SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company (NYSE: HPE), today announced that Klein ISD, a rapidly-growing school district in Klein, Texas, has completed a three-year, district-wide technology refresh built upon the Aruba Mobile First Architecture. The new infrastructure will encourage curriculum innovation and new, technology-enabled learning models that support the district’s stated mission of “every student enters with a promise and exits with a purpose”.
With 53,000 students and 6,500 employees in a total of 47 schools, Klein ISD is one of the fastest growing districts in the Houston metro area and has been at the forefront of education innovation. The district’s newest school, Klein Cain High School, encompasses 665,000 square feet on an 83 acre site, and can accommodate 4,000 students. In the new high school in particular—but eventually extending to all schools in the district—Klein will use its new infrastructure, along with digital signage and a new mobile app, to deliver unique student, teacher and community experiences.
According to Klein ISD IT Director, Chris Cummings, the network infrastructure is a key component in Klein ISD’s ability to realize its vision. “While I speak with many school districts who want to embrace our same philosophy of empowering students and teachers through technology innovation, they lack the right infrastructure to support this vision,” he noted.
Recognizing the importance of the infrastructure, Klein ISD is refreshing its existing Aruba network, district-wide, with nearly 5,000 Aruba indoor and outdoor Access Points (APs), AirWave network management and ClearPass for full network access control (NAC) and policy management capabilities to deliver seamless and secure connectivity across its campuses.
Innovative Mobile App Brings Wayfinding and More to Klein Cain High School
In addition, the district is focusing on the student experience by launching a dedicated mobile app for its new Klein Cain High School. The app is powered by the Meridian Mobile App Platform, Aruba Beacons, and Aruba location-ready APs and can deliver a variety of services including turn-by-turn directions to help students, staff and visiting parents find their way to classrooms, administrative offices, and even athletic facilities.
“We think the wayfinding and engagement capabilities can have a huge impact on both the student body and community, as a whole,” said Cummings. “We envision a number of useful applications: helping students navigate campus on their first day of school, directing parents visiting campus to the right offices or classrooms, helping student and teachers find the nearest stairway or exit in health and safety situations, or helping a disabled student find the closest elevator.”
While wayfinding is one important feature of the new Klein Cain mobile app, the district also sees the potential to add features such as posting lunch menus and enabling payment for lunches and other school fees, as well as providing information on school functions.
Accommodating a Growing Number of Students – and Their Devices
A key objective for Klein is to securely and reliably accommodate the plethora of mobile devices that students and teachers use on a daily basis. The district has issued 34,000 devices for intermediate and high school students – a mix of Chromebooks and Windows laptops. Klein’s guest network is averaging 18,000 devices daily and that number is expected to grow, which means secure onboarding and visibility are critical.
“This is our first year with the guest network up and running, and we’re seeing major growth in the number of devices connecting,” said Brett Williams, Assistant Manager, Network Infrastructure, for Klein ISD. “All devices – whether district-issued or BYOD – are granted secure, role-based access via Aruba ClearPass.”
Williams noted that the deployment of ClearPass is a key reason why the district IT team is not concerned about adding new IoT devices to the network. Currently, the district connects IoT devices such as glucose monitors, wireless temperature monitors, Amazon Alexa and DVR and vehicle diagnostics on their buses, as well as interactive panels in classrooms and digital signage in other areas of the schools. Although Klein’s HVAC and irrigation systems, as well as security cameras are wired at this time, the district is confident that as it connects more of these IoT devices to the network, ClearPass will help them meet their stringent security requirements.
Collaborative Classrooms and Mobile Engagement Provide Improved, Personalized Learning
By building out a high density infrastructure across the district, Klein ISD has been able to prepare their school campuses for new, collaborative classrooms and more personalized learning experiences.
In the new Klein Cain High School, collaborative classrooms include an interactive panel with a wireless control unit, a document camera, and two wireless computers per classroom as back-up, in case a student forgets his or her device at home. The high school also uses 50 large-format TVs for digital signage that are connected to the Wi-Fi network. Administrators update these daily with various information and video communications for students.
Enabling IT to Innovate for District-wide Goals
According to Cummings, one of the reasons Klein ISD has been able to innovate so freely is the structure of its organization, with IT reporting into the same leadership as the district’s curriculum.
“In the past, IT departments were seen as more of a regulatory body. Now, as the philosophy has shifted, we’ve given IT more flexibility and allowed them to take risks. We’re able to reimagine how we teach educators about the technology and support them, and we can make our schools compelling places where the students want to learn.”
Added Cummings, “We can’t say enough about our partnership with Aruba and how it has helped deliver this foundation for our district. With the foresight of our IT department and this robust infrastructure, we can ensure that our technology investments directly impact our programs and help enable our district’s overarching vision.”
About Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, is a leading provider of next-generation networking solutions for enterprises of all sizes worldwide. The company delivers IT solutions that empower organizations to serve the latest generation of mobile-savvy users who rely on cloud-based business apps for every aspect of their work and personal lives.
To learn more, visit Aruba at http://www.arubanetworks.com. For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter and Facebook, and for the latest technical discussions on mobility and Aruba products visit Airheads Social at http://community.arubanetworks.com.