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Sara Madgey, C'09, M.Ed.'11

Lives of Significance

Sara Madgey, C’09, M.Ed.’11

Putting student safety first

Inside the classroom of Sara Madgey, C’09, M.Ed., 11, a fourth-grade teacher at McDonogh Lower School in Owings Mills, Maryland, a poster hangs on the wall that reads: Never settle for less than your best.

“Teachers put their heart and soul into teaching. I teach my students to be the best version of themselves and treat others with respect,” Sara says. “I believe genuinely caring about your students is the only way you can be a successful teacher.”

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Madgey is putting student safety first with her Pinpoint app.

While earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at the Mount, Sara encountered caring professors as she exceled academically and worked in catering at the dining hall and at a small boutique in Thurmont, Maryland. She was also a graduate assistant for the School of Education and Human Services. One of the highlights of her time at the Mount was participating in a service trip to Peru. While there, she worked with students in a special education classroom, hiked to bring supplies to a school in need and participated in a march for equal rights for students with disabilities.

Pinpoint: For Safety, Seconds Count

Caring about others and understanding their needs was the foundation for her app, Pinpoint. The inspiration came to her after a lockdown drill in 2014 when she was working for a public school in New Jersey. The exercise’s slow and dangerous process lacked exact information about students’ location and well-being. Sara saw a need to make the process more efficient.

Amid media coverage and political conversations surrounding school shootings, Sara says her app has gained more interest. “Lockdowns are a new, unfortunate scenario that teachers across the country are struggling with. Unlike fire drills which have been perfected over decades of practice, lockdown drills can lead to uncertainty and miscommunication,” she explains.

Pinpoint is designed with safety, speed and simplicity in mind. It allows users to create a database with the names of every student, teacher, room and building on a campus. With just a few clicks on any device, an administrator can start a lockdown. A text message and email are sent to every person in the database who are then asked three simple questions: Are you safe? Where are you? Who is with you? This information is gathered and displayed on a single screen where administrators and first responders can see, in real time, exactly how many students and staff are accounted for, where they’re located and if anyone needs immediate assistance.

She’s currently expanding the app to serve other industries including corporate campuses, hospitals and event venues. The app’s newest feature is called Broadcast Center, which sends non-emergency communication to individuals in a database including weather closings or special announcements.

Educate for Service

Education is so important, and the Mount has helped shape my future in such a positive way.

Sara credits her success as a teacher and entrepreneur to her Mount undergraduate and graduate professors who helped her gain confidence in a range of abilities from interpersonal to technical. “All of my teachers brought something different to my experience,” she says. She also learned about the value of friendship and the importance of working hard to achieve her goals.

“Education is so important, and the Mount has helped shape my future in such a positive way. From the knowledge I gained from my time at the Mount, the on-the-job experience I received through my internship and the lifelong relationships I have made, I would (and wish I could) do it all over again!” she exclaims.