WiFi Upgrades Transform School Connection Capabilities

Seeking a more stable and complete WiFi connection throughout the district, Director of Operations John Mercier spent the summer upgrading the school’s wireless network.

“Wireless connectivity is essential to learning,” said Mercier. “Without a reliable wifi connection, student Chromebooks and staff computers may not operate, among other devices, bringing teaching and learning to a standstill. Technology upgrades are critical for students to grow academically.” 

RSD17 educates over 1,800 students across five schools, and supports over 350 staff members. In total, there are nearly 3,000 technology devices across the school district. Every student, except preschoolers, is issued a Chromebook. 

By early 2023 the district anticipates all school buildings will have faster, stronger and more secure WiFi connectivity, both in traditional classrooms and in unique locations, like sports fields.

“Outdoor WiFi access points are being installed in certain areas of HKHS and HKMS to aid in outdoor teaching and for streaming sports and other events like graduation,” said Mercier.

This project will increase WiFi access points from 160 to 249. Devices will be able to go from school to school without having to connect to other WiFi networks. The upgrade will support everything from teleconferencing to extracurricular activities. 

A critical component of the district's new strategic operating plan is enhancing district infrastructure to support a modern learning environment. RSD17 will continue to invest in technology upgrades that support learning through the development of a Master Capital Plan.

An added benefit of the upgrade is a 75% reduction in the annual WiFi licensing fee. Funding for the project was split evenly between E-Rate, a federal program that makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools, and local funds.