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American Time solution: EverAlert Communications Platform
Since 1969, L.B. Clarke Middle School has served the Two Rivers School District in eastern Wisconsin. It offers a rigorous, engaging and positive learning environment for approximately 510 students in grades 5-8.
L.B. Clarke Middle School managed five distinct class schedules with a bell system and paging system that could not distinguish between classrooms. For instance, different grade levels that shared a partition wall overheard bells for the class next door; or entire floors of classrooms were interrupted when one student was paged. Because of the disruption and the age of other communication systems in the school, the administration was considering an investment in a new clock, signage and notification system.
Two Rivers School District IT Director Austin Schroeger was attending a regional educational technology conference when he came across American Time’s exhibit booth that featured the EverAlert Emergency Communication Platform; this multi-functional system delivers a messaging system, emergency alert system, and synchronized time system in a single integrated platform and user interface.
With the choice of wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity, EverAlert uses 22-inch high-definition displays to broadcast daily messages, emergency alerts and synchronized time. Customers may also choose the Dynamic View option, which enables the EverAlert platform to be viewed on any large-format screen or display.
“I wasn’t looking for a specific solution when I met American Time, but what caught my eye was EverAlert’s offering of a customized bell system, its direct integration with our existing systems like our fire alarms, and the ease of synchronizing all our clocks,” explained Schroeger.
He decided to present the EverAlert option to district leadership as a solution for its elementary schools, middle school and high school. “The ability to combine bells, clocks, signage, emergency notifications, and safety was the golden ticket for me,” said Schroeger.
EverAlert has been installed in each district school, including 45 EverAlert displays in L.B. Clarke Middle School, which also selected the Dynamic View option to broadcast EverAlert messages on 40” and 50” screens in common areas such as the main school entrance, the cafeteria, and the library.
L.B. Clarke principal Tim Wester was in favor of EverAlert as soon as he saw Schroeger’s presentation. “Our building is 50 years old and our P.A. system wasn’t great,” Wester explained. “We had an antiquated Simplex bell system and five different schedules running at the same time. When we needed to call a student to the office, we had to use the P.A. system and disrupt the entire school.”
“We’ve completely turned off our bell system and do everything with EverAlert,” reported Wester. “Scheduling the different systems was really easy; I can schedule each display to play a ring with each schedule.
Paging system and classroom messaging
When calling a student to the office, the school simply uses EverAlert to quickly send a message to the specific classroom screen. A chime sound alerts the students and teacher to the message. This is especially helpful for classrooms that are separated by a thin wall through which the old paging system disrupted adjacent rooms.
“That was a big selling point for the teachers because EverAlert gets the classroom’s attention without being overly disruptive,” said Wester. “We still use the old P.A. system for morning announcements and other school-wide announcements, but for individual student or classroom messages we can use EverAlert to target the message to the right classroom.”
The school is in the process of removing its wired clock system. “Our building is like a lead box for reception; our old wired atomic clocks never updated correctly and never matched each other, so teachers were calling our maintenance team all the time,” said Wester. “We’re removing the clocks because now we can display the correct time with EverAlert, and all of the clocks on the display screen are always synchronized and no one complains! EverAlert displays an analog clock in the common areas and most classrooms, and a digital clock displays in the Special Education classrooms.”
EverAlert’s multi-functional use empowers schools to implement and use the systems at their own pace: While L.B. Clarke Middle School is using the robust functionality of the messaging and daily alert system now, it will soon integrate EverAlert into the school’s fire alarm and tornado drill system, as well as use EverAlert for lockdown drills.
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