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"This Is Parkway" Digital Magazine

Project Parkway

Subcommitte 3/B/1 Essential Question:
Can the District's core technological infrastructure support the need for digital delivery of the District's curriculum?

9/28/2009: What data will be collected to reveal current reality?

What data will be collected to reveal current reality?

  • Review of current network infrastructure and usage.
  • What will be the anticipated technological expectations of the other Project Parkway Goal Committees, Focus Areas and Subcommittees?
  • Update the 2004 review of the technology equipment rooms in each school/building. What other subcommittee recommendations may impact physical space restrictions?
  • Review current and future data center physical space and environmental issues,
  • What are the current funding options available and future funds to be allocated for infrastructure project?
  • What student, staff and community collaboration techniques will be anticipated?
  • What is the anticipated impact of broadband wireless to Parkway?
  • What is the anticipated impact of 802-11n wireless access to Parkway?

3/1/2010: Key Findings

A. Positive Observations Revealed by the Data
  • Data Center: The equipment foot print has been sustained, within the physical constraints of the administration building, through various efforts.
    • Miniaturization of hardware components.
    • Virtualization of servers.
    • Conversion to new services which eliminates outdated hardware.
    • Relocation of hardware to other buildings.
  • The Parkway School District, including the Board of Education, strongly supports the use of technology to enhance classroom instruction as well as operational efficiencies.
  • Parkway has a mature 1 gigabyte network, with high availability (99%), which is currently able to handle instructional and operational demands. By owning the fiber, connecting all of the buildings, Parkway saves over $500,000 annually in carrier charges.
  • The Technology Department is effectively staffed, with highly qualified personnel, to address the current and near term technical needs of the district.
B. Identified Needs
  • The data center must be expanded, especially if additional or enhanced services are recommended. Areas of the raised floor need to be replaced and equipment racks moved to allow more work space around them.
  • School technology equipment rooms need to be upgraded and secured. New facilities must be established to address expansion or enhancement of existing services and deployment of new services.
    • Limited expansion is available in many data racks with several needing extensive renovation to accommodate expansion. Several schools are currently out of space for new drops and switches to support new drops.
    • Most switch rooms are used for storage of non-technology items (i.e. custodial supplies, tables, chairs, sporting equipment, etc.) which limits access to data racks and places the equipment at risks.
    • The lack of proper environmental conditions in the primary and auxiliary equipment rooms must be address to protect this huge investment.
    • Air conditioning and ventilation are inadequate in most primary equipment rooms and all of the auxiliary equipment rooms.
    • Primary equipment rooms require updated UPSs (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) with adequate power handling capacity for both Technology and essential infrastructure items, such as fire alarms and intercom systems. During a power outage, telephone switches will function on UPS, potentially for three hours.
  • As more critical and sensitive data becomes available, at the desktop, safe computing practices and access control must be enhanced.
    • Secure staff access must be enhanced while becoming less complex.
    • Awareness campaigns to encourage safe computing practices must be implemented and have been proven to be one of the most effective prevention measures.
    • Student access, to intranet and internet educational resources, needs to be available on a 24/7 basis as well as collaboration opportunities with staff and other students.
    • Parents need easier access to necessary data and resources, such as teacher web sites.
  • As instructional services and computing devices increase, the role of the building Computer Resource Specialists (CRSs) will become more critical, especially at the elementary level.
    • Selection of CRSs must become more than a building decision and candidates need to possess strong technical skills as a basic requirement.
    • All CRSs may need to be available for more than 9 months per year to address increases in equipment and prepare labs/pods/classrooms for start of school.
    • CRS time, spent on non-technology related activities, should be restricted to assure effective support of increasing classroom demands. Some CRS may spend as much as 3 hours a day on non-technology related activities.
C. (If Necessary) Additional Data Needed
  • Recommendations, from other subcommittees, may generate additional data collection activities for the Infrastructure Subcommittee.
D. Comments

The Infrastructure Subcommittee documented independent findings but will also be dependent on the needs assessments identified by other subcommittees. It is reasonable to assume that additional network functionality or services will be required. Any school district aspiring to deliver 21st century classrooms must first provide adequate bandwidth and associated infrastructure.

  • Physical space, electrical power, raised floor and other environmental restrictions continue to be an issue for the district data center. The equipment foot print has been sustained, within the physical constraints of the administration building, through various efforts. The replacement cost of the equipment in the data center is approximately $2,000,000.
  • School equipment rooms, which are not dedicated to technology, need to be upgraded and secured to sustain existing services and known growth. New facilities must be established to address expansion or enhancement of existing services and deployment of new services. The replacement costs, for each primary equipment room (secondary schools), are estimated to be $200,000 while elementary schools costs are $25,000. The total hardware investment, in all school equipment rooms (90) is approximately $3,000,000.
  • Information security awareness and access control must be enhanced for most users.
  • The role of the building CRSs will become more critical, especially at the elementary level, as more classroom instructional services and computing devices increase.

 Additional Comments:

  • Technology personnel are located in four different locations. There are productivity efficiencies to be gained by co-locating most individuals into one location.
  • Will physical dedicated space for storing, repairing and upgrading of computing devices, as well as support personnel, be necessary within each school?
  • Will the network backbone need to be increased from 1 gigabyte to 10 gigabytes?
  • Will the existing 250 megabyte internet connection need to be increased?
  • Will the bandwidth from the data rooms to the desktop need to be increased from 100 megabytes to 1 gigabyte? If so multi-mode fiber and copper, with little or no ability to handle 1 gigabyte traffic, will need to be replaced.
  • Will wireless need to be enhanced for an increased number of computing devices or different computing devices?
  • Will the wireless standard need to be converted from 802.11 G to 802.11 N?
  • Will 3G or 4G broadband wireless be a factor for some unique and isolated services?
  • Will continued connectivity to the fiber rings, in the event of a loss of the Administration Building, be necessary for business continuity?
  • Will files storage expansion be necessary to support instruction?