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5 Questions to Test Your School IT 2017 Preparations

By: Steve Meany, CEO

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is over and we’re already a week into the New Year. Students, teachers, and staff have already returned to their classrooms for another busy semester of learning.

At ITS, we know the last thing you want to do after returning from your winter break is think about strategic planning – counting down the days until summer is much more interesting – but we also believe reflecting on the challenges and victories of the past year, and planning for the year to come, is the best way ensure success.

To maximize your reflection and planning time we made a school IT checklist.

Ask yourself these five questions to develop a successful IT plan for 2017:

Q1) Have you applied for E-rate?

If you have already started the E-rate process, good job! If you haven’t, time is running short.

Securing E-rate funds is a competitive process that requires schools to complete a multitude of forms and undergo a complicated planning process. Bottom line: the early bird gets the grants.

If you need a jumpstart, read our 5 tips to better your school’s chances of winning E-rate funding and streamlining the application process.

Q2) Are you wasting resources on maintaining an owned VoIP system?

States across the country are cutting their education budgets and forcing schools to stretch every dollar while maintaining, or even improving, services offered to students.

One major unpredictable expense that can easily be reduced is the cost of maintaining an owned VoIP phone system.

Replacing an owned VoIP system with a managed VoIP solution will move your phone system into a low, fixed monthly rate, while equipping your staff with the most up-to-date technologies at no extra cost.

If you’ve been considering making the switch to a managed VoIP service, now is the time.

Q3) Is your current Internet service provider meeting your needs?

As technology continues to increase its footprint in the classroom, the need for fast, scalable internet connections will only grow.

New devices and cloud-based systems that improve classroom learning are also putting a strain on bandwidth. Meeting present and future needs will require schools to rethink their Internet service provider and consider switching to fiber.

Q4) How can you improve energy efficiency while cutting costs?

Energy costs are going up. At a time when schools need to be more fiscally-efficient, high utility bills are wrecking budgets.

Replacing outdated technologies and infrastructure with efficient systems may have an upfront price tag, but can actually pay for itself over time.

By using Cisco’s Power over Ethernet technology, Mobile County (AL) Public School System was able to cut its electricity bill by 25-30 percent, allowing the 89-school system to lower its $21 million annual electricity bill by up to $6.3 million.

What could your school do with similar savings?  

Q5) Is it time to replace smartboards?

Classroom technology is constantly evolving. With each new evolutionary step comes a renewed commitment to improving student engagement and resource efficiency.

For school districts looking to revolutionize the classroom experience while controlling utility and maintenance costs, upgrading to interactive touchscreen displays (ITDs) offers three important benefits: lower costs, energy efficiency, and higher student engagement.

Conclusion

Working through the IT victories and challenges of this past year will help formulate a successful plan for 2017. Use the above five questions to think about what changes need to be made to help your school district meet present and future needs.

Have questions about the best network strategies and/or practices? Feel free to contact our team: we’re happy to help.


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