TEA Winner 2022: Orchard Farm School District, Mo
- Industry: Education
- Location: Saint Charles, Missouri
- Number of Employees: 300
- Number of Students: 2,400
- Tyler Client Since: 2019
- Tyler Products Used: Student Transportation, powered by Traversa®
- Website: www.ofsd.k12.mo.us
When Malissa Duran became the routing specialist for the Transportation Department at Orchard Farm School District in Missouri, she immediately recognized the need for new transportation software. The district had previously used ineffective systems, such as pen and paper routing and outdated technology that required separate websites for different functionalities. “We had eight or nine different websites up most of the time to get a complete picture of operations,” Duran explained. Data flow between departments was inefficient and incomplete with these siloed portals.
Furthermore, rapid population growth and unique routing difficulties meant bus routes were changing too quickly to be communicated effectively across the district. Bus routes had to be manually adjusted on paper before printing and distributing. This process was unsustainable, time-consuming, and frustrating. Determining the most efficient bus stops that complied with state regulations and safety protocols was challenging with the influxof new students. Duran said, “There’s all sorts of rules and regulations between bus stops. It’s always a struggle.”
Orchard Farm needed an updated software system to automate processes and streamline data flow. Duran began to search for an intuitive product that simplified routing, connected employees across the district, and offered a single portal for all transportation needs. “A school nearby already had Tyler’s Student Transportation software. So, we checked it out and thought, ‘This is so much simpler and user-friendly. This makes so much more sense for what we need,’” Duran explained.
It’s given district employees more empowerment and a better understanding of transportation in general, a bigger picture. They have so much more information at their fingertips. And if you have information, you have everything
Tyler’s Student Transportation software makes it easy for Duran and her team to maintain accurate and efficient routes, and allows Duran to easily place bus stops with insights into state regulations and safety hazards, such as railroad tracks or limited stop visibility for oncoming cars. With the increased student population, adding new stops that complied with these standards was crucial. “When we’re routing, we’re looking for the best, most equitable set up for all students involved. We can pickthe safest way and most efficient route with Tyler’s Student Transportation software,” Duran said.
Seamless integration between the software and on-vehicle hardware was also an important factor in Duran’s decision to choose Tyler’s Student Transportation solution. With Tyler Driveon-board tablets, route changes are synced to audio and visual turn-by-turn directions for drivers, eliminating paper routes, saving the district time, and reducing environmental impact. Information updated in the district’s student information system, such as medical alerts and emergency contacts, syncs directly to the Student Transportation software and to Tyler Drive to keep drivers aware of individual student needs. Duran said, “We can provide more up-to-date route sheets for our drivers, and keep our student information updated by syncing back and forth overnight.”
The solution’s mobile app, My Ride K-12, allows front office staff, parents, and caretakers to look up key information such as assigned bus stop locations, or when and where a student boarded and disembarked thanks to scan card alerts. Duran said the district’s families have loved the changes, and calls to the dispatch office have reduced by 75 percent.
“With Student Transportation, we’re able to provide a higher level of service than ever before,” she explained. “When we doget calls or emails, it’s usually a positive thing like, ‘Oh, I reallylove my driver this year.’ It’s transformed how the parents view the transportation department.”
Tyler’s Student Transportation has helped Orchard Farm position themselves as a technology leader in their field. Being“future-ready” and open to new tools to empower a community is necessary in today’s world, and Duran has brought Orchard Farm into the 21st century. Duran said, “Your organization has to change with the times because if not, you’re going to be left behind. You have to be willing to use that technology. If you continue trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools, you run the risk of not being successful tomorrow.”