Creating a Safer Way to Transport Students

The 2019 Lighthouse award recognizes Joshua L. Aurand, Assistant Superintendent, and Donald West, Dir./Transportation at Harlem School District 122 for creating an innovative transportation app for their district.

Prior to 2015, Harlem Consolidated School District 122 had numerous occasions when a bus driver dropped off a student, or students, at the incorrect stop. This issue led to staff discipline, parent concern, and adverse effects on student safety. The district considered many different available student ridership tracking options such as RFID systems, which required students to carry a physical card and biometric scanning, which required students' irises to be scanned on the bus. Because they didn't find a feasible option, the district decided to create its own tablet-based check-on/check-off system that would allow us to address the issue while making transportation safer for students.

They named the system Routelist, a web-based application, which links with their routing software to provide real-time driving directions and student data to our drivers. This application allows the district to:

  • Provide electronic route sheets for the drivers containing the students' picture and drop off information. When the student gets on the bus, the driver simply clicks on the picture if the student is riding, or the "Did not ride" button if the student does not ride.
  • Change directions on the fly and add/remove students from a route who are no longer riding.
  • Add a new stop to the route while the route is in progress or if a driver is lost, update the directions to get them help and back on track.
  • Report who actually is riding the bus on a daily basis and provides an accurate load count for each individual route.
  • Streamline Medicaid student ridership reporting for eligible students, which increased  Medicaid funding.
Over the last three years, Routelist has virtually eliminated dropping students off at the wrong stop. This has made students, their parents and drivers feel safer with the district’s transportation system. It has been critical to the safe and smooth operations of their transportation department.

Josh and Donald commented on being recognized, "It's an honor to receive this award. A lot of different people have worked hard on this program over the last few years. It's great to know that we were able to create a product that has helped our staff and at the same time improved the safety of our students." 

The Foundation Lighthouse Award celebrates innovative ideas or practices that can be replicated by other school business professionals. The award will be presented  at the Opening General Session of the 2019 Annual Conference.


This Type of Recognition Spreads the Word

We feel it is important to recognize school administrators for their ideas because it highlights unique ideas that typically save time or money. If something is working for one district chances are it will work in other districts, so this type of recognition helps spread the word and potentially help someone else out. 

– Joshua L. Aurand
Assistant Superintendent
Harlem USD 122