Online attendance creates frustration

Addison Reine

Mrs. Kathy Jacobson no longer prints 14,000 attendance sheets every year. Due to new attendance-taking technology, Benilde- St. Margaret’s will save time, money, and the environment as a new online attendance system is launched.

Environmental consciousness is one reason for the new attendance system which conserves paper; teachers no longer need to fill out attendance sheets for every class. “It was one of the ways that we could be greener around the school. It also makes attendance smoother for the teachers that travel room to room,” said Mrs. Mary Andersen, Assistant Principal.

Money was not a big issue in making this decision. However, $250 will be saved on attendance folders each semester and Mrs. Jacobson predicts that the system will save her more time in the attendance office. “Instead of sorting through every folder and transferring information to the computer, the attendance comes to me in the right format, ” said Mrs. Jacobson.

Due to some technological updates to the school’s wireless system made during the summer, the school was finally able to install the online attendance system after years of teachers waiting for this advancement. Staff members suggested switching to online attendance, but the final decision was made by principal Dr. Sue Skinner, Mrs. Andersen, and Mrs. Jacobson.

Because Benilde-St. Margaret’s offers many opportunities for students to be involved outside of their classes, a consistent attendance schedule is required. “There are so many exceptions for our students to miss a class; they can go to groups, counselors, and meetings requiring us to take attendance every period, unlike other schools, ” said Mrs. Jacobson.

Another time saver when it comes to the system is the facility of having all the school’s programs online. “Redeker is the company that manufactures our online attendance program which is also linked to the school’s Edline and Administrative Plus programs,” said Mrs. Jacobson. This allows smooth connections between the databases, she said.

Currently, there are still some setbacks to the system. “There are about five steps to the online attendance process; this includes signing in and finding the right class. There are also a few small pockets in the school that don’t have wireless,” said Mrs. Andersen.

But math teacher Mr. Jim Picard only has good things to say about the system. “It’s quick and simple, but it takes some getting used to. It’s pretty smooth overall,” said Mr. Picard.

Although Mrs. Jacobson is currently swamped with continuous questions from teachers regarding the new online attendance system, she is confident that it will be a positive advancement. “There are a lot of kinks to work out, but once everything is consistent in the next month or two, it will save time,” said Mrs. Jacobson.