Nemo Vista School District

Nemo Vista School District Share Their Experience of Smoothwall Monitor

The Nemo Vista School District is a public school district based in Center Ridge, Arkansas. Sammie Beene heads up District Instructional Technology. In this Q+A Sammie explains what drew her school to digital monitoring in the first place and why Smoothwall Monitor in particular.

Why did you decide to implement a digital monitoring solution?

Student safety is extremely important in our District. We know the risks we can see with our eyes and ears but a student at risk in his/her digital life is far more difficult to spot. It was an area we wanted to get on top of.

We trialled a monitoring solution last year, but it didn’t really fly. I wear multiple hats and get hundreds of emails every day and this just seemed to add to the noise and significantly increase the workload rather than provide new and authentic value. But we weren’t at all sure if there was a better way of doing things.

Then I received an email from Smoothwall. I knew from the information they shared It was a different way of working. Jason demo’d the capability and I could see really quickly that it was something we had to explore further.

How did you gain the support of your colleagues for a monitoring technology to be used?

Smoothwall allowed us to deploy their technology for no cost for a few months. This allowed us to properly learn about human moderated digital monitoring without any financial risk.

A key factor for us was not wanting our students under constant surveillance. That didn’t feel right. But that’s not how digital monitoring works. It only becomes active if a student types something that indicates they’re in danger or at risk or becoming vulnerable.

We don’t have to spend hours trawling through endless alerts to find the serious ones. Smoothwall do that for us. They email us only for serious alerts and if it’s a very serious alert, they phone us. In a busy working day that is exactly the kind of proactive support we needed.

Within days we were notified of incidents we would never have seen without it.

Then we received some level 5 alerts. One of which was so severe I can’t disclose it but it was enough for our Principal to fully commit to having this form of technology on a permanent basis.

We don’t have to spend hours trawling through endless alerts to find the serious ones. Smoothwall do that for us.

Sammie Beene
Nemo Vista School District

How likely is it that without Smoothwall Monitor your school may miss a child at risk?

Very likely. But that’s no one’s fault. You can’t see what you can’t see. Students have active digital lives now and very often that world excludes parents and teachers. We can’t supervise them as we would want. But digital monitoring technology allows our kids to have that rich digital experience but if things go awry, we have a safety net that kicks in and alerts us. And within minutes of the incident occurring. We can then intervene with the full evidence of what’s happened and help that student in the best possible way. I can’t tell you how reassuring that is.

What advice would you give to other school or school districts considering digital monitoring technology to keep students safe?

I would say it is a vital form of student protection. But it has to work within your school. Make sure your solution doesn’t just send you a ton of alerts all day and every day. Make sure the provider has a team of humans who will separate the serious risks from the not so serious ones and make you aware of what you need to see. This shouldn’t add to your workload or your stress levels. It should be something you truly value.

We took advantage of the free period Smoothwall gave us, but we now happily pay for it. It’s that important.

Contact us

If you would like to learn more or have any questions about how digital monitoring could work for your organization, please contact us. We’d be delighted to help.

Important notice

To help schools find at-risk students who may be slipping off the radar during this time, we’re offering Smoothwall Monitor free of charge for 3 months to 1000 schools across the US. For more information or to get started, get in touch today.

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