Cards Enable School To Track Students, Schedules
Cards Enable School To Track Students, Schedules

Mar 1, 2004 12:00 PM

Like many schools, Connetquot High School in Bohemia, N.Y., previously used simple, laminated paper cards with a traditional school photo as the only means of student identification, "and even those were not used often," says Stephanie Brudner-Nocerino, a computer teacher at the school.

Following a 1999 task force on school violence created by New York Governor George Pataki, and the 2000 legislation that led to Project SAVE (Safe Schools Against Violence in Education), schools throughout New York began looking more seriously at the subject of student and faculty safety. Connetquot High School administrators decided they needed to upgrade their student identification efforts.

Administrators also knew that a 2004 addition of another grade level expected to bring 500 new students to the already 1,600-student high school would make the need for student identification and security even greater, especially amid the construction required to expand existing facilities.

Accountable to district parents and cognizant of limited financial resources, school administrators knew they needed a system that could incorporate new modules and technologies over time, and that system upgrades had to fit into the district budget. "We wanted a system that we could control 100 percent out of our building and not have to depend on someone else," said Brudner-Nocerino.

In the end, Connetquot chose a card personalization system from Fargo Electronics, Eden Prairie, Minn. The decision to introduce a more sophisticated student and faculty identification system was made by a site-based management committee, consisting of parents and teachers from the high school.

"We are finding a lot of interest in additional security systems for schools," says Fred Grodin, district sales manager of Idesco, a Fargo solution provider. "Teachers today need more tools to keep up with students."

Connetquot purchased a Fargo DTC510 card printer/encoder, which features direct-to-card technology. With this technology, printers transfer images directly onto the surface of a plastic card by heating a special ribbon beneath a thermal printhead, and then transferring color from the ribbon to the card. Digital ID software and a digital camera were also required to print the identification cards.

A feature of Connetquot's new security system is the school's ability to track student schedules with bar code technology, ensuring that students are where they are supposed to be, when they are required to be there.

Daily schedules are input into a student management database by Connetquot guidance counselors and then exported and uploaded into hand-held scanners by the vice principal. While students took some time to get used to the new system, according to Brudner-Nocerino, faculty members immediately found it beneficial in identifying students, especially in the cafeteria, library and computer labs. Future enhancements may include integration with a time and attendance system, as well as a debit system.

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