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ScholarChip brings NFC to Philadelphia schools

The student ID card provider has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia and ACS to combine NFC phones, contactless student ID cards and transportation passes with the aim of cutting costs, creating a safer and more efficient student transit service and providing parents and staff with accurate student location information.

School bus

SCHOLARCHIP: 'A student's wallet, keys and various other cards and tickets can all be consolidated into one secure token'

Student ID card provider ScholarChip has announced a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and ACS Transport Solutions Group that will see student ID cards being integrated with student transit cards used on the Septa (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) network.

The service is also designed to assist in truancy reduction, by allowing school district staff and security personnel to check students’ ID with NFC phones and providing parents with mobile phone apps that let them track the location of their children.

The new system will see ScholarChip providing a real-time interface between its student identification and attendance platform and the new contactless public transport readers being implemented by ACS for Septa, allowing students to use their ID cards as bus or subway passes on the Septa transportation network.

ScholarChip’s existing Philadelphia School District system manages building attendance and security and automated classroom attendance, as well as “discipline events”. The new service, says the company, will also “do away with paper student bus passes — a cumbersome manual system which is estimated to require the services of half a full-time employee for each school in the Philadelphia district.”

“Beyond simply reducing the time and resources that Philadelphia School District employees must dedicate to the current student fare card system, ScholarChip technologies have the potential to create a safer, more efficient system for student transit — eliminating duplicate cards and enabling parents, teachers and school district staff to receive accurate information on a student’s location,” the company adds.

ScholarChip first added NFC capabilities to its School Safety and Operations (SSOS) platform in March 2012.

SSOS includes applications for taking attendance in classrooms and on school buses, monitoring hall traffic and ticketing for extracurricular events. Until now, the platform has required school administrators to use dedicated devices to read ScholarChip “tokens”. The addition of support for Android NFC phones, the company says, creates “an integrated experience for both students and teachers”:

A student travels to school in the morning simply by tapping her token against an NFC phone on the school bus, or a contactless reader on the public bus or at the subway turnstile.

When she gets to school, she can then check in at an entry kiosk, allowing teachers and administrators to know that she has arrived safely. In her various classes, she registers attendance against a kiosk or an NFC phone, generating an attendance record for that class.

At lunch, she can use her token to register attendance in the cafeteria or tap her card against a point-of-sale reader to pay for a meal or snack.

For special events, such as sports games and concerts, a school attendant can use an NFC phone to monitor entry by authorized students. A student’s wallet, keys and various other cards and tickets can all be consolidated into one secure token, which teachers and administrators can now read using Android phones.

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