WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — With as many as 250 students a day showing up late to class at Wilby High School, leaders are trying a new strategy — tracking attendance through biometrics.

Leaders said they piloted a new software system at Duggan Elementary School last year. Now, they’re expanding the technology to the high school level, where more students are responsible for attending school.  

“[This new technology] not only expediates getting kids into classrooms faster, but it expediates our ability to have our counselors meet with our kids right away,” Wilby High School Principal Michelle Baker said.

Under the IdentiMetrics system, any student who arrives after 7:20 a.m. is considered late. They then have to choose between scanning their finger, typing in their identification code, or telling a counselor their name to get a late pass. It will also include instructions on meeting with school leaders.

That pass is printed and timestamped. It’ll tell students where to go and how often they’ve been late.

“It is not a fingerprint, it is a pulse scan, which actually creates a barcode based on your pulse, and that is what’s matched to your student,” Baker said.

Ligia Ramos, one of the school’s attendance counselors, said this system is more efficient than the previous handwritten process. 

“I was not able to perform my home visits,” Ramos said. “I had to work mostly [at the school], like almost half a day just putting tardies and changing attendance. So, I did not have my hands on it.”

In addition, Baker said the technology improves security by tracking who is in the building during an emergency. 

The software also protects students’ identity without saving fingerprints.  

Baker said leaders want students to understand better the importance of being in school.  

“Our goal is to make sure that our school environment is a place where kids want to come to schools,” Baker said. “And if we create that environment for our students, they’ll not only want to be here more — they’re going to want to be here on time, and they’re going to be more successful.”  

Now with kids heading back to school and getting dropped off, it’s important to stay vigilant on the roads. Below are some quick tips for you:

  • When entering a school zone: Slow down, always obey speed limits, traffic signs and crossing guards
  • Be alert for children getting on and off school buses and crossing the street outside of marked crosswalks.
  • Maintain a safe distance behind buses and expect frequent stops