In 2017, Mifflin County School District in Pennsylvania began implementation of Positive Attendance in its High School. While one of the main reasons districts look at implementing these devices is to improve attendance records, Mifflin County had something else in mind. “Our main concern was school safety. If an emergency were to happen, we wanted to have the ability to provide first responders with an accurate list of who is in our building at that time.” said Steven DeArment, Assistant Principal at Mifflin County High School.This was difficult to do because they have many flexible schedule students who come and go to school at different times, online students, as well as junior high music students coming in the middle of the day for class at the High School campus.
With this unique situation, the district devised a way to make Positive Attendance work to its advantage. They decided to only take attendance one time, at the beginning of the day starting when the doors open and ending a few minutes after the bell signalling the start of the first class. All the students are absent until they check in at one of the Positive Attendance devices at the entryway of the school. After the attendance taking period, they have automated Skyward to push that morning attendance code through all class periods. It is then the teacher’s responsibility to check Skyward and make sure the students who are marked present are really present.
For all their students with special schedules, they have a separate location of Positive Attendance devices that are clearly marked for those students to check in and out. The devices are programmed to put a specific code into Skyward that makes it easy for administrators to run a report and see who is on the campus at any given time. They also have separate devices for the junior high students that come onto the high school campus for part of the day that has its own codes as well, so even the junior high can easily verify that the students arrived at the other campus.
While there were many concerns on whether students would really follow through with their part to scan in and out, they found in one year 99.64% of the time the attendance was correct, and only 0.36% of the time they have had attendance violations. “The students know the system works and it works well. It’s really been a success and working how we hoped it would,” said Steven DeArment.
Now, with the assistance of its Skyward SIS and School Technology Associates integrated hardware, Mifflin County High School has an accurate recording of who is on campus each day and is more confident in its school security.
View a time lapse of how quick Mifflin County High School’s Positive Attendance morning check in is for students:
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