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New SmartPass system for students draws high marks at Malden High School

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MHS is one of 25 schools in Massachusetts now using the new system; In Malden, it may expand districtwide

  Do not buy any more stock in 3M Co. until we see how this all pans out. But from the looks of it, the instant success of a new, digital system called SmartPass may one day put a dent in sales of one of 3M ‘s marquee products: Post-It Notes.

  Malden High School has joined 25 other schools across the state in starting a new Hall Pass system that replaces the age-old written paper pass.

  The SmartPass system was featured in a Boston Globe story over this past weekend, with Malden High School highlighted.

    Nationwide, an estimated 500,000 students are now using the SmartPass system in over 600 schools. So far, the reviews have been positive on both sides of the exchange.

    In Malden, Principal Chris Mastrangelo said he and the administrative team and staff have been more than pleased with the new system. He said a number of students who have expressed opinions about SmartPass to him and the MHS staff have mostly all been receptive to the change and positive about it.

     ““What we’re looking at is how long, how many times, and how often a kid is leaving the classroom; whether it’s for bathroom pass, hallway pass, nurse pass, or going to another teacher,” Mastrangelo said.

    “When we’re talking about our school, which has over 1,800 students, that adds up to a lot of passes, a lot of information needed to have people go back-and-forth,” the sixth-year Malden High School principal added.

    The new SmartPass system also is efficient and helpful in monitoring students who are tardy in the morning, a process which formerly had administrative assistants tied up for unwieldy amounts of time to start each school day.

    Since the start-of-school launch of SmartPass, that time has been lessened considerably, namely with the use of the digital passes.

      The main goal of the SmartPass use is to monitor and ultimately, reduce the time spent out of class.  Before SmartPass, there was no accurate way to even guess how many times a student may have received a pass to leave a class, for any reason.

     With SmartPass, administrators now have an exact look at how many students may be out of class at any one specific time, how many times an individual student has been issued a digital pass — and for how long.

    “We are not tracking students and there is no GPS element,” Mastrangelo said, “We are in no way using this information or planning on using it to punish any students because of this digital data.

    “It has been another tool for our team to use when discussing ways students can improve their academic performance,” Mastrangelo said. “It all starts with class time and stressing its importance to our students. The SmartPass system has already become an important part of our school culture.”

    At a recent Malden School Committee meeting, Malden Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ligia Noriega-Murphy praised the SmartPass system for its efficiency and the Malden High School administrative team for overseeing its use so far this school year.

     The Superintendent also said the system is being considered for use districtwide in all five of the K-8 schools for at least the middle schools for the 2023-24 school year.

‘CREATE PASS’ Now and Future: Using SmartPass, teachers and administrators issue digital passes each time a student leaves the classroom. (Courtesy/Malden Public Schools)
SmartPass includes the classroom or office the student originated in, where they are going, what time the pass was issued and what time it expired. (Courtesy Photo)

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