Colin Powell K-8 Academy Overcomes Language Barriers with Relay

A teacher in a classroom with elementary kids.



Fed up with traditional bulky radios, Colin Powell K-8 Academy turned to Relay for a multi-use, lightweight solution. Now, they’re breaking language barriers and responding to emergencies faster.

A elementary school child doing work in class

Out with the Bulk, In with Relay

Colin Powell K-8 Academy is located in Fort Washington, Maryland, not far from Washington, D.C. The over 200,000 sq. ft. school, part of one of the nation’s largest school districts, Prince George’s County Public Schools, opened in 2023. Holding the doors open to almost 1,000 students each day is Principal Nina Lattimore.

Ahead of the school’s opening, Nina and her team were determined to strengthen their operations. They really wanted to invest in technology that was practical, yet effective for managing students, staff, and building maintenance. The first thing they looked into was a new communications solution.

Traditional Radios are a Headache for Teachers

Nina was used to relying on traditional radios. The problem: they are too heavy for teachers and administrators to carry around all day. Often set down and forgotten about, traditional radios were causing gaps in communication. In schools, this is not only an inconvenience, but a safety concern. Additionally, these radios had a tendency to pick up chatter from nearby businesses, constantly run out of battery, and only had a limited number of channels. Nina recognized that these headaches slowed educators down from what they wanted to do most: connect with their students.

Relay “Just Makes Sense” For Schools

Upon holding a Relay device for the first time, Nina’s reaction was, “this just makes sense”. Compared to traditional radios, Relay is incredibly lightweight, making it easier for the school’s staff to keep them on a lanyard around their neck or clipped to a belt loop all day long. “Now we communicate better because having the Relay device within reach means it’s easier to get in touch with someone,” shared Nina. As opposed to phone calling or physically searching for people, Relay speeds up the time it takes to locate other staff members across the expansive building. She was also impressed with the compact charging stations and nationwide coverage. Teachers have found they can even tune in from home to make sure everyday procedures like bus drop-off and parent pickup are going smoothly.

“It’s a faster service, it makes families feel welcome, and it’s a translation device in your hand. This is a viable tool that I really strongly believe schools need to purchase.”
– Nina Lattimore, Principal, Colin Powell K-8 Academy

Breaking Language Barriers

Used by the admin team, secretaries, nurse, custodians, and grade level team leads, everyone has seen a positive impact since Relay was brought in. They’ve enjoyed learning new ways to utilize Relay and have seen the impact it is having on their students and parents. Especially when it comes to Relay’s translation capabilities. Nina shared: “Today, most schools are very diverse. When families come into the school, there is definitely a huge language barrier. There’s not always a team member around who can help engage, so there’s this awkward silence.” Being able to use Relay to translate conversations establishes a connection, which leads to a smile, laughter, and banter as new students and parents quickly start to feel more comfortable. “These parents want to help their children and be a part of their education, but they can’t if there’s no one to understand,” Nina adds. Even though there’s other translation apps out there, Relay is already in the palm of their hands and reads the messages aloud, in real-time.

Relay has also been an asset for Colin Powell K-8 Academy during emergency situations. “We’ve had a couple incidents here at school where a staff member has gotten ill, passed out, or is just not feeling well and I have my Relay to connect to the nurse while simultaneously being able to call 911 for help,” explained Nina. Even for non-emergency situations, Relay has dropped response time and allowed more staff to stay informed during the event. “There have been times where there’s a classroom incident and water has spilled or a student got sick, and you’re looking for the custodian who could be anywhere in the building.” Now he can be there in no time.

Why Other Educators Should Consider Relay


Appreciate the @relay_pro ❤️. Here’s how we use daily. #edutok #school #principal #schoollife #fyp

♬ original sound - PrinciPalLatti❤️

Nina gets questions about her Relay device from visiting teachers or administration all of the time. When she responds, “it’s how we communicate” people are stunned. They’re so used to seeing bulky radios that don’t have the ability to translate messages or act as a panic solution. When asked what she would tell other educators considering Relay as their next communication device, Nina emphasized a very pure point, “Consider the child who doesn’t have their voice yet. This device helps you speak to and connect with them. It addresses so many school needs all in one place.”

A banner to follow up on TikTok.

Colin Powell Academy Logo
  • The 200,000+ sq. ft. school welcomes over 900 students each day

  • A short distance from Washington, D.C.



Before the school opened its doors in 2023, Colin Powell K-8 Academy was in search of a modern, multi-use communications solution that would better connect staff and reduce the headaches traditional radios cause.


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