Randy Celori, Safety and Security Manager at Lake Stevens School District, wanted a way to record and keep track of visitors and volunteers at his schools. While browsing through different options he came across School Technology Associates’ Visitor Management Solution. “We looked at a few different visitor management companies and none of them seemed to have a relationship with Skyward like School Technology Associates.”Another benefit Randy found was, “compared to other systems, we found this solution to be one of the least expensive and it was more flexible to set up in all our schools. What I mean by that is, all the schools have different front end configurations, so the offices aren’t all set up the same. But with this equipment you can pretty much set it up how it works best for each location.”Once the hardware arrived and he received his log-ins for the web based software, Randy first introduced it to four of his district’s schools. “Took a few weeks to have it smoothly operating… as more people used it they became more fond of it.” Then the following year he set it up in all eleven of Lake Stevens’ schools.
Prior to Visitor Management, Lake Stevens’ way of checking in visitors was “just a sheet of paper on a clipboard.” With this visitor management system, a visitor has their driver license scanned and photo taken. Their information and the time of check-in are logged instantly in the software. Then a visitor badge is printed. When their license is scanned, it also conducts a search in the National Sex Offender Registry along with a custom exclusion list that is made by the school. If there are any matches, staff is alerted. “It makes the check-in process more professional and makes people feel safer,” Randy said.
On top of creating higher security for visitor check-ins, there are optional additions that can be purchased. One specifically for Washington state customers is the WATCH integration. “WATCH conducts our local and state background checks. Instead of a secretary having to go online through a different portal, signing into WATCH and filling in the information of the applicant, they apply through Visitor Management which is automatically connected to WATCH and the background check is already done.”
There is also GEO fencing that utilizes the Visitor Management phone app allowing schools to see who has entered the campus and check them in without the visitor having to enter the office. Furthermore, there is an addition for conducting reference checks for new employee applicants that can help streamline the hiring process.
Now available to Skyward customers is an integration for tracking student pick ups. This new feature tracks who is picking up students, if they are authorized to pick them up, and keeps a log of it. “Once again it saves time for the secretary so they don’t have to go into a separate portal. It automatically pulls up the student record from Skyward and checks to see who can pick up the student.”
When asked what his favorite feature of the software was Randy said, “my favorite feature is the volunteer management part of it, before it used to be a big paper trip, there were a lot of papers to fill out, it’d take awhile to process it. Now, the applicant can go into our website and apply online and the application can be approved within a few hours.”
With the new check-in process that is vastly different from writing a name on a sheet of paper Randy says, “We have had a great response, our visitors and especially parents appreciate the extra safe guards we have in place with Visitor Management.”