Unley High School

Next generation network for today and tomorrow at Unley High School

For a school that strives to do “The Utmost for The Highest”, Unley High School actively seeks continuous improvement in technologically enhanced pedagogy.

From its 1,550 students and their parents to the 160 staff, everyone values Unley High School’s robust, education-appropriate IT environment. A campus-wide network refresh was undertaken as part of a major capital works project.

Unley High School (UHS) is a comprehensive secondary school in Adelaide that pursues excellence in all areas. It has a proud record of academic success, sporting involvement, student well-being and connection with families.

The Challenge

IT that supports a program of continuous improvement in a school that needs scalability in its robust infrastructure and highly efficient device management.

The Solution

CompNow completed an Aruba-powered wired & wireless network and services project, plus the long established device management service lifts school IT team productivity.

The Benefits
  • Robust infrastructure supported by flexibility of Aruba
  • Project management sets CompNow services apart
  • CompNow device onboarding saves UHS 2-3 weeks of work at start of school year
  • High achieving technology environment is valued and funded

Thanks to Compnow’s recommendations and services, we have a simplified, highly secure, single sign on environment for seamless online teaching and learning. We can work from anywhere.

Jenny Johns Deputy Principal
Unley High School


The Challenge

Unley High School’s technology-integrated pedagogy supports students in all year levels as they develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, communications and collaboration.

Years 7, 8 and 9 participate in a parent funded mobile learning program using iPads. Senior students in Years 10, 11 and 12 extend learning possibilities via a BYOD program, with Windows or Mac laptops. The innovative technology environment, including a Daymap online learning management system, encourages parents to be partners in student learning. The infrastructure is designed to provide seamless learning between home and school, 24 hours a day.

Konrad Date, Computer Systems Manager at Unley High School says: “For us, technology performance is measured against its positive impact on our students. Our young people need to get in and do their work. It’s as simple as that.”

With an expected influx of students in coming years, UHS commissioned a total wireless network refresh to be coordinated with a school-wide building and refurbishment program.


The Solution

“Over the years we’ve developed a lot of trust in CompNow,” Konrad says. From its deep understanding of the school’s needs, CompNow proposed an innovative design for a comprehensive, modern network that was “beyond the Department for Education standard”.

Jenny Johns, Unley High School’s Deputy Principal, says: “Because CompNow is on the Department’s Site IT Support (SITS) panel, it’s very reassuring to know they’re authorised to build and maintain school IT networks, with the connections to its processes and specifications for protocols.”

CompNow’s recommendation of Aruba’s core & edge switching and wireless network, filled the brief for Konrad because “it was an advanced solution, but affordable. For a school, we have an enterprise grade network that is the foundation of all our teaching and learning needs.”

Aruba Airwave Management tool enables the IT team to troubleshoot and configure the school’s network of 178 indoor & outdoor access points. The updated Aruba core switch now provides us with enough networking headroom for us to expand the edge as there are future refurbishments and building works still to come.

“With all our upgrages, we have future proofed our school, as we plan to have our core business systems stored off-site.”

The benefit of Aruba is that it doesn’t lock UHS into a particular brand or product. We can change direction at any time without having to do a whole refresh and we have confidence in the professional advice from CompNow for that support,” Konrad says.

The latest project at UHS was a switch firmware upgrade, conducted during the school holidays and he says: “I prefer having CompNow onsite to oversee the work. Their engineering prowess is great. Everyone knows what they’re doing, they come up with all the answers we need and they’re very good mentors.”

Over time, CompNow has proven its worth in improving student engagement and pedagogy at UHS.

Jenny says: “CompNow helps us put all the right software and hardware tools – and the vital skills training – in teachers’ hands.

“Our purpose was to release teachers from being stuck in the corner of the class to a desktop. The introduction of MacBook Airs for all staff (combined with Vivi screen mirroring) changed the classroom dynamic. Teachers were free to be mobile, so pedagogy could take a step up.”

CompNow manages the school’s BYOD program including Windows & Apple laptops & tablets. A Jamf server, recommended by CompNow, sits within the system and can be externally accessed so new students can set up Apple devices prior to their first day.

“CompNow looks after the inside and outside of our onboarding. That alone saves us 2-3 weeks of work at the beginning of each year. The number of middle school students’ iPads requiring assistance in the classroom is just about nil. So we’re free to do other more important work,” Konrad says.

Further extending its service to UHS, CompNow provides appropriate onsite resourcing to cover when the school’s team of five IT staff take leave.


The Benefits

Konrad says: “We have infrastructure that doesn’t need to be fixed. It does what it’s supposed to do. We’ve bought more access points since the initial Aruba network rollout and we just plug them in. Aruba looks to where the controller is and configures itself. There’s no need for outside help to manage it.”

CompNow’s approach to project management sets them above others: “We talk about the project, they put the solution clearly on paper and we approve it. Then, there are no other changes. We never have to face nasty surprises during any rollout. It may seem a small thing, but they finish a job and leave the place clean and ready for us to take over,” he says.

A significant shift for UHS in recent years is the value of its high achieving technology environment. “As the school plans for a cohort of 1,700 students by 2024 – with 10 classes at each year level – our program of continuous improvement includes the building of further classrooms and their IT fitouts,” Jenny said.

“That’s a huge funding commitment in itself, plus we need to be able to plan 3-4 years ahead for refresh cycles. With certainty from the school, we can give CompNow the go ahead to keep an eye on stock availabilities and pricing. They bend over backwards to deliver within our means, and to keep us in front,” she says.

“CompNow is the whole package. They’re part of our school. I’d hate to think I’d ever have to find anyone else,” Konrad says.

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