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District : Iowa City Community School District

State : Iowa

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 10,001-40,000 students

Community Type : Rural, Suburban, Urban

Related Tags : Connectivity, technology infrastructure

Partnering to Increase Bandwidth

Iowa City Community School District is the fifth largest school district in the state, with a population of over 12,000 students across a total of 42 schools. Approximately 40 different languages are spoken across the district, which spans 133 square miles across the city.

The Challenge

Iowa City Community School District experienced rapidly growing enrollment, coupled with increased technology integration in the classroom. Both of these developments put a strain on the network’s capacity.

Thanks to its partnership with University of Iowa and the state Department of Education, the district secured a grant for two TILE (transform, interact, learn, and engage) model classrooms that combine traditional classroom elements with those of a video conferencing environment. Student stations include laptops and a shared flat-screen monitor to display work, while the instructor station includes a projector screen, document camera, and computer.

These classrooms enable students to engage in distance learning and access courses not offered through their district. They are able to enroll in classes taught in a different physical location and engage through a highly functioning video environment that enables collaboration between sites.

In order to stream video and run all of the components of the TILE classroom, the district needed a robust network. This new technology needed to be supported through a stable connection that allowed room for continued growth.

The Solution

During the summer of 2013, Iowa City Community School District partnered with the municipal government to invest $2 million into building its own fiber network. Iowa City built a separate fiber network to connect the city’s emergency services; it allowed the district to run its own lines through the city’s channels at no cost. This arrangement has allowed the district to double its capacity in the last four years, supporting over 6,200 devices and offering WiFi access at all school sites. Owning the network enables them to easily and quickly increase bandwidth as needed in an affordable way.

Additional Resources

From Iowa City Community School District:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Phone: 319-688-1000