If you’re looking for a way to increase school security, improve processes and encourage a positive environment, implementing badges for students and staff is a simple and effective solution that doesn’t require as much time and money as you may think.
Here’s a look at everything you need to create an in-house badge program that’s tailored to your school’s needs, including must-have equipment, best practices, and insight into the roles a badge can play in your school’s environment.
Why Schools Should Use a Badge Program
There are a lot of reasons to consider implementing a badge program at your school, both for students and staff. Some of them include:
Increased security for students and staff. The very nature of many school campuses means that people are coming and going at all times of the day, making it difficult to keep track of who should be there and who shouldn’t. Visitor badges, staff badges and student badges are great ways to make it easier for security personnel to quickly identify if someone unauthorized has found their way somewhere they aren’t supposed to be.
Make visitors stand out on campus. Color-coded badges are helpful in identifying visitors — like prospective students and their families, substitute teachers, or special guests — so that established staff and students can help them feel welcome and answer questions they may have.
Easily track attendance, meal plans and more. Barcodes and RFID chips help streamline established processes and create new, better ways for students to access needed information and technology. Badges can be used to track attendance, pay for meals in the cafeteria and even store schedule information. RFID especially is a safe, secure way to allow cards to “talk” to readers and communicate important information, all without risking data.
Promote a positive environment. Badges with photos and names included make it easy for students to identify each other and their teachers, so even the most shy members of the community can feel confident striking up conversations with each other. Plus, branded lanyards and badges increase school spirit and make everyone feel like they belong.
Streamline everyday processes. Badges make it easy to enable automation and payments via student ID numbers in barcodes or RFID. These can be used in cafeterias, libraries, merchants and vending.
Create a secure parking lot. A secure parking lot is the first line of defense for school security. Staff and students who drive to school can use their badges for access to school lots. If you have specific lots that people can and can’t use, color-coded badges can help support those processes.
What’s in a Badge Program?
Creating a school-focused badge program is actually much easier than you might think, and it can be tailored to exactly what your school needs. An in-house badge program gives you the ability to print ID badges on demand for visitors, new students and rotating staff like substitute teachers. Plus, you can design the badges to match your school’s colors and branding, which helps promote a unified and professional appearance.
To create an in-house badge program, you just need a few key pieces of equipment, including:
1. An ID Card Printer. An ID card printer is a must-have piece of equipment. Reliable and easy to use, printers are available for every budget and school size.
2. Ink Ribbon. Depending on your ID card needs, you can choose between color, clear and monochrome ribbons that print from edge to edge. Whatever you decide, make sure you pick a compatible ribbon for your printer brand.
3. Blank ID Cards. Blank plastic cards for desktop card printers are typically made from either 100% PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or a composite mixture of PVC and PET (polyethylene terephthalate). For typical printing without lamination, a PVC card or 100% PVC card makes the most sense. If you’re going to use lamination, composite PVC/PET (also known as 60/40 cards) will work best.
4. Laminate and Overlays.Lamination protects your ID cards and keeps them looking nice, even with the rough handling that can be typical of students. Overlays are the right choice when you need to retransfer multiple images.
5. Software and Camera. ID printing software allows you to design your badges and print to your card printer from any typical desktop computer. If you’ve decided to include photos on your IDs, you’ll also need a camera.
6. Clips and Lanyards. Schools benefit from badges that are worn as lanyards, since they are highly visible on a large and constantly moving student body. Custom-printed lanyards can even have your school’s motto or name on them.
Enhance Your School’s Community With School Badges
Whether you’re looking to increase security or school spirit, badges are a smart way to create the exact type of environment you’re hoping for. An in-house badge program gives you a level of control over the design, format and use of badges that is hard to come by with third party vendors.
If you want to streamline processes or increase security, adding an RFID chip or barcode is a smart solution. These pieces of technology can also allow you to track important information like attendance, which is useful as part of day-to-day operations and in the case of an emergency.
Color-coded badges are effective in allowing staff to identify people, like prospective students or special guests, and they provide them with support and a friendly smile. Including your school’s motto or colors also makes everyone feel like a part of the community — and that kind of school spirit can be priceless when it comes to making students and staff comfortable.
Start your school year off the right way with the latest in printers, badges and resources.