Teachers and staff at Antioch High School getting a summer lesson in electronic hall passes
Students and staff members at Antioch High School are navigating a new learning curve during the summer session as they pilot an electronic hall pass system.
Instead of paper passes, E-Hallpass software allows students to use a Chromebook or a personal device to start a pass. Teachers can approve or deny the request on their computers or on the student's device using an ID number.
The test is to determine whether or to what extent the digital hall pass program would be used in Antioch Community High School District 117, which includes Lakes Community High School, for the 2022-23 school year.
The idea surfaced when a teacher asked about developing an internal system at the same time the district's tech department was looking for ways to streamline the pass process, according to Tyra Stall, EdTech specialist for District 117.
The hope is to improve "efficiency and consistency" in the way passes are granted, she said.
"The programs we are looking at also have the added bonuses of being able to limit the number of passes to a specific location, create discreet recurring passes to counselors or medical professionals, and the ability to limit the interaction between students who have had conflict in the past," according to Stall.
The E-Hallpass dashboard shows all active passes, including origin and destination. An indicator appears if a student is out longer than the allotted time, and the dashboard can make it easy to determine if the student is not where the pass says he or she should be, according to a district FAQ.
"This allows all teachers in the building to know where students are at the same time," said summer school Principal Greg Bays. School security has access as well, he said.
In summer school, the most common hall passes are to the water fountain or restroom. Students request passes, which are approved by a staff member, and are checked back in on their return.
The digital system allows the school to monitor if the number of passes matches the capacity of a room to avoid long lines at drinking fountains or counseling offices.
According to the district's FAQ, other benefits of electronic hall passes are:
• Having schoolwide data on student behavior and traffic patterns.
• Being able to restrict pass privileges
• Having searchable, time-stamped data on where students were in case of an incident or vandalism, for example.
• Having a centralized place to report when students are wandering the hall or not where they are supposed to be.
E-Hallpass is a product of Pennsylvania-based Eduspire Solutions. The pilot program is being offered for free. The company does not share student data with third parties without consent, District 117 said.
Stall said many students coming to District 117 already have experience with electronic passes.
Antioch Upper Grade School uses E-Hallpass and platform, and Palombi Intermediate School in Lake Villa uses another platform with similar features, she said.
The pilot program has been underway for about two weeks without pushback.
"It's a little early to judge the success, but it looks very promising," Stall said.