Studies show the importance of quality education when it comes to the development of a country. The education system of the 21st century is very different from a few years prior due to the technological advances. There is a massive change in the way information is accessed today.

We can no longer limit students to books for knowledge because of the plethora of information that students can access on the internet through the various devices. The Common Core Standards introduced in the United States aim to prepare students for the future in the 21st century.

These standards rely heavily on the use of technology to improve the learning experience. Students are expected to have a certain level of technological proficiency to help them successfully pursue higher education and careers. Students and teachers have tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Students can access information anytime they want on various wired and wireless devices. These standards also attempt to establish uniformity across the country. Because of this, there is an increased burden within each district to maintain equality in the quality of education.

The Desert Sands Unified School District (DSUSD) located in Coachella Valley, Southern California, which has 33 schools consisting of nearly 30,000 students. The pool of students within this district is quite varied, ranging from students with extreme economic backgrounds to students diverse unilingual families. The district’s responsibility is to take these students from affluent neighborhoods, nearby refugee camps, or recently immigrated rural families and make the correct use of technology so that each student has an equal opportunity regardless of their background. Every student in the district has access to the same technology opening a whole new world of education, resources, and communication.

However, admirable goals come with their own set of challenges. The three main challenges DSUSD faced were:

  • BYOD initiative: The main challenge was to support the school district BYOD initiative while being cost effective considering the budget cuts. The initiative of one device per student needed to be balanced with the importance of information security as well.
  • Reliable network: The main IT challenge was to have a network that can handle the wired and wireless devices seamlessly for nearly 30,000 users at the same time without lags and glitches. An unreliable network would disrupt daily activities and reduce the productivity of teachers and students. This would ultimately defeat the purpose of having BYOD in K12.
  • Security and control: Another major IT challenge was security and control. The school management needed to have a simple control over the network traffic. This includes prioritizing bandwidth and having control over the data accessed. There was also a need for security measures in schools since children are vulnerable to many internal and external threats.

Schools can benefit from having a system of reporting such threats to the right authorities. It would also be great to have a system in which students have the ability to report such threats without feeling intimidated.


Overcoming these challenges..

Cisco Secure Switching and Mobility solutions along with Cisco Unified Data Center solutions have helped Desert Sands Unified School District overcome these challenges. Not only do these products enable a seamless network but also provide simple tools for managing wireless devices.

Read the case study to see the solutions deployed.

Outstanding results from Unified Access.

Using Cisco’s networking solutions, DSUSD has seen an impressive improvement in academic performance and the numbers speak for themselves. A great example of this is  Van Buren Elementary, one of the schools in DSUSD, in which 90% of students come from families below the poverty line with limited language skills, has steadily improved from being one the lowest to one of the highest performing schools in the district.

Desert sands performance graph

These solutions have also resulted in a higher level of collaboration between students, teachers and parents. Testing can be done more effectively and instant feedback is possible.

Not only were these solutions effective but they were also cost effective which was critical since most schools have really tight budgets. The school saw significant reductions in energy consumption. These savings can be used by the school to provide additional benefits to the students.

Read more on how the network infrastructure provided by Cisco is used by Students, Teachers and their parents.

Learn more about Cisco BYOD solutions for K-12


Anand Jobanputra

Marketing Specialist

Mid-Market Mobility Solutions