The District’s infrastructure provides the foundation necessary to support current technology as well as be able to grow with future increased demands. There is a clear increase in the dependency of technology and technology systems and the current infrastructure must be able to adapt and grow with the needs of the district. The network requires the bandwidth capacity to deliver all services and meet the needs of all schools.
To provide optimum service to all stakeholders, technology will continue the progress begun in the previous technology plan. Last year, with the influx of more devices in buildings, the bandwidth capacity from the Internet was increased from 250 mg to a 1 gigabit line.
The district will contract with a local vendor who will supply leased, dark fiber that connects our schools and support buildings. Leasing the dark fiber allows greater flexibility and scalability for the district in determining the bandwidth speeds to locations. The fiber connection, and the speed at which it operates, is crucial to the efficacy of data transmission from both the external and internal sources and services. As buildings’ wireless networks are updated, the network connection from the Educational Support Center will be increased as well.
Due to the increased use of laptops and mobile devices, the Technology Department is working to provide wireless coverage at every location. In the previous wireless model, access points were installed in laptop carts and the carts were wheeled throughout the building. As we move forward in providing greater coverage, access points will be located strategically to accommodate the multitude of mobile devices that travel throughout buildings. The Technology Department implemented Phase 1 of the wireless access project by adding access points and new wiring to two intermediate centers and one middle school. This Technology Plan provides for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the wireless upgrade. Over the next two years, wireless coverage will be in place to accommodate more wireless network related initiatives. Beginning in the summer of 2015, new access points and switches will be installed at Garden City Senior High and at Buffalo Jones Elementary School. New switches will be installed at Georgia Matthews Elementary, Victor Ornelas Elementary, and Horace Good Middle School. The access points that are being replaced at the high school will be repurposed and installed in elementary schools and other district buildings that lack the needed coverage. In Phase 3, the remaining elementary schools will be updated following the same model.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
The phone system in place, (VoIP), is one of the most essential systems in the district. Our current system is over 7 years old and the backbone of the system needs to be replaced. The nature of this system, and the reliance the district has on it, require that it remain functional and reliable. This system will be updated in 2015.
Disaster Recovery (DR)
As more information is stored digitally, the need for a reliable backup system increases. The Technology Department will implement offsite backup for disaster recovery. A secondary backup system will be installed at Garden City High School to provide the district with a method of recovery should a disaster occur at the Educational Support Center. In addition, over the next three years, the District will identify mission critical systems, such as Skyward, whose backup will be maintained in the cloud, thus providing more immediate disaster recovery. The reliance of these services will be tested to ensure the survival of the District's business during and after an emergency.
Garden City Public Schools has moved toward a more flexible and scalable network architecture. The district has installed virtual servers and moved the majority of the servers to a virtual environment. Through virtualization, resources are dynamically allocated based on priority and need. Implementation of virtualization and cloud computing solutions (Microsoft) will also reduce the overall physical server hardware footprint.
The Technology Department strives to reduce areas of single point of failure. Due to the District's geographical location in relation to vendors, it is imperative that we maintain redundant systems. Without this redundancy, a point of failure could halt the instructional and administrative operations for extended periods of time. The fault tolerance and redundancy of systems will be evaluated and improved for the most critical systems. The security of the network will be reviewed and updated.