8 Critical Goals to Elevate Your K-12 School Crisis Management and Mass Communication Strategy

Safeguarding the well-being of students
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CareHawk safeguards the well-being of students, teachers, and staff

For two decades, it has been CareHawk’s mission to safeguard the well-being of teachers, staff, and students in K-12 schools. In an era where crises arise at any moment, having an effective emergency response and communication system is essential.

As reported in a pioneering study by The Washington Post, over 4.1 million students experienced at least one lockdown during the school year. On a typical school day in 2018, at least 16 campuses were locked down, with nine related to gun violence or the threat of it. The Post’s final tally of lockdowns exceeded 6,200. These incidents are increasing in both the US and Canada.

CareHawk addresses this complex safety challenge with school intercom, public address, and mass communication solutions designed especially for K-12 spaces. Our comprehensive approach extends to everyday staff and student safety, keeping the school day running on time, and ensuring ease of use, reliability, and audio intelligibility.

Empowering K-12 Schools with State-of-the-Art Intercom and Public Address Systems

According to the Campus Safety 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive, 90% of K-12 respondents use intercoms/overhead paging with 27% of K-12 campuses planning to upgrade or purchase intercoms/overhead paging systems in the short term.

With intercom and paging at the core of emergency response, CareHawk engineers user-friendly crisis management solutions to address the unique communication challenges of K-12 schools, for emergencies and everyday use.

teacher and students in the classroom

Let’s review the 8 main emergency communication goals identified by K-12 school administrators and staff, and how CareHawk can help you achieve them for your district.

Goal #1: “The biggest goal is getting an emergency message out quickly when you are handling a crisis.”

Taking action quickly is one of the biggest challenges K-12 schools face in their emergency response and it’s also the most important.

If you’re looking for quicker emergency response, odds are you’re not alone, with 45% of K-12 schools saying their campuses currently use panic alarms with 35% planning purchases or upgrades of panic buttons. (source: Campus Safety 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive)

Better outcomes are linked to a quick response and CareHawk Mass Notification Systems address this challenge in several ways

Spotlight Standalone for CH2000 and CH1000

Spotlight Software:

As your browser-based control center, quickly and easily initiate critical alerts, prerecorded or live audio pages to zones, and much more.

Communicate within a single school, multiple schools in proximity, or the entire district.

Spotlight makes quick work of getting the right message to the right people without delay.

Admin PHONE CH2000IP

Admin7 Administrative Phone:

On the 7-inch HD touch-screen display, initiating critical alerts, like Lockdown, is simple and fast.

The Admin7 eliminates the need to recall phone codes or check a cheat sheet during stressful situations.

Admin7 plays an important role in your emergency response and everyday communications.

LOCKDOWN feature on the phone

VCall+ Mobile Alert App:

For administrators, SROs, and other security staff on the move, look to the VCall+ mobile app.

From the palm of your hand, activate a lockdown and other critical alerts from anywhere on the school’s wireless network.

Call Stations and Alert Stations

Alert Stations:

At the touch of a button, activate a Lockdown, Weather alert, or evacuation.

Tailor alerts to your needs and protocols with the option to customize alert buttons.

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Goal #2: Announcements must reach all spaces in the school effectively

According to K-12 administrators, they are faced with the challenge of effective communication in hallways, gyms, and outdoors. Do you relate to the following sentiments from other school administrators?

Intelligible Audio for All Spaces

CareHawk utilizes the G.722 wideband audio codec for fuller-sounding audio. In English, this translates to more intelligible audio for those noisy and chaotic spaces.  Even with industry-leading audio, it may not be enough to ensure announcements are heard, so they should also be seen!

CareHawk addresses this challenge by including audio and visual displays with strobe lights for classrooms, hallways, and larger spaces like cafeterias and gymnasiums.

All CareHawk Messaging Displays are equipped with 4 highly visible LED strobes

Customize the colours and flashing modes for complete control and compliance with your district protocols. Now that you know alerts and messages are quick to activate and can be heard and seen by everyone, let’s move on to some additional challenges.

10” Messaging Displays:

 Ideal for the classroom, these displays utilize 10” high-definition screens and are available with a built-in speaker option.

10” Dual-Screen Messaging Displays:

Ideal for hallways, these displays can be seen from both directions and come with a built-in speaker option.

22” Messaging Displays:

Ideal for larger paces like the gym or cafeteria, these large displays can be seen from a distance and offer the option to connect with amplified external speakers.

Goal #3: Invest in a system that connects schools within a large district

Not all actionable incidents are isolated to individual schools. Often, incidents occur in the nearby community, prompting various schools to take action at the same time. Coordination of these efforts often takes longer than acceptable. Most mass notification systems are not capable of coordinating communication between more than one school, leaving schools and district offices isolated and detached from a cohesive emergency response.

Efficient School Communication: CareHawk Systems for Streamlined Information Exchange

Recognizing the necessity to streamline and connect communication within school districts, CareHawk systems facilitate timely information and resource exchange across schools and district offices.

Our advanced IP school intercom and public address (PA) systems provide a reliable platform for district-wide alerts and announcements, ensuring crucial messages are prompt and communicated through audio, visual messaging, and email alerts.

CareHawk provides several solutions to handle multi-school and even district-wide communications, without common limitations.

Spotlight Multisystem

Spotlight Multisystem:

Connect groups of schools with Spotlight Multisystem. Configure schools in proximity to participate in lockdowns at other schools in the area, automatically and immediately. Intercom, page and call admin phones between schools seamlessly for unprecedented communication flow.

Spotlight by CareHawk

Spotlight District-Wide:

Control district communications from a Google map-based interface. With Spotlight District-Wide capabilities, administrators can view and communicate with any school in the district from a central location. Select one, a few, or all schools and initiate lockdowns, emergency pages, and proximity-based alerts. View critical communications live at remote schools from the Spotlight interface.

Goal #4: Knowing your system is fully functional when you need it


If you relate, it’s no surprise. Nearly 25% of K-12 respondents say they have challenges with message delivery verification. (source: Campus Safety: 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive).

“In dire situations, we need to put out messages to protect life and property. Some administrators want to see and approve every message before it goes out, thus slowing down the time we can push out a message.” (source: Campus Safety 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive ).

Monitor all communication

With Spotlight, administrators can monitor all communications on a visual floor plan of the school in real time.

Color-coded indicators

Color-coded indicators differentiate between intercoms, pages, and music distribution. Furthermore, priority communications take precedence and are designated by the color red. 

Ensuring your school’s emergency communication system is up and running is critical.

That’s why we monitor the communication endpoints in classrooms, Messaging Displays, and Admin7 administrative phones, to provide you with peace of mind that the system is ready when you need it.

But what happens if something does happen? If one of your endpoints goes down our proprietary supervision technology will automatically try to fix the issue. If those efforts are unsuccessful, a variety of visual indicators are activated and an email message is sent to your support staff to let them know immediately.

Goal #5: Ensuring different systems like fire alarms, access control, and vape detection work well together

A notable number of K-12 schools (18%) indicate integration of disparate systems is an issue they face in their schools. (source: Campus Safety 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive)

Many schools struggle with flexibility and integration of the various systems they have, especially emerging technologies. We understand this challenge and have ways to help schools bring it all together.

CareHawk’s Commitment to Unified Communication

There is no doubt the landscape of communication technologies for schools is complex. CareHawk is committed to bridging disparate technologies together for the greater good of the school community and to fostering safer educational spaces.

GPIO Integration Hub:

The CareHawk Integration Hub allows schools to connect third-party systems with our platform, extending the usefulness of these systems through collaboration. For example, connect your fire alarm system and mute music and other non-essential communications in the school automatically, allowing the priority message to be heard.

CareHawk third-party integrations

Third-party Integrations:

We understand the need to collaborate with other technologies, like industry-leading Lightspeed classroom instructional audio or to comply with Alyssa’s Law through integration with Centegix. We strive to work with as many existing and upcoming technologies as possible.

Goal #6: Streamline critical message approvals with prerecorded alerts and manage access with users groups and roles

Effective University Mass Notification Systems

“The biggest challenge by far is getting C-Suite administrators to understand that we don’t have time to massage every message,” one survey participant says.

“In dire situations, we need to put out messages to protect life and property. Some administrators want to see and approve every message before it goes out, thus slowing down the time we can push out a message.” (source: Campus Safety 2023 Emergency Notification Deep Dive ).

Sending the right message quickly

Sending the right message quickly in an emergency is critical. Managing and ensuring only authorized personnel have access to these life safety systems compounds this challenge.

Prepare and record critical messages ahead of time

CareHawk recommends preparing and recording critical messages ahead of time. Prerecorded messages are the best way to send messages immediately, knowing they have already been approved by administrators well in advance. Conveniently, administrators can record, review and set these messages directly in Spotlight.

Robust user and role management

Robust user and role management ensures that only authorized personnel have access to initiate these messages.

Goal #7: Streamline system maintenance, updates, and vendor support

trusted partner carehawk

It’s not uncommon to hear that K-12 schools feel “left in the dark” by vendors when it comes to system maintenance, updates, and customer support.

Over 200+ certified partners

CareHawk is proud to have a network of over 200+ certified partners across Canada and the USA ready to help every step of the way.

Free manufacturer-direct customer support

We provide schools with FREE manufacturer-direct customer support because we value peace of mind, too.

Goal #8: Stay up-to-date with current best practices in school security and emergency response

PASS Partner

As a proud partner of PASS (Partner Alliance for Safer Schools), CareHawk assists K-12 schools in implementing nationally recognized guidelines for more effective security and emergency communication plans. PASS guidelines, presented in an easy-to-follow checklist, provide a layered and tiered approach to school safety.

CareHawk’s safety and communication technologies, including classroom intercoms, paging systems, and lockdown solutions, contribute to PASS guidelines compliance, fostering safer and more secure schools.

Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) logo
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Join the thousands of schools already benefitting from our competitively priced products, feature-rich and reliable solutions, and dependable service partners.
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CareHawk is the Trusted Partner for Your K-12 Communication Needs

Our systems, known for dependability, scalability, and customization, can be adjusted to meet the unique needs of every educational setting.

CareHawk possesses the expertise and equipment to provide future-ready solutions, whether you require an intercom system, a paging system, or a complete lockdown emergency communication solution for your schools.

Central to school day management is Spotlight, the best-in-class software for bell scheduling, facilitating announcements, class changes, nutrition breaks, and other daily events.

CareHawk’s dependable, programmable, and synchronized school bell system and clocks ensure a seamless school day, providing accurate time synchronization and a range of tones tailored to meet specific requirements.

Specialization in K-12 Education

Thousands of schools have invested in CareHawk because we are dedicated to K-12 educational establishments through tailored solutions addressing the unique challenges schools face.

Durability and Reliability

Our systems, built with modern technology, undergo rigorous testing, ensuring consistent, long-term performance.

User-Friendly Interfaces

CareHawk’s interfaces are designed for intuitive interaction, reducing the need for extensive training and increasing efficiency.

Customization and Scalability

Acknowledging the uniqueness of each school, our solutions are scalable and adaptable, allowing institutions to enhance their communication infrastructure over time.

Comprehensive Support

Beyond being a product supplier, CareHawk provides free industry-leading support, ensuring schools receive assistance when needed. Our dedicated support staff can answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and offer advice.

Unlock the CareHawk advantage for your school district.

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Join the thousands of schools already benefitting from our competitively priced products, feature-rich and reliable solutions, and dependable service partners.

Contact one of our experts