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The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

The student news site of Iowa City High School

The Little Hawk

Staff Profile
Helena Echa
Helena Echa
Reporter

City High Administration Enforces Use of SmartPass For All Students

This school year’s implementation of SmartPass proves to be effective in improving attendance
Lily+Rantanen+26+uses+SmartPass.
Yomi Hemley
Lily Rantanen ’26 uses SmartPass.

Last year, a major concern of the administration was attendance. With a daily attendance rate of only 89% last year, the administration decided to take action against the many students littering the hallway instead of being in class. So this year, the new program SmartPass, has been implemented to stop unexcused absences.

“My primary role this year in administration is attendance. I thought that [SmartPass] was a really good way for me to get a better picture of why students are not always in their classrooms and where they’re spending their time when they’re not in the classroom” member of administration Taylor Scudder said.

South East Junior High started using SmartPass last year, inspiring City High to do the same.

“One of the administrators over there started telling us the things that it does to help us track data around attendance,” Scudder said, “So we started having those conversations last year, and then over the summer, we got integrated with the program, and I started setting it up here at City High. This is our first year using SmartPasses,”

There are multiple ways that administrators monitor SmartPasses so that they can see who is going where and for how long.

“SmartPass has a home monitor system. So there’s a screen that shows all of the supervisory staff and administrators who have created a pass throughout the day, how much time is left in that pass, where that pass is going to and coming from, and then which passes are expired” Scudder said.

SmartPasses aren’t just helping students get their attendance up, but they are also helping them learn.

“One of the things that I’m hearing from teachers is that students are being cognitive or they’re thinking about whether they really need a pass out of class because it does take an extra step to get out of the classroom. So if students are not creating passes outside of the classroom, they are inside of the classrooms getting the learning that they’re supposed to,” Scudder said.

Attendance is a big worry for administrators, but students view the attendance issue from a different perspective.

“I do think there’s a problem with attendance, but I just don’t know that for the majority of people, it’s an issue,” Rachel Matel ‘25 said.

With the data staff members like Ms. Scudder get from SmartPass, they are able to help students better. Specifically, they are able to see the correlation between time students spend out of the classroom in a week and how it may impact their grades.

“I think they’re effective again because they show us extra data of when a student is not in the classroom and how much time they’re spending outside of the classroom. We only get so much time with our students in a day and it’s really important that we utilize all of those minutes, that way we can help everybody learn,” Scudder said. 

SmartPasses are new to everyone, including teachers. Because of this, some teachers have also struggled to adapt.

“I’m pretty much a novice with it. I don’t have a well-informed opinion. I think that’s true for most of us teachers. It seems like it’ll be a good idea,” Math teacher Matt Miller said.

Despite the initial struggle, staff has had a generally positive reaction.

“I think anything that helps keep track of where people are is a good thing. There are 1600 students in the building. So knowing where people are is pretty important,” Mr. Miller said.

Although SmartPasses seem to help administrators and staff, students might not share the same sentiment and question the efficiency of SmartPasses.

“I feel annoyed when I have to pull out my whole Chromebook just to go somewhere,” Rachel Matel ‘25 said, “I’m not sure how effective they’ve been this year, but I can’t imagine them being super effective just because people who would abuse it may choose to just skip class or not use SmartPass.”

Administration, however, acknowledges student’s struggles with SmartPasses.

“With anything new, there’s some resistance. It’s not a perfect system right now,” Ms. Scudder said, “I just want to give students the opportunity to contact me if they have any questions about SmartPass, if they still don’t understand why we think this system works, or if they want to give any feedback to me. I am always open to feedback and making the system easier for all of you.”

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Yomi Hemley, Feature Co-Editor
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    JB StepanOct 27, 2023 at 10:47 am

    I guess I graduated at the right time

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