Hilo, Hawaii Elementary School Uses

identiMetrics Biometric ID Management™ 


Written by:                                                                              Average Reading Time:

identiMetrics Staff                                                                2 minutes and 16 seconds


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Waiakea Elementary School is located in Hilo, Hawaii and is one of 288 schools in the School District of Hawaii, the 10th largest school district in the United States. Hawaii first established its school system in 1840 by King Kamehameha III and is the oldest public school system west of the Mississippi River. Waiakea Elementary School has 850 students from kindergarten through 5th grade. David Dinkle is the Vice Principal and is responsible for a smooth running lunch program.

The Challenges

“We were using meal tickets with bar codes and ID numbers to identify the students at lunch time. The card and number system just wasn’t working very well. Even though the teachers handed out the cards right before lunch, believe it or not, students still lost the cards.

The students also shared cards. Sometimes, cards were double scanned and accounts were double charged. When we used ID numbers, there were errors as well. The cashiers are doing several things at once so it was easy for them to make mistakes. We had depleted accounts, angry parents and wasted resources since we were making new laminated cards every day. 


With finger scanning,

our students zip through

the lunch lines super quickly.   


Our second problem was with the lunch lines, especially in the beginning of the school year. The lunch lines were so long and slow that one lunch carried over into the next lunch. Many children didn’t have time to eat. They weren’t getting a whole meal, didn’t have any recess, wasted food and were late going back to class. The cashiers would get flustered and that created even more errors. We definitely needed a better system. 

The Solution

We learned about biometric finger scanning. Not only would we have the speed and accuracy that we required, but we would be able to save time and money by eliminating the card system. Students will never forget their fingers!

identiMetrics is the leader in biometric ID management in schools. They work with any cafeteria application that uses cards or PINs. They know schools and how to implement biometrics in schools. And most importantly, they specialize in finger scanning ID for young children. identiMetrics works with our kindergarteners, every day.

identiMetrics scans a student’s finger for identification. The system can operate in a single lunch line or provide identification throughout an entire school district. There’s an added bonus: once the system is installed in the cafeteria, it can be used to identify students in other areas of the school like classroom attendance, library, nurse’s office and for security at the front door since the students are already enrolled in the ID system. We use the Meal Tracker™ point of sale system in the cafeteria and it works perfectly with the identiMetrics system.

How's it Working?

It’s working beautifully! Our cashiers have mastered the program. The Principal was very supportive. Parent response has been excellent. And the students think it’s really cool. Initially, there were questions regarding privacy. But we explained to parents that the system doesn’t take an actual fingerprint, just unique identifying points. It’s certainly more private than a picture and a name on a lost card or someone punching in a wrong PIN. Everyone felt comfortable that the fingerprints can’t be recreated. 

Hawaii Department of Ed logo

In foodservice, seconds count. Our goal is to make sure every student has a nutritious and enjoyable lunch with plenty of time for recess. We also have to make sure that our students’ accounts are accurate and secure.

Using identiMetrics as part of our cafeteria point-of-sale is doing just that. Our food service operation has really improved. In fact, the cafeteria is empty for about 10 minutes before the next lunch. Our students are zipping through the lunch lines super quickly. identiMetrics works!”






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