Measure E Brings Technological Advancements To The District

IT Specialist Nicholas Chapman made sure teachers were able to connect to the new wifi.

Felicia Mo

IT Specialist Nicholas Chapman made sure teachers were able to connect to the new wifi.

Fiona Zhao and Felicia Mo

As part of the latest technological updates funded by the Measure E bond, a $650 million obligation allocated in June 2014, FUSD’s IT Upgrade Project has implemented four new wireless network systems across all schools, along with digital clocks in Irvington classrooms this October. Convenience aside, these new systems are two of several efforts by the district to promote on-campus safety.

Updates to wireless connection at Irvington included increasing access points from four per block to one per classroom. Each access point now supports 3,800 MB/s of traffic, compared to the former 300 MB/s, according to Irvington area IT Support Specialist Nicholas Chapman. Hired contractors installed fiber cabling during school after-hours for a year and a half, starting in December 2016. Another group of contractors then installed the hardware, including a new server in the front office.

In a poll surveying 136 Irvington students, 74.3 percent of respondents agreed that the new student Wi-Fi systems, Cutover and FUSD Student, were much faster. While the new network names and passwords were posted in front of Irvington’s library, 15.4 percent of respondents were reportedly unaware of the new networks.  

Aside from providing students and staff with faster Wi-Fi, the new networks were also implemented as a pre-emptive security measure.

“We’re trying to make everyone use FUSD Student and log in with their credentials so we don’t have random people connecting,” said Lead IT Support Specialist Todd Gutierrez.

Cutover, reportedly the more popular of the two student networks, is a temporary network that the district plans to take down within the next school year during the transition to the new network, FUSD Student. With confusion arising from changed FUSD student account passwords, the transition to the Wi-Fi “FUSD Student” may pose a challenge.

Despite clear improvements, the new networks are not yet fully implemented—not all the outdoor access points, such as in the student parking lot, are in place. Additionally, with more students aware of the new networks, Wi-Fi speed has inevitably slowed.

“We’re still working on getting a lot of the outdoor access points in place,” said Chapman, “but that should be remedied in the near future. The one time it gets truly taxed is during Advisory, when all the students are on Instagram or YouTube. That’s when it gets truly hammered, but we should be OK going forward.”

Besides new Wi-Fi networks, Measure E’s funding also went to other facilities. With attached speakers, a new bell system, and strobe lights, Irvington’s digital clock functions not just to tell time accurately, but to promote on-campus awareness, especially to the formerly under-equipped portables. The staff in the main office can now send messages via the clocks, even to individual classrooms. The strobe lights surrounding the clocks can flash to grab students’ attention in the event of a fire alarm or other urgent message.

“There’s instances in a couple of school shootings across the country where the active shooter went and pulled the fire alarm, and everyone went out into the hallway,” said Chapman. “That’s when the massacre happens. This way the main office can put out the notice, so it minimizes the attacker’s knowledge of what’s going on on campus.”

According to FUSD, the IT Upgrade Project is, as of now, 98% complete in high schools. Junior high schools will be receiving similar upgrades as part of the conversion to middle school.