Painted Hills Middle School Creates a Unique Collaborative Learning Environment with Extron Classroom
The newly constructed Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, California is the first middle
school to be built in the Palm Springs Unified School District in 17 years, so the District wanted
to ensure that construction, including the school’s AV system, was perfectly executed.
PSUSD chose Extron Electronics’
Wallvault® classroom AV systems and hired a local AV integrator to perform the installation.
William Carr, PSUSD Director of Educational Technology and Information Systems, explains that Extron
was chosen because “Extron equipment is durable, simple to use, reliable, and professional.” Carr
was familiar with Extron because the company had earlier granted the district a PoleVault system
so that administrators and teachers could experience the benefits firsthand. According to Carr, “All
were impressed with the quality of the design and installation. There was very little cutting of
the walls and little or no modification to the T-Bar ceiling.”
Using Extron PoleVault Systems, we were able to install a simple-touse, push button control panel
at the teachers’ fingertips.
PSUSD Director of Educational Technology and Information Systems
The district wanted to install easy-to-use AV systems in 34 regular classrooms, 9 science classrooms,
the band room, choir room, drama room, library, gym, computer lab, and a conference room. “We wanted
to create a truly unique learning environment,” Carr explains, “including a collaborative pod seating
arrangement, interactive technologies and advanced audiovisual capabilities.”
Carr adds that an engaging environment with clear communication is particularly important at Painted
Hills because it is “a high tech school serving a high population of English Learning students.”
The PoleVault and WallVault systems facilitate multi-modal teaching methods, allowing teachers to
easily operate audio and video equipment within the classroom. The decision to use PoleVault and
WallVault reflected PSUSD’s desire “to integrate the key modes of learning with technology into each
classroom. The visual, audio, and interactive components of the PoleVault and WallVault systems were
The Extron PoleVault AV switching and control system for ceiling mounted projectors was chosen for the
general and science classrooms as well as the band, choir, drama, and conference rooms.
PoleVault securely mounts and conceals the switcher and integrated audio amplifier above the projector.
Having the projector and AV components mounted to the ceiling discourages theft and tampering.
The WallVault system was chosen by PSUSD for the Painted Hills gym, library, and computer lab, for structural
reasons. According to Carr, “The WallVault was the perfect solution due to the unique architectural
design of those rooms. The WallVault securely houses the Extron equipment and removes the large footprint
of having the equipment placed on shelves or in a cabinet.”
Both PoleVault and WallVault work with Extron patented Flat Field® speakers, creating consistent sound
levels throughout the classroom.
Voicelift microphone was included with both Polevault and Wallvault systems to help evenly distribute
the teacher’s voice throughout the room. Studies show that significant gains in student achievement
and teacher effectiveness can be made by simply ensuring that the teacher can be heard. “The Voicelift
system fills the classroom with the teacher’s voice,” remakes Carr. In addition, teachers are able
to spend the day speaking at a natural level, which significantly reduces voice strain and vocal
“Using Extron Classroom AV systems, we were able to install a simple-to-use, push button control panel
at the teachers’ fingertips,” expressed Carr, “This centralized panel allows the teacher to turn
on the projector, switch between their laptop, document camera and desktop computer, plus adjust
By choosing Extron systems for the installation, PSUSD was able to meet all their needs at Painted Hills
Middle School. As Carr explains, “There are no bad seats in our classrooms; each student can see
the projected image and hear the teacher clearly.”
Carr noted that installation of the Extron equipment went smoothly. He added that the systems rank high
in value and states “with Extron’s education discount pricing, the systems were within the PSUSD
Overall, Carr and the District were pleased with the project. The PoleVault and WallVault systems are
“easy to use, high tech, and engaging,” Carr says. “The system is interactive, and allows the use
of additional AV equipment such as Mobi Interwrite pads, iPads, document cameras and video microscopes.
It’s fun and exciting. Each classroom can project an impressive 72” image, which is amazing for delivering
video and educational content.”