August 6, 2015
CFISD bus driver Erika Davis of the Falcon Transportation Center uses the newly installed GPS transmitter on her vehicle. Included on every bus, the GPS technology will allow the transportation department to pinpoint bus locations in real-time, helping monitor bus idle time, routing information, miles per gallon and miles per hour.
Aug. 6, 2015—The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD transportation department will introduce two major technological components for the 2015-2016 school year that will enhance and streamline busing efforts for more than 1,100 employees and 78,000 students.
After recently adding 111 new low-emission buses and upgraded camera systems, all buses will now include GPS transmitters to increase efficiency, improve parental communication and enhance student safety. Additionally, nearly half of CFISD students will receive identification cards.
“GPS-enabled buses will make it possible for us to pinpoint bus locations in real-time, all the time,” said Matt Morgan, assistant superintendent of support services. “Campus leaders can use this to efficiently manage pick-up and drop-off procedures at each school.”
Transportation staff can also use the GPS data to monitor bus idle time, routing information, miles per gallon, and miles per hour of each bus to help maximize the efficiency of the bus fleet and help maximize students’ learning time.
The identification cards will allow campus and security personnel to quickly and easily identify students that belong on their campus. School buses will be equipped with ID card readers, allowing students to “tap” cards to record the time and location of each boarding and departure.
CFISD’s software provider, Zonar, offers the award-winning Z Pass+ application that works on a variety of platforms and is free for parents.
“This allows parents to receive text notifications whenever their child taps the reader getting on or off of the bus,” Morgan said. “Text notifications will include the time and location of pick-up or drop-off.”
Parents also can log in from a desktop computer or tablet to get notifications. The computer application will display a map of the physical location of the pick-up or drop-off.
The ID cards will also increase the efficiency of CFISD’s nutrition services department, which serves approximately 120,000 healthy meals to students. The new ID cards will allow child nutrition workers to quickly access the student accounts while avoiding students’ typing in a six-digit identification code.
“Last spring we ran a pilot project in three schools, and the ID cards and scanners shortened breakfast and lunch times,” Morgan said. “This allows students to have more time to consume their healthy breakfast or lunch.”
School libraries will utilize the same scanning technology to enable student to quickly check out books. While half of CFISD schools will be impacted in the fall, Morgan said additional schools will be phased in during the spring semester.
“We appreciate the opportunity to use 2014 Bond funds to enhance student safety, improve efficiency and improve communication with district parents,” he said.
The following campuses will participate in the ID program this fall:
Willbern Elementary School first-grade student Matthew Millenas taps an ID card to a reader on his school bus, logging the time and location that he boarded the bus.
Bus driver Norma Elizondo from the Falcon Transportation Center assists second-grade student Sean Dionne as he scans his ID card while boarding a bus at the school.