E-Hall Pass Continues Next School Year


Photo by Rachel Schneeberg

Nathan Hammond, founder of e-hallpass, demonstrating the app.

Written by Rachel Schneeberg

This fall, the talk of Woodgrove strayed from its usual gossip about social lives and sports into something unexpected – e-hallpass. Woodgrove began using the online system this year as a way for administrators to provide hallway permission for students, causing controversy among students and faculty.  

E-hallpass allows administrators to track hallway activity, give students accountability, and ensure security in case of emergencies. Any time students want to leave class, they must fill out a short form via any web browser about their intended location and where they currently are. When they leave the classroom, students click a button which then tracks the amount of time it takes until they are pinned in by the following teacher.  

On March 1st, 2019, Woodgrove reached 60,000 e-hallpasses for the school year. Many teachers have expressed approval toward the product because it allows them to track student activity while they are outside of class, limiting those who abuse hall passes. “The accountability is good,” said English teacher Wes Dick.  

On the other hand, students tend to dislike the pass system for various reasons. Some believe it causes an excessive amount of work. Sophomore Matt Cook said, “I don’t like the e-hallpass because it is too tedious, and half the teachers don’t even follow through with it anyway,” referencing how some teachers allow students to leave class without filling out a pass.  

Junior Katherin Gomez adds, “I find e-hallpass to be useless because kids still manage to skip class and get away with it.”

Despite opposing views from teachers and students, activity coordinator Jeff Schutte has confirmed a definite continuation of the program in coming years at Woodgrove.  “I was really trying to answer the question from the staff, ‘how do we make (the pass system) more reliable and less work on the staff?’ and I think we’ve done that. There are adults and kids who are unhappy about pretty much anything you try. You can’t have something that everyone’s going to love.”

According to Shutte, schools in Loudoun County such as Willard Intermediate and J.L Simpson Middle have announced an implementation of e-hallpass in their schools for the 2019-2020 year. Many others in the county are still considering it.

On March 26th, the executive director of Eduspire (the company behind e-hall pass), Nathan Hammond, and relationship manager of Eduspire, Andy Rishel, came to eat lunch at Woodgrove. They discussed e-hallpass with staff, and emphasized how appreciative the company is of constructive criticism from users.   

“We like to come visit schools because we get to listen and know what to develop next… This spring an app is coming out, and we can start using it (in schools),”  says Nathan. Many students choose to use e-hallpass via their phones because it is convenient, so the upcoming app will save time; something users have suggested.

Hammond is aware that many people are wary of the product since it is an advanced system. He uses an interesting analogy to explain the program’s value. “Have you ever thought about how crazy it is that in the 21st century there’s still an 18th century carrier pigeon being used? E-hall pass is giving us an option to modernize that. The school culture has to grow into it,” he said.