Military Charter School Upgrades Comms and Operations with Relay

Oakland Military Institute Building



California-based Oakland Military Institute is driving safety with better connectivity and range. Using real-time location tracking and operational insights has improved response time and allowed staff to better communicate on a daily basis.

An employee using Relay to communicate

Oakland Military Institute Invests in Student and Staff Safety

Located in the heart of Oakland, California, Oakland Military Institute is a 6-12th grade public charter school. Originally founded in 2001 by then Governor Jerry Brown, it became the first charter ever sponsored by the state, the first public military school, and the first school sponsored by the National Guard. The school’s primary mission is to prepare students to excel in college and become the leaders of tomorrow.

We sat down with Army Sergeant First Class Michael Traver who oversees security, operations, and the military team at Oakland Military institute to discuss how Relay is increasing safety on and off the school’s property.

School Faces Common Two-Way Radio Issues

SFC Traver has been with the school for over 7 years. Prior to Relay, his teams and the rest of staff relied on bulky, traditional two-way radios for communications. These outdated radios got the job done, but often picked up chatter from local businesses, didn’t work in dead spots around the property, and rarely made it through the day due to short battery life.

Because of the school’s dedication to student and staff safety, which relies heavily on effective communication, SFC Traver started looking into alternative solutions.

Nationwide Range Improves Safety During Off-Property Trips

When he came across Relay, SFC Traver knew he hit the jackpot. He immediately saw value in Relay’s extended coverage and longer battery life. Students and staff often travel to visit nearby military bases, participate in excursions and field trips, and perform community service work throughout the state. Being able to communicate with staff while off-property and track their locations was too good to walk away from.

From a safety perspective, having these abilities allowed the school to feel a huge sense of relief. “Location tracking is probably our favorite feature. Even the kids are amazed at the distance,” says SFC Traver. As for battery life, he notes, “I love how long the batteries last. They can get us through a full shift no problem.”

Coming from a military background, SFC Traver also appreciates the additional operational insights he’s gained with the Relay dashboard, something other two-way radios don’t have. He is not only able to monitor real-time locations and battery life for all of the school’s devices, but also software updates, overall usage, and message history. SFC Traver even uses the dashboard to send out staff-wide announcements, a much more convenient practice than reaching out 1 by 1, or even by channel.

“One year in and we’re still really excited about Relay. We’re super happy to be customers of you guys.”


– Army Sergeant First Class Michael Traver, Supervisor at Oakland Military Institute.

Effective Communication Improves Response Time

Relay has changed the way the school communicates and prepares for incidents. During a recent emergency situation involving nearby gun shots, the school used Relay’s panic feature to pull everyone onto the same channel to communicate quickly and efficiently. While the event thankfully stayed off-property, they used it as a learning experience. SFC Traver pulled up the transcripts and device locations in Relay so that staff could analyze what happened and better prepare for next time as a team. The school has always had plans in place, but this allowed them to track their success and evolve plans as need be.

“More effective communication across campus has allowed us to be more efficient in response times and be where our students need us to be.”


– Army Sergeant First Class Michael Traver, Supervisor at Oakland Military Institute.

Another capability Oakland Military Institute has come to love is Relay’s translation function. About 52% of the school’s students come from Spanish-speaking backgrounds. Being able to translate conversations has been a game-changer during parent-teacher conferences and in welcoming new students who speak another language.

Overall, Relay has allowed the military institute’s staff to better connect with its students and improve safety for both students and staff. SFC Traver couldn’t say enough good things about Relay’s product and customer service, and has even recommended Relay to other military schools.

Oakland Military Institue Logo
  • 6-12th grade public charter school
  • Located in Oakland, CA



Oakland Military Academy was tired of the dealing with the common problems that came with traditional two-way radios. SFC Traver started exploring alternative communication solutions that didn’t have these issues and could level-up safety on and off the property.


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