How Managed IT Impacts School Design

A new school’s design will benefit from the advice of a managed IT partner.

After months of long hours and hard work, your new school’s leadership team has finally located a facility. You’ve engaged architects to outfit the building, but the conversation quickly turns technical. At this point, many schools engage their internal technology specialist, counting on a single individual with limited knowledge to design their school’s technology program from the ground up.

From wireless internet, wiring, and audiovisual systems to digital signage, building security, and staff devices, the internal specialist, suddenly has a new, massive workflow on their hands with little or no support. Rather than relying on your in-house team to launch your new school’s technology program, it often makes sense to engage a managed IT provider to guide the new school’s launch. Drawing upon a shared knowledge base, decades of experience in the educational technology sector, and a track record of success, an effective managed IT provider can ensure your new school design incorporates cost-effective, scalable technology planning.

Core networks and WiFi are the backbones of your new school’s technology program.

Your new school will require high-quality throughput—fast, reliable internet service in every corner of the building. Ensuring access in classrooms simply won’t cut it: if a teacher needs to pull a small group of students into the hall for a reading intervention, or the school social worker’s office ends up in a far-away corner of the building, your school will need wireless infrastructure to support them.

At CTS, we’ve helped new schools build robust networks by deploying easy-to-use, scalable technology from industry giants like Cisco and Sonicwall. For a new school’s design, scalability is key. Administrators won’t have time to reinvent the wheel as the school adds students or grade levels with each successive year. Engaging a managed IT provider at the beginning of the process—before any core IT infrastructure is actually installed—helps ensure your school is set up for growth in the years to come.

Taking the time to source and install effective core networks also benefits school culture. There’s nothing more frustrating for a teacher than experiencing a wireless outage in the middle of an internet-dependent lesson or losing access to an internet-connected printer with only minutes to spare before class. High-quality core networks help minimize the frequency of these and other frustrating scenarios, clearing the way for effective instruction.

Unfamiliar with school IT wiring? Let a cost-conscious managed IT provider help.

Most school leaders aren’t familiar with the technical ins-and-outs of designing a new school. For example, internal wiring hasn’t crossed most school leaders’ minds before they’ve started their new school’s design process.

How many wires will the school need? Which wires need to connect to each other? Are there superior types of wiring that could benefit the school’s facility-specific needs? A single in-house IT specialist might miss the full picture, leaving a portion of the school’s facility without the wiring it needs to support instruction. Likewise, an inexperienced in-house team might not have the time to source the most cost-effective options, leaving the school footing the (expensive) bill.

CTS works with schools to find the right solutions for their unique needs, regardless of our potential profit margin. Sometimes, the most cost-effective option is also the most high-quality. We make sure your school doesn’t miss out.

A whiteboard and Expo markers are no longer enough. Work with your managed IT provider to install high-quality audiovisual systems.

Student engagement is key to academic achievement and strong student culture. Deploying high-quality audiovisual systems across your classrooms can hold students’ attention, enhance content mastery, and limit disruptive classroom behaviors.

By working with a managed IT provider throughout the new school design process, administrators can ensure their classrooms are outfitted with audiovisual equipment guaranteed to hold students’ attention. A whiteboard and Expo markers won’t cut it for digitally oriented learners anymore. Moreover, these solutions require their own technical support infrastructure, underscoring the benefits of engaging a managed IT provider with a successful track record of launching new schools.

Your new school’s communal spaces will have unique technical requirements.

Gyms, libraries, and other communal spaces will have their unique technical requirements that differ from those of classrooms. If your school’s gym is 200-feet long, for instance, a classroom SMART board and projector system isn’t going to cut it. But what’s the right solution? Sourcing, purchasing, and installing these systems can be time-consuming for an in-house team, let alone a single school administrator.

CTS has worked with schools across the country to source and implement solutions for our partners’ communal spaces while minimizing costs. “Back to School” nights, student-family conferences, and graduations implicate your school’s communal spaces, which require their own technical support to go off without a hitch.

High-quality digital signage can reinforce the tenants of your new school design.

Just as SMART boards have come to displace whiteboard and Expo markers, so too have bulletin boards given way to high-quality digital signage around school buildings. These screens might show a rotating series of slides with school-wide announcements, spotlights on student or teacher achievements, or otherwise, reinforce the school’s values. Of course, digital signage comes at a cost. Still, CTS can help your school source platforms that won’t break the bank, offering a visually pleasing, high-impact signage solution that doesn’t come at the expense of other instructional priorities.

Student safety comes first. Your new school design will have to account for building security.

Security cameras, swipe card access, and other student and staff safety measures require their own technical support. Working with a managed IT provider from the beginning of your new school’s design can ensure that every inch of your building is covered and that video can be accessed from desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

If a school administrator needs to review the school’s security footage, she should be able to access the content quickly with just a few clicks. Footage taken months before should also be stored somewhere on the school’s network for later retrieval, if necessary. Only an experienced IT professional can ensure your building’s security systems account for the unique challenges of the school environment.

Your Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems should do much more than make phone calls.

VoIP systems can dramatically increase your team’s productivity and reach. No longer solely for phone calls, these systems can host school bell systems, videoconferencing, and make public announcements, facilitating rapid communication among your school’s team members and from school administrators to students. Some days, keeping the trains running is a victory in and of itself: effective bell systems help keep students on track and ensure teachers use their time effectively during their limited instructional blocks.

Of course, your new school will also need devices for administrators, teachers, and support staff.

When most people think of school IT, laptops, Chromebooks, and other hardware are often top of mind. In schools across the country, nearly every teacher—and, increasingly, every student—is assigned their own individual device.

Ensuring these devices are properly inventoried, monitored, and repaired as needed is a massive challenge for any school IT team. The cost of these devices, scaled across an entire school, can dramatically impact school budgets. CTS works with its school partners to create a “golden source” of student device information to ensure school leaders can know with certainty the number of devices they’ll need to replace in a given year and identify any excess inventory that can be deployed as needed.

For schools that retain hybrid or remote learning models, ensuring student devices can host the school’s instructional platforms is of paramount importance, as is ensuring that each student has access to high-quality internet service at home.

Work with a managed IT provider to ensure your public announcement systems reach every area of the building.

Finally, your new school’s announcement system should allow administrators to quickly reach every individual in the building with time-sensitive information. In the event of a severe weather event or security concern inside the building, school leaders need to reach their constituents fast with actionable information. Announcement systems allow them to do this, providing peace of mind that they can quickly contact their team members with a response plan whatever challenges confront the school.

At CTS, we help schools accomplish their unique missions.

Our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the United States to launch, maintain, and scale their school programming. New school design benefits from the advice of a trusted managed IT partner, one with the track record, technical know-how, and school-specific knowledge to create a high-quality school technology program. School leaders have enough on their plates without worrying about wiring, VoIP systems, or other technical support. Let CTS take care of the technology so that you can focus on instruction. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.

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