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A Fast-Growing Texas District Leans on Its Reliable IT Vendor

When Katy ISD opens new schools, CDW-G is there to help

The Katy Independent School District in Houston is one of the fastest growing districts in the Lone Star State. An average of 3,000 new students enter Katy’s 51 schools each year, and total enrollment has surpassed 55,000. Last September the Katy district opened two elementary schools and two junior high schools and renovated or retrofitted 15 others—a “major challenge” that could not have been accomplished without the help of CDW Government (CDW-G), says chief information officer Lenny Schad.


CDW-G, the public sector subsidiary of CDW and a leading provider of technology products and services, coordinates the delivery of 85 percent of Katy’s technology equipment, which last summer included some 3,000 computers. Delivery and installation of the equipment typically takes place within a limited time frame in the district’s busy construction schedule.

“Construction always ebbs and flows,” Schad says. “CDW-G has to be flexible with our construction. CDW-G has worked very well with us in coordinating all that.”

"They're the ones that can bring the players to the table. They have the relationships with the Trend Micros and the Ciscos and the Microsofts."

CDW-G has supplied equipment and expertise to Schad and the Katy district for the past five years.

“From the CIO’s chair,” Schad says, “the best thing about CDW-G is their ability to reach out to any organization at a very high level and engage that organization in whatever issue Katy ISD is having.”

These days the Katy school district is focusing its efforts on cyber security. Schad says tech-savvy students are very savvy in their use of common hand-held technology, such as thumb drives and cell phones. Technology departments must continually implement security measures, Schad says, to ensure that critical data such as grades, disciplinary reports and social security numbers remain protected. Although Katy’s cyber security has not suffered a serious breach, Schad says he’s enlisted CDW-G to help ensure a proactive approach to cyber security.

“We are not immune from it,” Schad says. “I think we’ve moved beyond virus scanning and virus protection. Organizationally you’ve got to come up with a strategy. That’s why we’ve engaged CDW-G. They’re the ones that can bring the players to the table. They have the relationships with the Trend Micros and the Ciscos and the Microsofts. CDW-G is a partnership, and that’s the way I view their relationship with Katy ISD.”

CDW-G recently released results of its School Safety Index, a survey of 18 potential problem areas designed to help districts gauge their security level and enhance their cyber and physical security. Among other questions, the survey asks districts:

--Whether they monitor access to student and teacher records and e-mail.

--Whether they authenticate computer users as they access a school’s network.

--Whether they have experienced an IT breach in the past 12 months.

Schad says he was satisfied with Katy’s results on the School Safety Index, which he cited as another advantage of the district’s relationship with CDW-G. Schad spoke about their collaboration last summer at the National Education Computing Conference in San Antonio. Schad says CDW-G is more than just a technology vendor.

“They’re providing leadership, contacts, project management,” he says. “Our account manager has been with us from the very beginning. She understands how we operate. She’s also putting us in touch with new technologies. They are going to do whatever they can to help us. That’s the relationship, and that’s what’s made it for us so successful.”

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