Poudre School District is testing out new technology in four schools this spring with a goal of making it quicker and easier to buy school meals.
PSD will evaluate a biometric finger-scanning pilot program between mid-April and May 25 to see if it makes the meal-purchasing process more efficient at Linton and Dunn elementary, Kinard middle, and Rocky Mountain High schools. Faster checkout times would help PSD to better implement the voter-approved free school meal program, which could yield an increase in meals served.
“With the passage of Proposition FF, we don’t yet know what to expect ahead of our 2023-24 school year launch, but we want to be ready to serve free meals to hundreds, if not thousands, of new student diners,” said PSD Director of Child Nutrition Craig Schneider. “We know that students and their families have many options when it comes to what they eat. The Child Nutrition Department is committed to offering not only the most nutritious options – many made from scratch with local ingredients – but also the fastest options so students can get the most out of their mealtimes.”
Hearing about a biometric-scanning pilot program may bring to mind images of Capt. Kirk and futuristic living aboard the starship Enterprise. PSD may not be part of the Star Trek universe but is home to this new tech.
Fast facts about PSD’s biometrics pilot program
- identiMetrics scanners will be placed next to the cafeteria’s current keyboards and will be integrated directly into PSD’s existing Point of Sale (POS) system.
- The use of scanners is intended to replace the current practice of keying in student ID numbers as students go through lunch lines. It takes about 2 seconds to scan a finger.
- This technology DOES NOT take or store a picture of users’ fingerprints. The computer software develops a grid of intersection points from the swirls and arcs of the scanned finger, creates a template showing the finger’s unique points, and converts the template into a binary number that is encrypted and stored. iPhone users know what this is like.
- The data collected will be maintained locally by PSD and NONE of the information is sent out externally/to the internet.
Additional resources from the scanner manufacturer
- More information about identiMetrics’ finger-scanning process:
Opting out – an option for families
- Families have the option to opt their students out of participation. Those families who wish to opt their students out will complete and return a form to school.
- Child Nutrition staff will indicate in the system that the student has been opted out, and the student will continue to key in their student ID number in lunch lines.
- The scanners will NOT work for students who have been opted out.
Evaluation will determine district-wide implementation
- We are committed to evaluating the success of this pilot against specific criteria.
- These criteria include evaluating how long it takes for students to go through lunch lines currently and then comparing this information to the length of time it takes with new technology (scanners) in use; considering the percentage of students who are opted out of participation; and evaluating the extent to which the accuracy of meal counts improves.
- If the pilot is successful, PSD will implement the use of this technology in cafeterias district-wide during the 2023-24 school year.
Have questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and a member of the pilot project team will follow up with you.