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Technology Super Users


with that to a great extent, simply using our data- base, with our student information services and tying it into Traversa. Now we can pinpoint where the kids are that go with each specific school, and that helps us guide decision making on where we can put stops.” Chaffey Joint Union High School District also changed its bell times to be compliant with Califor- nia Senate Bill 328, which starting next school year mandates that high schools don’t start before 8:30 a.m. COVID-19 and the school bus driver shortage also played a role in changing routes. Sunderland said he is down four drivers for the new year, which brings his total to 38 drivers. Plus, with 98 percent of the student body expected to return to in-person learning, more efficient transportation operations and being able to measure key perfor- mance indicators is top of mind for Sunderland. Some COVID-19 mitigation strategies will remain in place, including mask mandates per state order as well as sanitizing after runs. “This year will be another step forward for us,”


Sunderland said. “I am excited about it, I was just talking to a person again about another piece that’s coming [to the Tyler suite], which will allow parents to register for transportation online. They’re piloting that with another district right now, but we’re going to look at doing that down the line because it’s important that parents know, and that the communication is there when they’re trying to get their kid on the school bus.”


School Bus Driver Buy In In addition to tablets, routing software and the


newly implemented RFID cards, Chaffey Joint Union High School District also has GPS technol- ogy and interior cameras on board. Sunderland noted that the GPS and cameras were the first two technologies installed, and his drivers were appre- hensive at first. “I think they thought it was a little big broth-


er-ish,” Sunderland admitted. “However, I think what they’ve learned over the past six years is that I’m here to help them as much as I’m here to help the families that we serve. And you know I want to make sure that they’re being safe, I want to make sure the kids are being safe, and that’s what [the cameras are] used for.” He said his most common complaint from


parents is buses being late to the stop. But when he pulls up the GPS data, 90 percent of the time his drivers were right on time.


60 School Transportation News • SEPTEMBER 2021


Reghan Mahaffey Director of Transportation, Aspen School District, Colo.


How do you ensure you are meeting the community’s needs/wants on transportation technology purchases? “When I look at technology additions for our fleet and department, I look for multi-use, the potential benefits, and how it will impact the system as a whole from externally to the students, parents and community, and then internally within the department and the rest of the district. Any purchase I make I frame it [with] who is benefiting from this acquisition, how is this benefiting the system, is the benefit worth the cost, and what changes or training will need to go into implementing this change. Technology should be a tool that makes your


life easier, your work more efficient, and im- proves the overall experience stakeholders have while interacting with your department. In all cases, the community needs/wants should be a major focus of your purchasing as at the end of the day, if you cannot communicate clearly to your stakeholders what the benefits are of im- plementing this new technology and how it will better their experience with your department, there is no reason to purchase it.”


Technology used:


• Communications Systems • GPS/GIS/Vehicle Tracking • Health & Wellness Tech • Onboard Tablets/Mobile Data Terminals • Student Tracking/RFID/Parent Communica- tion Apps • Transportation Routing Software • Video Security Systems • Wi-Fi/Onboard Student Connectivity


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