Science Department Pilots New e-hallpass System

Before being implemented school-wide at a to be determined date, the e-hallpass system is being piloted through science classes.


courtesy of e-hallpass

This is an example of Mr. Libuit’s pass history. Student names have been blocked out.

This fall at Dominion, science teachers have been piloting a new hallway pass system, called an e-hallpass, an electronic pass system found on LCPS GO. Woodgrove piloted the program last year, and is now a county-wide program this year.

The E-pass system being implemented school-wide is the current plan, but the original idea of it going school-wide at the start of the 2nd quarter has been abandoned.

“Last year there were too many people in the hallways during class,” assistant principal Monika Vereb said. 

“On the student side of things, you guys would get a dashboard, you would have specific locations, pre loaded like the main office, nurse, bathroom, etc.  And you’d also have a list of your own teachers,” said Theresa Eastman, the instructional technology facilitator. “It’s not a hard program. It’s a hard sell.”

“When you first leave your phone will be green, then as your time runs out your screen will turn yellow and then red when your time is up,” Vereb said.

Administrators and security officers within the school can also see the students’ hall pass destinations and the amount of time spent outside of class, and can use this information to help them. Assistant Principal Jamie Braxton said, “Let’s say a student is struggling, and we realize they’re leaving every class, every day, for 15 minutes. That might be why they’re struggling.” Teachers may also deny passes requested during their class themselves if they notice that a student is spending too much time out of the classroom.

“It’s not something that we would use unless we were trying to find out when students might need some intervention,” Braxton said, indicating students need not worry about being spied on or getting in trouble unnecessarily.

“You can put up office markers. So if the library is filled up and they can’t take anybody else, you won’t be able to make a pass,” Eastman said. This kind of automation will hopefully ease confusion and allow teachers to communicate efficiently without having to meet face to face or write notes.

This push to create a more streamlined and secure hall pass system was partly motivated by research conducted by math teacher Kathy Kaplan. During the spring of 2018, Kaplan observed the hallways at Dominion to determine the number of students in the halls during class periods throughout the day, as part of a project for a post graduate class she was then attending. “We had a team of teachers, and we were stationed around the school. During each period, during class time, we would count how many students were in the hallway. And we would ask them, ‘Why are you out here?’” Kaplan said.

“If a kid is out during a lockdown, and is pulled into a classroom, the teacher they’re with can verify, ‘Yes, I got them,’”  Instructional Facilitator for Technology Theresa Eastman said. This feature helps ensure that no student is unaccounted for or put in danger because they were out of the classroom at the time of an emergency.

While many students had legitimate reasons, such as going to the bathroom or going to the library to print something out, a large number responded with answers such as “I’m just wandering because I’m bored,” or “I’m going to go meet my friends,” according to Kaplan.