NWN Deploys Mobility Solutions for Fresno Schools Fresno USD Rolls Out 15,000 Tablets in Time for Common Core Tests

Solution:  Workspace – ASUS Tablet rollout across a 72,000 student body.


  • Identified best technology, advised on novel funding vehicle
  • Onsite delivery of 15,000 configured tablets to 110 sites
  • Teachers trained, on time, for Common Core testing

NWN Deploys Mobility Solutions for Fresno Schools

  • Industry: K-12 Education
  • |
  • Location: Fresno, CA

Client Snapshot: The Fresno Unified School District is the 4th largest school district in California, serving more than 73,000 students.

Business Challenge

The Fresno Unified School District IT team had been searching for over two years for a device to replace their existing notebooks.

The device would need to be highly versatile and able to handle the task of preparing their schools for the future. So far, no one had what they were looking for. It was November of 2013 and adding to the challenge was the need to be ready for Common Core testing in early March the following year.

Even if they could arrive at the right technology platform, they were still faced with unique problems that only schools have, starting with the always lengthy approval and funding process.

Once that was completed, they would have to figure out how to procure, configure, secure and deliver literally thousands of tablets without additional resources.

Finally, they would have to train several thousand unionized teachers, adhering to established guidelines, before anyone could even use the devices. And, all in time for mandatory Common Core testing or they would risk losing funding.


NWN had a long standing relationship as a trusted technology performance advisor to Fresno Unified. Aware of the tablet and testing needs, NWN approached key decision makers with a demo of the ASUS Transformer Book T100. It was apparent almost immediately that the device and price point were perfect for Fresno’s testing, as well as its long term educational needs.

NWN then turned its attention to helping Fresno find a fast, effective contract vehicle, ultimately using PEPPM’s competitively bid contract (see the Sidebar) to supply and deliver the more than 15,000 T100 tablets. The tablets were drop-shipped to the NWN configuration center where they were set up, imaged, asset tagged, loaded with asset tracking software, and packaged for delivery to specified classrooms across 110 locations.

PEPPM—Pennsylvania Educational Purchasing Program for Microcomputers—is the 31-year-old cooperative purchasing program for schools, universities, and other public agencies operated by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The PEPPM program serves more than a thousand public agencies in U.S. communities among 46 states by providing piggybackable purchasing contracts to the public sector, thereby lowering total cost of acquisition.

Once the tablets were in place, trainers were brought in to certify several thousand teachers. NWN also went as far as to temporarily ‘redistribute’ the tablets to testing areas across the school network just in time for the Common Core tests.

NWN specializes in providing IT solutions that are designed to work the way the customer works, and no work is more unique than K-12 education. Through its deep domain expertise in Education, NWN’s Workspace Team listened and was able to provide the perfect technology as well as create a complete solution designed to successfully surmount all of the challenges Fresno Unified faced just three months prior.

Business Results

As a result of the innovative and fast paced strategy that NWN proposed and executed, Fresno was able to deploy the right devices, with the right software, delivered in a way that students could open them up and start learning immediately. The project not only met the deadlines imposed by Common Core, but has also provided a baseline experience that can be used to propel Fresno to its ultimate goal of a one-to-one tablet-student relationship.

First and foremost, Fresno Unified now has a methodology in place to determine the best technology—and accompanying teaching approaches—for its unique educational needs. Fresno is now better positioned to understand the choices available to its educators and to make sound strategic technology sourcing decisions.

Second, Fresno Unified has become versed in the PEPPM competitively-bid contract process and will be able to accelerate funding and procurement of future ASUS tablets, or any other technology needs, through a similar process. Long funding and contracting cycles are a hurdle all educators face and Fresno Unified has established a way to overcome this obstacle.

Third, the school system now has experience and the confidence that comes from rolling out a huge number of devices in an incredibly short period of time. In the future, Fresno Unified will be able to leverage NWN’s deployment approach for all other large scale technology adoptions that may occur.

Fourth, The school is better prepared to meet the demands of an education model rapidly moving toward an online experience, and address the demanding requirements of Common Core standardized internet-based testing.

Finally, as a result of the onsite hands-on training during the ASUS roll-out, Fresno’s teachers are ready and able to deliver the ultimate classroom experience that one school official described as “making education incredible.” This official went on to say,

Classrooms of the future, that are aligned with Common Core and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) standards, have students who are prepared with the latest technology and teachers who create engaging, tailored material. With our array of devices, unparalleled reliability, and comprehensive support we can make that kind of incredible classroom a reality.

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