gram family of schools IT

The Gramon Family of Schools uses a team approach, with each team comprised of teachers, paraprofessionals, Board Certified Behavior Analysts and related service providers. Through our team approach, The Gramon Family of Schools provides an effective and individualized program for each student. Team members work closely with one another to ensure that the specific needs of each student are addressed.

Parents and/or guardians are members of our team, and are encouraged to take an active role by implementing follow-up activities at home. The members of each discipline stay informed about new developments in their respective fields and share information with their colleagues about emerging techniques that are consistent with and promote our philosophy and core techniques.

Industry: Special Education

Location: Fairfield, NJ

Employees: 400

Students: 1,000

Overview

The Gramon Family of Schools has operated continuously since 1939, beginning with The Gramon School, serving adolescents and young adults with special needs. Recognizing that the earlier we begin addressing a child’s developmental problems the more effective our intervention will be, Glenview Academy was developed in 1984 as an extension of the Gramon program, serving students ages 5 to 15 who have needs that are better addressed in small, structured environments. New Beginnings was established in 1997 and continues the Gramon Family of School’s tradition of excellence. The New Beginnings Annex programs are modeled after New Beginnings in Fairfield and bring the benefits of the Gramon Family of Schools education, training, therapy and support to a district near you.

All of the schools are dedicated to working with children with special needs, specializing in those diagnosed on the autism spectrum. We are committed to the principle that every child deserves the opportunity to attain his or her highest potential. Through our supportive environments, collaborative relationships and implementation of best practices, The Gramon Family of Schools prepare our students for their lifelong journeys.

Challenge

Gramon Family of Schools had reached a network refresh cycle and recognized the criticality of scalable high-speed internet connectivity, and security, that they were not getting with their current network infrastructure. Gramon Family of Schools felt like current disparate equipment manufacturers were ever challenging to administer and monitor and that the increased maintenance burden was growing out of control.  They also felt that the basic interface and interoperability options of their current products were outdated and lacked the growth capabilities to keep up with the schools own student and staffing growth.  This left GFS with two options, renew their support maintenance on current equipment and deal with a sluggish unreliable network or upgrade to something new.

“Most people only look at pricing and stop there. It seems that as long as a product meets their minimum specs they are satisfied.  For me Fortinet represented a true next-generation option.  Compared to the legacy named products on the market, they couldn’t compete with the pricing, options, and capabilities.  With Fortinet they were not only there, but better.” 

J. Thorpe, IT Coordinator – Gramon Family of Schools

Solution

The Team at Morris Technology Partners (MTP), met with the team at Gramon Family of Schools (GFS) to review their current networking infrastructure, challenges, requirements, and expectations. GFS knew that they needed to find a suitable and sustainable solution. Given their current situation, they wanted to proceed carefully and investigated many solutions available

The Gramon team researched a number of different network vendors. “We started looking at current players in the market, what they offered, features, administration and of course cost”, said Thorpe.  “The Morris Technology Partners team presented us with a solution for enhanced threat protection across our entire infrastructure, secure WiFi, decreased network latency, SD-WAN capabilities, low ongoing maintenance costs, reduced operational costs and simplified management”

We provided GFS with a full-service solution including Fortigate Firewalls for multiple locations, FortiSwitch 48port POE switches for multiple locations and 55 Access Points.  We showed GFS IT how each product could be managed from a centralized web interface, that allowed for monitoring, performance management, and configuration updates.  This solution also provided the end to end protection of Web monitoring, sandboxing and protection against malware and phishing attacks.

Results

For GFS, the Fortinet rollout made a huge impact on their day-to-day operations. After several refresh cycles with varying levels of success implementing and deploying equipment from manufacturers considered to be industry standard, GFS decided to break with the old approach and old thinking. “Our focus shifted from assuming long-established names in the industry would always provide excellent products, to looking for fresh products and approaches that would work better.” J. Thorpe said. “We sought a solution that provided superior performance while keeping management and deployment tasks as simple as possible, as well as reducing licensing and purchase costs.”

After consulting with Morris Technology partners, GFS recognized that the Fortinet products were a great solution for their organization, and the flexibility in their configuration, especially the firewall products, made it possible to build out a custom infrastructure design, painlessly while saving money and requiring less hardware to accomplish the task. The cloud-based centralized management options are heavily leveraged now by the GFS staff, and at this point, anything without these features and integration capabilities, they consider to be legacy technology.

“The MTP staff was great and as usual. They took the time to answer all of our questions and completed their tasks professionally, with follow up. We are planning another project in an adjacent building with MTP and look forward to continuing the relationship.”  

– J. Thorpe, IT Coordinator – Gramon Family of Schools