CASE STUDY

Berkeley Heights (NJ) Public Schools

Customized LENS implementation from Eastern DataComm helped the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, School District address unique safety requirements.

In 2019, Berkeley Heights School District took steps to strengthen school security by installing cutting-edge emergency notification systems from Eastern DataComm in each school building.

Nestled in the Watchung Mountains of northern New Jersey just 28 miles west of New York City, Berkeley Heights offers all the charm of small-town life just a short drive from perhaps the world’s most cosmopolitan city. That unique combination is one reason why Money Magazine ranked it among the 10 best small towns in America a few years back.

The township’s public school system is another reason. Berkeley Heights Public School District is consistently rated as one of the best school systems in New Jersey, with six schools serving some 2,500 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The high school is well known throughout the region for its award-winning inclusive education program for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and cognitively impaired students.

In addition to a superior curriculum, excellent teachers, and diverse extracurricular choices, the district demonstrates its commitment to the educational experience through a strong focus on school safety. Eastern DataComm understood the necessity for notifications to be provided in a variety of forms to ensure all students, faculty, and staff remained safe and informed during emergencies.

The district wanted solutions that integrated with their Google cloud-based systems and gave them the highest level of communication with their local police department.

The Eastern DataComm Solution

Utilizing A Proven Emergency Notification Technology Solution

Eastern DataComm’s Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS) is a fully automated comprehensive solution that integrates telephone systems, public address systems, wireless speakers, strobe lights, and LED signage. LENS delivers nearly instantaneous emergency notifications.

The LENS system can be activated from any phone in a school building or office or by buttons installed in the main offices of each school building. Once activated, the system will initiate lockdown, evacuation, or shelter-in-place procedures within seconds. It is a trusted solution that Eastern DataComm has implemented in hundreds of K–12 schools and municipalities.

“It’s a well-designed solution that was already being widely used, so it was pretty clear it would check off all the boxes for us,” said Mike Skara, Technology Coordinator, Berkeley Heights Schools. “It provides emergency notifications for people in the buildings, key people in the school district, and our police department. Plus, Eastern DataComm was able to customize it for our particular needs.

“Thankfully, we’ve only had to use it once in a real situation … and it worked perfectly. Everyone was notified and the system worked exactly as it was supposed to.”

An Understanding Of Communications Infrastructure

A couple of different factors made the LENS system an attractive choice for the district. First, Eastern DataComm was already deeply familiar with the communications infrastructure that supports the notification system — Eastern DataComm has been maintaining the district’s Mitel phone system for nearly a decade. That said, the team was deeply familiar with the communications infrastructure at Berkeley Heights.

Eastern DataComm further customized the system to integrate with the district’s Google G Suite cloud-based tools, providing new avenues for delivering emergency notifications by phone, text, and email. With this system, notifications could also be designated for distinct audiences in different buildings.

Police Communication Support

Once activated, LENS’s integration with the local police department’s communications system enables near-instantaneous calls to 911, the police, and emergency responders. Eastern DataComm also sought guidance from the Berkeley Heights Police Department on the design and implementation for better integration.

A Solution Tailored To The District’s Unique Needs

Customizable features offered the district a way to address some unique safety challenges. As one of the few programs in the state designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, some audible notifications wouldn’t serve all the district’s students adequately.

The enhanced system that Eastern DataComm provided included digital signage and strobe lights so every student could benefit from efficient, equitable, and effective communication.

How Berkeley Heights School District Officials
Describe The Experience

“We have one of the few programs in the state for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and they can’t hear the klaxons or the public address notifications you have with most notification systems. So, Eastern DataComm installed an enhanced system at the high school with additional digital signage and strobe lights in those classrooms and in other areas like the cafeteria and music room where it can be difficult to hear. Those extra signs and strobes make our emergency communications much more effective and efficient.”

-Mike Skara, Technology Coordinator, Berkeley Heights Schools

Address Your Emergency Communication Technology Needs with Eastern DataComm

To ensure your district has the most effective safety and communications solutions in place, contact Eastern DataComm for a complimentary School Safety Consultation by calling 888-902-4091 or emailing us at inquiry@easterndatacomm.com.