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Focus on Education: Barr's Print Management Solution gets High Marks from School Districts San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District

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In order to meet state educational goals, the public school system in Texas is using the latest network technology to streamline data processing operations and save taxpayer dollars. By sharing computer resources, printing costs, and technical expertise, school districts throughout Texas are helping to provide equitable, quality-based educational services to their schools.

In Texas, school districts pool organizational, financial and performance data in 20 regional Educational Service Centers. These centers provide information services such as technical support, database access, and report generation. So when an Educational Service Center recommended print management and host communications solutions from Barr Systems, the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District (ISD) took notice.

"We were seeking ways to improve the efficiency of the data processing department without having to hire additional staff or go through extensive training," explains Abelardo Casillas, Director of Evaluation at the San Felipe Del Rio school district headquarters.


After consulting with Barr sales specialists, the school district decided to implement the Barr Enterprise Print Server as their total print management solution. The Barr Server, which runs under the Microsoft Windows NT operating system, met all of the district's organizational goals, since it allows efficient, centralized management of print jobs via a friendly user interface.

Most of the mission-critical host data and applications that Casillas and his colleagues need access to reside on a mainframe in San Antonio. With the Barr Server and the BARR/NJE module, the San Felipe Del Rio ISD receives print jobs from San Antonio and routes them to local network printers.

Since they normally receive many types of printed forms by ground delivery, the Del Rio staff initially planned only to print certain jobs on their local printers. Soon after implementing the Barr solutions, however, the superior functionality of the Barr Server and BARR/NJE product became evident.

"We initially started printing report cards and other related jobs," Casillas says, "but eventually we realized that we could set up all the Educational Service Center's FCBs and print most anything they could print. This has proven to be a tremendous timesaver, since we no longer have to wait for the shipment."

With BARR/NJE, the print jobs can be viewed prior to final submission for production printing. This potentially avoids printing stacks of unusable report cards.

There are two ways to connect BARR/NJE to the mainframe channel: directly, via a channel-to-channel connection; or via an SNA gateway that translates between host and network communications protocols. At the Del Rio school district, an SNA gateway is used. The gateway gives users additional functionality by allowing them to interface with the mainframe at the Educational Service Center via 3270 "green screen" terminal emulation software. Barr offers SNA gateways and terminal emulation options as part of its host communications solutions.

The support team at Barr got high marks from Casillas and other personnel at the San Felipe Del Rio district. In fact, quality solutions and services from Barr are apparently causing quite a stir in information systems departments throughout the Texas public school system.

"This is great!" remarks Casillas, who notes that he and his colleagues in other districts and regions have begun "networking" among themselves, as they each confer with Barr experts and discover new ways in which Barr solutions can address familiar challenges in print management and host communications.

Barr’s print management solution gives students their report cards on schedule, and gives school administrators a lot more


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