A New York School District recently calculated the cost of the traditional, time-consuming method of attendance taking using scantrons. The district found that they are wasting half a billion dollars per year in teachers’ time. The potential new solution? An app that avoids the cumbersome pencil and scantron method of attendance taking, while simultaneously texting the parents of any absent students. Read below for excerpts from the www.convergemag.com article.
Automatic Text Messages
The mobile app allows teachers to easily mark each student as present, tardy or absent. It then automatically sends text messages to the parents of absent and tardy students, letting them know their child missed class. Kinvolved’s co-founders say they choose to deliver those messages via text, as opposed to email, since low-income residents may not be able to afford Internet access, but even the most inexpensive mobile phone can receive text messages.
Reduced Time = Reduced Cost
The app also dramatically reduces the time it takes for teachers to take attendance. Currently teachers use cumbersome Scantron forms, in which they use a pencil to mark “present,” “tardy” or “absent” next to the name of each student, each class period, every day. The forms aren’t sent to a central office until the following day, delaying the time it takes for parents to learn of absences, if they learn at all.
What’s Not To Like?
The group makes a compelling pitch: Teachers spend an average of 45 minutes per day on attendance taking. Based on the average teacher salary, that means the school system is paying each teacher $37.50 per day just to take attendance. Multiply that by every teacher, working every school day, and that means the school system is paying teachers more than half-a-billion dollars annually to take attendance. Kinvolved would cost New York schools an estimated $56 million to implement across the entire system, though that figure isn’t firm.
There’s no doubt that it would be beneficial for parents to know immediately of their student’s absences, and the new app would surely act as a deterrent to students skipping class. The fact that it saves time and money is a huge added bonus. What’s not to like? Read the full article here.