Dr. Robyn Kelso is an assistant principal at Fort Scott High School with over 20 years of experience working with schools and is a huge advocate for public education. We interviewed Dr. Kelso to discover how SmartPass played a role throughout her school's hybrid model and to retell her school's experience with the pandemic so far.
Starting back in August of this year, the largest challenge with the pandemic was the timeline. The Kansas State Board of Education put out an all call in July for all staff, including teachers, to create a plan for the fall semester. The problem was that schools in the midwest typically start in mid-August, which left little time to do so much. As Fort Scott planned for a potential return to in-person instruction, they had to consider how to handle all 600 of their students. The major questions were, "How do we keep kids moving in the hallways as efficiently as possible?", and "How do we keep foot traffic down?" Schools have considered creating teacher duties to manage restroom usage or getting creative with google forms, but they needed something easier to use, robust, and actually realistic to implement.
We met with Dr. Kelso after she saw a post about SmartPass on a Facebook school leadership group. We showed her how SmartPass works, it's student driven focus, and how you can set occupancy limits on restrooms and perform contact tracing. With our easy two step setup we had her school using SmartPass in no time.
"A lot to like about it... user friendly had to be number one because teachers were just overwhelmed with new information on how they were gonna do this and how they were gonna do that...SmartPass was simple and easy and we felt like this product was the one that would best fit our needs."
Dr. Kelso's primary reason for implementing SmartPass at her school was for the contact tracing capabilities of the system, but she was also surprised to see how much it cut down on typical restroom issues. With SmartPass, you can easily see who is in the hallway or restroom on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer. And because SmartPass is a digital system, pulling the history for a specific student or room is effortless. Dr. Kelso says that the drop in hallway and restroom related infractions was "... a surprising plus that I wasn't expecting but it's just been wonderful."
One of the biggest challenges for schools implementing new technology in general is training teachers and having them implement it into their routines. Since SmartPass is a student driven system, teachers don't need to leave the app open or interact with it daily. Students just make the pass, show it to the teacher, and leave the room. We've also designed the system from the ground up to be simple so that all kinds of users have a great experience.
"I find it a very user friendly product, even our most tech challenged teachers have been able to figure it out and that's a huge bonus. The support has been phenomenal. I think the product is reasonably priced too so. I just think there's a lot to like about it."
SmartPass is helping schools across America manage their student movement. If you'd like to see more about SmartPass, schedule a demo with us and we'd be happy to show you how it would work at your school.