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New 5-Star Students hall pass system at Los Al

What is the goal for the new hall pass system, and how does it operate?
Kalea Davies
The 5-Star Student program in Ms. Troutman’s, an ASL teacher at Los Al, classroom.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — The new 5-Star Students Hall Pass system officially started piloting at Los Alamitos High School on Monday, Feb 5. This semester, departments in Los Al were asked to volunteer to participate in the pilot. The world language, science, and math departments all decided to take part, and a designated Chromebook was placed inside their classrooms to monitor when students leave and return to class. 

The company that Los Al is working with to install this system is called 5-Star Students. The program is a web-based platform that is available to help administrators encourage student participation in school activities and events.

“Public research has proven there is a strong correlation between involvement in school activities and student achievement (better attendance, less discipline issues, and higher GPA),” said Heidi Slagill, the Director of Client Relations at 5-Star Students. “The program continues to grow as schools use it for different functions.”

Greg Hroch and Brian Bourgeois are the co-founders of 5-Star Students. Together they developed a website and app to help schools keep track of participation by scanning ID cards. The program can aid with tracking student behavior, surveys and voting, emergency check-ins, intervention attendance, and digital hall passes.

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“The 5-Star Students that schools use today is a finely tuned and updated version of where it began years ago, but the core of our program stems from assisting schools reach uninvolved students and help them feel a part of their school,” Slagill said.

How does this system work?

When students need to leave the classroom, all they have to do is scan the barcode on their ID cards with the scanner attached to the Chromebook, and scan it again when they return. When the ID is scanned, either a green or red line appears on the screen. 

The red line indicates that the student will have to wait a few minutes until another student returns to class, and the green line indicates that the student is permitted to leave. There is a limited number of students across campus who can be outside of class at a time, so if that number is met, the student will not be allowed to leave. 

Students are required to have their ID if they want to leave the classroom. If a student has lost their ID, they can get a new one printed, free of charge, in the Activities Office until Feb 16. After that, new ID cards will go back to costing $10.

“Eventually, there is going to be a deadline, so I encourage all students to bring their ID cards with them everyday. If they don’t have an ID card, if they’ve lost or misplaced it, [they should] go get a new one from the Activities Office,” said Mr. Bowen, Assistant Principal of Student Services.

What is the purpose of the system? 

The program’s objective is to offer a practical method of issuing and keeping track of hall passes. When students scan the barcode, their name, the amount of time they are out of class, and how many times they leave daily is recorded in the system’s data.

Knowing this data can enhance school safety, boost academic performance, and reduce instances of system abuse. When there are emergency situations at school, knowing how many students are outside of classrooms can allow the school to find and identify students in an efficient way.

Since the amount of passes issued at a certain time will be regulated by the system, it can minimize the amount of learning time lost and the regularity of students missing class.

“I believe that the checkout system isn’t a bad idea because it isn’t too much of an inconvenience, and it helps the school to better monitor student activity,” said Ian MacRae, a freshman at Los Al.

According to teachers on campus, there has been a shift in the amount of times students are going out to use the restroom since the system has been put into place.

“I think students are being a little bit more aware of when they’re out of the classroom, and they’re becoming more focused on getting classwork done,” said Ms. Harvey, a teacher at Los Al whose students are using the system. “[The system] has already lessened the amount of students who are leaving class during the period.”

Hopefully, the 5-Star Students system will continue to improve student attendance and become the new norm at Los Al.

This story was originally published on Griffin Gazette on February 13, 2024.