Back-to-School UC Basics

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1508-back-to-schoolSchools are back in session, and kids are opening their Chromebooks and iPads and settling into the classroom routines. Away from the chaos in the hallways, school districts are now realizing huge benefits from deploying ShoreTel VoIP communications. ShoreTel’s robust VoIP platform is a reliable, proven resource for keeping costs down and conversations flowing between administration, teachers and parents.

For many school districts, ShoreTel provides high-end business features that they never had. At David Douglas School District in Portland, OR, for example, communications were less than ideal before ShoreTel entered the classrooms. Teachers shared a few phones in the office for making outbound calls. For inbound calls, office staff took handwritten messages. This consumed much of the office staff’s time, forced teachers to leave their classrooms to make calls, and created delays in connecting with parents.

David Douglas School District deployed ShoreTel throughout the district, with a phone in every classroom and voicemail for all 800 users. The office staff no longer has to handwrite messages for teachers and staff, and staff members have unique numbers and phones, so calls and messages come directly to them.

In Wisconsin, the Green Bay Area Public School District teachers and administrators also gained more business-oriented, advanced communications options with ShoreTel. They have access to school directories, Outlook contacts, email, and voicemail notification. Even seemingly small changes, like a message-waiting light, proved to be a big improvement. The message-waiting alert and email notification let teachers and administrators know immediately if someone is trying to reach them.

Keeping Costs Down and Communications Up

School districts do make decisions around cost and ShoreTel helps them meet their budgets. The Palo Alto Unified School District, in the heart of Silicon Valley, chose ShoreTel specifically for its cost savings.

“We selected ShoreTel as the low bidder and because of its ability to meet all of our requirements. ShoreTel would give us the Voice over IP (VoIP) platform we needed, and also support the SIP trunk connection from other devices for a complete communications approach,” said Alexey Demyanenko, network manager for Palo Alto Unified School District.

Portland’s David Douglas schools realized significant savings from moving to ShoreTel. Even though the district quadrupled from 200 to 800 users, overall phone costs decreased by $40,000 per year by using existing data network wiring and analog phones, and minimizing the need for T1 connections.

The Green Bay Area Public School District ranks as one of the biggest cost saving winners, as it lowered its total cost of ownership by 70 percent by drastically reducing required phone lines and related service costs.

“We were able to reduce the number of phone lines by 80 percent—from 958 phones to under 200 for 40 locations. Our average monthly land line phone expense dropped from $10,000 per month to less than $3,000 a month,” said Allen Behnke, director of safety, security and telecom at the Green Bay Area Public School District.

No public school district has it easy, but these schools are working hard to improve communications and keep costs down. ShoreTel has lots to offer at the primary and secondary levels. Contact Global CTI to learn how.

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