This year, the US is estimated to have more than 49.9 million students in the public school system — that’s a lot of kids! With classes now back in session, it’s imperative that your educators, administrators, and staff have the tools they need to keep programs organized and safe for everyone involved. That organization depends on an effective communications network. If you’re looking for ways to update yours, ThunderPower is here to help! Check out our list of the four (4) best ways to improve school intercom systems.
1. Invest in Powerful Megaphones
Whether you’re trying to be heard over rowdy students at an auditorium meeting, or to get players and fans hyped up during an outdoor game, megaphones and bullhorns will serve you well. They’ve also been an essential component to school intercom systems for many years. Mentioning them may conjure up images of football games, pep rallies, homecoming parades, swim meets, and cheerleading squads.
They’re equally important to the administrative and security sides of education. School crossing guards, principals, superintendents, and hall monitors can use them to get the attention of large crowds and relay information to keep those people informed and safe.
Regardless of who’s using these devices, there are a couple important questions to keep in mind when choosing the best megaphones for the job:
How many people are you talking to?
How wide of a space are you working in?
For instance, if you’re trying to get the attention of a hallway of students, you’ll probably only need the range of the THUN-150 at most. But if you’re facing a large crowd at a major school sporting event…well, you might need to bust out the “The Earthquake Maker” if you want everyone to hear you.
Regardless of their size or range, the nice part about ThunderPower megaphones is that all of them feature alerts and sirens that are clear and effective at getting people’s attention.
2. Install Wireless PA Systems
We all know how schools love to use public address (PA) systems to make daily announcements, or to send out alerts when classes start and end. But maintaining or updating your system can be both expensive and cumbersome due to the extensive wiring that is required throughout your buildings.
Wireless PA systems are a great alternative for augmenting school intercom systems. You can make an announcement from anywhere on campus, thanks to a combination of wireless speakers and two-way radios. Speakers work anywhere that you can plug them into a power outlet. Plus, when you choose the best two-way radios in the industry, you’ll have optimum coverage and crystal-clear sound. (More on that below.)
Does this make you worry that you’ll have to gut your current PA system? Don’t sweat it. You can keep what you have and simply integrate wireless units wherever you need. The same goes for syncing them with the two-way radios you’ll use to make these announcements.
That’s still cheaper and more convenient than updating a wired network.
3. Stock Up on Two-Way Radios
School intercom systems work better with two-way radios. Portable handheld units and compact base stations are the most convenient means of staying in touch with school faculty, custodians, security, contractors, and other officials while on campus.
We’ll admit, we are a little biased as to what we consider the best two-way radios on the market. Our parent company, Discount Two-Way Radio, has long touted the benefits of the RCA radio brand, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend them here.
Plus, we’ve heard from many school systems that have made the switch to RCA that they appreciate the durability, sound, performance, and battery life of those units. (Need references? We’d be happy to provide them!)
4. Take Advantage of ESSER Funds
During the start of the pandemic, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program. These ESSER funds are meant to finance school upgrades for minimizing the spread of COVID-19, from stocking up on personal protective equipment (PPE) and installing improved air filters, to updating school communications equipment and emergency response.
Megaphones, wireless PA systems, and two-way radios are generally eligible, although it’s best to check with your state board of education and school district to make sure there aren’t any limitations. The best part is that you don’t have to use these funds immediately — you just have to establish a plan for how you’re going to allocate them.
While the first of three ESSER funds must be obligated soon (September 30th), you can still apply for ESSER II and ARP ESSER. You can find more information about each ESSER fund here. Should you choose to take advantage of these funds, ESSER II must be obligated by September 30th of next year, and ARP ESSER by September 30th of 2024.
Choosing Solutions for School Intercom Systems
If you’d like to apply any of these solutions to your own intercom system, we’re ready to help. Give us a call today at 877-782-7073 to discuss inventory and pricing, as well as any additional questions you may have.