Our approach is simple but not easy – ensure that APS has a stable, fast and reliable infrastructure to meet the demands of the 21st century. It's an ongoing, ever-evolving goal and one we take great pride and care in fulfilling.
Read on to learn more about the key initiatives that guide our work, projects recently completed and those that are in progress or in the pipeline.
Increase Access to Technology
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
To better support our student computing environment, we built a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) using Citrix technology on a Hyper-V platform and replaced most stand-alone student desktops with approximately 22,000 WYSE client virtual desktops.
This allows us to better manage the student computing environment and significantly increase our ability to deploy updates and new software quickly. It also enhances our ability to manage the technology requirements from standardized testing required of our students.
To directly support instruction, we are in the process of deploying 70” LED panels to our classrooms and media centers to replace the old interactive boards.
This move not only enhances the abilities of the teachers and students, but it also eliminates the need for projectors and all associated support costs (bulb replacements, calibration and support, etc.).
Increase Direct Support to Schools
With the support of the Atlanta Board of Education, we were able to procure a dedicated field support technician for most of our high schools and primary schools with enrollment over 900 students. Using the same enrollment data, the remaining schools were assigned based on a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio.
For the 2015-16 school year, we will further enhance the support by making a 2:1 maximum ratio the goal for all schools.
Additionally, to make the support more effective and impactful, we engaged the services of tech writers to help with documenting all critical processes and procedures to ensure that we can consistently deliver services to our schools and measure the quality of delivery by our field support technicians.
Increase Ability to Deliver Services
We assessed several independent operational systems for asset tracking and management, incident tracking, work-order tracking, and change management.
Working with the APS Operations Division, we examined many solutions available in the market and settled on a suite of IBM products, IBM Smart Cloud Control Desk, IBM Tririga, and IBM Maximo, which are fully integrated and allow us to move away from our isolated systems.
In July 2015, we began the Smart Cloud, End-Point and TADDM implementations. These will allow our technology team to offer our staff and students IT self-service, automatically detect assets on the network, detect relationships between network assets, quickly deploy software and patches over the network, track software usage on client devices, and automate the delivery of identified services and requests as well.
Improve Technology Infrastructure
Through the use of Special Revenue (SPLOST) funds, we were able to:
- assess and upgrade the cabling to all classrooms, labs, media centers and other areas to Cat-6 which supports the ability for increased bandwidth;
- upgrade our entire network from Cisco to HP switching, inclusive of an upgrade to the main core switches to support 10G bandwidth and the establishment of a redundant disaster recovery site;
- redesign our wireless network to support both coverage and capacity district-wide;
- and began a process to add an access point to every classroom.
Additionally, using bandwidth utilization data:
- we increased both our primary and redundant Internet bandwidth capacities;
- and significantly upgraded the bandwidth WAN connection to all our schools (x10) where the utilization was at or above 40 percent.
We continue to make needed enhancements to ensure our students and staff have the access they need.