Englewood Public School District

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Setting Goals and Priorities for a School District

Serving 3100 students, the Englewood Public School District seeks to nurture an empowering culture of life-long learners through creativity, innovation, and inspiration. The community of Englewood New Jersey wants to ensure their district provide opportunities for educational excellence by creating a learning environment that empowers all children to develop character and to master the academic and social skills necessary for success as individuals and as members of a global community. The district delivers on its promise for academic excellence by providing a range of extracurricular activities, academic programs, adherence to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, and the ability for students to participate in learning academies such as programs focused on technology, science, math, or creativity.
Englewood Public School District

Challenge

Like all districts across the country and beyond, Englewood Public School District was an academic institution facing unprecedented times. With students transitioning between classrooms, remote learning, and hybrid environments, a solid, secure, and scalable technology infrastructure has never been more important.

The student experience is critical to ensure they remain engaged in the academics and collaboration needed to be successful in today’s classroom environment. Working within these variable environments reinforced the need for the district to assess its computing infrastructure and environment to ensure it could withstand the challenges now faced by districts the world-over. In addition, the Englewood Public School District wanted to develop a plan for the future. This plan needed to incorporate not only capital and operational investments needed to remain ahead of the curve, but to ensure the district’s technical team had the necessary tools and training to support them as their needs evolve in this ever-changing academic environment. The continuity of instruction, meaning the ability to ensure a robust and stable connection to systems was a priority, but it also requires that districts ensure that these connections and platforms are secure, sustainable, and scalable.

Solutions

The Board of Education decided to seek bids from technology partners to assist the district with this assessment. While pricing was a focus area, the Board of Education was also looking for partners with experience in helping academic organizations with assessing technology infrastructures, planning, budgeting, grants, and general technology governance and leadership specifically focused in K12 public education. Ultimately, the Board chose Weidenhammer to help them execute the assessment.

The Weidenhammer team begins with an assessment of the infrastructure. This includes a technical and security vulnerability review. During the assessment we also engage in 1-on-1 conversations with district staff to gain an understanding of how they perceive the current state of technology within the district – what works, what doesn’t, and what would you want to be done differently? We gather this information to ensure that the user community, in the case the faculty and students, are heard. We want to be sure the district and district’s technology team understand the needs, wants, successes, and failures currently experienced on campus. The IT team, administrators, and other district leaders are also interviewed to gather similar information.

All of the strategic and technical information is then compiled and provided as part of our assessment findings.

The result of our assessment was a comprehensive plan that included infrastructure investments, staff training, and other similar recommendations. We provide this roadmap, along with associated estimated budgets in a multi-year and with associated priority. The final result is that regardless of the technology platforms or infrastructure, the technology must be viewed as a tool to deliver instruction to our students.  These tools will be vital to helping our teachers shape the academic futures of our students for many years to come.

 

Results

Weidenhammer’s findings detailed immediate needs along with long-term goals for the district. To support those priorities, EPSD engaged Weidenhammer’s interim IT Director services. The benefit of using this particular service means the district had experienced leadership to help guide it through implementing immediate changes to improve IT services, reliability, and scalability. The interim director focused on helping EPSD better understand its technology organization, footprint, inventory, and capacities for the long term. With this enhanced knowledge, Weidenhammer continues aligning technology to support the evolving needs of the district’s students, staff, and community.