CASE STUDY

Eastern DataComm Assists Midland Park Public Schools with Enhancing Their School Safety Ecosystem

The Midland Park Public School District makes a focused effort to create a safe learning environment for all of its students. District officials consider it a bedrock obligation to the community. The district serves approximately 1,000 students ranging from prekindergarten through 12th grade in the borough of Midland Park, located in Bergen County, NJ – the most populous county in the state.

Its focus on school safety is clearly evident as noted in the Department of Education annual report. “Safety is part of our district philosophy,” said Dr. Marie Cirasella, Superintendent of Midland Park Public Schools. “Whenever an idea about improving safety and security comes forward, we always consider it.” That was the case when Dr. Cirasella and District Business Administrator, Stacy Garvey, learned of Eastern DataComm’s Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS) when attending one of the educational seminars that the company hosts throughout the school year.

“Someone described it as the ‘Cadillac of security systems,’ and once we saw it in action, we agreed,” said Dr. Cirasella.

The Challenge

The district sought a solution that would enhance district-wide safety and integrate with its telephone system. Furthermore, since the district has a large hearing-impaired education program, a comprehensive and multimodal notification process was also a top priority.

The Need for Multimodal Emergency Notification

As noted earlier, Midland Park Public Schools have a large hearing-impaired education program As such, it was essential to have an emergency notification solution that would not only reach people through auditory cues, but through visual means as well so that all on campus could be made aware.

The right solution would not only communicate with this unique student population, it would need to do so swiftly to expedite response, helping to potentially save lives when every second counts.

The Desire for an Integrated District-Wide Solution

In order to improve upon their existing school security and safety ecosystem, Midland Park Public Schools sought a solution that could integrate with other communications technologies, including their phone system.

The district understood that reaching students, staff, and visitors inside and outside the school buildings would require a comprehensive approach. Above all, officials wanted to ensure that they could streamline the process to save response time, which in turn could mitigate the potential for damage and loss of life should they ever experience a catastrophic incident such as an active shooter.

The Desire to Create an Even Safer School Environment

While some districts come to Eastern DataComm with a unique technology challenge in mind (whether that’s outdoor spaces that need notification capabilities or an aging phone system they need to bring into compliance with new federal regulations), Midland Park Public Schools initially reached out to further enhance their existing school safety ecosystem. Their goal was to augment the approaches and processes they were already using to keep their schools safe.

“We constantly discuss security and safety measures, including emergency management procedures and how to improve them,” said Dr. Marie Cirasella, Superintendent. “It is a static agenda item when we meet as a team or when we meet with emergency management officials from the borough.”

The Eastern DataComm Solution

Eastern DataComm implemented a variety of physical security technologies to help the Midland Park Public School District enhance school safety across three school buildings and associated outdoor facilities.

Creating a School Safety and Security Partnership

District officials welcomed an onsite demonstration of Eastern DataComm’s LENS (Lockdown and Emergency Notification System) solution.

“They came in with a truckload of equipment. It was so impressive,” said Garvey. “That led to a larger meeting with our technology coordinator, our building and grounds supervisor, our building administrators, and Dr. Cirasella.

“Then we took it to the Board of Education for review. We had already begun looking into ways we could improve safeguards for our students and staff, and this seemed an impressive way to do that. Everybody loved the product and the concept. Nobody had seen anything quite like it before.”

Throughout the process of collaborating with Midland Park Public Schools, it became evident that Eastern DataComm’s comprehensive, integrated, and customizable LENS (Lockdown and Emergency Notification System) was the right fit. Using a consultative and diagnostic approach, Eastern DataComm was able to listen to and understand the precise needs of Midland Park Public Schools. This enabled the team to custom-tailor the LENS solution to meet the schools’ communication and emergency notification needs.

A Unique Student Population

The ability to provide visual cues with the LED beacons and sign boards was of particular importance to Midland Park as the district hosts a large hearing-impaired education program that offers a continuum of instructional options and services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“The strobe lights are at every entrance, in every hallway and in every main area, and we have the boards with digital messaging in every building,” said Garvey. “That is really important for our students who can’t hear notifications over the PA system. This system provides a means of communication with every student in every building, whether by voice or vision.”

Using Eastern DataComm’s LENS, a Comprehensive, Integrated Emergency Notification Solution

Comprehensive and customized design sets LENS apart from other school emergency notification systems. In addition, it is Eastern DataComm’s expertise of working with hundreds of schools to provide the safety and communications technology solutions that make the team the one that K–12 public schools, private schools, and places of higher education rely upon to safeguard their communities.

The district noted the benefit of automated notifications to the borough’s emergency management personnel. Because the LENS controller integrates with the district’s existing IP phone system, once initiated, the system triggers automatic calls to 911 and the police and fire departments, expediting communication and removing the opportunity for human error.

Lockdown and Emergency Notification with LENS

The Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS) allows you to immediately alert everyone on your campus – both inside and outside of buildings and in remote areas – during an urgent situation. At the press of a button, dial of a code on a phone, or use of a smart device application, school districts can automatically initiate a lockdown, evacuation, or shelter-in-place during an active threat or any other emergency situation. These three ways of initiating the emergency notification solution gives those encountering what can be a nerve-racking situation the flexibility to commence campus-wide communication in the way that is easiest for them in that moment. The system that is in place at Midland Park Public Schools triggers screen-pop alerts on phones and computers throughout the three school buildings and in the Board of Education office, along with pre-recorded audio messages over the school’s paging systems and visual signals using LED beacons and signboard messages.Wireless radio speakers ensure that the emergency notifications reach all outdoor spaces, including parking lots and remote sports fields.

These wireless speakers use radio/RF frequency and not Wi-Fi wireless – a key differentiator for Eastern DataComm’s school safety solution. Simultaneous calls to the local police and 911 are also made, and play prerecorded messages announcing the emergency and the location of the activation point.

The process is swift, seamless, and reduces the chance of human error through automation when every second counts.

How Midland Park Public Schools Officials Describe the Experience of Working with Eastern DataComm

They have been great to work with… I’ve recommended them to a number of my colleagues. We’ve had representatives from other districts come here individually to take a look at the system, and I’ve provided information and offered up my opinion in a positive way. We’ve been very happy.

– Stacy Garvey
District Business Administrator

success

Address Your Communication and Security Challenges with Eastern DataComm

If your district is focused on improving your school safety ecosystem the way Midland Park Public Schools is, contact Eastern DataComm for a complimentary School Safety Consultation today by calling 888-902-4091 or emailing us at inquiry@easterndatacomm.com.