We often talk about how a hosted phone system benefits businesses, but what about a large school district?
MSAD 6 is the third largest school system in Maine, serving the towns of Buxton, Hollis, Limington, Standish and Frye Island. Home of Bonny Eagle, the district is made up of 8 schools with 13 buildings, 3,650 students, 350 teachers, and 300+ classrooms.
In 2010, with a focus on flexibility and a goal of improving both communication and safety within its schools, MSAD 6 deployed a 650 seat hosted phone system throughout 15 locations in the school district.
Scott Nason, Director of Technology for MSAD 6, shared with us the reasons for the upgrade and the benefits the district has seen in using it.
Where the old system was falling short
Prior to the upgrade, MSAD 6’s outdated system didn’t allow for a phone in every classroom. This brought up safety concerns as well as logistical challenges — there was no district-wide voice messaging for staff, and communication between employees was a sometimes complicated process.
Why an OTELCO Hosted Phone System?
Scott’s department oversees all aspects of technology, so when the district began considering a hosted system (which has a network cable and connects to the wireless data network, therefore falling under the responsibility of his department) he was asked to share in the decision making. With a relatively small department to manage the new phones, a cloud-based system with its low impact on administration was the more flexible and user-friendly option when compared to premise-based solutions.
This installation was, at the time, OTELCO’s biggest. The scope of the project was huge and there was a limited timeframe to equip a large number of locations. Over the course of summer break the transition took place, with OTELCO providing Scott and his team support every step of the way. Everything was up and running by the time school started in the fall.
Keeping schools safe
With the new system, each classroom is equipped with a phone that, when 911 is dialed, can indicate to the dispatcher the school and the specific room the call came from. This is a huge safety feature that provides valuable information to first responders in the event of an emergency.
On a day-to-day basis, the new system has made life for MSAD 6 employees much simpler. Teachers work together on so many different levels, but are often based in separate buildings. Visiting the school office or teacher’s lounge to use the phone used to be the norm, but these days teachers can pick up the phone in their classroom, dial a 3-digit extension, and be connected directly to their colleagues.
A hosted phone system allows for flexibility when teachers move between schools or change classrooms. A simple relocation or name change is all it takes. The system can also keep things running smoothly even if a building loses power. Phones can easily be unplugged and moved to a different location if a building’s operations need to be temporarily relocated.