EPIC Spotlight: Morgan County High School

Our purpose at Audio Enhancement is to make classrooms more effective and ease the burden resting on educators’ shoulders. EPIC (Education Paging & Intercom Communications) System™ was developed in response to concerns and frustrations that K-12 educators had when working with their intercom, paging, and bells systems. When developing EPIC System, our goal was to create an intuitive and easy-to-use product that administrators could customize to fit their needs. This goal was realized in the experience Morgan County High School had in implementing and using EPIC System.

Morgan County and Audio Enhancement

Morgan County High School serves 9–12th grade students in Morgan County Charter School System in Madison, Georgia. It is a wall-to-wall college and career academy, focusing on helping students discover a love of learning and preparing for future careers. In October 2018, they moved into a new building and began using Audio Enhancement’s EPC System™, Classroom Audio solutions, SAFE System™, and VIEWpath®. We had the opportunity to discuss their implementation of EPIC System with Jennifer Butler, Morgan County’s CTAE Director.

Ms. Butler has worked in education since 1996 and has been with Morgan County since 2006. In her time as an educator, she has observed that schools lack flexibility in their communication systems. Typical systems don’t allow for much customization and can be difficult to use. Zones and bell tones are generally predetermined and can’t be changed by educators at the school. A year before Morgan County moved into a new building, they heard about EPIC System. When their team saw the system offered fully customizable zones, room-to-room intercom, and a touchscreen interface, they hoped it would offer them increased flexibility. Did it work out like they wanted? According to Ms. Butler, “Our hopes were realized tenfold.”

An Easy-to-Use System

Morgan County HS moved into their new school over Fall Break, so their time to learn the system before using it on a day-to-day basis was limited. Fortunately, with very little training, teachers and staff were ready to use EPIC System with confidence. Ms. Butler said, “It is almost plug and play, in my opinion. If you have any technical background, it is a very simple process to learn. If you are intimidated by technology, a short training session is sufficient.” The simplicity of EPIC System allowed them to welcome students back after Fall Break and move forward assured that they could efficiently manage the system.

Customization

One of the features of EPIC System most used and appreciated by Morgan County is the ability to fully customize zones for paging and bells. Administrators can create zones in any configuration needed, from an entire floor to a single classroom. “This has been a game changer,” said Ms. Butler. “We have set up zones for PSAT testing, EOC testing, AP testing, ASVAB testing.” This allows them to keep a particular hallway silent from bells while the rest of the school continues with its regular schedule. They also use it to adjust bells in the auditorium to avoid disrupting a play or events being held.

Another feature of EPIC System utilized by Morgan County is customizable bell tones. They appreciate the option to set specific songs for specific events so students and teachers know what to expect. They also change bells for holidays and special events to create a fun atmosphere for everyone at the school.

Final Thoughts

At the end of our interview, when asked if there was anything else she’d like to share about her experience with EPIC System, Ms. Butler said, “I believe it has been one of our best purchases for our system. The areas that have been affected by this system—bells, paging, intercom and safety—are areas that are taken for granted by most people, but they are very important to a school. This has provided us a sense of protection that is so important and the ability to limit unnecessary classroom disruptions has helped morale.”

“I believe it has been one of our best purchases for our system.”

Jennifer Butler

From the first development of EPIC System, our goal was to make life easier and schoolwide communication more efficient for K-12 educators. We are so happy to hear that EPIC System is doing exactly what it was designed to do for educators at Morgan County High School!

Spotlight School—South Lake Elementary

At Audio Enhancement, we value our relationships with educators. We also strive to develop solutions that can resolve challenges that schools face on a daily basis. That is why we’re thrilled to hear of success stories like South Lake Elementary School in Florida.

South Lake Elementary serves students in Brevard County Public Schools. After closing its doors in 2013, the school district recently renovated it. In August 2018, the school reopened as a choice school focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Part of that renovation included installation of Audio Enhancement’s EPIC System™, an intercom, paging, and bells system, and Classroom Audio Systems.

Jennifer Brockwell, South Lake’s principal, has worked in education for 15 years. Her experience in education, especially as an administrator, has shown her some of the major difficulties educators face when managing their school’s communication systems. Changing bell schedules generally requires a work order or is a complicated process. Staff often resort to walking messages to classrooms when the paging system isn’t working properly. In emergency situations, communication can break down and precious time can be lost.  

EPIC System

In an attempt to minimize or eliminate these difficulties, Ms. Brockwell decided to order EPIC System. Her hopes included a user-friendly program that would give her control over bell schedules and the ability to make changes as needed. Her reaction after only four months of using EPIC System? “The system indeed far exceeded my expectations. It’s extremely user friendly and non-intimidating.” Teachers also appreciate the system, reporting, “I love how we can change the bells. The paging system sounds clear.”

An additional benefit she found is the ability to prerecord messages. Whether for assisting with the Pledge of Allegiance on a busy morning or covering a drill when Ms. Brockwell is unavailable, an audio file is ready to play. These recordings ensure the school can run smoothly, even in her absence.

EPIC System also includes the benefit of SAFE System™. Emergency situations require quick and effective communication, and with SAFE System, school adminstration can receive immediate notifications. As Ms. Brockwell explains, “When it comes to safety, minutes count.”

Classroom Audio

In addition to EPIC System, South Lake installed Classroom Audio Systems. Teachers shared that all the students can hear them, and they don’t have to speak as loudly. “I like that all of my students can hear me with no problem. They seem to pay attention more and respond well when I use the microphone. I really like it!” One teacher pointed out how it helped when calling for cleanup and getting students to hear during lineup when the noise level is higher.

Teachers also noticed that some students participate and speak up more when using the Mic360™ in conjunction with the classroom system. One teacher said, “It has benefited my students that have difficulty projecting their voice. I have a student that is more willing to participate in classroom discussions, utilizing the [Mic360], because she will not be asked to repeat herself or to speak up.”

Audio Enhancement wants to enhance education and ease the difficulties educators face, whether it’s with schoolwide communication or classroom audio systems.  We are grateful to partner with schools like South Lake Elementary in accomplishing that goal for their faculty, staff, and students.

Product Spotlight: Hands-Free Classroom Intercom

As school administrators know, a lot of work goes into making a school run smoothly. Hundreds, even thousands, of students arrive at 7 a.m. and assemble into different classrooms. Directed by bells, students go from class to class. Every day, school staff manage late arrivals, early pick-ups, and unplanned excitement. For this and many other reasons, front office personnel need to communicate with specific teachers. Continue reading “Product Spotlight: Hands-Free Classroom Intercom”

How Audio Enhancement Can Make Your School EPIC

Forty years ago, schools looked completely different than they do now. Changes in curriculum and advances in technology have brought education into a new era. Audio Enhancement started out with the mission to help all students hear evenly in the classroom, and just like technology has advanced in the past few decades, Audio Enhancement has worked hard to make learning more and more effective.

Introducing EPIC (Education Paging & Intercom Communications) System™! Built specifically for K-12 education, EPIC System provides the latest technology to make communication in your school not only easy, but extra efficient. With a two-way intercom that’s hands-free for teachers, customizable paging and bell zones, and integration of SAFE (Signal Alert for Education) System™, EPIC System will bring your school communication to the next era.

EPIC System makes it a breeze for the front office to communicate with any classroom in the school. With an interactive campus map and touchscreen monitor, front office staff have the whole school at their fingertips. They simply press on the classroom with which they want to communicate and chime in. The teacher responds through an ambient microphone and the lesson is not greatly interrupted.

With just a few taps on the touchscreen, school bells can be customized for different zones and different days.

The touchscreen monitor also facilitates paging and bell scheduling. There’s no need to call a technician to change the school bell system, and no more are the days of interrupting testing and other classrooms in the school with bells that don’t pertain to them. With just a few taps on the touchscreen, bells can be customized for different zones and different days. Plus, you can change up the sound of your bells to any MP3 song. Play the school’s fight song on game days or a Christmas song on the last day before winter break, and dance your way to class!

SAFE System provides that extra peace of mind to not only teachers and staff, but to students and their parents as well.

EPIC System incorporates SAFE System, which provides discreet alert buttons on teacher microphones and in the front office that can be pressed to send a signal through the EPIC System server, alerting first responders. SAFE System provides that extra peace of mind to not only teachers and staff, but to students and their parents as well. In case of medical emergencies, bullying, or the ever-growing violence in schools, the right people could be notified and on the way within seconds.

As stated above, schools were completely different 40 years ago. The world and its technology has advanced, so there is no reason for schools not to incorporate technology that could make them more efficient, effective, and safe. EPIC System was developed to simplify schoolwide  communication, giving administrators more time to focus on shaping the leaders of tomorrow.