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2013 School Upgrades

Child using a computer

(September 3, 2013)

DC-Net has upgraded IT infrastructure at over 25 public schools in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year, marking the fourth year that DC-Net has played a significant role in the ongoing District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) modernization and stabilization project.

All work is done within a seven week timeframe and at schools undergoing reconstructions the schedule was even tighter. “All schools were up in time for the August 26th start of school,” said Don Johnson, Director of DC-Net.

DC-Net provides technical oversight, project management, and installation/configuration of network electronics for DCPS school modernizations.

Working closely with DCPS and the Department of General Services, DC-Net took the lead in establishing the “internal highway” that brings the IT services to the school building and ultimately to students, teachers and administrators.

This infrastructure is seldom seen because it is inside the walls, above the ceiling, and secured in closed closets. The miles of cabling and thousands of dollars worth of network electronics seamlessly work in the background providing voice, data, wireless and video services to the staff and students.

About DCPS IT Modernization Projects

School IT modernization projects vary in size and scope. Some move school staff and students off campus to an alternate or “swing” site during construction. Others “swing in place,” moving the staff and students around the affected areas of the building.  In either case, DC-Net must prepare the infrastructure in the temporary space before beginning the permanent modernization work. 

Full modernization: The school is totally re-built from the foundation up or it is completely gutted leaving only the exterior walls (façade). Typical project life cycle—which includes planning, design, and construction—is two years. During the summer of 2013, three fully modernized schools opened:

  • Cardozo Education Campus - (12 data closets) includes the middle school and high school in one building
  • Dunbar High School - (5 data closets)
  • McKinley Middle School - (1 data closet)

Phase I modernization:  Major renovations of instructional spaces during the 50 day summer break. During the summer of 2013, DC-Net completed nine Phase I modernizations:

  • Beers Elementary School - Ward 7
  • Hearst Elementary School - Ward 3
  • Hendley Elementary School - Ward 8
  • Ludlow Taylor Elementary School - Ward 6
  • Mann Elementary School - Ward 3
  • Peabody Elementary School - Ward 6
  • Powell Elementary School - Ward 4
  • Shepherd Elementary School - Ward 4
  • Stuart Hobson Middle School - Ward 6

Network upgrade Initiative:  Working with a $7 million Mayoral allocation and federal E-rate funds, DCPS is working with DC-Net to upgrade network equipment at 23 schools across the District that have low test scores and aging IT infrastructure.

Other projects:  In addition to major projects, DC-Net is engaged in a range of individual projects ranging from connecting a new classroom to moving a school. This summer, DC-Net:

  • Connected new classrooms at Takoma, Plummer, Brightwood, Eastern, Janney, and Thomas schools.
  • Set up connectivity for trailers at Powell, Hearst, Mann, Murch, Barnard, and Maury schools.
  • Set up cafeterias at the Burroughs Elementary School.
  • Moved in and set up:
    • Roosevelt High and Roosevelt STAY to MacFarland Middle School
    • School within School at Logan Annex to Goding Elementary School
    • Public charter school Achievement Prep Academy to Green Elementary School
    • Malcolm X Elementary School to Green Elementary School
    • CHOICE Academy to Emery Elementary School

Led by the outstanding program management of Vincent Carter, Mike Thompson, and Paulette Bennett, along with major contributions from the voice, engineering, and OSP/ISP installation groups—all of which had a profound impact on the success of this exceptionally large endeavor—the DC-Net team came together to meet the aggressive summer schedule. Once again, DC-Net summer interns played a critical role in helping complete the time-sensitive project.

Looking ahead to projects planned for the summer of 2014, DC-Net has slated improvements for the new Ballou High School and the new Brookland Middle School.