Forestville USD Improves Campus Communication with Extron Classroom AV Technology
The Forestville Union School District, located in a small Northern California community, is comprised of a single school with 360 students in grades K-8. In November 2010, Forestville successfully passed Measure K, a $5.1 million bond intended for health and safety improvements, modernizing and renovating classrooms, improving energy efficiency, improving technology, and upgrading computers.
Administrators chose to use some of the funds for classroom AV technology improvements. The existing classroom AV technology consisted of a television and a VCR. District officials wanted to install updated systems that would empower teachers and benefit students.
Teachers appreciate how easy and flexible the WallVault System is when it comes to using the AV technology in their classrooms.”
Jackie Bertero, Office Manager - Forestville USD
They selected Extron WallVault® Systems to outfit each of their 35 classrooms, as well as the auditorium and multipurpose spaces. WallVault Systems are a family of complete, centralized AV switching and control systems designed for use with wall mounted short-throw projectors and flat panel displays. Forestville was able to customize their classroom systems to include the Extron VoiceLift® Microphone option to evenly distribute the teacher’s voice to all students.
“Teachers appreciate how easy and flexible the WallVault System is when it comes to using the AV technology in their classrooms,” says Jackie Bertero, Office Manager for the Forestville USD. “The key is the MediaLink controller which instills confidence because it is so intuitive.”
“Another benefit is how consistently the lightweight microphones perform,” adds Bertero. “Many teachers wear their VoiceLift Microphone around school all day, confident that they will operate perfectly in every classroom.”
Surprisingly, it was not until three years into the project that Superintendent and CBO, Bob Borbe, noticed an advertisement for the networking capabilities of the Extron systems. He recognized the potential for remote support, asset management, and reporting benefits. The district immediately began connecting their systems to the data network.
It was also around this time that Extron introduced GlobalViewer® Campus Communication Suite, or GVCCS, which expands system functionality to include bells, public address announcements, and intercom, also over the network.
Forestville was interested in this new public address capability because their current solutions were deemed lacking. It was difficult to hear announcements over speakerphones in the classrooms, and some open areas had no audio coverage at all.
“Historically, there were phone trees and we had to walk the school grounds to inform everyone of an emergency on campus,” says Bertero. “The whole process took a long time and we were never quite sure that everyone got the message.”
Now all the classrooms and common areas have an audio decoder connected to their speakers and managed by the GlobalViewer communication suite software. The web-based software makes it easy to setup a variety of bell schedules as well as make live or pre-recorded announcements on campus. The school currently has pre-recorded three announcements: Shelter in Place, Lockdown, and Evacuate. Six school staff members have been trained on GVCCS and there are four workstations at the school that have the GVCCS tab open and a microphone for making live announcements.
Recently, a gunman involved in a domestic dispute was reported in the community. Ms. Bertero was able to quickly access the GVCCS tab on her computer and initiate a pre-recorded campus-wide lockdown announcement. “The system worked flawlessly,” she notes. “Everyone in the classrooms and on the sports fields heard the message and was able to take shelter in their designated area.”
Jackie also received feedback from several restaurants and businesses around the school who also heard the announcement and commenced their own lockdown. “The community is really behind this announcement project,” says Bertero. “Between system tests and real life events, I think they feel this is just one more example of how we are trying to insure the safety and security of their children.” The school conducts twice monthly drills using the GVCCS system.