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Philadelphia Public Schools has issued contactless ID cards that automatically verify free/reduced lunch status as well as proof of attendance and identity to all 56,000 students in its 60 high schools

Philadelphia Public Schools has issued contactless ID cards that automatically verify free/reduced lunch status as well as proof of attendance and identity to all 56,000 students in its 60 high schools. The cards, from ScholarChip Card, LLC, had been piloted for 18 months at a pair of middle schools. Eventually, the system plans to enable the cards to serve as a debit vehicle for cafeteria purchases as well as verifying eligibility for reduced-price meals. Currently, however, the primary purpose of the cards is to take attendance and track the movement of students. The smart ID badge, which is either hung around the neck on a lanyard or carried in a pocket or purse, is tapped on a reader when a student enters school grounds. Attendance is subsequently also taken in the classroom in the normal fashion (it was determined that installing readers in each classroom to take attendance automatically was too expensive) and the results compared with the records generated by the entry reader. The cards contain the student’s picture, class schedule and any special health needs and they can be read by portable, PDA-style readers, allowing teachers or administrators to quickly determine where a student should be if there is any question.

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