District Administration April 2018 - 49

assist visitors for the first week the new
system was in place.
The technology also allows staff to
compile visitor reports. For example, a
principal can quickly find out how many
volunteers were in the school during a
day, week, month, semester or school
year. Previously, a staff member had to
collect that information manually in a
time-consuming process, Hatchett says.
"Though some [of our] schools have
only had the system in use for a short
time, we are already realizing time-saving
benefits with attendance recordkeeping and school volunteer engagement,"
Hatchett says.
A big district's solution
Some years ago, Fairfax County Public
Schools-one of the largest districts in
the U.S.-mechanized the badging process at all of its buildings to eliminate
paper visitor logs and more quickly screen
for registered sex offenders.
Administrators also wanted all school
sites to have access to the same visitor
databases and applications. So the district
installed ScholarChip's comprehensive,
single-platform visitor management system districtwide.
"Our biggest challenge is keeping
unauthorized individuals from accessing
buildings during regular school hours,
when student and staff populations are at
their peak," says Torre, the public information officer.
As part of the nearly three-year implementation, the district developed email
notifications that alert everyone in a
school if an unauthorized person tries
to enter. To ensure a smooth transition,
in-person training sessions were held for
designated staff.
Those representatives then trained
other employees at their buildings. The
district also makes web-based training
available and provides follow-up sessions
when needed.
A significant number of registered
sex offenders have been prevented from
entering Fairfax schools, Torre says. Typically these individuals were friends or
www.DistrictAdministration.com

"Our biggest challenge is keeping
unauthorized individuals from accessing
buildings during regular school hours, when
student and staff populations are at their peak"
- John Torre, Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.)

relatives of students who thought they
would be allowed to visit. However, Torre
indicates that "a number of those were
registered as violent offenders, who were
subsequently arrested."
Information is power
Until recently, parents and other visitors
to St. Charles Parish Public Schools in
Louisiana signed in using a paper log and
carbon copy sheet. They showed their
IDs to the school secretary who wrote
information on adhesive badges for visitors to wear.
"These were often illegible, handwritten badges that sometimes fell off while
visitors were inside the school," says Kade
Rogers, administrator of safety, security and emergency preparedness for St.
Charles Parish Public Schools.
Additionally, front desk staff had to
check emailed lists of local sex offenders when visitors signed in. To fix these
issues, St. Charles installed a Raptor
Technologies visitor management system
in its 21 buildings.
The district sent information home
to parents explaining how the system
worked and noting it would not store
data aside from scanning their name, date
of birth and ID photos.
School administrators now have access
to real-time visitor information. Previously visitor records were paper-based at
each school and not easily accessible at
the district level.
Tardiness traffic
Visitors systems can be customized to
access school databases that identify
authorized vendors, contractors and

volunteers, or to warn about restraining
orders or parental custody restrictions. A
school can set notifications that identify
which parents should pick up students on
certain days of the week, says Craig Lockwood, president of ScholarChip, a visitor
management and security company.
The most frequent traffic, however,
involves tardy students and those leaving early. Some schools see nearly three
to four times more student sign-ins than
other visitors, says Rick Hagan, CEO of
Ident-A-Kid Services of America, a visitor
management software company.
Because of this, many schools have
students sign in and out, and note a reason for their late arrival or early departure
using the visitor management system.
The system can also print a badge that the
student can use as a hall pass to take to
their teacher.
Because of the staff labor involved in
recording attendance manually, this can
help schools realize significant time and
cost savings.
In some cases, due to increased
accountability and transparency for students and parents, the systems have even
helped schools reduce tardiness by an
average of 10 percent, which in some
instances, more than pays for the system,
Hagan says. DA
Kelley R. Taylor is a freelance writer specializing in law and education.
MORE ONLINE

To hear more from leading
system providers on K12 visitor
management, see this story at
DAmag.me/visitormanage
April 2018 49


http://www.DAmag.me/visitormanage http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration April 2018

District Administration April 2018 - Cover1
District Administration April 2018 - Cover2
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