An RCA RDR2500 school two-way radio is set upright on a teacher's desk beside two textbooks, an apple, and a pencil holder.

Our Guide to the Best School Two-Way Radios

All school districts depend on reliable communications equipment to maintain their daily operations and keep their students safe. Two-way radios are the perfect tools to do both. Read on to learn why, and how RCA offers the best school two-way radio types, models, and accessories for your team.

School Bus Drivers

Similar to truck drivers, your bus drivers can use mobile two-way radios to stay in touch with school dispatch to let them know if they run into delays caused by inclement weather, traffic accidents, or road closures. They also have the real-time ability to report any emergencies, like if a student has a health scare, the vehicle experiences mechanical trouble, or there’s a collision with another vehicle. This allows school authorities to be aware of any potential threats to the safety and wellbeing of students, and to coordinate with local authorities when needed.

Whenever buses are used for other services, like school field trips, sporting events, or other extracurricular activities, drivers can coordinate their travel with one another and with dispatch so that everyone is aware of any changes to their itinerary. 

Unlike other equipment like cell phones and recreational walkie-talkies for schools, mobile (or even handheld) two-way radios are better for this role because they offer reliable coverage and instant communication, all while being far less distracting to your drivers.

A Note About GPS Tracking

Drivers can also use handheld two-way radios that are enabled with GPS tracking in case dispatch wants to know the locations of their vehicles. In the event of an emergency, a driver can use one of several programmable alerts, and have dispatch notify the appropriate parties to help.

School Maintenance and Custodians

Maintenance workers are key to keeping schools running, from the basics like heating and air, water, and electricity, to the more integrated technologies that some schools may now implement: smart thermostats, keycard access and sophisticated door locks, security cameras, and network-connected mobile devices, among others.

While this high level of connectivity can certainly be beneficial, having digital technology that isn’t WiFi-dependent is also important. Two-way radios offer wide coverage and crystal-clear audio, from small school grounds to larger campuses, even through steel and concrete. This  makes them ideal candidates for maintenance workers who work above and below ground. And if you ever have difficulty with your Internet service provider (honestly, who hasn’t at some point?), your workers will appreciate having a main line of communication that will help them coordinate with your team, even in the worst emergencies.

The same kind of two-way radio communication allows school custodians to respond to immediate requests, as well as coordinate standard schedules and cleaning services.

School Administrators

Principals, school administrators, and teachers need a convenient means of corralling a lot of students, whether it’s for assemblies in auditoriums, sporting events and training, PE classes, emergency drills, field trips, or other scholastic events. Making sure everyone is on the same page with what’s going on, where to direct student traffic, or who needs special attention and assistance can all be much easier through the use of two-way radios.

This is especially true when it comes to hearing those instructions in loud environments — either thanks to the radios themselves, or by coupling them with earpieces and speaker mics

School Security

We’ve always been a proud supporter of schools and their dedication to student knowledge and safety, which is why we’re also a big proponent for supplying the proper communications solutions for onsite security. Many of our radios are designed to be conveniently stored in premium-quality holsters that — when combined with earpieces and speaker mics — afford a greater ease of use, portability, and quick response times in case of emergencies. 

This is the same whether we’re referring to security guards who walk your halls, or crossing guards who manage areas of high student traffic.

A Note About Wireless PA Systems

A wireless PA (or public address) system can be integrated with your radio communications. It includes receivers and antennae that are connected with speaker horns that can transmit your speech directly from your two-way radios.

This setup offers convenient installation virtually anywhere, doesn’t require trenching or wiring, and adds another means of notifying your students and faculty members.

RCA Two-Way Radio Recommendations

The following are our recommendations for the best school two-way radios from RCA.

  • BRM300D, a mobile radio that’s ideal for school buses, and offers a wide coverage area.
  • RDR2500, a mid-tier, best-selling handheld radio that comes with enhanced durability, long battery life, and exceptional audio.
  • RDR4220, a high-tier handheld radio that provides additional protection against the elements. It’s rated IP67 (dust- and waterproof) and comes with GPS tracking.
  • RDR2750, a powerful compact base station that is perfect for school administrators and radio users who operate primarily from desks, offices, or common areas. It offers the same coverage as a handheld, and can be mounted anywhere there’s an AC outlet (no batteries required). It also includes an intuitive user interface with clearly marked features like channels, volume, and push to talk (PTT).

Special Reminder: ESSER Funds

Has your school fully utilized all available funds under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program? While the first installment expired last September, ESSER II is available until September 30 of this year, and ARP ESSER on the same day in 2024. Funds do not have to be spent by these dates, but must be obligated — i.e., committed to a specific purchase.

The ESSER program was developed to offset the costs for additional COVID-19 protections, and communications equipment applies. If you still have funds available, now is the perfect time to apply them to the purchase of new school two-way radios.

A Note About Emergency Response

If your school would like suggestions on developing a stronger emergency response plan, we have our free Official School Emergency Planning Guide available to download and share with your team.

Do You Need School Two-Way Radios?

If it’s time to purchase new school two-way radios, we’re ready to help! Call us today at (888) 299-6340 to speak immediately with a member of our award-winning customer support team. We have plenty of models in stock, most of which can ship the same day they’re ordered.

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