ST. ALBERT THE GREAT CATHOLIC SCHOOL
Always-On Connectivity Enables True Digital Learning
The administration and educators at St. Albert the Great Catholic School in Reno, NV are huge proponents of integrating technology into the classroom to help teachers keep students engaged and connected. However, the school’s network was not up to the task of supporting a digital learning environment.
Connectivity should be table-stakes
The St. Albert’s network struggled to support the school’s nearly 300 students and 35 staff on a daily basis. Frequent crashes caused students and teachers to lose connectivity, with no idea if, or when, they would regain it. Teachers had to go to specific spots in their classrooms to access service, and they certainly couldn’t move between classrooms or buildings without losing connection. At one point, teachers had to go so far as reserving blocks of time to be online.
It was really hard and unpredictable every single day to come in and not know if we’d be able to teach that day and keep our kids online and learning on an ongoing basis,” explains St. Albert Office Manager, Marissa Cardenas.
Rochelle Perez is the Computer Technology teacher at St. Albert and also provides IT support for the school and the church on the campus, giving her a unique perspective on these issues.
“As the computer technology teacher, I was bringing Chromebooks into each classroom and not knowing whether or not my students were going to be able to connect to the Internet,” she says.
“I always had to have two different sets of lesson plans – something that we could do if everybody was able to get on their Chromebooks and then something if we weren’t able to get connected. We really worried that the students weren’t getting the most out of their education.”
The “whodunnit” connectivity problem
Another frustration was not being able to identify the problem, whether it was the network the Internet or the service provider, particularly because the school had contracted with a local support company to do just that.
“We had a team that we were supposed to be relying on to support us, but they couldn’t figure out the problem,” Perez says. “Some staff members who had knowledge of IT were being pulled out of the classroom to help. Trying to troubleshoot these issues on our own took us away from our students.”
Perez tried switching internet service providers and adding access points, but neither solved the problem.
A new way to network
It was time for a change at St. Albert the Great Catholic School. The existing network structure simply couldn’t deliver the connectivity teachers and students needed. That change came when Cardenas and Perez were introduced to Nile, a company that is revolutionizing local area network connectivity with its network as a service (NaaS) model. Nile offers a full-service solution that encompasses the complete network experience, from site survey, through installation, ongoing monitoring, automated software updates, and lifecycle management.
“What I liked about Nile was they were going to take the whole thing over completely and get us up and running,”
Nile installed the network over the course of a weekend and it was operational on Monday, with no impact to staff our students.
“I’ll admit, I was a little nervous turning the entire network over to Nile,” says Cardenas. “But one week in, we were sold. We turned off our original vendor network and completely converted to Nile.”
Staying focused on education
“Once Nile was installed, it was the first time that we didn’t have any connectivity issues,” recalls Perez. “And from that moment on, we knew that the choice to go with Nile was the best choice that we could ever make for the school.”
Today, Nile not only provides end-end coverage in and among classrooms and campus facilities, it also has the WiFi6 capacity to seamlessly support all 700 devices that connect to the St. Albert network.
“Our experience with Nile has been one that I have never had before,” says Cardenas. “It is such a comfort to have a network that just works. Then we as a staff and school can focus on what we’re really here for, which is the kids’ education.”
Nile’s intuitive customer portal has simplified IT management at St. Albert. The portal provides a complete snapshot of the network and eliminates the troubleshooting guessing game by quickly pinpointing the source of any problems.
On the rare occasion that the school needed to contact Nile for support – only twice in the year since installation – Perez describes the experience as “absolutely amazing.”
“Since Nile installed their system here at the school, we have felt 100-percent supported by their team,” she says. “When I reached out, they were able to solve my issue before the end of the school day. That support has been one of the most impressive aspects of Nile.”
A connected future
“After our experience with Nile, there’s nobody else that we would go with… They have been that good,” says Perez.
Moving forward, the Nile implementation will be expanded beyond the K-8 buildings to include the Child Development
Center, the Parish Office and the Church.
Cardenas and Perez agree that Nile is an ideal solution for schools of any size.
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