See How Fort Leavenworth School District in Kansas Finds Success With EDULOG Student Tracking
The Fort Leavenworth School District (FLSD), USD 207, in Kansas has a unique transportation situation. Located on an active military base, FLSD school transportation services department provides transportation for the district’s three Elementary Schools and a Middle School, and also provides transportation to High School students on the base to a school outside the base.
FLSD uses EDULOG and EduTracker to not only route and coordinate their fleet of 19 school buses, they also use EduTracker student tracking to accurately keep track of all their students. Education Logistics worked with FLSD Director of Transportation Jerry Litz to help put a fully-integrated routing and tracking system into place.
Challenge: Student Tracking on base
Keeping track of students in any school district is tough. But, when your school district is inside a military base and you’re also providing transportation for some students to outside the district, things start to get a little bit more complicated. “Does a student get lost? Does a student ride the bus? Usually something like this happens every day,” said Litz. “Sometimes it’s a parent who picks the child up without telling the other one, or they board a bus for an after-school program on the base that we don’t do transportation for.”
In addition to the normal struggles of keeping track of students throughout a school year, the realities of military transfers every nine months make it hard to keep what students are going where straight. “We keep around 30% to 40% of students,” said Litz. “The student turnover rate is fairly high. [Students and parents] don’t know if they’ll be here from one school year to the next.”
Solution: EduTracker Student Tracking
Education Logistics worked with FLSD to install RFID readers on all 19 of their buses, provide RFID tracking cards for their students, and provided our EduTracker software to help keep track of all of it. “We notice the system every day,” said Litz. While Litz still has to track down a few students the old fashioned way, by calling parents teachers and after school programs, “we find about 98% to 99% of students with student tracking,” he said.
Having the ability to create and assign student cards when they need to has been especially helpful to FLSD. “The hardest part in our school district is we have to purge the system in May, and then again around December or January because we only keep about 30% of all the students. Then we have to redo all the cards,” said Litz. “We re-use what cards we can.”
Anybody who’s having trouble knowing where their buses are at and who’s on them would want this system… if a person is wanting a system to do what we do, EDULOG is a good system.-Jerry Litz, Fort Leavenworth School District USD#207, KS
Challenge: New growth and expanding student populations
Fort Leavenworth has also seen an increase in growth, recently. New neighborhoods and private roads are being added yearly. This means there’s a lot of changes to routing that FLSD has to keep track of. “If we have students on a new street, next year we’ll have twice as many on that street,” said Litz.
Solution: EDULOG routing to the rescue
EDULOG routing puts the tools FLSD needs to quickly modify their stops, runs, and routes at their fingertips. “Making a change to a roadway is easy; it doesn’t take many clicks,” said Litz. Plus, as FLSD’s student population shifts and changes, EDULOG’s optimization capabilities let them adapt their plans from year to year. “It helps to know ahead of time how many buses you have to send out,” said Litz.
To tackle this monumental job, Litz and FLSD also face one more hurdle: a small staff. “There’s only three of us working on it,” said Litz. In addition to this, smaller school budgets mean that everyone in the transportation department has additional responsibilities. “I work on transportation and grounds-keeping, which keeps me busy during football season and doing snow removal. Our other operator drives a bus, and does three special needs routes, and the other guy is probably 80% grounds-keeping and 20% transportation,” said Litz. Because of this, the staff, “kind of splits the system, so we know different parts of it.” This can make things tough if something goes wrong.
Solution: EDULOG support saves the day
Education Logistics goes beyond just providing software and hardware. With so much going on every day, there are a lot of moving parts that Litz and his team need to keep track of. Support is there when Litz needs it. “There’s always a glitch that comes up now and then, like any software, but someone in tech support always takes care of it,” he said. “It helps when you’ve got dedicated people in the office watching the system.”
EDULOG and EduTracker: a fully integrated solution
Education Logistics helped FLSD by finding a fully integrated solution that combined their need to quickly and accurately keep track of students while quickly and efficiently updating their routes. Previously, FLSD had used a competitor’s routing software, but Litz wanted to see a solution that fully integrated routing with student tracking. “We’d been wanting to do it for three to four years, but we couldn’t get all the pieces in place,” said Litz. “It was the only complete system that could do everything we needed it to do.”
Would Litz recommend EDULOG’s complete solution to other districts? Absolutely, he says. “Anybody who’s having trouble knowing where their buses are at and who’s on them would want this system… if a person is wanting a system to do what we do, EDULOG is a good system.”
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