Dallas County Schools runs approximately 40,000 field trips annually for eight independent school districts as well as boys clubs, seniors groups and colleges. It’s a huge undertaking and used to require the services of four employees to process the orders, send out invoices and track payments.
Last year, however, Transportation Director Terry Penn installed a copyrighted field trip scheduling system called Trips that allows schools to place orders through the Internet. The system was deployed in August 2000 and has since been upgraded. “After we implemented the system, we eliminated the field trip department,” Penn says. “Now, the districts use it exclusively.”
Teachers and principals can enter orders through a password-protected area of the school district’s Website called Power Fleet. Once the order is received, a driver and bus are automatically assigned. After the trip, the driver keys in the pertinent information for the principal’s approval. Once that’s received, the system generates an invoice that is sent later that evening.
The system has been expanded and integrated to include Q Control (quality control) — charting complaints (and compliments) from parents, principals and community members — and VIP (vehicle inventory process), which tracks inventory and depreciation. “It’s all about paperless communication and being able to document and secure information,” Penn says.
For more information, contact Terry Penn at (214) 944-4545.