Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Locker System Lightens Students' Loads

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Locker System Lightens Students' Loads

Article excerpt

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Noah Kaplan's backpack, filled with binders and books, weighs about 25 pounds.

It would be a lot to haul from one class to the next if not for State College Area High School's implementation of the Smart Locker System, which the senior created by crunching numbers for the past two years.

Noah now has time to stop at his locker and quickly exchange school supplies between classes, a luxury students sometimes weren't afforded when lockers were assigned based on homerooms in previous school years. His system assigns lockers based on 2,300 student schedules and affects how they navigate State High's hallways.

"It's kind of complex," Noah said. "The simple explanation is that when I developed it I made a path algorithm and found the shortest paths for every student going to classes and assigned a locker on the paths, so that they can easily visit their locker."

Students have noticed the difference.

"It's been really nice, because it's right next to my study hall third period," senior Renee Olivett said. "I never really could use my locker before, so this is awesome and really cool to see him take action and do something like this."

Senior Mike Rury now carries one or two books with him at a time instead of loading everything in his backpack during the school day. The lighter load made a healthy impact.

"It was awful to carry so many books around all the time, so much that I noticed when I worked out the last three years during the school year I had back pain," Mike said. "The only time I didn't have a little back pain was in the summer when we were out of school, and I think being able to take the load off my back between periods has made the difference."

Noah said he can't take all of the credit.

Retired district director of technology Tom Mincemoyer helped him develop the system's concept. …

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