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American Time School Blog

School Emergency Notification Systems Aren't Just for Emergencies

Posted by American Time on Nov 15, 2019 11:59:31 AM

They say you should always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you follow that maxim, you likely have an emergency notification system in your school or have considered installing one. 

The hope, of course, is that you'll never absolutely have to use it, but that doesn't mean you can't get value out of your investment every single day. The convenient reality is that the same technology used to spread critical information during an emergency can also be deployed for routine communications – everything from pep rally announcements to bell automation. 

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Topics: School Clock Systems, EverAlert

5 Ways You Haven't Thought of to Use Your School's Communications Platform

Posted by Scott DeSmith on Oct 17, 2019 11:38:40 AM

When it comes to keeping everyone in your building informed, a dedicated school communications platform can be a powerful tool – so powerful that you may not be using it to its full capacity. With a mountain of audio and video capabilities, these modern communications systems can be deployed for the sake of safety as well as convenience and camaraderie.

For instance, you probably know your communications platform is well-suited to facilitate emergency response – it was likely the major selling point – but the ways it can accomplish this task are deeply nuanced. We'll start there, as we look at five uses for your communications platform that you probably haven't thought of.

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Topics: School Clock Systems, EverAlert

Are Your Special Programs Protected?

Posted by Chris Dorn, Senior Analyst, Safe Havens International on Sep 25, 2019 12:50:39 PM

(Part 4 of a 4 part blog series)

Part 1: Enterprise Risk Management for Schools
Part 2: Serving Those with Access and Functional Needs in an Emergency
Part 3: Emergency Communications: The Deciding Factor in Almost Any Crisis

As we assess schools around the county, one of the most interesting commonalities that I have noted is the challenge in protecting special programs. This includes those facilities that serve students with access and functional needs (AFN), but also for any program that does not follow the traditional K-12 feeder structure. For example, many vocational tech high schools have a higher rate of risk due to the programs and materials used, such as welding, auto shop or medical programs. These campuses are also often the last to receive security upgrades. 

As part of ongoing capital improvements, a district may decide to upgrade the schools to include a Single Point of Entry (SPE) or an updated intercom system. This upgrade might be phased in first with the high schools, then the middle and elementary schools. This makes sense from a fiscal sense and from an organizational standpoint. But for a variety of reasons special programs are usually not included in these first rounds and may not even make a second or third round of improvements. Eventually the next round of capital improvements comes along and the process starts again, until the facility is lucky enough to require demolition and replacement. 

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Topics: School Clock Systems, News, EverAlert, Safe Havens International

Emergency Communications: The Deciding Factor in Almost any Crisis

Posted by Chris Dorn, Senior Analyst, Safe Havens International on Sep 24, 2019 10:32:01 AM

(Part 3 of a 4 part blog series)

Part 1: Enterprise Risk Management for Schools
Part 2: Serving Those with Access and Functional Needs in an Emergency
Part 4: Are your Special Programs Protected?

Many people assume that the most important thing during a crisis is responding to the event - for example evacuating during a fire or deciding how to respond to an active shooter in the building. But the real challenge during any school crisis is even more basic: How do we warn others nearby and protect the rest of the building?

While close analysis of almost any crisis event will typically reveal communications challenges – or even errors – that contribute to the difficulty of response, there are a few key examples from our nation’s history that can be illustrative to this point.

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Topics: School Clock Systems, News, EverAlert, Safe Havens International

Serving those with Access and Functional Needs in an Emergency

Posted by Chris Dorn, Senior Analyst, Safe Havens International on Sep 23, 2019 11:21:48 AM

(Part 2 of a 4 part blog series)

Part 1: Enterprise Risk Management for Schools
Part 3: Emergency Communication: The Deciding Factor in Almost Any Crisis
Part 4: Are your Special Programs Protected?

Schools have come a long way in terms of safety and security since Columbine, Sandy Hook and even the most recent high-profile attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. But one area that is still frequently overlooked is the challenge of serving those with Access and Functional Needs.

Traditionally referred to as Special Education, emergency planning in this area has broadened to include not only students with obvious special needs, but others that may need special assistance due to language barriers or other challenges. This also extends to staff members and visitors, such as the teacher who is 7 months pregnant or the grandfather who comes to pick up his child but only speaks broken English.

There are a variety of challenges faced by special programs ranging from vocational programs to campuses that serve those with Access and Functional Needs. Because of this, the same approach to site planning should be used so that these types of considerations are taken into account when creating emergency plans for the organization as a whole. (Learn more about these challenges in the blog “Are your Special Programs Protected”).

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Topics: School Clock Systems, News, EverAlert, Safe Havens International

Enterprise Risk Management for Schools

Posted by Chris Dorn, Senior Analyst, Safe Havens International on Sep 19, 2019 12:13:42 PM

(Part 1 of a 4 part blog series)

Part 2: Serving Those with Access and Functional Needs in an Emergency
Part 3: Emergency Communications: The Deciding Factor in Almost any Crisis
Part 4: Are Your Special Programs Protected?

One of the most exciting new developments we have seen in school safety in the last few years is not any new technology, but rather a conceptual approach that is relatively new to education. The concept of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is the result of the evolution of insurance and risk management over time. The ERM model is broader than traditional risk management, however, and attempts to unify risk management efforts across the entire organization. 

One challenge many school organizations have is the coordination of safety and security resources. Typically, these have been spread across various departments. For example, the purchase of a security camera might require input and approval from the security department, facilities, finance, human resources, legal, and the teacher’s union. This is just one aspect of the challenge of coordinating resources across departments. Hiring, chain of command, and a number of other factors come into play as well. These problems only intensify as the size of the organization grows. This can be a challenge even in a small school district with just a few schools. When that number increases to dozens or hundreds of school sites, it can be a challenge just to quantify the problem. 

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Topics: School Clock Systems, News, EverAlert, Safe Havens International

Rushford-Peterson School District Creatively Funds Synchronized Clocks

Posted by American Time on Sep 26, 2018 1:59:13 PM

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.

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Topics: EverAlert

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your School Notification Systems

Posted by Scott DeSmith on Aug 8, 2018 2:11:39 PM

Like many things in this world, schools have become more complex over the years — evolving from the one-room schoolhouse to the sprawling, intricate facilities we see today.

This is where it becomes essential to embrace new technologies. Among these resources are school notification systems that automatically spread important messages throughout a building, keeping students safe and informed while making life easier for staff.

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Topics: School Clock Systems, EverAlert

How a Communication Platform Helped This Tech Savvy School Become Cutting Edge [VIDEO]

Posted by American Time on Jul 18, 2018 1:09:03 PM

Anytime Chuck Ehler, Superintendent at Rushford-Peterson Schools in Minnesota, gives a tour of a classroom, people say, “Wow! I really like the clocks that you have here. That is really impressive.”

Rushford-Peterson opened its new, state-of-the-art school in 2017, after flooding and aging buildings necessitated the project. But the district not only received a new building, it upgraded technology, too.

“We have everything in this building technologically — from programmable LED lighting to programmable heating and ventilation,” says Technology Director Corey Mattson. “We have wireless access in every corner of the building. We have a secure building with secure entrances.”

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Topics: School Clock Systems, EverAlert

School Safety: How EverAlert® Communicates During Severe Weather

Posted by Marc Fasching on Apr 4, 2018 8:50:39 AM

For many, spring means sunshine, rain, flowers, warmer weather, and often, a renewed enthusiasm to spend time outdoors. For schools administrators, however, spring also means tornado drills, updating emergency plans, and tracking inclement weather. In fact, many states dedicate an entire week to severe weather awareness during this time of year.

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Topics: EverAlert

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