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Superintendent's News

Posted: January 12, 2024

New CrisisAlert System is Being Rolled Out

In his weekly message, Superintendent Scott Elder updates staff on the new Centegix alert system.

Centegix badge

Centegix badge

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful winter break.

About eight months ago, I mentioned in my weekly message that our Board of Education had signed off on a Centegix CrisisAlert system that would give APS staff the ability to summon help from anywhere on campus.

After months of behind-the-scenes work, we’re getting ready to roll that system out at all of our schools!

As a reminder, APS employees at schools and district offices will get CrisisAlert badges that should be worn at all times while on campus. Employees will be able to use that badge to alert campus officials to an emergency or, in the event of an active shooter or other major emergency, to notify APS Police and activate ALICE protocols.

The system is already up and running at West Mesa High School and Washington Middle School, the two schools we chose as pilots. We’re planning to go live with it at another 29 campuses in late January and February. Our goal is to have the system deployed at all of our schools by Spring.

We opted to start off with two schools in the hopes of identifying any unforeseen issues and addressing them so the widescale rollout would be as smooth as possible.

This is an important tool for us, but I want to be clear about what this system is and what it isn’t.

If you’re on duty and a child falls and breaks an arm, you’ll be able to click the badge three times and get help from school administrators and others. If, God forbid, there’s ever an active shooter on campus, you will be able to alert APS Police and your school community to the danger by clicking the badge repeatedly.

The Centegix CrisisAlert system won’t prevent the child from falling or getting injured. And it won’t keep an active shooter at bay.

It will allow a staffer to immediately call for help from anywhere on campus. It will relay the exact location of the person who activated the badge to school officials or even APS Police, depending on the situation. It does not replace current systems, but adds an additional way in which you can call for help or assistance.

And, in the event of an active shooter, it will enable staff to promptly launch ALICE protocols and alert students, staff, and authorities of the danger. In a situation like that, strobes would flash in each classroom and throughout the school, instructional messages would appear on computer screens connected to the network, and a prerecorded intercom announcement would be activated advising everyone at the school to follow the school’s ALICE protocols. The system would simultaneously notify APS Police of the emergency.

Our ALICE protocol empowers staff to react based on the situation that’s unfolding, and that could include barricading and fortifying their area or evacuating the campus with students.

Students and staff will practice using the CrisisAlert system a few times each year so everyone knows what to do when an alert is activated. All campuswide emergency alerts will be monitored at a centralized APS location.

It’s also worth noting that the badges aren’t tracking employee movements. They only send out location information when they are activated on an APS campus.

We are testing the system before it goes live at each school. And we are also providing training to all staff so they know how it works and what they need to do to activate it.

We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in recent years to fortify our schools. The Centegix CrisisAlert system is another layer in that security net.

The bottom line here is that in an emergency, time is of the essence. This system allows APS employees to summon help immediately. I’m looking forward to this system being live throughout APS, and I’m grateful to everyone who worked on this project and got us to where we are.

Until next week.