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Edge Increases New Jersey’s K-12 Technological Opportunities

By March 25, 2020 March 26th, 2020 No Comments

Jersey City School District Becomes a New Edge Member

Over the past two years, Edge has been developing close relationships with New Jersey’s K-12 school districts, furthering the member-driven nonprofit consortium’s technological, innovative footprint throughout the state.

New Jersey’s School Board Association and Edge joined forces in June 2018 in a collaborative partnership to offer VMware virtualization software licensing and EdgeSecure managed cybersecurity services on a shared-service basis to New Jersey’s public schools, providing technology solutions and support to enable the education and development of lifelong learners.

This ongoing partnership has opened new doors for multiple public schools in New Jersey, supplying K-12 schools with access to a wide range of technological systems, tools, and solutions. A recent alliance Edge has accrued is with the Jersey City School District within the Federal E-rate 470 process and the provision of becoming a new internet service provider.

“I believe this partnership provides us with some real opportunities to provide thought leadership and bring technical resources to bear for these school districts, like Jersey City, that otherwise wouldn’t have access to,” said Bruce Tyrrell, Edge’s Associate Vice President Programs & Services.

The Jersey City School system is one of numerous districts joining forces with Edge, as the school recently entered the federal E-rate funding process for internet services. Jersey City Board of Education completed a Federal Form 470, allowing internet providers opportunities to provide solutions to the school’s needs. Based on the requirements outlined on the internet service request, Edge created a solution that met all of the school’s requirements.

“We worked very diligently to devise a creative solution where we met all of the possible requirements in an economical fashion,” Tyrrell explained. “Each school district does things differently, so Edge is lucky in that we’re very flexible and can typically work within a school Board’s terms and conditions. Conversely, some larger corporations tend to want to stick to their service agreement language and don’t want to veer off in a different direction.”

Edge Helps K-12 Districts

While Edge is interested in helping all 600 New Jersey K-12 school districts, the nonprofit organization is especially attentive towards larger urban school districts with high bandwidth needs and who can benefit from the dark fiber capability of the Edge network—also known as EdgeNet.

Tyrrell said Edge watches the e-rate process closely and identifies which school districts post needs on the Universal Service Database, to determine where Edge can be of the most assistance.

“From my perspective, adding another large school district like Jersey City to our connected membership allows Edge new opportunities to demonstrate value to other boards of education out there and show them that the cheapest thing that works isn’t always necessarily the best choice for supporting the efforts to educate their students,” he added.

For smaller school districts with small municipalities, their budgets are limited and the state limits budget increases annually to two percent, unless there are special circumstances. Edge can also assist these school boards by providing solutions where costs can be contained and reduced.

“By taking this thoughtful approach, a smaller school doesn’t have to do things like lose teachers, as other costs creep up,” Tyrrell said.

Other K-12 school districts Edge has helped are places like the Township of Montclair and Newark. These urban districts are growing both economically and technologically and Edge is able to find opportunities where the entities can partner and collaborate through the renaissance process.

“Jersey City is very similar to these locations and also going through a renaissance where businesses are moving in and the student base is growing,” Tyrrell added. “These cities all have economic challenges by being large urban school districts. Edge will continue to provide technological solutions to a wide range of educational needs for all students in New Jersey.”