SEND (Smart Education Networks by Design)

SEND logo: Red and yellow swirls in a circle
Advances in technology make it possible for students to experience personalized learning anytime and anywhere. But this can only take place if our school systems have well-designed networks that remain current in the face of rapidly evolving technologies and support the increased demands of student devices and 24/7/365 access.
The Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND)  Initiative provides districts with resources to help them navigate the shift from old networks to modern, resilient, flexible networks that support the increasing demands of teaching and learning. This work is done with the generous support of our partners: Amazon Web Services, CiscoEd-Fi AllianceENA/CatchOn, Filewave,   Juniper Networks, and Pearson.
Artificial Intelligence (AI0 has the potential to influence practically every aspect of education and society. Nothing could be more clear as the world manages through this current health pandemic. As educators plan for more blended learning approaches, this resource provides guidance on both the upsides and challenges of integrating AI into the K-12 learning environment, as well as both adaptive and intelligent platforms, and school security. This 1.0 version is expected to be updated as AI in learning environments evolve. 

Download Full SEND Guidelines 

Download SEND Checklist Only 

Featured Resources

Network Fiber Buildout: Timelines and Potential Delays 
School-to-Home report: Understanding Why 24/7 Access to Broadband is Essential to Student Learning 
Maximizing K-12 Fiber Connectivity Through E-Rate: An Overview was co-authored by Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN; Ryan Thompson, Student at Harvard Law School; and David Talbot, Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center.

The toolkit comprises three parts: providing an overview of the E-rate program and the types of fiber eligible through the program; describing important considerations for schools to assess their options; and issuing a call to action for school systems to begin taking measurable steps toward deciding on and making effective use of today’s fiber connectivity options. Learn more about E-Rate 2.1 by watching this helpful new educational video series.

download toolkit

NEW: E-Rate Education Series

Our newest white paper, Smart Networks: Comprehensive Design Overview provides SMART guidelines for school system leaders. Traditional school networks, depending on size and geography, are generally not able to scale to support teaching and learning in a digitally transformational environment. Smart Education Networks that increase capacity and reduce costs can be implemented, but the process must be approached holistically, with a full understanding of the tradeoffs among the requirements and comprehensive design that addresses them as a whole.

Education Networks of America, in collaboration with eLearn Institute and TechEdvantage, developed a white paper that provides insight into potential network security threats impacting today’s school districts. It also shares key considerations and best practices every school district can implement for improving its network security as well as preparedness when an incident does occur.

Included in the white paper are the experiences and recommendations of two school districts—Broward County Public Schools (Florida) and Huntington County Community School Corporation (Indiana). Their valuable insight will be immeasurably helpful for school districts nationwide.

download white paper

As districts begin to transform digitally, many must rethink their network architecture to maintain affordable Internet access. Our handy infographic breaks down some of the costs associated with the digital conversion and talks you through the Smart Networks that this era demands.

view infographic

view SEND performance design guide

Guidelines for School System Chief Technology Officers

Core Recommendations

  • Recognize that education networks are critical components of schools' infrastructures
  • Recognize that 1-to-1 programs are quickly becoming the mainstream and plan accordingly
  • Start network planning and upgrade processes by consulting with teachers and administrators
  • Plan for substantial training and support
  • Understand that accessing content and resources is just as critical outside of the classroom as inside
  • Ensure that rigorous security measures are built into your network designs
  • Make future-focused design choices in terms of scalability and adaptability

A graph showing the relationship between Time, Technology, and Investment; and Capacity and Services

Conclusions—Looking Ahead

Most U.S. schools and school districts are at critical junctures in their technology planning and investment life cycles. IT decision makers can easily be overwhelmed by the change observed in classroom instructional techniques, the widespread proliferation of consumer devices on their campuses, and the promise of transformative teaching and learning effectiveness offered by mobile computing. Student engagement and academic achievement can be transformed by 24/7 access to quality digital content and personalized learning models, but only if reliable education networks have been established. Furthermore, network designers must consider not only today's bandwidth demands, but also what future innovations may require. The SEND Guidelines for School System Chief Technology Officers list our full recommendations and conclusions.

Further References and Resources

  • Interoperability Report: K-12 education has not focused on interoperability—the seamless sharing of data content and services among systems and applications. Our new report, Working Together to Strategically Connect the K-12 Enterprise: Interoperability Standards for Education, a resource for non-technical leaders, will help district technology leaders understand why interoperability standards matter. This report highlights the most important, widely used, and emerging standards - Read more about it on our blog.
  • Download the Network and Infrastructure Slides for Districts
  • Critical CTO Conversations: District Leadership: Taking the digital leap means changing everything. Old organizational structures are no longer functional for new organizational needs. Traditional interfaces between departments are obsolete. And the role of IT becomes central to enabling teaching and learning. The modern CTO should be having critical conversations both inside and outside of the organization in order to be effective in a dramatically evolving environment.
  • Cyber Security: Technology leaders and policymakers need to protect their networks and information security, analyze their current status, and validate what they are doing well. CoSN provides tools and resources that provide insight into how risk can be further reduced in ways that help technology contribute to their school’s primary goal of teaching and learning. We also offer assistance to district technology leaders who are working to ensure safety for both students and staff.
  • IT Crisis Preparedness: Technology programs have grown to touch almost every aspect of activities in modern-day schools, including teaching and learning, data-tracking and record-keeping, internal and external communications, and more. Events in our country such as Hurricane Katrina and the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School have illustrated the need for school technology leaders to be actively involved in crisis preparedness to ensure student safety and business continuity. CoSN helps district technology leaders identify best practices and develop strategies for shutting down and starting up critical services.








green software logoThis CoSN resource is related 

to the following skill areas from CoSN's Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO

Learn more about E-Rate 2.1 by watching this helpful new educational video series.