Dundee-Crown High School
High School Reduces Tardiness by 75 Percent. Students Arrive to Class Faster, Reducing Classroom Disruptions
With 2,500 students, Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Illinois—about 40 miles northwest of Chicago—is the largest high school in its district. The school operates with a unique block system, where students take classes in four longer segments each day.
At 7:40 a.m. sharp each day, the bell sounds signaling the start of the first class. Prior to the 2009-2010 school year, students arriving late had to wait in line at the office to obtain a handwritten pass before they were allowed to proceed to class.
Because of long lines in the office, a student that was three minutes late could end up being 30 minutes or more late for class—significantly reducing their in-class time.
In 2009, school administrators and staff became increasingly frustrated with the number of students arriving late for the first block and to classes throughout the day. At their highest, tardies could surpass 400 per day.
"We had a chronic tardiness problem. The halls were full of kids after the bell rang," said Dr. Basilio Salazar, assistant principal. "In talking with the staff, they felt it was out of hand and one of the areas they wanted us to focus on."
On a search for solutions, Salazar came across Plasco ID, a Miami-based leader in plastic card personalization and integration of digital photo identification solutions. In particular, he was intrigued by the PlascoTrac student tracking solution, which includes software and barcode scanners, as well as high-speed thermal printers from Zebra Technologies.
Dundee-Crown participated in a 30-day trial of the system, and quickly realized the power of moving from a handwritten to electronic approach. From there, the school fully implemented the software, scanners and Zebra printers.
Staff use the Zebra LP 2844™, a direct thermal barcode label printer, to generate tardy passes in the attendance office. In two other high-traffic areas of the school, staff issue smaller passes with pocket-size, lightweight Zebra MZ 220™ mobile printers.
Printing Passes in 2-3 Seconds
When tardy students arrive, they proceed to the attendance office or one of the mobile stations. A staff member scans their student ID cards and the system prints out a tardy pass in two to three seconds.
Based on the student's previous number of tardies, the system automatically issues a consequence based on business rules set up by the school. From there, they proceed to class, where teachers only allow them to enter late if they present a pass. From one student to the next, the solution enforces the school's policies consistently.
"What I like is that every student is held to the same standard. Whether they are an F or A student, they are given an immediate consequence," Salazar said.
Dundee-Crown then uses the passes or student IDs to check students in for detentions. A staff member either scans the barcode on the pass or the student's ID card, which notes in the computer that the student has served the detention.
At school dances and other events, Dundee-Crown staff uses the mobile scanner and printer in the same way. If they need to issue a consequence for a disciplinary issue, they can do so right there and give the student a slip with that information.
Back in the office, they download history off the mobile device into the computer, giving them a complete record of student tardies for reporting or sharing with parents.
The desktop and mobile printers reliably generate each pass dramatically faster than before. Compared to the handwritten approach before, the staff shaves probably a minute off of processing each student—significantly reducing wait times.
"It's unbelievable that, when the bell rings, no one is in the hall," Salazar said. "In 10 to 15 minutes, all the students are in class and office staff can move on to other things, like answering parent phone calls."
The new solution also gives Dundee-Crown a new level of accountability and enforcement that students have noticed. Since implementation, the school reduced the number of tardies by 75 percent on average—an investment of the school budget that directly gives students more in-class time.
"Teachers have their kids longer and are not constantly disrupted by students being chronically late," Salazar said.
Looking ahead, Dundee-Crown plans to build on its success and work toward lowering the number of tardy students even further with the help of the combined PlascoTrac solution, staff and teachers.
"We highly recommend PlascoTrac and Zebra," Salazar added. "When you hold students to standards, they will produce for you. They are certainly making more of an effort to get to class on time. It's been a transformation in our culture."