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Cooke Center Case Study

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Case Studies

ShoreTel Connect HYBRID gets high marks at Cooke Center for Learning and Development

Cooke Center

Unreliable Verizon Phone Lines Expedited the Need for a Better Solution

Cooke Center was unhappy with Verizon phones and phone lines. The organization had continual problems with Verizon reliability and could no longer tolerate the disruption. Five years ago, Cooke Center’s Lisanne Norman was sold on the quality of the ShoreTel IP PBX Premises solution.

Cooke Center had heard glowing recommendations about the ShoreTel solution from other technology professionals in the education industry. ShoreTel was lauded for ease of configuration, which was welcome news when dealing with a difficult system.

Five years later, Cooke Center wanted to deploy new phones at two of their locations. They chose ShoreTel Connect HYBRID (composed of both onsite and cloud deployments), which allows organizations like Cooke Center to add new sites via the cloud while leveraging the existing initial investment in on-premises equipment.

Connect HYBRID Easily Integrates with Existing ShoreTel Systems

Cooke Center wanted to scale its existing ShoreTel system and upgrade its user experience by transitioning to a ShoreTel Connect ONSITE environment, as well as add cloud-based productivity applications like voicemail-to-text and Internet faxing. They also wanted to add new locations without taking on any new capital expenses. They deployed the ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Apps and HYBRID Sites solution, a perfect choice for Cooke Center.


Lisanne Norman, Director of

“After reviewing our options with other vendors, we decided to migrate to ShoreTel Connect ONSITE from our existing ShoreTel on-premises phone system because we could continue to benefit from our initial investment,” said Norman. “Not having to install new hardware or another vendor for phone lines is a big plus.”

ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Offers Peace of Mind for Parents and Faculty

Cooke Center educates children with special needs, so reliable communications are critical. Parents often need to inform school staff about medical care for their children, and many students have long commutes, so it’s very important that the telephony system is absolutely reliable under all circumstances.

“The ability to redirect calls when cloud services are not available is especially critical due to the nature of our student population. For example, if all of the phone lines went down at our grammar school, we’d be able to redirect those calls through our administrative office where the ShoreTel Connect ONSITE system is located. Another advantage to deploying ShoreTel Connect ONSITE is that if our Internet goes down, we can configure calls to come through to staff cell phones, and that’s reassuring. Plus, all communications between ShoreTel Connect CLOUD and ONSITE users are secure,” explained Norman.

The Cooke Center was also able to set up alerts if someone calls 911. The call is automatically visible in the server event log and the information is forwarded to everyone who needs to know a 911 call was made. The log also indicates who made the call. The school is also exploring adding ShoreTel E911 Notification, which sends notifications and enables responders to pinpoint the exact location of the event.

ShoreTel Connect allows administrators to assign and pay for features on an as-needed basis. Some Cooke Center users have access to Connect’s mobility features, which lets them place, receive and manage business calls on their cell phones. The staff also appreciates the convenience of Connect HYBRID Scribe, an application that transcribes voicemail messages and sends the text as an email.

ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Receives an Excellent Review

“With both ShoreTel Connect ONSITE and CLOUD solutions, I can see which approach works best for Cooke Center,” said Norman. “All the systems support each other and ShoreTel Connect HYBRID gives us a clear idea of how to plan for future growth.”

It was also affordable for a budget-conscious school. Since Cooke Center already transitioned from a ShoreTel on-premises system to ShoreTel Connect ONSITE, it can leverage its on-existing investment, while offering the ability to add new CLOUD locations without additional capital expense.

“We haven’t had any problems or issues,” said Norman. “Shoretel Connect Hybrid is flexible and configurable for the needs of our organization. Additional applications are available as needed. It’s a solution that can grow with us. Based on our positive experience with ShoreTel Connect HYBRID, we’re planning to eventually move to ShoreTel Connect CLOUD.”


The Cooke Center serves kindergartners to 21 year olds, at four locations with approximately 250 employees. ShoreTel Premises was deployed five years ago on two campuses. Lisanne Norman, Director of Technology at Cooke Center, needed to unify communications across the four campuses and preferred a solution that didn’t require IT management, maintenance or a large investment.


A ShoreTel Connect HYBRID system with UC service levels including collaboration, conferencing and mobility features; HYBRID Fax, HYBRID Scribe and ShoreTel IP phones.


  • Seamless integration with an existing on-premises solution
  • Advanced functionality and robust features
  • No upfront investment in equipment
  • Budget-friendly monthly subscription
  • No need for IT resources to handle maintenance

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