Case Study

Verbum Dei High School

LA Creative Technologies Helps Verbum Dei High School Refresh Their Approach and Take Hold of Technology!

Verbum Dei High School is an all-boys, Jesuit High School located in South Los Angeles. The school offers the student body with a variety of rigorous college-prep curriculums and offers an unparalleled corporate work-study internship program to further prepare young students for success as they move forward. Verbum Dei boasts a 100% college acceptance rate and maintains this valued standard by instilling the belief in all students, that they can do whatever they set their minds to. Verbum Dei believes in providing students with the very best in curriculum and educational resources, so as to help each student reach his full potential. It goes without saying that in today’s tech-driven world, efficient and functional technology is fundamental to operational success at Verbum Dei.

In providing an unprecedented education for an under-served community, Verbum Dei relies partly on governmental funding and community fundraising to maintain its systems infrastructure. For a long time, Verbum Dei Technology Director John Galloway depended on a systems consultancy provider participating through the Federal E-Rate program.  Funded by the FCC, the E-Rate program was established to assist low-income schools and libraries in obtaining and maintaining telecommunications services, internet connectivity and eligible hardware However, funding the program became problematic as E-Rate was due for a major overhaul.  Schools went over two years without Priority 2 funding, which meant large infrastructure deployments and maintenance requirements could not be funded.  Relationships with service providers dried up and Verbum Dei – like many independent small schools – were on their own.  Thankfully, E-rate was re-structured and Priority 2 funding resumed in 2015.  It was at this point where Galloway sought funding for the hardware and systems upgrades the school desperately needed.

E-rate involves a meticulous vetting process to ensure a fair bidding process on the federally funded contracts. Verbum Dei’s approved E-rate contractor – Digital Network Systems – connected the school to LA Creative Technologies to manage and deploy the upgrade initiative. “I met with LA Creative and immediately got a good feel for their understanding of the scope of the project and is demands” Galloway said.  “From the offset, working with them has been great.  They’re young and they’re hungry, and being experienced with older technologies, I was more than happy to have them utilize the latest strategies we see today.” The LA Creative team undertook meticulous site-surveys to understand the needs and current infrastructure at Verbum Dei. Once they knew the exact technology needs and capacities at Verbum Dei, they took action to revive their approach to IT.

One thing was clear: the old networking solution at Verbum Dei, deployed in 2007, was buckling under their growing needs. With a growing wireless device demand, the school needed a vastly updated wireless infrastructure. Making the update would be challenging though, as the server infrastructure at Verbum Dei was slightly jumbled. Because funds were so often difficult to allocate, tech updates or fixes often happened in a piecemeal fashion, as funds would allow. Thanks to some dedicated fundraising work, Verbum Dei, with the help of LA Creative was finally able to consolidate their server base and install a much more robust wireless infrastructure. “They were really great at determining what we needed.” Galloway claims. “We told them our needs, but they were great with asking all the right questions to get to the bottom of what our infrastructure needed to look like.”

The old infrastructure at Verbum Dei consisted of a Cisco ASA Firewall, Cisco Catalyst switches, 2.4GHz of Cisco Aironet wireless all without any service contracts attached. Their systems were reliant on 6 physical servers for domain control, file servers and database hosting.

LA Creative Technologies helped deploy:

  • Meraki MX100 with a 24/7 full-service contract
  • Meraki MS Switches with a 24/7 full-service contract
  • 5GHz AC Meraki MR Wireless access points with a 24/7 full service contract
  • 1 physical VM Host with 3 virtual machines for domain control
  • Full cloud monitoring of all devices

These deployments went well and Galloway says the LA Creative team really took the time to determine the best way to implement things. “They’re really focused on getting to know the exact needs and parameters.” He claims. “The way they transitioned things was so customized and impressive. They figured out how to run our old system and the new system parallel while we transitioned so it wasn’t an overnight switch. They figured out what we had, what was lacking; what needed to be migrated and what didn’t and they really held our hand through the whole process. They migrated smaller items slowly and didn’t migrate our big data until the very end. The transition was so smooth and they undertook it in a way that I wouldn’t have known how to. Their commitment to customization and their expertise were invaluable assets to us as we worked to get up-to-date.”

Verbum Dei has not looked back since working with LA Creative Technologies and value the variety of service and support they offer greatly. LA Creative Technologies is committed to providing Verbum Dei with:

  • Attentive, personalized and responsive support and service
  • Customized and tailored IT strategies and solutions that incorporate leading technologies
  • Active listening and partnership through all tech deployments
  • Proactive brainstorming and planning of IT scalability and growth

“They’ve implemented solutions that empower me to handle a lot on my own and they’ve set us up for continued scalability as our needs develop.” Galloway claims. “They keep us informed, they have great analysis tools and they’re just really committed to understanding us. We’ve been lucky to leverage their expertise and strategic thinking and we look forward to having them by our side as we continue to develop.”

Galloway states that he already has additional tech projects in mind, like updating phone systems and disaster recovery solutions, and he’s happy to have continued strategic support from LA Creative. “I would recommend them, without hesitation. Especially to other schools or educational organizations looking to update and optimize IT.” Galloway claims. “Their entire team has the disposition, expertise and resources to help make the necessary upgrades. The bottom line is they provide a huge amount of value and support for a really cost effective price. That’s huge for us.”