SAN LEANDRO, Calif., November 1, 2016 — San Leandro Unified School District is pleased to announce the progress the district has made in technology implementation across all school sites and facilities. In partnership with the City of San Leandro and OSISoft, the district has undertaken ambitious plans over the past three years to update and expand important technology infrastructure that advances 21st century teaching and learning in the classrooms.
“We’ve made giant strides in our infrastructure enhancements,” said Director of Technology Rabinder Mangewala. “While it is a given that every student must have access to the latest technology in the classroom, what isn’t talked about is that simply deploying thousands of devices without first rebuilding your technology infrastructure will result in lost instructional time.” The infrastructure enhancements included rebuilding our entire internal network and our wide-area network. “The goal of these enhancements is to make technology transparent to the user,” said Chief Technology Officer Manuel Ruiz.
The infrastructure enhancements implemented across the district include:
• A 10 gigabit connection to the City of San Leandro Fiber Loop
• A Meraki WIFI access point in every classroom
• A 40 gigabyte Brocade internal network
In 2013, San Leandro Unified School District began working collaboratively with the City of San Leandro to establish a connection to the City of San Leandro Fiber Loop. “Thanks to Lit San Leandro, we are able to bring high speed internet through a fiber optic loop to San Leandro,” said Mayor Pauline Cutter. “We wanted to make sure that the community benefited from this amazing opportunity so we worked with the school district to dedicate a portion of the City’s fiber for this project. I’m pleased to see our investment benefit the children and youth of San Leandro.”
The City and San Leandro Unified worked proactively to ensure the successful completion of the project in a timely manner. “We spent a great deal of time with San Leandro Unified and their contractor Conterra to communicate our permit requirements upfront to ensure that permits were issued in an expedited manner and construction would proceed safely and quickly,” said Director of Engineering and Transportation Keith Cooke.
While the Fiber Loop traverses through much of downtown San Leandro, none of the schools were on the actual Fiber Loop. The City and the San Leandro Unified School District recognized that there was a tremendous opportunity for the students of San Leandro to take advantage of this resource. One of the early challenges identified was that each physical connection to buildings and school sites had to be planned for and built. “Even though the City of San Leandro graciously donated fiber on the City of San Leandro Fiber Loop, the cost to connect all of the school sites far exceeded the resources we had for this project,” said Director of Technology Rabinder Mangewala.
Recent changes to E-rate funding rules allowed San Leandro Unified School District to apply for and receive funding to pay for 80% of the cost to build these connections and other network needs. “By utilizing E-rate dollars to pay for the connections to the City of San Leandro Fiber Loop, we were able to spend money on other critical network upgrades and spend more money on devices for the classroom,” said Deputy Superintendent Dr. Rosanna Mucetti.
San Leandro Unified is also in the process of creating a one-to-one student to device ratio for all students. SLUSD has deployed a Dell Chromebook for every student at most of their elementary schools. The district will finish up the remaining elementary, middle and high school in the next couple of months. The district has aimed to deploy technology in a very controlled and organized manner. “Our goal is to provide teachers and students with a high level of customer service when we deploy technology. Ultimately, we recognize that teachers are very busy and have lots of demands on their time, we need to make the integration of technology seamless for staff,” said Chief Technology Officer Manuel Ruiz.
Technology is one of five areas in the San Leandro Unified School District’s Strategic Plan. While they have made great strides to improve technology in the last three years, there are additional technology improvements that need to occur to ensure that teachers and students have access to the tools they need to be successful in college and career. “Continuing to improve and sustain the incredible technology improvements that have occurred over the last three years is expensive. We need to continue to utilize our resources in an efficient manner and pursue additional resources while ensuring that our students have access to state of the art technology to support 21st century teaching and learning,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike McLaughlin.
Educational Services Division