One of the goals of School Technology Associates is to help schools achieve accurate attendance results for state reporting and make the process of recording attendance as streamlined as possible. This mission began over nine years ago, driven by feedback and requests from Skyward customers.
Conversations with Sauk Prairie and Nicolet school administrators at the 2011 Wisconsin Skyward User Groups led Skyward to creating Positive Attendance within Skyward SMS 2.0 software. Then, with the addition of School Technology Associates’ integrated keypad/scanner that can connect to a computer running Skyward or directly to the network via ethernet or wifi, allowing students to check themselves in as they enter the classroom and automatically be marked present within Skyward, with a timestamp.
Schools were also looking for a way to automate entering tardies to save front office staff time, which led to Skyward SMS 2.0’s Tardy Kiosk with integrated hardware. Our Tardy Kiosk hardware is made up of a keypad/scanner and thermal receipt printer. The keypad is programmed to automatically enter the student’s tardy into Skyward when connected to a computer running the software’s Tardy Kiosk screen. The receipt printer prints a pass for the tardy student to take to class. The Tardy Kiosk hardware solution eliminates both the need for front office staff to enter the student information into Skyward and to write a handwritten pass. Both Tardy Kiosk and Positive Attendance place the responsibility of accurate “real time” attendance and tardies on the students shoulders. It is accurate, efficient, and eliminates any bias from recording attendance and tardies.
These devices are flexible within different school district systems, allowing schools to get creative and use them in the way that works best for the district. Here are articles explaining how the Tardy Kiosk and Positive Attendance hardware have been used by different districts: combating tardies at Marion County High School, classroom attendance at Nicolet High School, daily attendance at Mifflin County High School, and hybrid schedules at Sheboygan South High School.
With Tardy Kiosk and Positive Attendance hardware for Skyward SMS 2.0 now in use by thousands of school locations across the country for over 6 years, we’ve listened to your feedback and recently developed SchoolTRAK™, a web app that integrates with Skyward’s new Qmlativ software. SchoolTRAK, with Tardy Kiosk and Positive Attendance modules, can create kiosks for student check-ins on any device that runs a web browser and is connected to the school’s network. If a district is migrating from SMS 2.0 to Qmlativ and has purchased Tardy Kiosk and Positive Attendance hardware in the past, SchoolTRAK allows the district to continue using all the same hardware.
Some of the most exciting new advancements with SchoolTRAK are the Period Rules and customizable kiosks. The Period Rules feature allows a kiosk to automatically assign a tardy or absence based on thresholds a school sets within the software. Schools can decide how long into the period a student is considered tardy, and how much further into the period they would be considered absent. The customizable kiosk feature allows you to set up each kiosk individually or mass setup, depending on the situation. For example, if a school bus arrives late and all the students need to be assigned an excused tardy, you can set up an individual kiosk that only assigns excused tardies, instead of following the period rules for those specific students to sign-in.
As the world of education continues to change, especially this past year, we continue to make enhancements to best meet the current needs of Skyward users. Currently, SchoolTRAK is programmed to work within the school’s local network. We’re working on adding the option to use SchoolTRAK over the web. This would allow schools to take attendance anywhere, anytime, and have it automatically entered into Skyward Qmlativ.
From our 28 years of exclusively servicing Skyward customers we know that each school is physically and operationally different. If you would like to provide input on SchoolTRAK features that could improve your school’s in-person, virtual, or hybrid schedules, we invite you to fill out our survey regarding our upcoming enhancements here: SchoolTRAK Survey
We look forward to continuing to collaborate and provide the best integrated solutions for Skyward schools across the nation. For more information or to speak with a representative on how Tardy Kiosk, Positive Attendance, or SchoolTRAK could be utilized for your school’s attendance tracking and schedules, contact email@example.com or call (877) 436-4657.