Managed telephony solution saves school district time and money

New Castle Community School Corporation chooses Axia TP to provide needed services

Students and staff at New Castle Community School Corporation (NCCSC) are giving a ringing endorsement to Axia Technology Partner’s broad range of services that have provided a state-of-the-art telecommunications system while leveraging federal monies available to district schools. 

Antiquated equipment, pricey part replacement and limited lines for intra-school communications all contributed to an outdated system. The Axia TP solution now provides a fiber network, supports local calling, core management for over 400 phone numbers and an overall hosted solution that enables the school district to focus on areas directly impacting students and learning.

NCCSC services an approximate enrollment of 3,908 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district consists of six elementary schools and one middle and high school. The district also has an education center and offers additional programs around the area.

SOUNDS GREAT – WHERE IS THE MONEY?

Axia TP is a certified E-Rate vendor and employs certified specialists that are trained to assist with E-Rate funding. E-Rate funds were established as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with the express purpose of providing affordable access to telecommunications services for all eligible schools and libraries, particularly those in rural and economically disadvantaged areas.

NCCSC selected Axia TP, in part, because of the federal monies it could leverage.  The school corporation was challenged, like many rural districts, to establish easy and effective communication lines between schools and district administration buildings, all while operating within lean and disappearing budgets. 

District administrators were hoping to select a company that moved their systems quickly to feature-rich, supported solutions.  In addition, support response time and manageability were paramount to the overall success of this project. 

“Finding a partner, not just a vendor, to assist NCCSC with telecom needs was extremely pivotal in the selection process for us,” said Dustin Chew, IT manager for NCCSC. “We needed support, ease of administration and customizable service level agreements. Axia TP even worked with us to find ways to repurpose and redeploy existing phones with the new system.”

NCCSC’s Problems Prior to Axia TP

The availability of cutting edge technology isn’t always easy to find in rural areas.  NCCSC had been limited to big Telecommunications companies in this small town 40 miles east of Indianapolis. To complicate the matter, the multiple school buildings had different models and versions of phone systems. Consolidating this support nightmare was the only thing that made sense. 

For example, the major power supply went out at the high school, leaving almost 75 percent of the high and middle schools without phones for two weeks.  Providing redundancy and preventing outages had to be established in the new system. 

While Axia TP was referred from another NCCSC partner, Chew set out to follow up with Axia TP customers on their reputation and responsiveness. After hearing of the great quality service and tech support provided, Chew’s selection process was complete.

Axia TP is located in Indianapolis, which is important in the event of an outage that may require on-site support. Engineers could be on-site quickly, and costs for time and travel were competitive given the in-state proximity. Finally, NCCSC enjoys supporting the local economy and prefers to always do business with local Indiana companies whenever possible.

NCCSC Scores Big with Twenty-First Century Phone Systems

Implementation of the new system focused on configuration for the numerous physical facilities with conflicting and varied user preferences.

“Balance plays a huge role in the successful relationship between NCCSC and Axia TP,” Chew explained.  “The level and control of communication resulted in a final solution that worked best for the entire organization.”

Axia TP’s Hosted PBX application delivers a complete suite of enhanced PBX functionality over any private IP connection—without the need for expensive PBX equipment. The system is built and configured in advance. Customers can then spend their time identifying and fine tuning the preferences. This seamless approach also allowed NCCSC loads of lead time for testing and training. 

With a few minor issues to resolve, including network QoS troubleshooting, the Axia TP implementation was a huge success. The team did run into a few repurposed units that needed re-programming to work with Axia TP services. Axia’s 24 Support line stayed on phone with Chew until midnight on multiple occasions working through systems and reprogramming – highliting Axia’s commitment to customer service and ensuring a client’s successful launch.

Axia TP Hosted PBX provides all standard PBX functions, in addition to fully integrated enhanced features, such as call center, conferencing, voice, video, and fax to email, as well as mobile integration. All setup and configuration is easily managed via a Web portal, enabling customers with as few as five end users, or large enterprises with thousands of users distributed across the globe, to easily configure the system around their specific parameters. With its powerful capabilities and ease of use, Axia TP Hosted PBX creates a strong value proposition for any business.

Ability to Make Teaching and Learning First Priorities

NCCSC faculty and staff are thrilled with the new features. Axia TP was willing to work with Chew to make the new phone systems work smoothly for all school buildings and employees. Educators and employees are now able to receive voicemail through their email inboxes – a convenient and well-liked technology feature of the new system. Their voicemail is now more easily accessible with the ability to play VM files directly via their email client.

Another great feature of the Axia TP services is call forwarding: When a person is away from his desk, the call is forwarded to his cell phone after two rings, ensuring he is not missing anything important.

One of the most significant contributions from Axia TP is its ability to have an exemplary level of communication. Axia TP and NCCSC were able to develop a great relationship that provides quality service and exudes beyond the district’s expectations of a phone service provider. NCCSC feels as if it has found a partner in Axia TP, not just an anonymous phone service company.

One of the biggest advantages of the service is that all NCCSC school buildings – which go from one side of town to another – do not have to call outside lines to call another building. NCCSC is able to directly call extension to extension, school to school. Teachers or other employees don’t have to take extra steps with each school’s front office staff to connect with one another. Each classroom at each NCCSC school building now has a phone. Axia TP’s phone services helped streamline the NCCSC business process, promoting knowledge share and twenty-first century initiatives.

“The new phone systems are so much easier to maintain than our older technology,” said Chew. “Axia TP was able to provide us with materials that showcased instructions on use and I was able to post all instructional materials on Moodle our internal portal, allowing faculty to access them any time.”

“We’ve seen our faculty and staff really take advantage of the new and rich features,” Chew added.  “Now with easy administration tools, network administrators and the ability to free up the ‘IT guy,’ all of these features have truly allowed us to benefit from Axia TP’s solution.”

What’s next for NCCSC?  It is looking to Axia TP to integrate more school paging systems using the  new phone systems.  NCCSC has already established this safeguard in the high school and middle schools, which has helped to further the school district’s emergency response program and making it possible to deliver announcements from any location in school system.

NCCSC’s ability to use E-Rate funding to gain better phone services and systems from Axia TP has created a safer, more efficient environment for students and faculty. NCCSC is now able to truly better focus on the needs of students and make teaching and learning first priorities – like they should be.