Tate County School District Technology Department has recently experienced rapid growth due to funds acquired through Title, ARRA, E2T2, and School Improvement. This influx of equipment affected the infrastructure of our district and required immediate attention to current technology, software, infrastructure and bandwidth. The Technology Director and staff are committed to building and maintaining the infrastructure of the Tate County School District to a network that will support the goals of our district and provide the pathway for future technology applications.
Bandwidth and WAN Upgrades
Each of our school sites are connected to our district office through Metro Ethernet 100 Mbps optical fiber provide by AT&T. This move allowed us to consolidate some of our applications, aid in the sharing of data, and gave us a cleaner, and more efficient WAN backbone. This move also allowed us to upgrade our Internet and Network capacity 10-fold with virtually no additional cost. This move was made possible through E-Rate funds in 2010. Currently we are connected to the Internet through a recently upgraded 100 megabit pipe provided by MDE. This will allow fast consistent access to media rich content from the web and will allow us to prepare for online testing and assessments which have replaced paper assessments.
The district has used federal funds and made major investments into interactive classroom systems. These systems have provided many students and staff with access to projectors, interactive whiteboards, voting devices, document cameras, and many other classroom learning system. The district desires to expand the usage and purchase of these systems and is our vision to see an interactive learning system in every classroom. Currently, the district has about ceiling-mounted projectors and interactive whiteboards in about 90 classrooms which cover most of our tested areas.
Network Backbone Replaced
In the Summer of 2013, the school district performed a major network overhaul. The IT Director, Brandon Goodwin, lead the charge and worked with vendors to plan and implement the install. All copper lines and network jacks were replaced and network
capacity was increased. Out-dated cabling was replaced and all buildings are now connected with multiple strands of modern fiber optic cabling. The district replaced all network hardware and implemented a robust network of roughley 100 gigabit network switches.
Wireless Network Infrastructure
In February of 2014, the distirct also implemented a new state-of-the-art wireless network infrastructure to compliment the hard-wired cable network. Wireless access points have been placed throughout the district covering every classroom with wireless access to the the network. This allows mobile devices such as, Laptops, chromebooks, ipads, and tablets to connect to the Internet. Internet is now accessible through these devices from any classroom in the district.
IP Security Camera System
In the Spring of 2015, TCSD implemented a modern IP security camera solution at 2 of its high school campuses. The district was able to cut costs and provide a very sophisticated camera system by sub-contracting and coordinating the installation and configuration. The IP camera system was designed for future accomodations of more cameras as needed. With its new infrastructure, no longer is camera capacity dictated by the number of free ports in a stand-alone DVR system. The current system can store about 8 months of video and has capacity and redundancy built in for future installations.
IP VoIP Phone System
Utilizing E-Rate funds, the district will also replace its archaic, outdated telephone system with a modern VoIP solution using current network capacity. Just like the cameras, a telephone set can easily be added and maintained by plugging into an existing network jack. The new VoIP solution will have many more features and options than the old system and will save the district on labor costs to maintain as well as cut the phone bill nearly in half.
Hard work and dedication by TCSD staff has allowed the district's access to technology to be greatly improved. These major projects have paved the road for new technology implementations for years to come. The cable network carries a 25-year manufacturer's warranty and the network switches and wireless access points all carry lifetime warranties.
5 years ago, the distict's network was in very bad shape. None of the schools could communicate with each other and they could barely access the internet through a very small connection. There were only a handful of projectors then and a wireless network was unheard of. We are definitely moving in the right direction.