FSSA Gets Updated Attendance and Swipe-In System

FSSA has a new swipe-in attendance system, which alerts parents if their child is late to school.

The lateness issue in Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) has been no secret to students and staff throughout the years. However, recently, a modified swipe-in and attendance system has been implemented to combat this long time issue. 

Keeping track of daily attendance and lateness is a common form of data held by a wide variety of schools, mostly to ensure student safety and monitor student activity. At FSSA, the recording of official attendance would initially take place during 3rd period, and the morning swipe-in served as identification and a manual alert of lateness to parents controlled by the main office. 

However, in recent months the new system utilizes the morning swipe-in as a form of record-keeping for daily attendance as well as being connected to an automated phone call system that notifies a parent or guardian that a student has arrived late to school for that day. That message is programmed to be sent after the beginning of a student’s first class of the day, which is a factor that strikes conflicting opinions amongst students and staff. 

“When I come in one or two minutes late, my parents get a phone call home, and they’re pissed and think I’m skipping my first-period class,” Elias Raff, a senior film major said. 

The student opinion is clear: Students do not feel as if their parents should be notified for latenesses less than five minutes after the start of their first period. Much of the student population can argue that missing two minutes of class at the beginning of the day does not hinder learning in the slightest and that they barely miss out on the lesson, justifying the idea that students feel as though small latenesses is not a home concern. 

Front office man, Tyrone Clarke is witness to the change in systems, being in charge of monitoring attendance at the front of the school, and managing staff recording official attendance during the third period daily. He expresses how the new system is favorable amongst main office staff, and makes data collection and parent contact for absences and latenesses much more efficient, due to a lesser probability of human error. 

“It prevents incidents where kids are not where they are supposed to be. The system can prove they were here in the school and that they are safe if there was some kind of mistaken identity,” Tyrone said. 

FSSA principal Mr. Frankel also elaborates on the importance of documenting student’s attendance upon entry into the building.

“Things happen and we wanted to make sure everyone’s whereabouts are documented, it’s a safety issue because we want to make sure we can account for everybody in the case that we have an emergency,” he said.

The safety of students getting to school and keeping track of who is in the building is something that is valued amongst the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts administration. A more technologically advanced system such as this can give staff security is the accuracy of statistics weekly, with more efficiency and more time to address or correct any issues.

“It’s not that different from the old system that we had, it’s just an updated version,” Mr. Frankel added.

Although this may be true, data collection conducted by Ms. Castro in the guidance suite deals with this change in a separate way.

“I think it makes you more stressed then you should be,” she said. 

The stress that students might have regarding the instant automatic message after a particular time to parents displays how this system could be using fear as a motivator for attendance.

However, the system seems to be working. According to weekly statistics latenesses have significantly decrease over time, proving the effectiveness of this stricter technological advancement. 

“Before the system, [latenesses] was averaging at about 90 to 100 a day now it’s gone down to 65, so it is working,” Ms. Castro said.

– by Neo Haralambou ’20 and Andriana Kourkoumelis ’20