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California school turns to software app to cut tardiness

Andrew Hudson   ||   Mar 28, 2014  ||   

Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia, Calif. is using student IDs and smartphones as a means for students to earn certain privileges.

The program is called Student Scan Identification Card Authorization, or SSSICA. As ABC’s local Visalia affiliate reports, campus administrators greet students by scanning a bar code on the students’ IDs to determine whether they have permission to leave campus for lunch or attend school events such as a football game.

At such events, administrators will employ the same practice of scanning IDs with a smart phone. SSSICA is just the latest effort by the school to combat excessive tardies and keep track of students both on and off campus during lunch.

The app was created last summer by Mt. Whitney’s Assistant Principal Pete Chavez, and launched at the beginning of the school year.

Chavez and his fellow school administrators believe that the need for an effective – and more importantly useful – ID scanning system is widespread. In particular, the ability to instantly see if a student owes any fines, be they monetary or punitive, saves time and effort, while also providing a means for students to accrue privileges.

The system in place at Mt. Whitney is straightforward. If a student has more than three tardies in a week, they get detention. If the detention hasn’t been served, the screen turns red, and the student is turned away at a football game, or denied the privilege to leave campus for lunch. If the detention has been served, the smart phone screen turns green at the time of scan, and the student is free to proceed.

Prior to adopting the new system, school administrators reported between 200 and 250 students with more than three tardies per week. Under the new ID scans, the number of tardies has dropped to around 80 or 90, with students making more of an effort to get to class on time.

Subscription prices for the service ranges from $1,800 to $2,600.

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