Collegium Charter School is an independent K-12 charter school in Exton, Pennsylvania. There are around 2,800 students and 420 faculty members spread across seven buildings. It is the second largest charter school in Pennsylvania.
The school was looking for more reliable and cost effective communication solutions when an authorized Icom dealer introduced them to the Icom IDAS™ product line. For nearly five years, Collegium Charter School has been using Icom radios throughout their campus, and with great results.
Limitations Reducing Communication on Campus
Up until five years ago, Collegium Charter School was using “push to talk” phones and FRS radios to communicate among staff. This equipment worked, however there were serval restrictions, which hindered the school from obtaining the level of communication they desired, especially with plans to expand the campus on the horizon.
Like most schools, Collegium Charter School had a budget to consider and providing every staff member a “push to talk” phone was not within it. Cost became a major setback with this equipment. The school wanted staff, campuswide, to have radio access, and it was not possible with the equipment that was in place. The range of communication was also limited, as the school was not able to reach teachers or staff when they were using the outdoor classrooms or on “off campus” trips with students.
Upgrading to Professional Two-Way Communications
Collegium Charter School needed to be able to effectively communicate throughout all seven buildings with teachers and staff, as well as with administrators off campus. Their previous communication tools where no longer a viable solution. COMMPATHS, an authorized Icom dealer in Pennsylvania, met with the school five years ago and provided them a couple of professional two-way radio options. After a few days of testing, Collegium Charter School decided to go with Icom, finding the radio’s performance was ideal, dependable and within budget for their situation
Today, using IDAS™ technology, there are approximately 125 Icom radios throughout the school, as well as equipment on three school buses. They use a four channel IDAS™ single site system. Every building has a dedicated talkgroup and a simplex channel. Plus one talkgroup has been reserved for emergencies only. They use the hierarchical calling features only available in IDAS™ commercial radios to communicate with disparate groups, or the entire campus as needed, regardless of the channel selector knob’s position. During the summer of 2016, two additional channels where added and the repeater station was moved to a more centrally located building to increase efficiency, and allow for additional growth.
Using Icom to Communicate On and Off Campus
Since the installation of Icom equipment, communication has streamlined, on and off campus. All teachers, administrators and staff members are now able to communicate with each other, providing a safer environment for everyone.
Icom radios have helped facilitate a smoother morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Users are able to access traffic channels and communicate with bus drivers, providing an organized and safe transition for parents and students. The range of communication has also increased. Thanks to the COMMPATHS multisite trunking system, some staff members are now able to communicate with the school while off campus on field trips.
An unexpected benefit was the improved efficiency within the kitchen. At Collegium Charter School food is delivered between multiple buildings. Now kitchen staff and food trucks are able to communicate, increasing productivity and freshness.
Overall, Collegium Charter School has increased their communications throughout the campus and with all staff members. Essentially the school now has another “set of eyes” on and off campus, which increases security and safety for all students and staff members.
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