Houston Charter School District Uses LifeSize with Microsoft Lync to Provide Educational Programs to Disadvantaged Students

Julie Zellman

by Julie Zellman, Marketing Communications Coordinator, LifeSize

YES Prep is a charter school system in Houston, Texas that serves approximately 5,000 students from grades six through 12. Many of the children in the district are from low-income families who must overcome their disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their dreams of going to college and joining the workforce. Teachers and staff members of YES Prep are committed to their students’ success and work tirelessly to give them all of the tools they need to get there.

One of the programs that YES Prep provides is called “team teach” in which one teacher delivers the course content and another visits each student in the classroom to ensure they are following along. But with all of the various subjects that the state curriculum requires, the district found it difficult to hire teachers in every subject at every campus. Because the district spread across 10 campuses in one of the largest cities in the US, YES Prep needed a way for educators to teach classes but remain at their home school.

Additionally, some students excelled at certain subjects and wanted to attend higher level classes at a high school or another campus. Since transportation costs would be too expensive, a solution was needed for this problem, as well.

The district turned to LifeSize video conferencing as a solution to their problems. After the LifeSize Team 220 video systems were deployed across YES Prep’s 10 campuses, students and teachers immediately adapted to the technology and began using them on a daily basis. Now, “team teach” has turned into “team tele-teach” and students can attend any class over VC, regardless of location. Additionally, Troy Neal, director of IT for YES Prep, connected the LifeSize endpoints with Microsoft Lync to give teachers a way to collaborate for lesson planning.

“From an IT perspective, our goal is to get data in front of the teachers as soon as possible. There is no better way to accomplish this than with the Microsoft Lync server and LifeSize video conferencing.” – Troy Neal, Director of IT and Support Services, YES Prep

 

The technology has also led to unexpected use cases. For instance, in one sixth grade Chinese class, students utilize their language skills by interacting with other classes in China, communicating with them face to face.

To read this entire case study, please visit Houston Charter School System Utilizes LifeSize, Microsoft Solutions to Inspire Disadvantaged Students to Succeed.

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