Shelton’s school district has saved $2 million in technology costs over the past 10 years by centralizing its computer technology.
Daniel Divito, director of Technology for Shelton Public Schools, said the district’s effort to extend the life of its equipment by hiring Citrix Technology, came as a result of a tight city budget and the inability to meet corporate standards of a “refresh” every four to five years.
Divito explained that one of the biggest benefits of the software is no longer having to invest $600 to $700 into new machines. Instead, Shelton Public Schools purchased 600 Chromebook devices for nearly $200 each.
The district converted to the use of Google Chrome boxes and Chromebooks three years ago. This provides clients with the option of using Chrome or Windows, which is a luxury because it allows the use of applications out of Microsoft Office on the inexpensive Chrome devices.
“Being that we can’t replace equipment as quickly as we want to, we are able to use Citrix to help lengthen the lifespan of the equipment we do have by simply using our older devices as a vehicle with Citrix to provide the latest Windows-based desktop for them.”
Chris Adams, the district’s Citrix engineer, said the software has been especially effective because it keeps all of the operating system’s programs stored on the server.
“The way we’ve saved money is now that everything is running on the server and not through the client, the client doesn’t need a lot of horsepower and they can use a low-end system as their front end and can access the Citrix system,” said Adams. “You no longer need the latest and greatest Windows based PC, you can take something that is 5 or 10 years old hooked up to a Citrix system and it will work just fine.”
He added that along with enabling students to access their work from home it also saves their parents more money.
“Let’s say a teacher gives a homework assignment that requires Powerpoint, they don’t have to own the program at their house anymore. They can just pick up their computer at home and use our licensing of the Microsoft or Adobe suite. Now, they wouldn’t have to buy the Microsoft Office 2015 or whatever the latest version of the software is right now.
Adams said the district has trained professionals at each of the schools prepared to answer questions on the use of the software.
Shelton has updated to the latest version of the software, Citrix 7.6 and Adams said the rate of system crashes reported has decreased rapidly.
“It’s much more stable now and runs more smoothly. This has been by far the best version so far,” said Adams.
Although there has been an expected learning curve, according to Divito, the overall response from teachers using the technology has been positive as it permits remote use which is a newer feature of the software.
“We’ve noticed that it extends the school day out as well,” said Divito. “Now the students can access from home a Citrix desktop. They can login and can use a Windows based desktop from anywhere in the world. Students can now access their network drives from home, which we weren’t able to do before.”