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Galt faculty, students discuss effectiveness of new digital hall pass and I.D. system

‘Minga” is the name of the Galt High digital ID system.

As the world continues to become more technologically advanced, Galt High School has followed suit by adopting a new digital program called Minga to handle its hall passes and student IDs.

How effective has this system been?

Despite some problems, teachers and students agreed the program is making life easier.

“I like the idea of the hall pass system,” senior Yocelin Sanchez Reyes said. “I think the ID part is cool too, because I can’t lose my ID if I have it on my phone, which is a plus.”

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GHS became aware of Minga when the company approached it through a mutual business partner, said assistant principal Alan Posey.

“We switched to (Minga) I think about two or three years ago,” Posey said. “They had partnered with this company (Lifetouch, which handles yearbook photos). So this company was like, ‘Hey can we show you guys what we do? And we’re like, ‘Sure.’ Then they showed that to us and we were like, ‘Whoa, that’s pretty cool.’ ”

What makes it cool, according to campus supervisor Chad Harper, is how much it allows the administration to keep track of all students who are out and about on campus.

“Minga itself is a really, really good concept,” Harper said. “It allows us to see who’s out of class at certain times (or) if we have students that are habitually out of class all the time, (and) it allows us to track how many minutes they’re out of class.”

Beyond being able to simply track individual students, the program also gives campus security an eagle’s-eye view of every single student who’s out at all times, Harper said.

“I can view all of the passes from my cell phone,” Harper said. “I can actually look on here and it’ll tell you where they’re coming from and how long they have left on their pass.”

The program also gives specific kinds of passes to students to better inform campus security, Harper said.

“Minga also allows teachers and students to make different kinds of passes,” Harper said. “They can make a pass to the office, they also have the ability to make passes to the nurse’s office, so you can actually see where people are heading to. Or for photography class (for instance), teachers can make an extended pass, so when we see 20 kids outside (we can check) and it’s like OK, they’re out here for a class.”

On top of the many different features Minga offers to students and teachers, it also keeps a vast record, Posey said, and “I can go look and pull up anyone that got a bathroom pass in December, or whatever dates you want.”

This record proves very useful in assessing students’ problems during parent-teacher conferences.

“The biggest way that it helps us is every week I or (principal Kellie) Beck or (assistant principal Gayle) Alvarado have to go to different parent-teacher conferences,” Posey said. “That’s one of the things I always bring up when we’re talking about why they’re failing these classes. And I bring up (for example) this guy went to the bathroom 86 times in November … so of course that’s not helping their F, right?”

One of the only problems with the system currently, Harper said, is making sure everyone’s using it.

“The biggest thing is just making sure that you know everybody is using it,” Harper said. “Because if 90% of people are using it and 10% aren’t then that can mess with the numbers. It’s tough for the teachers because they get busy. Sometimes they don’t have time to make a pass. Sometimes (they tell a student), ‘Hey make a pass,’ and you know kids are kids and (only) some of them will make the pass.”

Advanced Placement government teacher Jason Burgin said the system is underutilized.

“The access to be able to create passes is super simple,” Burgin said. “It’s just whether or not people are doing it or holding everybody to a standard of tracking your students. So if no one is tracking and there’s no repercussions, it’s a great toy that we’re not using.”

To combat this, it comes down to staff discipline, Burgin said.

“You’ve got to be willing to discipline your staff,” Burgin said. “So as an administrator, going through and checking to see (for example) like these 10 students were out today and none of them got a pass, so what period were they out? Then move in on that teacher and write them up for failure to adequately supervise their students. So if you’re not willing to come down on teachers for accountability, and you’re not going to support the teachers when students are clearly in violation, then we’re continuing the insanity.”

Burgin said that, while the system has few small bumps to be worked out, it’s still a great tool that ultimately will be positive for GHS, Burgin said.

“Ultimately, it’s the few that make the system look bad,” Burgin said. “If everyone’s using Minga militantly, it’s a perfect system between teacher’s ease and campus security.”

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About the Contributor
Josh Cullers, Reporter
I am a senior at Galt High School.
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