Elkhart Christian Academy Elkhart, Indiana
American Time Solution: EverAlert
Building size: 80,000 square feet
Enrollment: Approximately 520
Founded in 1973, Elkhart Christian Academy today serves students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Over the years, its facility has expanded classrooms and learning areas to accommodate a growing student population.
Elkhart Christian Academy was struggling with wall clocks that did not stay in sync. This caused class times to start early or end late, and maintenance staff was frequently called on to adjust clocks.
Elkhart met with American Time to learn about its synchronized clock systems. But when the school learned about EverAlert, American Time’s three-in-one emergency communications platform, it realized this comprehensive solution would solve even more of their operational challenges.
EverAlert by American Time is a cloud-based, easy-to-use, and cost-effective visual display and notification system that bolsters and extends routine institutional messaging and emergency communications.
EverAlert display units deliver the functions of three systems in one, keeping students, faculty and staff safe, informed, and on-time.
Emergency notification system: Keep critical communications clear and timely during threats
- Integrates with existing alarm systems (fire, lockdown, etc.), enabling instant communication within a school and to local authorities. Includes text and email notifications to user-defined groups.
- Integrates with NOAA for severe weather notifications
- Delivers custom messages according to school, grade level or classroom
Digital signage/message system: Improve communications and tailor messages by audience
- Displays custom messages district-wide, by building, grade level or classroom
- Delivers current weather conditions
- Variety of screen layouts customized to an organization’s branding
Synchronized clocks system: Ensure everyone is on the same, precise time
- Large analog or digital clock
- Displays may be synchronized with all computers and clocks throughout a building
- Configurable features includes bell scheduler and countdown clocks
“Our original reason for contacting American Time was to get clocks that worked in sync, but when we saw EverAlert, we really liked its many different functions,” explained Ryan Pease, tech support at Elkhart Christian Academy. “In particular, the digital signage/messaging system that delivers specific messaging to specific classrooms was a hit.”
Elkhart initially ordered five EverAlert units for a few classrooms and a common area. Within five months the school had a total of 46 units installed in every classroom and several common areas such as the gym, teacher’s lounge and administrative offices.
First and foremost, EverAlert solved Elkhart’s problem with clocks that didn’t display the same time. “Our classrooms are all in sync now and the clocks automatically update for daylight saving time,” said Pease. “Before, someone had to come in over the weekend and spend time adjusting all the clocks, then it would take 24 hours for them to sync up. It wasn’t efficient. Now everything is perfectly in sync for the first time in years.”
EverAlert installation and integration was straightforward: American Time provided bracket adapters that allowed the units to be installed where the previous clocks were located. “We have an integrator that’s tied into our alarm system,” explained Pease. “When we practice our fire, tornado or lockdown drills and the alarm is activated, EverAlert’s corresponding visual display helps clearly identify the alarm type so teachers and students can react more quickly. We also like that more than one user can send an alert and that certain users get instant notifications when something happens. For example, our administrator was at an off-site meeting and she received a notice that the fire alarm went off, so she was able to check in on that and stay in the loop.”
EverAlert has also delivered value via the digital signage/message system: Daily announcements specific to the elementary, middle or high school are displayed on the appropriate screens. Teachers can also use the EverAlert portal to post their own classroom-specific messages; and even the gym teacher uses the digital clock with seconds displayed so students can perform warm-up exercises or activities at 30-second intervals – no stopwatch needed!
“We have teachers that use their classroom EverAlert display to remind students about upcoming tests, or the weekly Bible verse, or news that’s relevant to the subject they teach,” Pease said. “Plus, the teachers really like receiving daily messages on EverAlert without having to check email. For example, a message was put up today that announced recess will be indoors because it’s raining. It gives teachers advanced notifications and they like that.”
Pease noted that American Time’s technical support has been helpful throughout the process. “If there was an issue I couldn’t figure out, they helped me fix it,” he said. “One time when there was an issue with a unit, a tech person logged in and fixed it through the cloud. I didn’t even have to take it off the wall. We’ve really come to rely on EverAlert for many things.”