By: Max McConville
Oyster Bay High School has implemented numerous safety features, from fire alarms to the lockdown system, which are widely respected by the student body. However, the ScholarChip ID system, which allows students to sign into various places in the building, seems to be dreaded by numerous students across all grade levels. As many head faculty members attempt to enforce the wearing of student IDs, the question stands, how effective is the ScholarChip ID system at Oyster Bay High School?
According to ScholarChip's website, the company was founded by a Long Island physicist, Dr. Atiya, who noticed a lack of high-tech computing power in schools while serving on his children's school board in Port Jefferson. The company, located in Hicksville, New York, strives to streamline and make easier the process of tracking attendance, behavioral referrals and plans, and visitor management by using its software. This software is installed onto wall-mounted and free-standing ID scanners, which can be seen throughout the high school’s restrooms, cafeteria, and guidance/administrative offices. All of this information is tracked by ScholarChip’s administrative software so principals and other administrators have access to accurate and up-to-date student information.
Some could argue that Oyster Bay High School students need to actively participate in the ScholarChip ID system for it to work. Student usage is mixed; when polling a handful of students from different grade levels, around 63% actively scan into the bathroom, while only around 16% scan into the cafeteria daily. Furthermore, numerous ID scanners seen throughout the school are either completely down, or display an error message when a scan occurs. This issue has plagued the school since the middle of last year, with more and more scanners seemingly breaking down.
To hear a bit more about how these technology issues impact the efficacy of the ScholarChip system, I spoke to the newly appointed Assistant Principal, Mr. Pardue, who oversees the ScholarChip ID system at Oyster Bay High School.
In regard to the lack of working ScholarChip systems at the school, Mr. Pardue explained that Scholar Chips' large consumer base has impacted the supply chain and, thus, the delivery speed for certain replacement parts, but he reassured that all systems would be back up and running soon with “some new parts arriving this week.”
Even with new parts being ordered and repairs occurring, this won’t likely be the last time a repair needs to be made with Mr. Pardue describing a cycle of parts having to be constantly replaced. Not to mention, these parts may cost an additional fee, “depending on the product,” according to Mr. Pardue.
This is a shock as the ScholarChip ID systems can cost thousands of dollars, with one Philadelphia school district reporting an upfront cost of $127,529. Even with fluctuating prices on machinery, all these repairs must add up. Since Oyster Bay High School is a public school, this means taxpayers are paying for this faulty machinery; is this what the school or the town's taxpayers deserve?
In regard to low sign-in rates at the cafeteria, Mr. Pardue explained that the school is “currently addressing” the issue and is working to “have the sign-in system become faster while making sure every student still scans in.” Some steps taken include “working towards getting more mobile carts, working with the schools' monitors to address times when scanning isn’t consistently happening, and trying to get the students to wear their IDs around their necks all day,” according to Mr. Pardue.
Though tedious to repair and enforce the use of, the ScholarChip ID systems seems to offer a variety of benefits; “Attendance reports and other reports on where students are during their free periods…allows much more certainty about who should and should not be in the school at any given point. On top of that, it gives the ability to track student movement and arrival times, which can lead to addressing lateness, cutting, and issues relating to attendance in general,” according to Mr. Pardue.
The ScholarChip ID system is also linked to E-school, which allows the school's security guards to know which juniors and seniors are able to leave for lunch. The system also shows when students are not supposed to be signing into places, such as the cafeteria.
The ScholarChip ID system appears to be “an extremely useful system; when it’s running at full capacity, it’s absolutely fantastic.” The system minimizes the need for manual tracking, monitoring, and organization of student information, which can be extremely tedious and time-consuming. However, these features can only be fully utilized when the system is operating at its full capacity, which requires both working machinery and consistent student usage, which is something the school hopes to accomplish so that scanners can be installed in other spaces, such as classrooms and the library.
While the ScholarChip ID system's implementation seems to be in the early stages, it allows for ease in monitoring and tracking student attendance for the school’s administrative team. As it becomes more fully integrated into the school ecosystem, the use for its features will continue to grow and it will serve a far greater purpose than it currently does for both students and teachers at Oyster Bay High School.
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