In an era when funding school improvements can be quite a challenge, a creative partnership between a school district and its internet service provider is especially noteworthy. Thanks to their unique collaboration, the district's new school has a state-of-the-art emergency communication network, and the ISP has increased visibility throughout the new complex.
It all started when Rushford-Peterson, the school district in Southwestern Minnesota, began planning its new centerpiece facility, a 170,000-square-foot complex that would serve pre-kindergarten through grade 12. When it came time to think about their synchronized clock system and in-school communications network, district leaders decided on American Time's EverAlert®, which utilizes integrated displays and audio communications to quickly disseminate information across a facility for emergency scenarios and day-to-day messaging.
The Value of Relationships
That's when the district's longtime ISP entered the picture. “AcenTek, which is the provider of our internet and telephone services here within our district, had expressed an interest in us, saying, 'If there's ever anything we can do to assist you with the new school, please let us know,'” explains Rushford-Peterson Superintendent Chuck Ehler.
The district took the offer seriously. After a 50-year relationship with the company, they knew it wasn't just a platitude.
AcenTek wanted to be involved with the new school at the ground level and help make Rushford-Peterson school a flagship facility, according to Rushford-Peterson's technology director, Corey Mattson. So Mattson fell back on another relationship, reaching out to American Time to have them design a custom layout featuring AcenTek's logo on the faces of the school's clocks.
Ehler knew the importance of partnerships in school districts, whether with local government and community groups or with organizations eager to identify with a community's most important institutions. In demonstrating the capabilities of EverAlert, administrators saw a potential win for Rushford-Peterson School and for AcenTek.
An Intriguing Advertising Opportunity
So the deal was on the table: The school would get support from AcenTek for its synchronized time system, and AcenTek would get its logo smack-dab in the center of the school's clocks, which would be seen thousands of times a day.
But the ISP had to know more about the technology it would be associated with. So, the district met with AcenTek's executive board to demonstrate the capabilities of EverAlert.
“When I showed the demo of the clock and the system to the executive board, they were extremely impressed and they jumped at the opportunity to support that with us,” Mattson said.
Now, every time people look at the clocks at Rushford-Peterson School, they see the name of a phone and internet company with deep roots in their region. With AcenTek's name on the clocks, the ISP is also associated with a modern synchronized time system that makes it easy for everyone – from administrators to kindergartners – to stay coordinated.
What EverAlert Can Do
EverAlert augments the clock system by deploying screens throughout the building that can display a range of information, such as daily announcements, schedules and weather conditions.
EverAlert becomes most vital, however, in the case of emergency. Using visual displays and audio communications, the system can be automated to accomplish a host of tasks, including the issuance of severe weather warnings and special instructions for fire or lockdown drills, and, of course, real-life emergencies.