Texas district recognized for innovative access to thousands of educational resources
Fort Lauderdale, FL — January 26, 2004 — The Plano Independent School District (PISD) in Plano, Texas, said it has expanded its use of Citrix access infrastructure software to serve more students in its growing district of 65 schools.
PISD's access strategy was recognized in the 2003 InfoWorld 100, an annual list of organizations that demonstrate the most creative use of technologies to further their goals. PISD was selected for the award based on its innovative use of the Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server to provide more than 51,800 students and nearly 6,800 faculty and staff with access to 150 instructional, reference and administrative applications on demand, whether from the classroom, the library or home.
In November 2003, PISD's remote access project, known as MyPISD.net, became officially available to all neighborhoods in the district. Now, all PISD students and their families can connect into the school district's internal network and securely access personal file directories and educational applications, including reference databases, special instructional software applications, productivity tools and curriculum software.
In addition, students can access a wide array of global research resources, including digital video libraries comprised of more than 3,000 streaming media titles, and 40,000 indexed clips and images. PISD said this access enables students to expand upon their classroom assignments, learn at their own pace and review work after school hours. It also gives parents additional insight into classroom activities and facilitates increased communication with teachers and campus administrators.
"Easier, more comprehensive and more flexible access to classroom information has become very important to educators and families in our district," said Jim Hirsch, associate superintendent for technology at PISD. "The access infrastructure has helped us to increase student achievement by making it easier for students to learn at their own pace, produce higher-quality work and become better learners by extending the school day and resources into their homes. MyPISD.net is also motivating parents to get more involved by taking a hands-on approach to their child's learning process."
PISD has also instituted a program called Computers@Home, which provides educationally disadvantaged families with donated PCs and IT equipment so they can access MyPISD.net from their homes. Rather than sell surplus legacy hardware at auction, PISD places these older computers in the homes of identified families who can use them to access the MyPISD.net service and its wide array of global research resources through Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, which supports virtually any computer over any connection, even low-speed, dial-up connections.
Citrix stated that nine of the nation's largest 10 school districts, as defined by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and eight of the top 10 technology school districts throughout the United States, as ranked by District Administration Magazine, use Citrix access infrastructure software.