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Virtual K–12 School Improves Staff Mobility and Teacher-Student Communications Thanks to RingCentral

Summary
“Our faculty love the SMS texting. The students prefer texts to calls, but our teachers were reluctant to give out their personal cell numbers. Now they don’t have to. They can text with students from their own phones using their RingCentral numbers.”
Chris Moody
Director of Technology
Company profile
Company profile:
The Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (GVCS), a public school of choice, offers students across Massachusetts a learning community that is accessible and flexible. A pioneer of online personalized learning, GCVS uses innovative technology and a combination of live virtual classes and on-demand programs to tailor learning experiences to each student’s strengths, interests, and challenges.
Year founded:
2013
EMPLOYEES:
60+ full-time employees
Headquarters:
Greenfield, MA
Website:

Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School is an innovative educational institution. One of only two virtual K–12 schools in the state of Massachusetts—and the only one that offers a structured school day built around live virtual classes—GCVS has created a highly successful and sought-after academic model for students who need a learning community that is accessible and flexible.

And although GCVS enjoys unique opportunities as a virtual school, including the ability to hire the best teachers anywhere in the state because they can teach remotely, operating virtually also poses unique challenges. Teachers and staff need to be accessible to each other and to students and parents. The school’s previous phone system wasn’t sufficient to enable the level of communication and community the school wanted to create. A search for a better solution led to RingCentral. 

Replacing a phone system that lacked reliability, call quality, and mobility

Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School had previously implemented a software solution for its PBX phone system. But that solution fell short of the school’s needs.

“It was very clunky and not user friendly,” recalls Chris Moody, Director of Technology for GCVS. “Our teachers had to log in to a website whenever they wanted to make a call or check missed calls and voicemails.”

“The call quality and reliability weren’t there either. We had a lot of

dropped calls and even calls that sounded like we were talking underwater.”

Also, many of GCVS’s staff spend time on the road, and the school had trouble staying connected with these employees because its phone system didn’t allow for mobility. “Guidance counselors, family engagement coordinators, our school nurse—they all make visits to students’ homes,” says Moody. “We wanted to communicate with these employees while they were in the field, but we couldn’t reach them on their office numbers if they weren’t at their desks.”

The search for a better phone solution leads straight to RingCentral

“I researched the industry and narrowed the list to a few companies worth talking to,” explains Moody.

“I like to talk with a few vendors to see what they have to offer and at what price. I narrowed the list pretty quickly to a couple of possible solutions, but RingCentral Office had the features and flexibility we were looking for: the SMS text capability, the app, the direct numbers our 

staff could use on their own devices, digital faxing, and the reporting and analytics my team and I could use. Also, the price worked well for us.”

“We did a proof of concept with RingCentral, and based on how smoothly that went and how impressed we were with the solution, we knew we had our answer.”

The communication and productivity benefits GCVS was hoping for

“First of all, RingCentral’s call quality and the ease of use of managing the solution from an administrative standpoint are leaps and bounds above what we had before,” says Moody. “And we’re seeing all of the benefits we were looking for when we started investigating new phone solutions.”

“Our faculty love the SMS texting. The students prefer texts to calls, but our teachers were reluctant to give out their personal cell numbers. Now they don’t have to. They can text with students from their own phones using their RingCentral numbers.”

“Also, because the RingCentral app lets us use our work phone numbers anywhere, on any device, we can finally stay in touch with our staff who

travel a lot, like guidance counselors. RingCentral gives us the flexibility and mobility we needed. And when someone who normally works in our Greenfield offices needs to work from home on a given day, it’s no problem. We can still communicate with them just as if they were sitting right next to us.”

“And personally, what I really appreciate about RingCentral is how intuitive the interface is. That made the implementation far and away easier than our rollout with the previous system, and it’s making it easier for me than ever to check the health of the system anytime, view the analytics, and fix any issues myself.”

“We couldn’t be happier with RingCentral.”

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