The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

From plastic to digital

Park implements electronic passes
Lucas Tangleson
Freshman Elmi Mohamud uses Parks current hallway pass to walk to the bathroom March 1. Park plans on switching to electronic passes in the near future.

Currently, Park depends on physical passes given to each teacher, and students can use them during class time, besides the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes of class. These neon pink passes with the teacher’s name and room number have been in place at Park for several months. However, Park plans on piloting a new pass system through an application called Smart Pass. These passes eliminate the contact of students asking teachers to use the pass face-to-face. Students will be able to request them online instead.

According to principal LaNisha Paddock, these new electronic passes will provide teachers with a lot more resources, such as being able to track the students’ time. She said the new passes will also help the student-teacher communication and be more efficient.

“It allows a lot of better communication with regards to passes; it allows us to know where our students are at any given moment without having to write out a pass,” Paddock said. “It’ll save time for everybody, and there are a lot of features, like tracking time.”

According to social studies teacher Micheal Nordean, Park isn’t able to know yet if the passes are going to be beneficial or not. He said these passes are new to everyone so we don’t know what is going to happen with them.

“It’s too soon to tell,” Nordean said. “While it could be an efficiency benefit, we don’t know what it’ll create once we institute it because we’ve never tried it.”

Junior Ashley Berry said using electronic passes would help students not anxiously wait for a pass and attempt to get it before anyone else can, but the school’s unreliable wifi and the possibility of a student not having a Chromebook with them could limit them from the ability to use the digital passes.

“The ability to switch to online passes will be very good for us because we don’t have to worry about jumping on a pass as soon as it comes back,” Berry said. “The only thing I worry about is how we would access the passes because the internet on our phones is very spotty throughout the school, so if you ever were to forget your computer, you would be restricted from using passes.”

Paddock said this new pass system would address the growing issue of the passes being misused. She said the administration wants the students to be in the classroom while still being able to use the bathroom.

“We always say the best place for a student is the classroom. We want them to be able to have access to the bathroom in efficient ways,” Paddock said. “When (passes are) being misused, we have ways to be able to address it.”

Nordean said he supports anything that helps the school. According to him, if the passes help teachers and students use passes more efficiently, that’s good, as long as the passes are beneficial for everyone.

“I would be in favor of anything that simplifies the process,” said Nordean. “If the process is simplified, I’m all for it.”

According to Paddock, these changes will enhance students’ learning and allow them to stay safe. She said school classrooms are where students belong during their school days, and passes restrict classroom attendance.

“Ideally, our intent is always student-centered ways to maximize instruction. There’s really no learning that’s happening outside of the classroom — all the learning is taking place in the classroom,” Paddock said. “That’s where we want students to be. Everything that we do, all these processes that we put into place and expectations placed on students, are to make sure that they’re getting all of their instructional time.”

According to Berry, the digital passes could help track the time a student is gone, but this is an extra feature that isn’t needed. If a student is skipping class, the pass will most likely be gone for the whole period, which makes it simple to keep track of who’s using it to skip.

“Electronic passes would allow an easier way to time the pass being gone, but most of the time, I find it unnecessary,” said Berry. “Usually, if a pass is used to skip class for an extended period, it tends to be gone for the whole class period, so it’s pretty easy to track.”

Nordean said communication between students and teachers still needs to be strong, and students shouldn’t be able to just leave the class.

“There still has to be some acknowledgement from the teacher. A kid shouldn’t just be able to get up and leave,” said Nordean. “There has to be some sort of process as to how that happens.”

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Ruby Viot
Ruby Viot, Photo Editor
Hey everybody, I'm Ruby!!! I'm a junior and this is my first year on Echo. In my free time you can catch me hanging out with Abby Bartleson (she's the best) or drinking matcha. I love listening to music (Brent Faiyaz and SZA are my favorites right now) and hanging out with my friends whenever I can.

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