School Bells Get an Upgrade at Wallace AHS

With the help of Austin-based AcroVista Software Company, Wallace Accelerated High School recently received an upgraded school bell system. The Bell Commander software, designed by AcroVista owner Danny Weidig, allows the school to program in ring times, to provide emergency messages, and to personalize what sounds to use throughout the school day. According to Wallace counselor Robert Mace, the old bell system needed to be updated. “When we tried one set of bells, sparks flew out of the wires. The other system could cause hearing loss if you walk by it when it is going off,” reports Mace. The new bell sounds are transmitted through the speakers of each classroom teacher’s computer. The software provides a variety of bell sound choices, like the standard bell, or soft musical tones, or a trumpet blowing. Melinda Alexander, the Wallace principal, says that “now we have the sound of the cavalry bugle to get the kids back to work at the start of each class. We can use any sound file for a signal.” Not only can the program use any “MP3” or “Wav” file for a bell, the students can record their own files. The speech class recently recorded the “Pledge of Allegiance” to assist with the morning pledges. The program is also used on a regular basis to provide instructions for emergency situations, like campus lockdowns, tornado or other bad weather warnings, or other threats to the campus. After a site visit from Weidig in September, the campus also added a software “Paging System” which allows each teacher to use a computer microphone to contact the main office for messages or emergencies. According to Mace, “since there aren’t any phones in the older classrooms, we needed a quick and easy way to contact each other as situations arise. The Bell Commander software has all the bells and whistles we need for this historic building.”