Friday, November 16, 2018

School system pilots student identification badge program, plans to launch systemwide in 2019

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is piloting the use of student identification (ID) badges. The pilot program is part of the school system’s increased focus on school safety and security. Pilot schools include J.P. Ryon Elementary School, John Hanson Middle School and La Plata High School. CCPS plans to implement student ID badge use at all schools and centers next year.
Each student will receive an ID badge featuring their name, school of attendance, class grade and school year. The IDs feature a barcode at the bottom for use with procedures such as tracking student late arrivals and early dismissals. Each pilot school has an iPad for use with the barcode that connects to the school system’s student information system, Synergy.
Students will also be able to use their badge barcode to purchase meals in the school cafeteria and check out books in the school library. Principals can implement additional uses for ID badges at their discretion. Students at the pilot schools will receive their ID badges at school, and are responsible for wearing them daily. A main goal of the program is for all students to have a form of identification with them during the school day.
“The program will provide us with an immediate recognition of who belongs in the school, but also creates a 21st century environment for our students. The use of ID cards is a part of our daily lives and a fundamental part of our safety and security strategy,” said Jason Stoddard, director of safety and security for CCPS.
La Plata is launching badge use among students on Nov. 27. Students will receive their ID badges at school Nov. 26 during their English classes. This week, students participated in safety presentations in which school administrators announced the pilot badge use and reviewed its uses at school.
La Plata will initially use the badges for all student late arrivals and early dismissals. The school will also feature an express line in the cafeteria for those students who buy breakfast or lunch. Additionally, seniors who leave school for the day at the start of the school’s one-hour lunch/activity period will use their badge to sign out daily.
Stoddard said the badges are also essential for use during an emergency. “In the event of a school emergency, it will help us be more seamless in accounting for our students. It will also help us if there is a family reunification side of it,” Stoddard added.
Plans for the implementation of the program at both Hanson and Ryon are underway.
All badges will feature student photos taken by Lifetouch, which also provides CCPS with the initial set of badges per school. Students who lose or misplace their badge will have to wear a temporary badge until a replacement is issued by CCPS staff. Principals also can identify consequences by school for the loss of a badge or if the student forgets to wear it during the school day.
New students will have their picture taken at school and provided a badge shortly after. CCPS is using funding from the Maryland Safe Schools and Security Grant issued by the Maryland Center for School Safety to support the badge program.

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