The Tech Cave

Friday, October 28, 2016

Extremely Rewarding

L-R Chris Mabie-Asst Director of Technology; Dennis Emmons- SCM School Board President; Paul Corning-Reg Mgr Extreme Networks; Jean Mikelson-Extreme Networks Dir. of K12 Education Mid-Atlantic Region; Tom Mizwicki-Dir. of Operations; A. Dean Speicher-School City of Mishawaka Superintendent of Schools

In 2010, School City of Mishawaka had 30 wireless access points. Thirty. In a medium sized district such as ours, with 5000 students in seven elementary schools, a middle, a high school, this was clearly not enough. Over the next few years we more than tripled the number of access points to 110. Our focus was on common areas and libraries and classrooms that required a connection for specialized instruction or curriculum.

Starting in 2014 and our District's Community Collaborating Committee, then later with the Technology Task Force, prioritized the need for widespread wireless access for our students and teachers.

Dan Towner, then serving our district as Asst. Director of Curriculum and Instruction, along with former Director of Technology, Larry Hanks, began laying the foundation for anywhere anytime learning. Partnering with Adtec, our E-Rate partners, Extreme Networks, and Qubit, this extraordinary team ensured that SCM would have the infrastructure necessary for future digital growth.

The Wireless Infrastructure Project with a total budget cost of over $700k was completed this past Summer (2016) in time for the first day of school. Chris Mabie, Assistant Director of Technology, and his team increased the number of access points 500% for a quantum level shift of over  to almost 600!

The plan was executed flawlessly and the implementation timeline held true throughout the process. On our behalf, our E-Rate partners, Adtec filed FCC reimbursements for over $560k, while the Mishawaka Education Foundation contributed $35k, so that SCM's outlay was reduced to just about $107k. A summary document can be viewed here

It was through these extraordinary efforts in collaboration and execution that our District was selected for Extreme Network's Extreme Exemplary School Award. The award, only the eleventh time given, recognizes innovation and visionary thinking.

From the related press release: "Winners are chosen each quarter based on their commitment to implementing a personalized learning environment for every student, while embodying the best in American education by excelling at engaging students in 1:1 or mobile learning."

On October 25th, 2016 our partners Qubit, joined Extreme Networks in presenting this prestigous award to School City of Mishawaka's Board of Trustee President Jeff Emmons and Superintendent Dr. A. Dean Speicher. In speaking to the Board and the audience, Mrs Mikelson, Extreme Networks' Director of K12 Education, acknowledged that "School City of Mishawaka is different." She recognized the district's efforts to enable "personalized learning through the use of technology," adding "If we could clone this school system, we'd be surpassing China and Denmark" (with personalized learning).

Dr. Speicher thanked Extreme Networks for the honor they had bestowed on our district and acknowledged that the "real winners will be the 5124 students enrolled in the school system."

We couldn't agree more.

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