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Cisco Announces Connected Learning Technology Blueprint for Schools


North Point High School showcases Cisco vision as 21st century learning environment

DENVER, CO (NSBA/T&L)- October 26, 2005 - Cisco Systems, Inc. today announced Connected Learning for Schools, a four-step blueprint that guides educators in the intelligent and effective use of technology to help transform schools. In conjunction with Cisco’s announcement, North Point High School in Charles County, MD debuted its new 21st century learning environment, which is aimed at providing rich educational opportunities for both high school students and vocational “career tech” students. North Point High School for Science, Technology and Industry features an advanced science/technology/industry learning center as well as classrooms using the latest multimedia learning tools. In creating an integrated school system for students to learn and work together, North Point serves as a model for Cisco Connected Learning for Schools.

Today’s announcements, which were made at NSBA/T&L show in Denver, CO where Cisco is demonstrating its K-12 education solutions, follow Cisco’s $20 million investment of “Mississippi Education Initiative” (MEI) to rebuild, improve and expand the learning opportunities for students in select schools in Mississippi. In the second phase, Cisco has committed an additional $20 million to expand the 21st Century Schools Initiative - “21S” - within the area devastated by Katrina. Both initiatives are powerful examples of Cisco Connected Learning.

“In order for schools to provide students with a 21st century education, they need to transform the way they operate,” said Charles Fadel, global lead, education, for Cisco. “By utilizing an IP network to the fullest, schools can achieve efficiencies on the administrative side with improved communications and processes. Simultaneously, they can offer new resources like distance learning and video streaming to students and teachers, helping them achieve the goal of academic excellence.”

On the heels of the Cisco Connected Learning for Higher Education announcement, Cisco Connected Learning for K-12 is built around a four-step blueprint aimed at transforming education and helping schools create classrooms without walls. The blueprint includes:

Connecting all school buildings and providing access to key information: to make more efficient use of personnel and to provide enhanced safety and security - all while reducing capital and building lifecycle costs - schools must converge their multiple networks into one robust IP network. A single, converged, IP network simplifies network management and support, and also allows schools to offer new academic services easily and cost-effectively.

Implementing network-based applications to improve administrative efficiency: to create new levels of administrative efficiencies with Internet-based business transactions, reporting and operational procedures, schools must turn to network-based applications. By building on the converged school network and adding more applications for key functions such as human resources, student identifications, asset tracking, and finance, processes are automated, enabling the school staff to be more self-sufficient and the money saved on administrative tasks to be reinvested into the classrooms.

Putting teacher productivity first: to ensure that teachers’ needs are placed at the top of the IT priority list, schools must incorporate and automate technology into the classrooms. By integrating information systems, curriculum and 24-hour access to data, the teacher workdays and the student learning days are more productive and ultimately more successful in meeting both academic and administrative goals.

Creating student-centered learning environments: to ultimately meet the goals of today’s new students and today’s new learning models, schools that have implemented Steps 1-3 can then develop customized, collaborative student-centric educational institutions. This means creating a learning environment that fosters learning at anytime and from anywhere and that stimulates a lifelong approach to learning. North Point High School for Science, Technology and Industry: Connected Learning on Track

“North Point High School is proof positive that having a plan and taking action to achieve that plan can indeed enable a school district to improve the quality of education,” said James Richmond, superintendent of Charles County Public Schools. “By creating a connected academic environment that focuses on the needs of both students and teachers, while collaborating with the community and local businesses, the Cisco Connected Learning blueprint helped us transform both the fabric and culture of North Point High School.”

A key priority for North Point was to close the education gap with a school that simultaneously met the needs of both higher education-bound students and vocational education. The first step towards meeting that goal was the installation of a Cisco converged IP network that would connect the entire campus and its resources and support a multitude of new IP-based academic services encompassing data, voice and video communications. A wireless network was then implemented, enabling teachers, students and administrators to use laptops throughout the campus. Wireless IP phones were also added to each classroom, allowing teachers to check voice mail, schedule teleconferences with parents and even access intelligent 911 in the event of an emergency. For rich video communications, the North Point IP network now allows streaming video, video clips and other multimedia to be delivered right to the desktop, allowing students and teachers to tap into virtually unlimited educational content. And, videoconferencing was easily integrated into the lesson plans of the North Point teachers where it was simply added as another application on the IP network.

“Technology is now at the fingertips of all of our teachers as both academic and vocational students have access to a rich array of learning tools that empower each student to learn at their own pace,” said Peter Cenenini, principal at North Point. “ And our campus is not limited to the students that walk the halls as both the local community and businesses can tap into our educational resources to pursue lifelong learning goals. Technology has truly made it possible for North Point to help all our students meet the academic standards of the 21st century.”

Cisco will be demonstrating its entire suite of K-12 education solutions at NSBA/T&L Booth #1041. For more information, please visit

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