South

WESTWOOD

Westwood upgrades connectivity in its schools

Staff and students in Westwood should find it easier and faster to get online this school year – the result of an extensive upgrading of the district’s wired and wireless networks.

The district installed new wireless access points in all seven school buildings and increased the capacity of wired networks by a factor of 10, according to Steve Ouellette, director of technology learning and innovation for the Westwood schools.

He said in addition to improving computer performance, the project also will improve Internet security.

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Ouellette said the work, which started in late June and will be completed by the time school starts on Sept. 5, cost about $500,000, but a federal grant will pay for 40 percent of the total. He said an upcoming deadline for using the federal money was one incentive to do the work now.

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The improvements were needed, he said, because the school’s equipment, which was installed in 2011, was “aging out and had reached its full potential and useful life.”

Westwood schools are heavily reliant on digital devices – with every student in grades five through 12 assigned a Chromebook.

The district plans to provide the devices in the third and fourth grades as well, Ouellette said.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.