Alabama District Boosts Student Safety, Staff Accountability

Mobile County Public Schools (MCPS) in Alabama holds as a core belief the importance of educating all of its 63,00 students in "safe and orderly environments conducive to learning." But safety in the classroom isn't enough, according to Pat Mitchell, transportation supervisor for MCPS, which spans over 1600 square miles.

As head of the transportation department, Mitchell is tasked with not only managing hundreds of buses, their schedules and a fleet of central office vehicles, but also ensuring the safety of the thousands of children who ride the buses daily. A critical part of that safety is being able to keep in touch with the drivers, Mitchell believes.

"Communication is key, especially when it comes to the safety of our children," he said. "I wanted us to be able to communicate with our drivers, no matter what part of the county they were in."

To address the district's transportation safety challenges, Mitchell turned to AT&T's Actsoft solution. Using GPS, mobile and web technologies, Actsoft helps districts to manage mobile assets, control operating costs and mitigate risk. MCPS chose Actsoft Comet Tracker, a client-based solution with web access that provides the ability to view workers on detailed maps and see the history, speed and location of all district buses. It also provides alerts for speed, stop times and arrivals/departures from landmarks.

In addition to the safety features of the system, Comet Tracker offers administrative tools, such as work order entry and dispatch, geo-fencing basic wireless forms, signature and photo capture.

Another area of concern for Mitchell and the district was knowing where and when staff members were performing their duties throughout the day—and throughout out the sprawling county.

"Accountability was an aspect that needed attention," observed Mitchell. "But now, we are so far ahead of the curve ensuring it that it’s no longer an issue. "

Since implementing the Actsoft® Comet Tracker™ solution, MCPS has gained the ability to track its buses and improved its communications and service area. In addition, Mitchell notes better communication between the system and AT&T compared to previous vendors, and appreciates the service provided by AT&T, which has worked with the district to determine the best solutions for its circumstances.

"AT&T's technology is superb in handling our needs," said Mitchell. "Basically, they are our solution. We are now able to do so many things that it appears our only limit is the ideas we can come up with."