Strong community service comes from safer, more secure schools
- By Cydney Higgins
- June 16, 2020
Coppell, Texas, is a suburban community in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, with a reputation for strong community services, including a premier public education system ensured by the administrators, faculty, and staff of the Coppell Independent School District. Coppell ISD, recognized statewide for both high performance and innovation, serves over 12,800 students through a vibrant network of schools, programs, and administrative functions spread over 23 square miles.
Preserving a Safe and Secure Childhood
Though the rituals, milestones, and commitments associated with childhood development and public education remain consistent as classic reflections of community values and aspirations, there is little doubt the modern learning environment poses new and unique challenges for communities like Coppell.
In Coppell, school and community leaders work tirelessly to maintain optimal learning environments for students, even as they must adapt (sometimes in real time) to address evolving legal and regulatory, technological, and/or safety considerations.
Further, modern technology has equipped students, teachers, and parents with the ability to record video of incidents and exchanges from personal vantage points, which risks misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts on the ground in the absence of wider and more definitive records.
And with all involved-from students, teachers, parents, and administrators-keenly aware of the even more serious, unexpected safety threats that have dominated the public consciousness in recent years, the need for latestgeneration, comprehensive, and feature-rich video surveillance technology is understood by those in the education field, more than ever.
The Timeless Art of Education
in a 21st Century Environment
Coppell ISD was determined to meet the safety and security needs of the 21st century learning environment head on. Administrators recognized the need to do so in a way that would not only address all legal and regulatory requirements, but also preserved an optimal learning environment for children. In addition, the plan needed to reflect good stewardship of taxpayer dollars and public trust-allowing the focus of the school district to remain squarely on the education and development of the community's children.
With existing surveillance infrastructure growing out-of-date, the opportunity for a district-wide overhaul and modernization effort offered an opportunity to improve safety and security for everyone in the district.
Mindful that keeping kids safe is always a no-fail proposition, Coppell ISD leadership and security personnel worked closely with Siemens Industry Inc., a national security systems integrator, and IDIS America to develop a solution that exceeded safety and security needs. Coppell ISD, Siemens, and IDIS worked together to craft a solution that was mindful of all legal and regulatory considerations, and as unobtrusive as possible for the district's students.
"Siemens believes that a perfect place to learn is a safe, secure place. Thus, we aim to partner with schools to help create this safe, secure learning environment, one where teachers can focus on their core mission of educating students," said a Siemens Industry spokesperson. "Every day, creating this environment becomes a bigger challenge and a greater responsibility. Siemens' dedicated focus brings the right strategies and technologies to deliver confidence and peace of mind to everyone in a school."
Providing Cutting-Edge Solutions to Modern Challenges
That careful collaboration resulted in a technological upgrade reflecting the latest in modern surveillance technology, offering benefits for students, faculty, staff, and community stakeholders. The selection of IDIS software and cameras positioned the school district to benefit in two important ways: higher performance rooted in the company's well-known commitment to innovation and feature-rich hardware and software, and cost savings via the company's consistent delivery of high-quality technology with a low total cost of ownership.
Benefiting from industry leading warranties and performance guarantees, and free of the recurring licensing and maintenance costs typically found in the industry, Coppell ISD secured top-of-the-line performance without sacrificing responsible management of taxpayer and grant money.
The surveillance upgrade selected by district leaders, in partnership with Siemens and IDIS, includes the deployment of 1,200 network cameras across the district's schools and administration facilities.
This ensures the comprehensive coverage of indoor and outdoor district spaces through the use of IDIS's award-winning fisheye technology, offering clarity and resolution as high as 12MP, with fluid point, track, and real-time zooming capabilities of IDIS's proprietary "Smart UX 2.0" controls. These technologies replace multiple, and often more expensive, camera installations and enhances the district's visibility into on-site dayto-day activities, upgrading Coppell ISD's surveillance accuracy and realtime response ability-essential for today's educational environments.
As part of the powerful and forward-thinking solution secured by Coppell ISD, the district's security and administrative personnel will also benefit from other key surveillance features and benefits without increasing costs.
These include latest-generation video compression technology, H.265, and IDIS's Intelligent Codec, which allows the district to optimize file size and storage. The IDIS installation also comes with the IDIS SmartFailover suite of features and benefits, providing assurance for the district in the event of power or hardware failures and other unforeseen circumstances.
Enhancing District's Safety Reputation
By keeping a clear-eyed focus on the current and potential future safety needs of the district's students, educators, and staff, Coppell ISD optimized security across their network of school campuses and offices.
Today, security personnel and administrators across the district benefit from real-time situational awareness of property status and incidents via fully networked video surveillance technology, featuring exceptional resolution and ease of use. These new capabilities serve as force-multipliers for Coppell ISD allowing operators to cover more ground, respond to situations faster, and document incidents more comprehensively without detracting from the student experience or learning environment.
The district's revamped and enhanced security technology, in this way, works hand in hand with existing infrastructure to not only preserve the district's reputation for positive learning experiences and outcomes, but also enhance it.
"Working on this project with the district and IDIS has truly been a positive experience," said David Radtke, a senior sales executive at Siemens Industry. "I believe that the team members at Coppell ISD, Stephen McGilvray and Tim Disen, and at IDIS, Jeff Montoya, along with our team at Siemens, developed a sustaining culture that was built upon communication, collaboration and trust, which ultimately delivered a solution for the district that coincided with what was promised to the school board by Stephen McGilvray, the district's technology director."
This article originally appeared in the May June 2020 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.