Watertown Schools Piloting New System for School Visitors, Student Pickups

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Watertown Middle School

The Watertown Public Schools are going high tech to keep track of visitors, and to make sure student are being picked up by those who are allowed to do so.

This week, Watertown Middle School started using the Raptor Visitor Management System, which enters visitors into a computer system and can also check criminal and custody databases. Jason DelPotro, Watertown Middle School assistant principal and chair of the district’s Critical Incident Team, gave the School Committee an overview of the new program Monday night.

Prior to the use of the computer system, the Watertown schools used the old fashion clipboard sheet to have people sign in and out when visiting campuses. Now, people will have to show a driver’s license and have it scanned into the system. The computer will then create a paper visitor ID, DelPotro said.

“Each person will be issued an ID with a date stamp, time and destination where they are going in the school,” DelPotro said.

The system will collect the person’s date of birth, photo and a partial driver’s license number. If someone does not have an ID, they can be entered into the system manually, DelPorto said. Once someone is in the system, he or she does not have to give their ID again.

The system works a bit differently for people picking up a student.

“If someone is picking up a student they need to be in the system, but they are not given a badge,” DelPotro said.

Raptor can be linked up to check whether visitors are on the sex offender list or if a family member, or other person, has a restraining order against seeing a child and gives details of custody agreements, DelPotro said.

The system will also make it easier to keep track of people in the building during an emergency, DelPotro said. Everyone will be in the computer and can be accounted for afterward.

When people have completed their visit, DelPotro said, they need to return to the office to turn in their badge.

School Committee member Eileen Hsu-Balzer wondered how they can keep track of that.

“Buildings have many doors,” Hsu-Balzer said. “I can see people just leaving and not think it is a big deal to return their badge.”

Superintendent Dede Galdston said the schools must emphasize that people have to enter and leave through the main entrance.

After Raptor is tested at the Middle School, it will then be installed at Hosmer School, and then the system will be evaluated, DelPotro said. It will be rolled out at the other schools by the end of November, he added.

See more about the Raptor Visitor Management System in the Watertown Schools by clicking here.

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