SWC Donates Technology Upgrade to Chicago’s Alain Locke Charter School
SWC Rebuilds Entire IT Infrastructure to Equip Inner City Students with Key Educational Tools
SWC Technology Partners, a Midwest-based provider of IT solutions to midmarket organizations, today announced completion of the first phase of a philanthropic project involving rebuilding the technology infrastructure at Alain Locke Charter School in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. The initiative is designed to equip Alain Locke’s 580 students with technology resources similar to those in suburban schools to advance the charter school’s mission of preparing students to become globally competitive.
Since the project began in October 2011, SWC has donated and built a new server room with upgraded hardware, power, A/C, network capacity and data protection features; modernized the 30-seat computer lab in the school library; and deployed Microsoft virtualization technology to create a more flexible and cost-effective computing environment. That includes desktop virtualization – rarely used in an elementary/middle school setting – that is making it possible to customize desktops for each grade for faster and easier student use, simplify computer maintenance, and reduce future hardware replacement costs by substituting $250 thin terminals for $800 workstations.
The remaining 150 classroom and staff PCs will be updated in the next phase, with tens of thousands of dollars in hardware, software and services to be donated overall. The new infrastructure is replacing dated computers with old application suites and slow web page loading times, adding critical backup and failover capabilities lacking in the previous installation, and overcoming other deficiencies that hampered student work as well as increasing the risk of data loss.
Helping Close the Achievement Gap
The technology upgrade is part of a broader company/school affiliation begun in mid-2011 under the auspices of Bob Knott, CEO of SWC Technology Partners. SWC has also launched a robotics club at the school to interest students in technology and engineering, with Knott and other company personnel participating in the 90-minute club meetings every Friday morning. SWC-sponsored field trips related to science and robotics are also planned.
“The first time I saw Alain Locke’s computer lab, I realized that we were in a position to make a difference in the learning experience while also saving the school $20,000 or $30,000 in replacing those 30 computers alone. From there, the project grew to include the school’s entire technology ecosystem and eventually the robotics club,” Knott said. “Our goal is to supplement the hard work that Alain Locke is doing to improve education – and, by extension, opportunity – for their students.”
Opened in 1999 and named for the first African-American Rhodes Scholar, Alain Locke serves preschoolers through 8th graders who are 99% African-American and 1% Latino, with 94% eligible for free or reduced lunch. An extended school day and year-round program allow for a continuous cycle of learning with an in-depth exploration of each core subject while also providing time for participation in a wide array of meaningful enrichment programs that promote academic achievement and social growth.
Alain Locke Charter School’s academic success is anchored in the successful implementation of its Four Drivers Leadership Model, a laser-like focus on the key leadership principles and practices that create a high achieving urban school. These strategies have yielded record-setting test score gains on the Illinois ISAT test, moving from 12% to 91% of students meeting or exceeding state standards over nine consecutive years, and recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as one of seven schools that are best "Closing the Achievement Gap."
“Technology is opening new doors for students and teachers, enabling exciting opportunities that haven’t existed in the past,” said Pat Ryan, Jr., Founder of Alain Locke Charter School and The Alain Locke Initiative. “SWC and Microsoft’s help is propelling us to the forefront of technology in ways that will empower our students in an exciting new way.”
About The Alain Locke Initiative
The Alain Locke Initiative is a nonprofit education organization focused on closing the achievement gap by energizing urban schools with high-impact leaders. It was founded in 1991 (then named Inner-City Teaching Corps) by former inner-city teacher and gang narcotics police officer, Pat Ryan Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of INCISENT Technologies, ranked the #4 fastest growing software company in the U.S. in the 2008 INC 500 rankings. The Alain Locke Initiative is anchored by three key programs: Alain Locke Charter School, which holds the record for #1 test score gains in the history of Illinois ISAT test and was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as 1 of 7 schools nationally best "Closing the Achievement Gap"; Inner-City Teaching Corps, a teacher development program for top recent college graduates and accomplished career changers who will become future urban education leaders; and Accelerate , which seeks to solve the issue of underperforming urban charter schools by developing an elite corps of Ryan Fellows through a one year fellowship in achievement accelerating leadership for the highest potential school leaders. Visit www.alainlocke.org for more information.
About SWC Technology Partners
SWC Technology Partners is an award-winning provider of IT solutions to midsize businesses. For more than 30 years, SWC has excelled at delivering technology solutions that optimize productivity, strengthen customer relationships, enhance data sharing and drive profitability. SWC specializes in the technology solutions that match the business needs of midmarket organizations including managed services; infrastructure solutions such as Unified Communications, virtualization and network security; and software solutions including SharePoint, business intelligence and custom development. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, SWC is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and was honored as a Microsoft Central Region Partner of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012. To learn more, visit http://www.swc.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630.572.0240. Follow SWC on Facebook and on Twitter @SWCTechPartners.