During the summer of 2009, Valley Stream Central High School District (Valley Stream) was faced with increasing failures of four aging, disparate telephone systems. These systems no longer met the operational needs of the district and had become too expensive to maintain. There was no central emergency responder system and messages were handled inefficiently through varying points of entry. In addition, just maintaining the systems became a challenge as they had reached end-of-life. New parts and service were no longer available.
Determining the right balance between providing faculty and students with the tools necessary to provide a high-quality, safe educational experience and the total cost of ownership for any enhanced technology became the salient challenge. Finding a solution became critical.
At a time when Valley Stream was facing a reduction in national, state and local education aid, it became apparent that any solution would need to provide outstanding benefits, reduce costs and produce an acceptable return on investment.
The District turned to Custom Computer Specialists, their technology partner, to review their communication needs and coordinate a cost-effective solution. Valley Stream viewed this opportunity as a unique moment in time to invest in technology that would not only help improve communications, productivity, and student safety; but also reduce current operating expenses.
As a result of effective collaboration between Custom’s engineers and the District’s administrative and technical staff, a Cisco Unified Communications solution was ultimately chosen. From the Cisco Emergency Responder to video conferencing capabilities, it was evident that this solution would meet their immediate and future needs. During the design phase, Custom personally surveyed and documented every existing phone drop, network access point and end-user requirement to serve as the basis for the project’s implementation. Acting as the point of contact for all Valley Stream schools, Custom managed the integration of the new system into the carrier network as well as the numerous buildings across the District.
Custom’s thoroughness, professionalism and commitment to detail resulted in a seamless IP Telephony cutover of 350 stations with no downtime for phone users. The solution was deployed in close collaboration with the District’s internal IT staff, which helped to accelerate user adoption and facilitated the IT team’s ability to support the system. Custom provided end-user training to district personnel and administrators, which ensured a smooth transition to the new system and effective usage from day one.
The introduction of the Cisco solution saved Valley Stream an estimated $65,000 annually: $50,000 in reduced carrier costs and $15,000 in reduced maintenance costs. In addition to the cost savings, streamlined communications has allowed Valley Stream to travel less and make decisions more quickly.
The District is now looking forward to introducing new technologies, including network-wide IP Video Surveillance, IPTV, desktop videos and video conferencing. Additionally they are planning to integrate Microsoft Office Communications Server to facilitate voice, instant messaging, and voicemail playback as well as phone directory access from a single interface. These solutions will ultimately help the district provide a dynamic communications experience, bringing schools, community and faculty closer together to work more efficiently and personally with each other.