Until recently, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School (GSCS), Saskatchewan’s second-largest school division and largest catholic school division, had internet connections in its classroom and administrative operations that one could describe as “good enough”.

However, the bandwidth for the school division wasn’t at the level it needed to be for students and teachers to excel and have an optimal learning experience.

Beginning in 2017, Saskatchewan Research Network (SRNET), the Saskatchewan partner of CANARIE, was able to lend a helping hand and offer its high-bandwidth infrastructure to GSCS.

Darryl Bazylak, Superintendent of Human Resources/Technology for GSCS, says the decision to add SRNET’s connection to enhance its existing connection was a no-brainer.

“In the classrooms, the internet was too slow, and it made it really difficult for our teachers and students to access information quickly,” said Bazylak. “Obviously, the first thing we want to be focused on is a good learning experience for our students, and when that’s not happening we need to fix something.”

“Thankfully, SRNET was available to us.”

While SRNET members like the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and Innovation Place have used SRNET’s connection for many years, GSCS was the first school division to make the decision to become a member of SRNET. The improved bandwidth has helped teachers and their students have a much better learning experience through faster access to educational content.

The performance of applications hosted in the cloud has also improved through SRNET’s connection. Jim Bennet, Manager of Technology Services for GSCS, says that staff using cloud-based services (Office 365 and Google Education) saw an immediate performance improvement using SRNET.

“There’s a lot of data that’s transferred between cloud services and our school division, and previously our system just couldn’t handle all of it,” said Bennett. “Now, with SRNET’s enhanced connection, staff and students can use cloud services without worry of overloading or slowing down the system. Accessing SRNET’s connection has really helped our teachers, students, and administrators.”

Chad Coller, President and CEO of SRNET said he’s glad SRNET has been able to help Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division.

“It’s been great having Greater Saskatoon Catholic as a member of SRNET,” said Chad Coller, President and CEO of SRNET. “I think the results they’ve seen in the short time they’ve been a member of SRNET will serve as a good example for how we help improve both classroom learning and cloud connectivity for school divisions.”

“I’m hopeful that other Saskatchewan school divisions will see the benefits of becoming a member of SRNET, just like Greater Saskatoon Catholic has.”

About SRNET:

Saskatchewan Research Network Inc. (SRNET) is a member-driven, not-for-profit organization that provides advanced information technology and collaborative leadership to support education, research and innovation in Saskatchewan. We are the Saskatchewan partner of the Canada’s National Research and Education Network.