1.800.328.8996

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.

Read More

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”).

Read More

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. 

Read More

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

What You Need to Include in Your School Building Design Plans

Posted by American Time on Sep 5, 2019 8:41:32 AM

Designing a school is a unique challenge. Unlike other buildings, a school will undoubtedly have pride and ownership attached to it from a large number of stakeholders who are concerned not just about the building itself, but about the students and quality of education it represents. This isn't an office or a retail space. This is a school, where students learn, and futures are formed.

As you fill in this blank canvas, your thoughts should be returning to one thing over and over again: the students. So, when times are trying and your budget is straining and you know way too many contractors way too well, just remind yourself, it's about the kids. That's rule number one for your school design plans.

Read More

Topics: School Clock Systems

We All Know the Benefits of Technology in Education... Or Do We?

Posted by American Time on Aug 16, 2019 7:45:00 AM

Remember the wonder you felt when you first went online? The beeps and screeches of that old modem were less an annoyance and more a promise of the wealth of information awaiting you – just on the other side of those digital doors. 

This was when there was still a divide between the world of 1s and 0s and the rest of our lives. Yet that dichotomy is fading more and more as the cohort of youngsters known as the digital natives grows up. For them, there is no boundary between the internet and what some might call the real world. The internet is the real world, and the classroom is part of it.

Hence, educators have no choice but to incorporate digital learning into their routines. The educational opportunities can be transformative, but like any powerful tool, teaching methods that embrace digital technology should be employed with ample preparation and a healthy dose of caution. 

Here, we'll look at some ways technology can transform classrooms for the better, but also how it can present some pitfalls that you should avoid.

Read More

Topics: School Clock Systems

From School Bond to School Bonding: Improving Students' Connections to Their New School

Posted by American Time on Aug 6, 2019 10:04:27 AM

When considering all of the factors that lead to successful educational outcomes, it's critical to understand the importance of school bonding. Of course, finance and construction are related, since any major building project in your district is likely to require school bonding. But we're talking about the emotional and social type of bonding that exists between the students and the school where they spend so many of their waking hours. 

Still, both kinds of bonding are intertwined. The construction of a new school and other major building projects presents the chance to enhance that connection, one that social scientists deem a vital indicator for positive youth outcomes. Here, we'll look at what this connection is, and how you can use your building project to make it stronger.

Read More

Topics: School Clock Systems

The Importance of an Effective Learning Environment and How to Create One

Posted by American Time on Jul 10, 2019 9:05:36 AM

School is a place to learn. That's the basic principle we teach our children from the first day we send them to school, and it's the driving force behind the quest the create the best learning environment for them. We build new schools, hire good teachers, regularly evaluate new teaching styles and constantly tweak our classrooms to create the best learning environment for the students.

Yet despite our constant focus on finding what's best, the search still continues. After all, we are constantly learning more about what helps them learn. So, let's examine the importance of effective learning environments, and how to create one of your own.

Read More

Topics: School Clock Systems

Subscribe to Blog Notifications

Stay Up-To-Date With The Latest From American Time

Recent Posts