Board Approves Technology Bids for District

At the Mason Public Schools Board of Education meeting on March 11, the Board approved bids for cabling and multimedia systems upgrades throughout the district, which is part of Phase 1 of the Capital Improvement Project.

The total bid award was $337,700. The contractors selected were Datacom Group for low voltage cabling and Digital Age Technologies for multimedia systems.

Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said, “Mason Public Schools has done significant work already to improve technology, including increasing the district’s wireless access points from 112 to 370 last year. Continuing to build out the quality of our technology will benefit all of Mason’s buildings including the ones under renovation through the Capital Improvement Project. The support of our community is appreciated.”

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Secondary Furniture Pilot Update

During the 2017-2018 school year, a team of secondary teachers and administrators worked with GMB designer, Meeghan Mooney, to develop a plan for our Secondary Furniture Pilot for Mason Middle School and Mason High School.  This team of teachers and administrators spent the winter and spring visiting schools throughout Michigan to see how updated school furniture and classroom designs could positively impact student engagement and learning.

At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, four classrooms (two at MMS and two at MHS) were selected as pilot classrooms for new furniture.  The Secondary Furniture Committee would like to thank Mrs. Laura Lewis, Mrs. Ellyn Delpier, Mr. Jeremy Cunningham, and Mrs. Amy Kelly for their willingness to participate in the furniture pilot and for their flexibility throughout this process.

Furniture pieces were selected and installed over Presidents’ Day Weekend this past February.  The students and teachers have participated in surveys prior to furniture installation and will continue to provide feedback to GMB and Mason Public Schools so informed decisions can be made regarding future furniture purchases.

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Staff and students will have the chance to test new furniture at the Middle and High Schools

Two classrooms at Mason High School and two classrooms at Mason Middle School are participating in a pilot to be outfitted with different furniture styles and configurations over Holiday Break. Students and staff will have the opportunity to test out the furniture styles and configurations in order to get a better sense of which types of furniture will be best for Mason as well as which types will be best for a grade or a subject. A secondary level furniture committee has been meeting this past year and will utilize the feedback from this pilot to make the recommendations to the district.

During this pilot, the furniture will be installed at the middle school in the classrooms of Ellyn Delpier (Grade 8 ELA) and Laura Lewis (Grade 8 ELA). At the high school, the furniture will be installed in the classrooms of Jeremy Cunningham (ELA) and Amy Kelly (Math).

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District completes back-end upgrades to wireless infrastructure

This summer, the district has completed the back-end upgrades to our wired and wireless infrastructure. This included replacing each switch, running new fiber for faster connections to each network closet, and a near three-fold expansion of our wireless access points. Wireless Internet access points were increased from 112 to 370. Staff and students will notice a far faster wired and wireless experience throughout the district.

Along with the performance improvements, system-wide management becomes far easier. Each network connection is now labeled and marked. Automated reports of potential service issues are sent to district IT staff in near real time.

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AV Upgrades will begin this summer

The district is carefully reviewing classroom AV equipment for future installation.  As a district, we want to match the new classroom technology to our instructional goals and objectives.  We plan for the HEC, high school and  middle school classrooms to be upgraded in the summer of 2019.  North Aurelius and Alaiedon in the summer of 2020 and Steele in Phase 2.

Over the summer, technology improvements ($770,000+) will include replacing switch infrastructure in each building which is currently up to 14 years old. Wireless connectivity will be significantly improved across the district.  Backup batteries will be installed in each building to provide at least one hour of power to phones in case of a power outage.  In addition, the computer labs at the elementary schools and middle schools will be re-purposed, the business classes at the high school will be upgraded, and some PA systems will be improved.

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Mason Public Schools’ Board Approves Over $770,000 in Bids for Technology Infrastructure Improvements

Student using computer at school media center

Capital improvements to network, wireless and cabling systems will begin in late Spring following the approval of a $69.7M bond proposal in November 2017

MASON, MI – At the Mason Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday evening, the Board approved bids for technology infrastructure improvements with installation to begin in late Spring. The Board of Education approved contracts totaling $773,193.06. The technology contracts will be with Delta Network Services in the amount of $588,384.06 for network, wireless and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) improvements, Universal Cabling System in the amount of $48,184.00 for fiber optic cabling and Datacom Group in the amount of $136,625.00 for low voltage cabling.

Technology improvements will include replacing switch infrastructure in each building, some if which is 14 years old. Wireless Internet access will be significantly improved by increasing access points from 112 to 370. Backup batteries will be installed in each building to provide at least one hour of power to phones in case of a power outage.
In Fall 2017, the Dart Foundation and Mason Public Schools Foundation awarded Mason Public Schools $840,000 in grant dollars to purchase more than 3,200 Chromebooks for classroom use. So far, the district has purchased and distributed 1,700 Chromebooks and will be purchasing the remaining Chromebooks over Summer 2018. That will bring the current count of Chromebooks available for student use to 2,580 total.

Additionally, the district has applied for reimbursement of technology infrastructure expenses through the federal E-rate reimbursement program. This program allows eligible schools to identify needs and submit requests for competitive bids to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The specific reimbursement figures are not currently available, but could be 60% of the total infrastructure cost. Access to this program is not guaranteed each year due to potential federal budget constraints.

Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said, “It is important for Mason Public Schools to continue to be good financial stewards of community resources. This opportunity for reimbursement from the federal government may not be available in the future, so it was important for us to meet all E-rate deadlines to be eligible for rebates.”

Specific details regarding the improvements to district technology infrastructure are available on the Mason Public Schools website.

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Mason Voters Pass $69.7 Million Bond Proposal in November 2017 Election

Students walking into school building

Building a Stronger, Smarter, Safer Mason Public Schools

MASON, MI – Thanks to residents, voters and the “Yes Mason!” committee, Mason Public Schools will have the funding to make major facilities improvements; technology and learning environment upgrades; and safety and security updates to all schools beginning Spring 2018 and extending through 2026.

The November 2017 bond proposal was a revised version of the May 2016 proposal that did not pass. The District formed a School Study Committee (SSC) to conduct research among the community. The SSC met 17 times over 10 months (a total of 1,170 hours combined) and consisted of 30 staff, school board and community members. The result was revised proposal on the November 2017 ballot that better met the expectations of the community while continuing to meet the immediate needs of the school.

The November 2017 election saw a voter turnout increase of 4% and “Yes” vote increase of 42% from May 2016, demonstrating the community’s enthusiasm for the revised bond proposal.

“The Mason community has given the students in our district an incredible opportunity by supporting this bond proposal,” says Ron Drzewicki, Mason Public Schools Superintendent. “It’s our responsibility and pleasure to keep everyone informed of the impact their investment is making, both in terms of the physical changes to the buildings and the educational outcomes of our students.”

Building Stronger Schools

With the approval of this bond proposal, Mason Public Schools will receive the funding to:

  • Make critical upgrades to the mechanical electrical and plumbing systems in all schools
  • Upgrade and expand outdated, undersized and makeshift learning spaces
  • Add multi-purpose rooms that separate P.E. and large group instruction from the elementary cafeterias
  • Improve accessibility for all students at all schools

Building Smarter Schools

With the approval of this bond proposal, Mason Public Schools will receive the funding to:

  • Update technology infrastructure to maximize connectivity, access and learning
  • Upgrade and renovate classrooms to support all teaching and learning styles
  • Create an age-appropriate leaning environment for pre-K/kindergarten students

Building Safer Schools

With the approval of this bond proposal, Mason Public Schools will receive the funding to:

  • Replace the aging school bus fleet
  • Improve the flow of pedestrian and vehicle traffic
  • Implement secure building entry throughout the District.

The bond will be issued in three phases, with the first spanning 2018-2021. Phase 1 will include:

  • Bus purchases in Summer 2018
  • High school and middle school furniture and equipment updates
  • Technology, device and infrastructure upgrades in late Spring 2018
  • Construction on the Harvey Education Center, Alaideon Elementary and North Aurelius Elementary beginning Spring 2019 – Fall 2020.

Phase 2 (beginning in 2021) and Phase 3 (beginning in 2023) bring similar projects to the other schools throughout the District.

Mason residents can stay current on capital improvement/bond proposal projects by visiting the “Newsroom” section of bondprojects.masonk12.net.

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