Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana, Floyd County Indiana is home to the first public high school in the state ? New Albany High School, founded in 1853.
Although it is justifiably proud of its long history, New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation (NAFCS) is looking to the future with innovative technology initiatives ? including a program that aims to provide more than 11,000 students and 700 teachers across all grades from the district's full-day kindergarten through graduation with access to district-owned iPads and discounted laptops.
"We've always been one of Indiana's more dynamic and innovative school systems," explained Sal Costanzo, Director of Technology and Instructional Resources for the district.
"We are fortunate to have an involved community that includes the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation, which raises money for programs that our budget couldn't otherwise cover, as well as an active strategic planning committee made up of educators, parents, and community leaders who are helping us set and achieve goals that will continue our long-standing commitment to improving the education our children receive."
Soon after the first iPads were distributed, the district's IT department started hearing from teachers who were frustrated with the iPad's rudimentary printing ability. "Yes, there was a print function, but it wasn't anything that we could use reliably with the more than 600 printers we had on our campuses," said Costanzo.
The district wanted more than the ability to print documents via email. It wanted to be able to manage and monitor printing costs, restrict access to some printers, limit some student users to black and white printing, and enable printing from websites and photo files as well as documents ? and it wanted to ensure that student and staff privacy was maintained, and the district's network remained secure and in compliance with all of the rules that surround educational technology.
Breezy was among the products the district looked at three years ago when it first began seeking an easy and secure mobile printing solution. At the time Breezy was a new product from a startup company in Oakland, CA. "They thought that we looked promising, but our first product wasn't really ready for the enterprise, so they took a quick look and moved on," says Jared Hansen, Breezy CEO and founder.
"We looked at most of the mobile printing solutions out there, and none of them worked for us," Costanzo says. "If it was secure, it wasn't easy. If it was easy, it wasn't secure. And we couldn't find anything that included the kind of tracking and controls we needed. After several months of frustration, I saw an article that mentioned some new features that Breezy had added, so we took a second look. I was surprised to see how much the second version of the product had changed. On paper, it seemed to be feature rich and encompass all of our needs."
The school district had a very well managed printer environment with two print servers and centralized management for more than six hundred printers, plus a MobileIron mobile device management and security solution already in place. "Breezy's integration with MobileIron was a big plus in the company's favor when we took our second look at it," Costanzo adds.
In 2013, NAFCS began a formal trial program to evaluate Breezy for district-wide deployment. The trial program was designed to test seven important criteria, including:
"Our pilot program included 700 iPads. Eventually, we plan to have an iPad for every student, so the ability to scale up is vital," says Costanzo.
Breezy's Jared Hansen says that the NAFCS pilot program was one of the best-designed pilots he's seen. "This school district knew exactly what requirements different users had, and the program started with a very clear set of goals and measurement criteria," he says. "We've worked with a number of school districts and universities, but the pilot program for NAFCS was extraordinarily well-prepared and well managed. The team of 30 IT and faculty members who put it together was very well prepared, and that helped to make sure that there were no surprises during deployment and testing."
For instance, the first requirement was a secure and simple way to print from iPads that included low-touch setup and management. "Teachers and students love the fact that it's so easy to print from a mobile device. With Breezy, there was almost no learning curve," Costanzo explains. "School district IT departments work under tremendous time pressures. You can't take time away from classroom instruction for things like set-up, maintenance, and lengthy security or sign-on processes. Breezy was very simple to deploy. You just install a simple piece of connecting software on your print servers, and Breezy takes over from there."
MobileIron's Single-Sign On (SSO) capability with recognized partners like Breezy meant that all a user had to do was to open the Breezy app, which detects MobileIron. The user is instantly logged into Breezy via MobileIron, with no need to enter a new set of credentials for printing.
The second critical integration was with PaperCut, a popular print management and accounting system. "One problem that every school district struggles with is controlling printing costs," Hansen says. NAFCS had already deployed PaperCut on all of its campuses when the pilot began. Breezy's integration with PaperCut allowed the print management team to quickly and simply configure permissions and printer access from Breezy's admin panel.
Costanzo said that the efficiency gains were measurable and immediate: "Breezy has helped improve productivity for our users. Before, iPad users could print documents via email ? but if they wanted to print a picture or a webpage, they had to email it to a laptop or desktop, and then print from there. Breezy prints exactly what you see on your screen, and it's a real timesaver."
"We are very pleased with Breezy," said Costanzo. "All of our iPad users now have mobile printing, and IT didn't need to purchase any additional hardware. Breezy met or exceeded all of our criteria during the pilot program."
But it wasn't just the rich feature set that turned Costanzo into a fan and NAFCS into a Breezy customer. "It was hands-down, the most feature-rich program we looked at. But that wouldn't have been enough for me", says Costanzo. "I don't have time to wait around for customer support to solve a problem, so a responsive support team was critical to turning me into a satisfied customer. I felt that with Breezy, we weren't just buying a product, but investing in a company and a working relationship. It's a partnership. We couldn't be happier with how responsive the support team has been, or how quickly they jumped into answering questions or resolving issues that came up."
"Breezy has excelled in every aspect for us. It's not expensive for what you get", he concludes.
Breezy CEO Hansen agrees: "We love working with schools, and we're delighted to count NAFCS among our customers", he says. "We look forward to supporting them for years to come."
Breezy (www.breezy.com) is the world's leading secure mobile printing platform. Breezy's software lets users to print to any printer from any device, and can mobile-enable existing printer fleets in a matter of minutes.
Additional details about how to solve the growing problem of delivering secure mobile printing are included in the new ebook from Breezy, The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing. It's now online and available for free download. For more information visit the company's website, or contact Breezy at 1-866-245-3399.
The New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation (NAFCS) is a public school district and has operated as a separate governmental unit since 1956. The school corporation presides as a traditional symbol of progressive and visionary excellence. Located in Floyd County, Indiana, directly across the scenic Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky, the corporation serves the city of New Albany, the towns of Georgetown, Galena, Floyds Knobs, Greenville, and Floyd County townships covering approximately 149 square miles. Floyd County is a multi-ethnic community of over 71,000 residents with a variety of racial and religious groups and economic levels represented in the student population.
The New Albany Floyd County Consolidated School Corporation works together with parents and the community to provide an outstanding education in a safe, nurturing environment where all are challenged to reach their maximum potential as respectful, responsible, contributing members of a diverse society. For more information visit the school's website, download the "NAFCS" app on the AppStore or Google Play, or contact NAFCS at 1-812-949-4200.
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