Saline School District, home to over 5,000 students, was facing a daunting challenge that many school districts across the world face: how to effectively communicate with their student body, staff, parents, and community? Traditional communication methods weren't keeping pace with the diverse needs and accessibility requirements of modern-day, digital native learners.
However, the simple integration of Rise Vision's digital signage software marked a turning point, redefining how information was shared, engaging students, enhancing accessibility, and ensuring timely emergency response.
Rise Vision visited Saline Middle and High Schools and were able to capture some interviews and candid conversations from the staff and students at their campuses. After experiencing so much success across their campuses, the team at Rise Vision is excited to share the achievements of Saline School District and digital signage.
The Problem: How to Effectively Communicate with Over 1,100 Students?
Communication is the lifeblood of any educational institution, and Saline School District was acutely aware of this. With a large student population dispersed across campuses within the district, ensuring that every student received the information they cared about (and needed) was a significant challenge. Traditional communication methods like relying on posters and overhead announcements, were becoming increasingly ineffective, failing to engage students and adapt to their diverse needs. Additionally, emergency response required a more integral and efficient approach.
Michelle Szczechowicz, Principal of Saline Middle School, highlighted the issue, "Some of the challenges with communication is simply the number of students. With well over 1,100 students [at Saline Middle School], [we] want to make sure that everybody is getting the message and that everyone is being communicated with."
Now, How to Make Communication Accessible?
In addition to the sheer amount of communication required for a school district like Saline, the district was looking for a way to increase accessibility for their students. The students who attend Saline School District come from all types of backgrounds and some have impairments or disabilities that add a layer of complexity to ensuring they get the information they need. The National Association of the Deaf estimates that more than 300,000 school-age children in the US have some type of hearing impairment. Of those students, approximately 233,648 deaf and hard of hearing students are mainstreamed without IEPs in public schools just like Saline.
Lisa York, a special education consultant for Saline Middle School and the Rise Vision champion, shared a story about a student who had missed a school event because their current system wasn’t accessible enough.
“A special education colleague of mine, her son who has a hearing impairment. He had missed a couple of announcements. So we had talked about how can we improve upon the announcements?... The idea of having visual displays all over our building to make things accessible for all.”
Digital Signage Makes Communication More Effective and More Accessible
Rise Vision's digital signage software emerged as the solution, fundamentally transforming the communication strategy at Saline School District. An advantage was the engaging visual representations and captivating graphics that surpassed traditional poster-based communication. Students were more receptive to this dynamic approach, resulting in better retention of information.
Digital Signage Increases Engagement
This shift in engagement can be explained by the concept of “inattentional blindness”. Inattentional blindness occurs when an individual (like a student walking the halls) fails to perceive a stimulus in plain sight - or “looking without seeing”. A student may walk the same halls everyday and pass the same poster every time, but unless something draws their attention, they won’t notice it.
To overcome this inattentiveness, digital signage radically increases engagement. Kaylee, a school student at Saline Middle School commented, “I like digital signage because I like having the visual representations with cool graphics rather than just posters. It stays in my brain better.”
Digital Signage Speaks the Same Language as Students
Moreover, the school needed the way they communicate with their students to catch up to the way student’s are used to communicating as digital natives. In today’s digital world, students are consuming short, snappy content on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
Dr. Stephen Laatsch, Superintendent of Saline School District said, “The ability to advertise and promote and communicate quickly in small snippets where you are getting your point cost quickly is a really good point and value added to Rise Vision. And if not the greatest feature of it.”
Theresa Stager, Principal at Saline High School, echoed the sentiment when discussing her strategy for creating content, “We can put little filler slides and to kind of break things up, but they're in such small doses that it's what students are used to watching now.”
Rise Vision Makes Digital Signage Easy to Use
Incorporating Rise Vision into their school’s communication strategy had an immediate impact. Theresa Stager noted the ease of use, allowing swift content updates and customization, which was crucial in keeping the displays current and relevant. In her words, "In a few simple clicks, I am able to completely change what is on display in the entire building, or I can just simply change maybe one display." This ease of use ensures that messages are always fresh and appealing to the students.
Digital Signage Increases School Safety
Furthermore, the integration of Rise Vision with the school's emergency system became an integral part of their safety protocols. As Jay Grossman, IT Director of Saline School District described:
“Every building in our district has some sort of display that is running communication messages in the building, and all of them use Rise Vision for that communication.
In the event of an emergency, we can take over all the displays at the same time and get that message out to the students.”
Plus, Rise Vision seamlessly integrates with their emergency alert provider, InformaCast Singlewire. So, in case of an emergency, the software ensures that critical information reaches all corners of the school promptly, enhancing overall safety.
Lisa York also emphasized the significance of Rise Vision for students with special needs, enhancing accessibility for them. "Students that might not be able to hear an alert or need a little bit extra help, Rise Vision allows them to be a part of the school and understand what's going on."
Key Benefits of Rise Vision for Saline Area Schools
Rise Vision checked all the boxes that Saline School District was looking to check when they were looking for a better way to communicate.
“Rise Vision checked all of those boxes for us. The ease of use, the cost fit within our budget, in working with the company, we were impressed with the timeliness of the support. All of those things came together and it created the perfect fit for our district.”
Increased Student Engagement
Visually appealing graphics and dynamic content kept students engaged and informed. Since implementing Rise Vision, the schools have seen an increase in attendance at before and after school activities.
Particularly beneficial for hearing-impaired students, the software ensured vital information reaches all students effectively.
The user-friendly interface allows for swift content updates and customization, aligning with the school's dynamic needs. For the Saline High School, Theresa is able to update the content across her campus in 15 minutes a week!
Integrates seamlessly with existing systems. Rise Vision was easily adopted and became an essential tool for communication. Jay Grossman remarked, “The deployment of Rise Vision was one of the easiest deployments I've done in my time in the school district.”
How Other Schools Can Increase Communication in Their School
The transformative experience of Saline School District with Rise Vision offers a valuable lesson for educational institutions everywhere. Effective communication is the cornerstone of a thriving school community. Utilizing digital signage, like Rise Vision, empowers schools to adapt to the dynamic communication needs of students. Incorporating visually appealing content and integrating accessibility features ensures that every student is included and engaged. Moreover, an integrated emergency response plan adds a layer of safety and preparedness, a paramount consideration for schools.
Rise Vision's digital signage solution showcases how modern technology can be harnessed to enrich the educational experience. It's not just about disseminating information; it's about creating an inclusive, positive school culture that fosters growth and safety for all.
Saline School District's journey stands as a testament to the transformation possible through innovative communication solutions like Rise Vision.