Dancing Moose Montessori School in Salt Lake City, Utah, has developed a unique way to increase parents’ participation in their children’s schooling, improve teacher evaluations without disturbing class, and expand overall school security. Milestone XProtect Express video management software (VMS) and network cameras from Axis Communications help oversee daily operations at the school’s locations to deliver a high degree of security and provide parents with a window into their children’s learning.
“The Axis-Milestone solution has become a huge selling point for our school. Parents love the ability to drop off their children, who may be crying and suffering from separation anxiety, and check in after five minutes to see that their child is happy and engaged in the classroom. It’s really powerful,” says Jennifer Duffield, executive director, Dancing Moose Montessori School.
Dancing Moose offers parents and students an unmatched learning experience with programmes that have unique environments, are professional and safe, with processes that are transparent. Safety was naturally a key consideration, but the school wanted an effective security system that also allows parents to remotely monitor their children without interrupting class.
Milestone XProtect Express IP video management software (VMS), 40 Axis network cameras and a pair of 42-inch monitors comprise the monitoring system that allows parents and school administrators to observe students and teachers without interfering in classroom activities. Monitors are in the lobby with cameras set up throughout the school, and the system is custom-integrated with S2 Extreme access control – thanks to the Milestone open platform architecture.
Parents have live access to their child’s classrooms without the distraction that their presence in the room would create. They can quickly and easily observe how their child learns and interacts with classmates and teachers. For administrators, the ability to monitor classrooms remotely means that teacher evaluations are no longer a distraction to students or the teacher. The integration of the video system with access control provides efficient management of safety matters in the school.
A total learning experience in a safe environment
Dancing Moose focuses on the total learning experience, providing engaging activities and specialised programmes tailored to each class. The learning environment has bright, airy designs in multiple zones, open spaces full of greenery, a large gym and a specialised outdoor programme. The schools are newly built, around 1859 m2, hosting 200 students in 12 classrooms with two teachers assigned to each room.
Peace of mind for parents, students, teachers and staff is a priority, and the state-of-the-art, integrated monitoring and security system goes a long way toward providing just that. The system, installed by Stone Security of Salt Lake City, is networked through Milestone XProtect Express VMS, Axis network cameras and an S2 Extreme audio/visual access control system. A 4U BCD video tower server is powered by HP with Netgear 24-port POE switches and a DMP intrusion system.
Visitors, parents, staff, and teachers use unique access codes to enter the system, but only after verbal and visual confirmation. Once inside the facility, parents have permissions-based virtual access to the preschool, with views of authorised classrooms and outdoor areas. The Milestone XProtect Smart Client interface displays different images on the monitors simultaneously being configured for as many as six camera feeds to be displayed on each screen.
“Parents can walk up to our monitoring stations with no experience in professional video systems and the intuitive Milestone software provides easy and secure access to live video – including control over camera angles. They flock to the monitors to observe their children learning, playing, eating, and interacting with teachers and fellow students,” says Duffield.
“The IP-based Milestone system paired with Axis network cameras is easy to use and provides clear, high-resolution images to both managers and parents at Dancing Moose Montessori School,” says Andy Schreyer, Stone Security. “Since Milestone and Axis operate as open platform technology, we can provide the flexibility to grow the system to future schools and add new integrations over time, creating equity in the system – in this case, access control. Milestone updates features and supports new Axis camera releases, eliminating the need for system replacement – it never becomes obsolete.”
Effective learning through observation
Monitors in the lobby of the school let parents see their child at any point during the day without being a distraction in the classroom, which could cause their child to act differently. Parents and school administrators are equally interested in educators’ teaching methods, if the pupils are actively participating in the activities and verifying that students are playing safely and eating well.
“Parents can be interested in seeing what the teacher is teaching, if their child is engaged in the lesson, or how well the student is eating at lunchtime. This gives reassurance and a sense of security,” says Duffield. “Classroom images on the screen help us track the teachers’ lessons or see if students are behaving well. What’s great is that the technology allows us to observe without disturbing the lesson flow, to see behaviour during normal interactions.”
The video solution has surpassed Duffield’s expectations: “We are proud to offer this to the families of our pupils and are thrilled with its positive effect on our programme.”
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