Safety First for Students, Faculty and StaffThe Valley Day School (VDS) is an approved private school dedicated to the education and welfare of students with histories of acute learning, adjustment, behavioral, and/or emotional needs. Its mission is to teach students the academic and social tools they need to lead a healthy life. VDS does so by providing small, structured, and supportive environments that focus on effectively interacting with people; establishing and meeting short- and long-term goals; and managing our bodies and brains to make healthy choices. Its efforts have made VDS a regional leader in alternative education for students aged 4-21.
VDS came to Weidenhammer because they had identified two serious security issues. The first was that their security camera solution was outdated and needed to be replaced. The second, more crucial issue was that there were blind spots in key areas throughout the school. Those areas included the nurse’s office and hallway, the library, executive offices, and more. Because many students have emotional challenges, those spaces needed to be monitored to protect students, faculty, and staff alike.
To accommodate the upgrade in security cameras, VDS also needed to modify its networking solutions. That meant replacing its aging switch infrastructure and adding new PoE ports to support the additional devices and power needs.
The final component that Weidenhammer needed to address in creating a solution for VDS was that VDS has a one-person IT team. Whatever Weidenhammer proposed, it needed to be simple to monitor and manage.
Weidenhammer proposed using Cisco’s Meraki solution, which includes a management portal designed specifically for small IT teams while delivering sophisticated technology tools and analytics.
To address the security camera concerns, Weidenhammer proposed integrating wide- and narrow-angle smart Meraki cameras that would provide a complete view of all blind spots. Each camera can record and fully encrypt video and sound, and offers analytic capabilities that include machine-learning for intelligent object detection and person-tracking.
A big benefit of using Meraki cameras was that VDS could set the cameras to activate when motion was detected. This has the dual benefit of reducing dead air while increasing the amount of recordings retained in the event there were any incidents in need of review. By going this route, VDS could document all activity and study recorded incidents for safety and security training as well as compliance.
Combined with a new Meraki switch infrastructure, this solution would facilitate ease-of-use for the sole IT staff member while streamlining power and connectivity needed for VDS’ current and future needs.
The decision to move to Meraki meant that VDS’ one-person IT team could monitor and manage all of the new cameras and switches via the Meraki cloud portal anywhere, at any time. It also meant a reduction in management overhead and costs, due to the elegance of Meraki’s solution. Additionally, there was a significant pricing benefit: by combining the camera and switches on one quote, Weidenhammer was able to access additional volume discounts on behalf of VDS while adhering to state requirements. Making it easier and safer for students, faculty, and staff alike was at the heart of making these upgrades, and these changes will ensure the safety of all members of the VDS community.