Highland School Board hears about tech upgrades

Monterey, Va. – Staff at the Highland County Schools have been busy this summer upgrading and improving their computer and internet system. That was the message that Information Technology Specialist Will Jenkins had for School Board members at their meeting this week.

“We’ve been extremely busy this summer trying to get all of our new equipment and software installed,” said Mr. Jenkins. “We have a new internet service provider, which is HTC (Highland Telephone Cooperative). We have increased our internet speed from 3 megabytes to 35 megabytes by going with HTC and it is a significantly lower amount than we were paying with Network Virginia. We have also replace 11 of our access points for internet and WiFi with state of the art access points that will allow up to 50 devices to connect, which is doubling the capacity of our old access points which would only allow 25 devices per access point.”

The use of wireless devices in the building has been improved by increasing the number of access points from 11 to 16. Several dead spots in the building have also been eliminated.

“We have also been able to minimize several points of failure that were identified by a couple of outside contractors including myself here,” said Mr. Jenkins. “We have also been able to replace our antiquated and unsupported Edge router and firewall with a new Cisco ASA-5510. That one device will take the place of two antiquated pieces of equipment that we had in our server room. And the support that we have with this new equipment will allow us support through June, 2015. We also have a new content filter that will take the place of our IBoss. This particular content filter will be better for our environment as well as our network users.”

These hardware and software upgrades will put the Highland County School System in a position to supply all the important computer resources to the staff and students for years to come.

“Overall, this new equipment is in place and is getting along very well with the other equipment here in the building,” said Mr. Jenkins. “The Highland County (Schools) network infrastructure is in a much better position to support future education technology hardware and software and state demand as well as VM-ware, which is Virtual Machine-ware, which a lot of school systems are moving towards to minimize space needed for equipment and servers.”

During the next week, the last preparations will be completed for the start of the new school year.

“We still have some minor tweaking that needs to be done,” said Mr. Jenkins. “That will just allow us to customize the new equipment to our system here and our network. The complete project including the tweaking and updating the WSUS, which is an update server, all of this should be completed by August 24th. But all the major equipment has already been installed.”

The next regular meeting of the Highland County School Board will be Monday, September 10, at 7 PM in the High School library.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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