HOUSTON — Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (ISD) launched two major technological components for the new school year that are expected to enhance and streamline school bus service.
After recently adding 111 new low-emission buses and upgraded camera systems, all of the district’s buses now include GPS transmitters in an effort to increase efficiency, improve parental communication and enhance student safety. Also, nearly half of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD 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 pickup and drop-off procedures at each school.”
Transportation staff members can also use the GPS data to monitor idle time, routing information, miles per gallon and miles per hour of each bus.
The identification cards will enable campus and security personnel to quickly identify students who belong on their campus. School buses are being equipped with ID card readers, which will record the time and location of each student’s boarding and departure.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD is utilizing Zonar’s Z Pass application, which 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 pickup or drop-off.”
Parents also can log in from a desktop computer or tablet to get notifications. The computer application displays a map of the physical location of the pickup or drop-off.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD officials said that the ID cards will also increase the efficiency of the district’s nutrition services department. The cards will enable child nutrition workers to quickly access student accounts while avoiding the need to type in a six-digit identification code.
School libraries will utilize the same scanning technology to allow students to quickly check out books. Half of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD schools implemented the new technology this fall. Morgan said that additional schools will be phased in during the spring semester.
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD transports 76,000 students daily on 695 route buses.