Next month, Arlington Public Schools is set to roll out a new, electronic campus management platform at a number of middle and high schools.
The goal is to improve building security and provide better oversight of students as they come and go from classrooms.
Kenmore, Dorothy Hamm, Gunston and Thomas Jefferson middle schools, as well as Wakefield, Washington-Liberty and Yorktown high schools, will adopt the app and web-based platform Minga, says APS spokesman Frank Bellavia.
The platform provides hall passes and monitors students coming in and going out of buildings to ensure that only students are in the school, Bellavia said. Schools can limit the number of students in the halls at one time and limit the number of passes per student, per day.
This comes as APS has separately upped its budget for safety and security measures, including school safety coordinators, security cameras and other technological upgrades pertaining to safety. That comes amid reports of student drug use, for which some teachers say skipping class is partly to blame, and nearly a dozen juvenile overdoses in Arlington this year.
Students can download Minga to their smartphone or use it on their laptop or tablet. The platform issues digital IDs with scannable barcodes and digital passes, which would replace physical ID cards and paper passes.
“I see it as a tool to help me get better safety and security and to help things run more safely and smoothly,” he said. “My experience is that it has been… well-accepted by staff.”
Kenmore piloted an e-pass system last year and, when Balas arrived in Arlington, principals were discussing whether to adopt such a system. That is when he suggested Minga.
Minga notifies teachers of students who are out of class and can ensure certain students are not in the hallways at the same time — if they tend to break school rules when together. It tracks trends over time, such as overall time spent out of class and passes issued or students who spent the most time not in class and where they went.
Balas would like to see students scan their IDs to enter school buildings, too, so staff know who is in the building before they take attendance. He said it also can help staff track down and follow-up with students who arrive at school but ditch class or leave mid-day.
“[But] for me, one of the most important things, from safety standpoint, is that it basically would prevent anyone who doesn’t go to school from trying to get in,” Balas said.
Earlier this year, Wakefield was placed in lockdown after reports of a trespasser, possibly armed with a gun, and a threat against a student.
“Almost every period, we have comings and goings in the school,” he continued. “It will also help us keep track of all that movement and make sure access is secure and legitimate.”
When asked how this might interfere with building-level “Away for the Day” policies — in which phones are required to be off and stored during school hours — Bellavia said students can request passes from their tablets or laptops.
Balas says he does not think this will interfere with Wakefield’s mobile phone policy.
Administrators and security staff are in the first wave of training on the new system and teachers will soon follow.
“I was purposeful not wanting to inundate [teachers] when we aren’t ready to launch yet,” Balas said. “I’m hoping in the next month or so to have it fully up and running but it is something where I have to take the temperature of everyone and make sure it doesn’t overwhelm people.”
Minga will cost around $50,000 to roll out, Bellavia said.
There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon has closed permanently. The “West Coast-inspired” restaurant at 3033 Wilson Blvd, noted for its expansive…
There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…
Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.
Two Arlington County Sheriff’s Office deputies prevented a near-fatal opioid overdose in the lobby of the county courthouse yesterday morning. The individual, a member of the public and not an…
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.