DeSoto Parish School System in Louisiana announced this week that all its school buses will soon be equipped with new tracking software to improve student safety and communication with parents.
Starting this coming school year, parents and school administrators will be able to monitor the location of buses in real time through an application called Edulog, as well as communicate with bus drivers and set up custom alerts.
“After looking at several programs and talking to people around the country and people that have used the Edulog system and testing it out ourselves, we found it to be the app that we felt was going to be most beneficial for our parents,” said Larry Hall, the district’s transportation coordinator. “[Parents] can set as many alerts as they would like. If they want to set an alert to know when the bus leaves the campus in the afternoon, they can do that, or they can set an alert to know when the bus is 5 miles from their home.”
A spokesperson for the software’s developer, called Education Logisitics, told EdScoop she didn’t know how many schools currently use the software, but case studies on its website show the tool is also used by schools in Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Hall said that the goal of implementing this new technology in DeSoto Parish is to put information in front of parents that will help keep them informed.
“Now they will have that information at their fingertips,” he told EdScoop.
School administrators and transportation authorities are also expected to benefit from the technology.
Often times, Hall said, when the bus deviates from its normal schedule, schools in the parish will receive a large volume of calls from parents.
“I can tell you after school gets started, probably about 90 percent of the calls have to do with the bus maybe being late or the bus came too early or anything along those lines,” he said.
However, with Edulog, administrators hope parents will be put at ease knowing the status of their child’s bus and that the schools are aware of any issues.
The app also securely collects data from bus routes, Hall said, which can help improve transportation planning.
A basic version of the app will be available to parents by the end of August, Hall said, and will eventually incorporate more features as the year progresses.