Illinois School Supports 1:1 Program with WiFi Rollout


The Catherine Cook School in Illinois has deployed WiFi campus-wide in an effort to support its 1:1 laptop initiative. For the deployment, the school replaced its previous hardware with Xirrus arrays.

According to Bill Mierisch, director of technology at Catherine Cook School, the institution's previous wireless implementation had grown ineffective at meeting the needs of educators and students as enrollment and the number of wireless devices in use at the school climbed.

“We have a one-to-one laptop program in place for our 4th-8th grade students, which requires reliable network access campus-wide to be successful,” Mierisch said in a prepared statement. “In addition to this group of 125 students, we also have two mobile laptop carts with 40 computers serving over 200 younger students, 10 wireless desktop computers stationed in classrooms, and an assortment of more than 100 laptops, Blackberrys, iPhones, and Windows Mobile smart phones used by our staff and parent volunteers."

He added: “It is crucial to have confidence in your Wi-Fi network. If teachers can’t rely on connectivity, they simply cannot--and will not--do the exciting, engaging, and rewarding teaching that such a program affords. We are more confident now thanks to Xirrus, and it is making a difference in what teachers are willing to do. That means more opportunities for our kids to learn, and for us, that’s the real measure of return-on-investment.”

The Catherine Cook School is a junior school serving students in preschool through grade 8 in Chicago.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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