Ensuring broadband connectivity
Similar to internet connection and usage for homeowners, the District, too, is charged internet connection fees and monthly usage rates. The work outlined in the last referendum to increase internet connection to 100 megabytes for all six secondary schools has been completed. Since that time, the District's Instructional Technology Plan has dramatically increased access to and availability of student and teacher devices as integral components of daily teaching and learning. Currently, all secondary teachers have been issued an internet accessible mobile device and high school core content teachers have been provided class sets of fifteen mobile devices. Middle school core content teachers are scheduled to receive their class sets of fifteen mobile devices in the spring of 2015.
At the high school level alone, the District has deployed approximately 2,000 additional mobile devices in the last year, allowing teachers to infuse technology into instruction in a meaningful and purposeful manner. As the number of internet dependent devices increases, greater demands are placed on available bandwidth. Even with the District taking proactive measures to conserve bandwidth by installing caching servers and prioritization software, bandwidth demands peaked throughout the course of day, at times causing the inability to access online learning resources. To ensure that students and teachers can take full advantage of the instructional technology, the District is in the process of increasing all three high schools' internet connection beyond 100 megabytes.
As the District’s five-year Instructional Technology Plan continues to evolve, mobile devices for teachers and students will be deployed into elementary schools. Currently, all nine elementary schools are operating on a 10 megabyte connection. Even though appropriate, pro-active bandwidth conservation measures will be taken, the District anticipates that several, if not all, elementary schools will require additional bandwidth beyond their current 10 megabyte connections in the very near future.
In the past, the District has taken advantage of eRate funds to defray the cost of internet connections and usage. Currently, eRate allowances are being modified at the federal and state levels that may result in the District bearing significantly greater internet connection and usage costs beginning in the 2015.16 school year.