Kiosks introduced to expedite sign-in process
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Junior Jayla Ferguson runs down the hallway at 8:15 a.m. and skids to a halt at the end of the line spilling outside Dean of Freshmen and Sophomores Sean Ireton’s office. She waits along with almost a dozen other students to get their late passes to go to their mod one class.
Instead of visiting Ireton for a late pass, students will now interact with a machine. Some time in March, students will begin to use a computer kiosk system to sign in when they arrive to school late in the morning and when they leave school early in the afternoon, according to Vice Principal of Student Affairs Brian Powell.
Three kiosks will be placed throughout the school: one in the Main Office, one near Ireton’s office, and one at the end of the second floor hallway by room 210, science teacher Anglea Ward’s classroom.
Powell worked with Director of Technology Greg Russell to find the best system for JC. “We demoed several different programs, but chose [this system] because of a combination of features and cost,” Russell said.
The system was introduced as a way to make the attendance system more efficient and accurate, as well as to discourage the number of late arrivals. According to Powell, the current attendance rule, which allows students to enter their mod one class up until 8:10 a.m. without a late pass from the attendance office, resulted in confusion throughout the system. “Teachers would allow students to come in late, and they’d be marked as absent, and the teacher would forget to change it, and it would cause confusion down the line,” Powell said.
Administrators also believe the rule currently in effect encourages students to be late to school. Powell thinks that these students believed that they would be marked as “on-time” if they arrived to class by 8:10 a.m., when in reality, they would still be marked late and just didn’t need a pass.
However, this rule will be changed when the new kiosk systems go into effect. “We’re hoping that teachers won’t let students in without a late pass from the machine after 8 a.m. We hope that [the number of] late arrivals will go down,” Powell said.
While it is still undecided how to implement the early dismissal process with the kiosks, Powell says that this system will be finalized by the time the kiosks are put into official use.
Many students support this new system as they believe it will make the attendance process easier. “I feel like [the kiosks] will be better because you won’t get any grief from the faculty anymore if you’re late,” Ferguson said.
Senior Jesseca Dunnett agrees with Ferguson and believes that streamlining attendance will make the process faster. “Signing in will go faster now. Right now, checking in at the office slows me down. I just want to go to class,” Dunnett said.
In addition to this late system, the kiosk in the Main Office will also be used to screen school visitors. This kiosk will scan visitors’ licenses and then check for the visitor’s name on a list of sexual offenders maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a means of security.
If the visitor’s name does not appear on that list, then they will be issued a visitor’s pass. If they are on the list, the person on duty at the front desk will be alerted and will ask the person to leave the building.
According to Powell, this new system is not in response to any specific event at JC but is an attempt to “make sure that no one is coming in that’s not supposed to be.”
Russell is pleased with this aspect of the kiosk system. “Hopefully we will never need to use this feature, but it will be a nice check to use as a backup,” he said.
JC is not the only school in the area with a visitor’s security system. Schools like Calvert Hall College and Catholic High have also implemented similar systems.
Although the system is still being tested, Powell is very pleased by what he has seen from the kiosks so far. Once the system for early dismissal is finalized, the kiosk system will be implemented.
Grace Mottley is the Assignment Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.