The district also takes advantage of the phone system Code Blue feature designed to summon emergency response teams in hospitals. In the district, if a teacher sets off a Code Blue, it can call for classroom support to deal with behavior problems or special help for individual students who might have personal problems, Summers says.
PC clients let staff remotely forward calls to any other phone. So on snowy days, Summers can forward calls from his work extension to his cellphone, for example. Similarly, a PC softphone can pick up calls that come to an extension in a school building, so the intended recipient of the call can pick it up if the PC is connected to the Internet.
Voicemail is sent to email accounts as audio files, and via Outlook integration, written responses can be sent to the caller's email account.
One of VoIP's main advantages is that it runs over a 12-strand fiber network that connects town buildings and schools. Since most calls are made between schools, VoIP over the private fiber makes the cost of voice calls very low, Summers says.
Summers says his first experience with VoIP came when he arrived at the school district in 2004. Before that he'd worked only with traditional TDM PBX phone systems, which put him in good stead at Kaukauna, which had an independent PBX in each building made by at least three different vendors. After the swap-out for the Cisco VoIP network, he became convinced that VoIP was definitely simpler and offered more features, so there was no question that the schools would stick with it when they refreshed in 2009. "This is a lot simpler," he says.
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