Illinois High School Creates Student ID Cards on Site and on Demand

Zebra 420i printer chosen for its flexibility, reliability and ease of use


Rock Falls, Ill., is located on the Rock River 100 miles west of Chicago.  Rock Falls, an industrial and farming community, has a population of approximately 9,600 and Sterling, Rock Falls’ twin city, has a population of 15,000. Rock Falls Township High School is a public, four-year school that currently serves about 750 students. It offers a full range of academic and vocational educational opportunities, along with extracurricular activities such as clubs and sports.

Student and staff identification cards are central to the school’s operations. The identification cards serve several purposes, including ensuring that students and staff are authorized to be on campus, checking books out of the library, allowing eligible students on school buses and identifying freshmen, who are not allowed to leave campus during the school day.

In order to keep costs down and be able to get cards to students as quickly as possible, Rock Falls Township High School chose to create their cards on site and on demand using a Zebra P420i printer.  The standalone P420i dual-sided color printer prints sharp, readable ID photographs, graphics, and text from card edge to card edge in just seconds.

“The goal that we were trying to accomplish with this printer is to get the students their ID cards the night of their registration,” explains Janet Johnson, Main Office Secretary at Rock Falls Township High School.  “During registration, 750 students come through the school over three nights.  We take their picture and give them the card on their night.”

Student identification cards include their photograph, name, student identification number, plus an encoded barcode that is used for the library.  Emergency contact information is printed on the back of the card.  The cards also indicate if the student is a freshman by using a different background color, and, if the student is eligible for a bus ticket, the card says “bus.”

The cards also inconspicuously denote students who are eligible for a free or reduced-cost lunch with a small five-digit code. 

“We have found the printer easy to use, and reliable,” reports Johnson.  “The quality is really nice.”

Basketball is a particularly popular sport in Rock Falls, with the Runnin’ Rockets games a major draw.  The school uses the Zebra printer to create building passes and all-season sports passes that the public and parents can purchase. The Zebra printer creates similar passes for use by the school’s various clubs. 

Two Rock Falls Township High School staff members have been trained to use the printer and they are able to create all of the school’s cards on site and on demand.

“The Zebra printer has helped our operations,” Johnson affirms.  “We currently have no plans to upgrade—we like what we’ve got right now.”