Newburgh Enlarged City School District is located at “The Crossroads of the Northeast,” an area on the west bank of the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City and 80 miles south of Albany. The district includes nine elementary magnet schools grades K-6, three junior high schools grades 7-9, and one high school grades 10-12.
NECSD is comprised of 2,200 staff and 13,000 students spread across 22 buildings. The network infrastructure consists of 4,000 workstations, 75 servers, 200 routers or switches, and 400 wireless access points. Dedicated to supporting the IT infrastructure, Newburgh Enlarged City School District has 7 Micro Computer Repair Technicians, 1 Network Engineer, 2 Educational Technology Liaisons, 16 Educational Technology Teachers, and 2 Voice Specialists.
Schools often need to deploy computers that offer a limited feature set—for example, a computer lab designed for young children, an information kiosk in a library, or an administrative machine that needs to be simplified. Limiting a computer’s functions is an important part of protecting a computer’s purpose. Having fully-functional computers placed in environments where only limited-functionality is required carries the possibility of computers being used by students in a distractive or inappropriate way.
NECSD desperately needed a solution that was easier to manage, flexible, and scalable across the entire district. As a group, the IT staff looked at several commercial software solutions, and ultimately selected Faronics WINSelect for its ease of use, customization strength, and intuitiveness. “We’d been happily using Deep Freeze for a few years,” says Nelson Colon, Educational Technology Liaison for NECSD. “We discovered WINSelect when we visited the Faronics website for Deep Freeze updates, and started browsing through Faronics’ other solutions.”
Faronics WINSelect makes it easy to manage the functionality of computers in public access, kiosk, library, educational, and corporate environments, and empowers IT administrators with enterprise control over a workstation’s system settings. IT can quickly customize a computer’s capabilities by restricting user access to certain applications, websites, program functions, and system options. IT administrators can also dynamically configure systems without the hassle and complexity of Group Policies, and can easily limit the features of third-party programs such as Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox. Advanced options include the ability to regulate user activity, and remove functions from within the Windows operating system and installed applications.
The Garden City School district has approximately 600 staﬀ and 5,500 students using 1,300 workstations. Half of the workstations are running a Windows environment, while the other half are Macintosh computers. The district has 13 servers, half of which use NetWare 6.5 and half of which use OS X.
The school district was experiencing problems with students getting into and changing the proxy settings in Internet Explorer. Students were also changing other settings and using Windows Networking to get into other machines in the building that were not secure. Sometimes students were getting into places through right-clicking in certain task bars or menu bars, which was diﬃcult for administrators to control or restrict.
Garden City used Fortres 101 for approximately four to ﬁve years as a solution against these problems, but the software was not doing what they needed it to. Students frequently found ways around it or ﬁgured out what machines were not secured.
Garden City’s IT staﬀ consists of two full-time and one part-time employees. The three staﬀ were responsible for managing 1,300 computers, and spent a lot of time re-imaging machines to deal with the problems that occurred when students found ways around Fortres 101.
The IT staﬀ at Garden City were already using Deep Freeze from Faronics on several of their labs, and heard about WINSelect through the company. The staﬀ were so impressed with Deep Freeze that they thought another solution from Faronics was a good bet.
Tim Klan, Technology Supervisor at Garden City Schools, downloaded an evaluation copy of WINSelect. After the evaluation period, the IT staﬀ found that they liked WINSelect better than Fortres 101; it was an easier product to use and competitively priced. Because they were already using Deep Freeze, they felt conﬁdent in the product’s ability to solve their problems.