Enhanced safety was one of the main benefits sought by Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, CTO Kyle Berger says. Located just beyond the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, the district supports more than 14,000 students on 20 campuses.
The district upgraded its existing Cisco Voice platform two years ago, putting phones in every classroom as well as throughout each facility.
“With today’s need for safety and security, having a phone in every classroom is key,” Berger says. “In emergency situations, we can send a message to every teacher’s phone display. And if the overhead speakers aren’t working, it acts as a backup to our paging system, allowing us to send announcements through each phone.”
The system’s enhanced 911 features also help first responders locate callers quickly.
“Here in Texas, we have some very large high schools, so it’s important to know not only someone’s address but also their location within a building,” he says. “If I’m calling from the gym, the system lets responders know where the closest entrance is or what room I’m in, because time is critical in those types of situations.”
How Schools Can Follow the Path to IP
The first decision districts need to make when it comes to IP-based phones is whether they should deploy a solution on-premises or in the cloud, Pleasant says.
They also should think about what they want from their communications system — whether that’s mass notification capabilities or better collaboration — and look for products that meet those specifications.
Any decisions should also involve all of a district’s stakeholders, says Jennifer Dericco, public information officer for Santa Clara (Calif.) Unified School District. In 2016, the district adopted a cloud-based solution, RingCentral, for use by its 2,400 staff and faculty members.“