New attendance system works, but long lines greet students at State College Area High School

mmorgan@centredaily.comMarch 31, 2014 

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State College Area High School students tested the district’s new Swipe attendance system Monday.

NABIL K. MARK — CDT file photo

As State College Area High School students arrived on the first trial day of the district’s new Swipe attendance system, they were greeted by long lines.

But it wasn’t anything administrators weren’t expecting.

Principal Scott DeShong said that despite the lines, it was a productive first day for the system and he is confident that all the bugs will be worked out by the full implementation next Monday.

The system is designed to be as quick as a subway turnstile, with students swiping their ID cards. It also can be programmed to give them messages, limiting the need for public address system announcements.

Some of the problems on the first day included lost or forgotten ID cards and students not being acclimated to the system. DeShong said they were forming single lines even though each Swipe system can handle two lines each.

He said they will likely get the hang of it quickly.

“We anticipate the obstacles to diminish a lot, a whole lot,” he said, adding that he expects it to be smoother Tuesday.

The district will add a third station to each building that will function with just a keypad for students to type in their ID number. That station will work for students who forgot their cards or just provide another option for others to get through, DeShong said.

Each station is manned by a faculty or staff member to help move people through and make the process quicker. In the North Building, they are positioned at the entrance to the social studies/new wing and the other at the bottom of the steps by the main office. In the South Building, they are both in the lobby.

Though they had tested before Monday’s soft launch, DeShong said they expected some of the troubles when the system was rolled out to more than 2,300 students.

The system costs $12,460 and carries an annual price tag of $5,900 for software and system support, business administrator Randy Brown has said.

After the first trial run, the administration sent emails to students and parents, updating them on events from the first day and providing instructions about how to use the system.

DeShong said the students who lost their IDs will be able to get new ones at machines posted throughout the school, and the goal is for everyone to have cards by the end of the week.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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