Rushford-Peterson Schools, Rushford, MN
Rushford-Peterson Schools Quick Facts
American Time Solution: EverAlert®
Campus size: 180,000 square feet
Enrollment: Approximately 680
From pre-school to grade 12, Rushford-Peterson schools create an educational community where lifelong learning is valued, excellence is expected, and all are prepared for the future. It strives to give students a “big city” education with a variety of classroom opportunities, yet delivered with a small-town feel.
Due to aging infrastructure and severe damage from flooding, the Rushford-Peterson school district had constructed a new, state-of-the-art education facility for pre-school through 12th grade. With the goal of serving the community for generations to come, the district sought to make the campus a 21st century showpiece of learning and technology – right down to the clocks on the wall.
“We wanted something different than typical clocks,” said Superintendent Chuck Ehler. “We weren’t sure what was available or possible, so we contacted our contractors to see what was on the market.”
At the same time, the district reached out to its local ISP provider and telecommunications company, AcenTek, to discuss technology and sponsorship opportunities at the new school. AcenTek agreed to sponsor a “showcase piece;” something that could be seen by the public and reflect the brand of the school as a cutting-edge place of learning.
The school district found American Time, a manufacturer of synchronized clocks and timekeeping systems. Initially drawn to American Time because of its clock systems, the district soon learned about its EverAlert communications platform – and realized that EverAlert was the functional, dynamic, 21st century showpiece they had been looking for.
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. Its display units deliver the functions of three systems in one, keeping students, faculty and staff safer, more informed, and on-time.
Emergency notification system supports clear, critical communications 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 improves communications and tailors messages by audience
- Displays custom messages district-wide, by building, grade level or by classroom
- Delivers current weather conditions
- Variety of screen layouts customized to an organization’s branding
Synchronized clocks system ensures everyone is on the same, precise time
- Large analog or digital clock display
- Time is synchronized with all computers and clocks throughout a building
- Configurable features includes bell scheduler and countdown clocks
“We really liked that EverAlert was more than just a clock,” said Ehler. “It can serve multiple functions.”
The district demonstrated the power and flexibility of EverAlert to the AcenTek board of directors. The board knew immediately that it was the showcase piece they wanted to sponsor: EverAlert would be a leading-edge solution that supported safety and communication throughout the school, and its displays would be visible and apparent to anyone walking through the building. “It knocked our socks off,” said Todd Roesler, CEO of AcenTek. “We were excited to be partner on something that was such an impact statement.”
Corey Mattson, IT director of Rushford-Peterson Schools, said the EverAlert installation process was straightforward. “Installation was very easy. I think they were up and running within an hour. They’re attractive displays and extremely easy to use. The customization and configuration abilities are really, really impressive.”
For schools or businesses considering EverAlert, Superintendent Ehler recommends getting a few test displays and using them in different parts of the building. And do site visits to see how other organizations are using EverAlert. “There are so many things we can do with EverAlert, in many ways we’re still learning about the different configurations and customization options. But the entire system has been very easy to use,” he explained.
Rushford-Peterson schools now have 78 active EverAlert displays and Mattson notes that they have been “absolutely seamless. When we had a brief power outage or had daylight saving time changes, all of the displays synched up without a hitch.”
The school district uses EverAlert as part of its communications systems for intruder and other emergency drills, including severe weather. EverAlert’s integration with key school systems has been helpful for daily alerts. “One day the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory and the alert went right to the EverAlert screens on each classroom, so the teachers were aware of it before sending the kids out to recess,” said Ehler. “They appreciated that notice, so they could monitor the time outside and make sure the kids were drinking enough water.”
Digital signage and messaging
Many of the teachers use the displays for daily announcements and messaging, and the front office is also able to push out announcements and news. “We’ve gotten great feedback from the teachers,” said Ehler. “They love the clarity of it and how easy it is to put up classroom reminders about projects and tests. Plus, they don’t get the same questions over and over because the information is always displayed!”
With all of the clocks in the schools on the same time, students know when they have to be in class and teachers know when to release students on the right time. Both parents and teachers have expressed appreciation for the analog clock feature that helps students learn to read the time.
The team at AcenTek has seen the EverAlert displays in action. Raiser reported that they are thrilled with the results of their investment. “Technology like EverAlert draws people to the district because it enhances the quality of the education.”
“We love the flexibility and customization of EverAlert,” said Ehler. “We haven’t even exhausted all of our options with it. There’s still more we’re planning to do.”