- Bethlehem Area School District
- IT Infrastructure
- Bethlehem, PA
Dr. Joseph J. Roy leads the district as Superintendent. Their motto of “Shaping the Future, One Child at a Time” is no small feat in a district that operates two High Schools, four Middle Schools, and sixteen Elementary Schools. BASD’s large district foot-print serves children from the City of Bethlehem, two surrounding Boroughs, and two Townships. In addition to creating the district’s “Roadmap to Educational Excellence 2.0”, Dr. Roy also successfully leads numerous educational initiatives including Read180 to improve reading, Leader-In-Me in Elementary grades and a STEM-like program, Project Lead the Way, which immerses students in an engineering curriculum
Like most school districts, BASD’s Information Technology infrastructure and support staff were over-taxed. Plagued with poor wireless network performance and inconsistent response to support requests, Dr. Roy realized that, without assistance, his ability to deliver a technology-enriched educational environment was in jeopardy.
Weidenhammer’s Consulting Group was engaged to provide a strategic assessment of the current state of BASD’s Information Technology infrastructure, its support methodologies and a vision of the future direction. Interviewing the “Cabinet” (Sr. Management), building administrators, Teachers and IT staff, Weidenhammer performed a systematic analysis and provided BASD with findings, observations, recommendations and a Technology Roadmap to improve operations and furnish the technological direction for the District. Once the District examined the report, they decided to engage Weidenhammer to implement the transformation outlined in the Technology Roadmap. Weidenhammer placed a Sr. Consultant with extensive IT experience to serve as Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the next six months.
Driven by Analysis and Assessments
The Strategic Assessment had identified 15 critical areas needing improvement. The top three issues were:
Re-architecting the Entire Wireless Infrastructure
Establishing a Centralized Help Desk
Evangelizing a Service Delivery Mindset within IT
The Technology Roadmap laid out major initiatives and their timing to address the 15 recommendations from the Assessment. Within the first six months, Weidenhammer implemented a new Virtualization environment, replaced the perimeter network with new firewalls and web filters and started server consolidation activities. Weidenhammer instituted IT Governance practices following internationally accepted ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) standards, reorganized the IT department to enable a centralized Service Desk across the entire District with common support contacts and completed the formal analysis of the wireless infrastructure across all 22 school buildings.
Changing the Mindset
Technical implementations aside, the true transformation would require a fresh new mindset within IT that focused on Service Delivery. “Evangelism” meetings were held with the IT Staff to emphasize that the role of IT was to deliver service to stakeholders in the District (Administrators, Principals, Teachers and staff) and to align and leverage technology to the tenets of the District’s strategic initiative – Roadmap to Excellence 2.0. The centralized Service Desk brought IT technical staff into one group to better serve ALL schools, share technical expertise and record through a common ticketing system, solutions and workload. New IT Governance procedures provided a structure for rolling out technical changes, prioritizing projects and raising visibility with Administrators, Principals and staff as to what IT was doing and what IT should be doing. Weidenhammer knew that to achieve a Service Delivery mindset, there had to be agreement on what ‘Services’ needed ‘Delivering’ and what priorities needed to be pursued. Meetings were held with IT Staff and District Stakeholders to ensure a common understanding existed.
Connecting a Campus
The wireless network appetite of 13,500 students and 2,500 faculty and staff is significant. BASD, like other schools, is suffering from a lack of wireless “hot-spots” and consistent coverage. In particular, BASD had Wi-Fi coverage in buildings but the wireless backbone infrastructure lacked the capacity to deliver sufficient performance when 30 kids in various classrooms within schools all connected to the wireless network at the same time. As part of our engagement, Weidenhammer directed a full wireless site survey of district buildings. This site survey produced a comprehensive report covering the placement and specification of over 1,200 new wireless access points throughout all buildings and the associated hardware and cabling required. Leveraging Weidenhammer’s extensive eRate program knowledge, Weidenhammer then provided the district with the detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) document required by eRate program rules. That eRate application and the implementation of the new wireless infrastructure will ensure that BASD can address its goal of being a technology rich environment and “connected campus”.
Upon completion of the Interim CIO services: You have left your indelible mark upon us. We will miss your professional expertise and friendship and wish you only the success and happiness in your future endeavors.”Joseph J. Roy, Superintendent
the other Executive Officers of Cabinet
Bethlehem Area School District
A Roadmap to Success
With these improvements in place, the final step in the Weidenhammer engagement was to assist BASD with the selection of a new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Reviewing approximately 100 potential candidates, conducting interviews, and ultimately selecting a list of finalists, Weidenhammer was instrumental in the recruiting process. This new CTO is able to take the reins of a department with a new mindset, vision, improved infrastructure, and most importantly, a roadmap to success.
The Bethlehem Area School District is now on the road to success. Their newly hired CTO has taken over the day-to-day operations and is able to manage this well-developed and executed IT strategy. The staff and students are provided with the technology, resources, and support delivery improvements necessary to achieve the moto of “Shaping the Future, One Child at a Time.”