Overview - The School District of Fort Atkinson is made up of four elementary schools, a middle school, high school and a four-year-old kindergarten. It is located in Fort Atkinson, Wisc. The district is committed to delivering quality opportunities and services to students, and to offer them comprehensive elective courses.
Challenge - Several schools in the district were struggling with clocks and systems that were not synchronized to the same, precise time. At Purdy Elementary School, the building was constructed with an open concept that allowed for removable walls. But because wires or outlets could not be installed in the walls, most of the classrooms used store-bought battery clocks that could not synchronize with the rest of the school.
The last straw occurred when a power issue cut off communication to most of the clocks. The fix required a complete rewiring of the clocks.
Solution - Tom Kulczewski, director of buildings and grounds at the School District of Fort Atkinson, knew about American Time technology from his previous job and met with the Purdy Elementary School principal to explain his solution to the clock problem. “The principal could hardly believe it when I told her I could get wireless clocks that operate on a AA battery and sync with the bells!” he said.
Kulczewski chose a SiteSync IQ wireless clock system; a 10-watt transmitter with six circuits; and wireless clocks that included the school’s logo at no extra charge. The clocks receive a signal from the server that informs them of the correct time and syncs them with the school’s bells. No special software is required, and the Remote Connect web server allows for quick and easy management of the controller. During daylight saving time changes, the clocks update automatically and there is no need for maintenance staff to make adjustments.
Results - Now, the clocks at Purdy are always in sync. Classes no longer accidentally overlap because the clocks are a few minutes off, and having all of the students on the same time has eliminated confusion in the hallways that resulted from classes overlapping. Kulczewski notes that this benefit hadn’t occurred to him when he first ordered the American Time clocks. “The biggest benefit has been something that I didn’t realize at the time,” he said.
Having a simple, automatic synchronized time system has also reduced disputes over tardiness and allows staff to quickly get new rooms and class areas synced with the rest of the building. “The wireless clock system allows us to add a linked clock anywhere in a minute,” explained Kulczewski. “Something like time seems like it wouldn’t be a headache, but it controls everything in a school.”
The problems around daylight saving time changes twice per year – and the need for custodians to work extra hours to adjust the clocks – have been eliminated. “The custodian at Purdy was the only one who knew how to adjust the clocks, and he was out on leave during the last DST change,” said Kulczewski. “I got calls from worried staff members wondering how the clocks would show the right time on Monday. They were shocked when I told them they would automatically change!”
Since installing the American Time system at Purdy, the three other elementary schools in the district, the middle school and the high school have all requested synchronized time systems. Kulczewski also noted that it is cheaper to buy a new American Time clock than to repair an old clock. “For the record, I haven’t had an American Time clock need repair,” he added.
“American Time clocks give us the flexibility we need and they take away the headache of DST,” continued Kulczewski. “No time makes me love American Time like daylight saving time!”