A few thoughts on the new phone system…

As you know, we are currently installing a new phone system. This is a massive project that is nearing completion. There are a couple of reasons why we needed to install a new phone system.

  • Our previous system was no longer supported
  • The phones from our previous system were breaking at a rapid clip. These were getting extremely difficult to replace
  • Michigan passed e911 legislation

e911

Michigan has passed e911 legislation. This essentially says that we need to be able to send first responders (police officers, EMS, fire, etc) directly to a room, not just a building. Under our old current system, only a building address is sent. With the new system, we will be able to send those first responders to the exact room that called. This could literally save a life. However, this also means that we need to know exactly which room every phone is in. I will be providing our first responders with a list of phone numbers, rooms and floor plans. This will allow our first responders to know which room to go to when 911 is called. The first responders will be able to review the building map on the way to the emergency.

Mobility Extension

We will no longer be offering mobility extension. This is due to the e911 legislation above. Mobility extension allows for a phone number to “travel” to different phones. Obviously, this would cause great confusion to our first responders. Not only could they go to the wrong room, but they could go to the wrong building.

However, we do understand that we have phone numbers that are assigned to people and not places. So, we will be assigning those “extension mobility” numbers as a second (or third, fourth, fifth) number on a phone in a room. This means that a phone may ring in multiple buildings.

Voicemail

Once we have just one phone system running, we will be able to turn on Gmail sync. This will allow for all users to listen to their voicemail right in their email. Once it is marked as listened to in email, it will also be marked as listened to in the phone system. If the voicemail is deleted in email, it will also be deleted in the phone system.

Currently, voicemails are delivered to email, but the sync is not yet active.

Main office personnel are set up as “delegates” for the main number and attendance number for their school. This allows them to easily check the main line and attendance line voicemails on their computer. Plus, the messages stay “in sync” for all members of the office.

Phone placement

We are mounting most phones. There are two reasons for this:

  • To comply with e911 laws
  • To reduce/prevent breakage

Phones are being mounted in most classrooms. This helps to make sure that phones remain where we placed them. Remember, for 911, we will provide a spreadsheet to the 911 call center with phone numbers and room numbers. This list won’t regularly change. It needs to be relied upon for life saving decision making.

As a side benefit, phones that are mounted suffer much less breakage.

Please remember that individuals move from room to room. Additionally, some teachers like to “change it up” in terms of the room layout and decor (that would be me in the classroom). However, we can’t regularly move phones due to individual preference. Thus, we established as much of a standard as possible.

Tips

To help new users, we have created a Classroom and Office Phone Basics Page. This page is still under development. It was the intent from the beginning to select a phone system that is easy to use. We didn’t want to be in a situation where users needed a ton of training.

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