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By Industry: School Multipurpose ID

Student badges can be simple photo IDs with a bar code to double as a library card, or they can incorporate more advanced features such as magnetic stripe technology. Regardless of the direction your school is taking, it's worth learning about all the possible options.

Today’s learning centers can benefit greatly from using ID cards to streamline the process of managing students and staff. The possible uses for card printing technology are virtually unlimited – especially with the advent of smart card chips. Buying an ID card printer is a wise long term investment for any school since additional modules and software can be added over time as funds become available.

Issuing cards at the point of registration allows you to immediately begin tracking student attendance and eliminates the risk of ID cards getting lost in the mail. Student badges can be simple photo IDs with a bar code to double as a library card, or they can incorporate more advanced features such as magnetic stripe technology. The Datacard SP25 is a perfect entry level printer for both of these applications. First, it combines full color printing and rewritable technology in one cost effective unit. Users have the ability to print a permanent photo ID on one surface of the card and update relevant student information on the rewritable side as needed. This is very convenient and cuts the cost of purchasing new card stock substantially. Second, the machine can be modified to include a three track magnetic stripe encoder for HiCo cards and LoCo cards. Various types of data can be loaded onto mag stripe cards so that a swipe through the appropriate reader will do any of the following:

  • Apprise teachers of current grade levels, attendance records, and disciplinary issues for each student
  • Display parent/guardian emergency contact information
  • Let the school nurse know of any allergies a child has or authorized medications that are prescribed
  • Be used in the cafeteria to purchase lunches (underprivileged students can have meal vouchers loaded onto the card to avoid potential embarrassment)
  • Track student eligibility for special programs including extracurricular activities
  • Add up reward points earned through library reading programs

For very young students, cards can be kept at the school and issued/collected each day by staff. Older children and teens will enjoy keeping their cards on hand and using them to check out books or purchase healthy snacks from on site vending machines. Parents can pre-load such cards with a set allowance each week so that kids can learn to use basic math skills for real life budgeting.

Letting teens get involved in your card making process can increase compliance with wearing the resulting badges. Intuitive formatting software such as the ID Works Intro pack is easy to use and students can help design colorful member cards for their various clubs and sports teams. Kids who are taking part in fundraising activities will be proud to display these cards at their next car wash or bake sale. Student IDs also allow teachers to keep track of their charges during field trips and other events. Remember to issue break-away safety lanyards to all children who will be wearing these badges. Want to increase your student’s sense of team spirit? Our online design tool lets you choose all your lanyard features, add text, and even upload a logo of your school mascot to be printed on custom lanyards in the colors of your choice.

Staff can also access cafeteria and vending functions through their ID cards and you can use the same technology to track payroll for all school employees. Teachers may wish to load class schedules and curriculum overviews onto smart chipped cards to help keep everything organized. Proximity key cards provide staff with access to teacher’s lounges, offices, supply rooms, and other areas that are off limits to students. Smart chip encoding technology is available on many of our printers including the Tango +L by Magicard which offers a built in laminator to prolong the lifespan of each card.

Parents may be especially interested in the benefits of smart card technology that allows their children to log on to the internet via school computers that have strict boundaries in place to curtail inappropriate use. Requiring students to swipe magnetic stripe attendance cards for after school activities like band and sports practice can also let parents know that their kids are where they are supposed to be. Your school might also consider using its card printer to issue child safety cards to parents. These cards include a current photo, height, weight, hair color and fingerprint information for the police to use in case a child goes missing.

Visitors should wear visible identification at all times to increase school security. You can issue these with school badge holders and clips for a cheap and effective method of display. Always have a clearly posted policy in place stating that guests must obtain an ID before accessing school property. This allows you to reasonably request a driver’s license be presented at the front desk during the card creation process; you can then use card reading software to check the license against state records of known sex offenders. Keeping students safe is a top priority in every school, so investing in this equipment is good for your school’s image and beneficial for your relationships with parents in the community.


For more information about how printed plastic cards can help your school manage students, staff and visitors, contact our experienced sales team.

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