The Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) serves several diverse communities in Redlands, California. The district has 16 elementary schools, four middle schools, three comprehensive high schools, a continuation high school, an adult education high school, and district facilities. There are approximately 21,400 students and 1,600 staff in the district.
The district needed emergency notification solutions, including an automated school bell system, as well as paging, and IT alerting for its new elementary and high schools that were built with a one-wire Ethernet infrastructure and could be used to help respond to a number of emergency situations, including earthquakes. Since RUSD is a large district that consists of several separate school buildings, they also needed to communicate and be able to send out a critical mass notification between locations.
The district turned to InformaCast mass notification software to connect the communications between its separate facilities. It allows RUSD to coordinate efforts, such as sending weather alerts and communicating with parents and the public. It also helps the schools’ participation in a state-wide emergency preparedness activity called the Great California Shakeout.
Improving Communication Between Buildings
When Redlands Unified School District (RUSD), a large district in Northern California that consists of several separate school buildings, needed a better way to communicate between their locations, the technology team began looking for a solution.
“We needed a reliable, solid solution that would allow for bells and paging over the IP network,” says David Massaro, Coordinator of Technology Services at RUSD.
Given its geography, RUSD has to be prepared for earthquakes and other natural disasters. They needed a solution that would allow them to send emergency notifications to all locations in the district quickly and effectively in the event of an earthquake or other dangerous situations.
The Right Fit
Massaro shopped around for a solution and chose InformaCast because of its functionality integration.
“I looked at other solutions, too…and they had a pretty compelling argument as well, but I thought that the functionality integration with InformaCast to work with IP phones and paging was the right solution for us,” he said.
For him, it was important to find the right fit.
“[InformaCast] is one of our most critical services. Bells and paging are one of the most important things for schools. I mean, you think about it, years ago they didn’t have telephones in the classroom, but they always had to have bells and they always had to be able to page, so that’s one of the first communications systems that has gone into schools, and in my opinion, it’s still the most critical, and so choosing the right system and the right partner is very important. The Singlewire system has fit the bill for us.”
Schools Bells and So Much More
Since implementing InformaCast, the administration and staff of RUSD’s two newest schools have found it to be essential for keeping everything running.
“They rely on [InformaCast],” says Massaro.
InformaCast provides an easy and cohesive system for bells and passing period music, paging into classrooms and phones, and broadcasting alerts—all critical components for the schools to function.
“You can’t run a school without having bells; you really can’t. It’s one of the most critical forms of communication,” says Massaro. “I always like to say, ‘the phones can go down the computers can go down, but the speakers and the bells cannot go down.’ Without those – especially in a large school like a high school – you cannot manage the kids, you can’t coordinate activities without the bells and pages, so it is one of our most critical services.”
InformaCast also allows schools and district facilities to communicate across the district, which is extremely important for functioning day-to-day, as well as responding to emergency situations. It allows RUSD to communicate and coordinate efforts – like sending weather alerts and communicating with parents and the public – that might otherwise be difficult in such a large school district. Since California is prone to natural disasters, each year its citizens participate in a state-wide emergency preparedness activity called the Great California Shakeout. As part of this activity, RUSD sets up a pre-recorded message to broadcast an alert across phones and speakers. Students who participate learn to recognize InformaCast alerts that will give them important safety information in the event of an emergency.
Massaro, who is responsible for all of the infrastructure technology in the district, says that the assistance he has received from the Singlewire support team has been useful even in situations where the problem had nothing to do with the InformaCast software.
“We used your support team early on to assist us [with a problem with the speakers]. [They were] very beneficial in helping us troubleshoot the issue. Each time it wasn’t related to the network, it wasn’t related to the Singlewire software, it was usually related to a firmware issue with the speakers.”
Other than that, Massaro rarely needs assistance.
“Your team has been excellent in helping us troubleshoot and right now the system is rock solid. So we haven’t contacted support in…almost two years,” he said.
Visit our Schools & Districts page for more information about how to InformaCast can help enhance safety and communication for students and teachers.