achieve this goal, Setters upgraded the entire Wi-Fi network to Avaya Wireless LAN 9100. He is appreciating the faster speed enabled by the WLAN 9100 Series and the improved coverage.

“One of the big advantages of Avaya WLAN 9100 APs is an even wider coverage area than we had before,” says Setters. “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.”

Setters considers himself a steward of the taxpayers’ money and is always looking for ways to save it. That’s why he and his team of just three technicians installed 1,000 WLAN 9100 APs in every classroom in Kenton County themselves.

“It’s such an easy product to install, we were able to do it ourselves and save the taxpayers some money,” Setters says.

Additional cost savings enabled by the Avaya Wi-Fi deployment are being used to further the District’s goal of a 1:1 student per device ratio.

“To put a device in every child’s hand we will have to purchase some devices for those children with special financial needs. Now, with the money Avaya has saved us, the district will be able to afford that on a limited basis,” says Setters.

Recently, Setters and his team have purchased 600 Chromebooks and more than 100 iPads for students who can’t bring their own devices. In addition, when administrators are issued new cell phones, the old phones are distributed to classrooms for use as devices to browse the Internet.

“Not only is this a good way to recycle, it gets us closer to that 1:1 ratio,” comments Setters.

"We are huge proponents of BYOD. We would like one day to provide every student with access to mobile Internet services in Kenton County classrooms. That’s why we’re really focusing on the infrastructure, so that whatever instructional decisions are made, we have the backbone network to support them."

—Chris Setters, District Technology Coordinator, Kenton County School District

Enabling Student Success

The Kenton County School District will soon deploy all new Avaya switches, further enhancing the ability of its Wi-Fi network to meet technology needs well into the future. And today, students have access to information and learning resources that make the world a smaller place and prepare them to contribute in the global economy.

“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 Wi-Fi network is reaching its goals,” concludes Setters.

About Kenton County School District

The Kenton County School District customizes learning for each student through research-based teaching methods and thorough analysis of student performance data. As a result, student progress is closely monitored to challenge students performing above grade level, and to intervene for those performing below grade level. For more information, please visit http://www.kenton.kyschools.us

CUSTOMER PROFILE
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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.”

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  • Vicki Fields

  • Kenton County School District