School Business Affairs February 2020 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | FEBRUARY 2020 41 TECHNOLOGY device-to-student ratio, but the lack of connectivity to reliable Internet service made the shift in technol- ogy moot. Without connectivity in the schools, simple tasks—such as accessing online textbooks, perform- ing online research for projects, downloading instructional videos, or accessing apps for remedial learn- ing—were impossible. Download speeds were so slow that students were often forced to use paper and pencil for tests and hardbound ency- clopedias for research projects. State mandates weighed heavily on the district leaders. As standard- ized tests moved online, they were forced to shut down the whole sys- tem to allow one or two classes to take a required standardized test. Classes had to wait their turn to access the Internet. Not only was this method impractical and inef- ficient, it illustrated the deep divide between rural and urban schools across the state. The Process The world was becoming more con- nected, and the sooner the district could offer its students a modern education, the better. District leaders began their search for a fiber solu- tion that would level the playing field and offer opportunities on par with the education that suburban and metropolitan schools already provided. It was crucial that this missing technological piece fall into place for the students’ academic advancement. Laying fiber line into Warren County and from school to school would be prohibitively expensive for the small district to finance on its own; however, the district learned that a local hospital was taking on a similar project and using grant funding to build fiber to its facility. By combining a partnership with the hospital with financing options and help from federal E-Rate funds, the district was able to piggyback on that project to build the fiber to each of the schools. The Results With a network of partnerships and community support, MSD of Warren County not only meets the state’s testing mandates, but also provides students with previously inacces- sible technology-enabled apps and resources. Teachers have shared in the bounty as they use the network for everything from class presenta- tions to flipped classrooms, making their jobs more meaningful and enjoyable, and much more efficient. MSD of Warren County is now fully one-to-one and is anticipating add- ing bandwidth in the future. Ralph Shrader is superintendent of MSD of Warren County, Williamsport, Indiana. Email: Cory Childs is director of sales and marketing for Intelligent Fiber Network, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Email: TAKE A MINUTE TO LEARN Stay informed with actionable insights in School Business Minute, a two-page summary of the profession’s top trending topics. DELIVERED MONTHLY TO YOUR INBOX OR SENT VIA ACCENTS. PROUD SPONSOR