PLEASANT HILL, Iowa – Southeast Polk Community Schools has launched a new app to help parents track bus routes for children.
“Here Comes the Bus” app is designed to show parents a radius of where their child’s bus is, send notifications in case of any delays and sends reminders when the bus is close to a child’s specific pick-up spot.
Transportation Director for Southeast Polk Community Schools Dan Schultz said he has been observing other school districts in different states to see how well it works.
“This is something parents were wanting more communication. People are a lot more tech-savy now than what they used to be. It’s some of that stuff that we can do now and it was part of the GPS program that was a natural progression from that to the parent communications,” Schultz said.
When setting up the app, parents have to answer a number of questions and input information provided by the school.
“You cannot get in to [the app] to track a student unless you have the proper passwords, codes and student ID numbers,” Schultz said.
Schultz said at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year all 70 buses for Southeast Polk Schools received a GPS system.
The app uses the GPS to track each bus and know where each student is at a time.
“I’m really big on the safety part of this. Knowing where every bus is even in an emergency, and being able to communicate with a parent in an emergency. For example, today it’s really really cold. Bus 37 broke down and is a half hour late and being able to push that out to bus 37 parents so they know to step inside for awhile,” Schultz said.
So far, two schools are using the app. By the end of the school year all Southeast Polk Schools will have the app running.
About 4,000 students use buses in the district. Parents can download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.