Central Elementary is utilizing a new pickup and dismissal service that has added accountability and security for where children are located.
Kid Account, a Farmington based company, was chosen as the vendor after several years of research.
The digital program allows staff to use iPads to account for where children currently are and who is allowed to pick them up.
Dr. Leslie Lause, Central Elementary principal, didn’t like the dismissal process at the school. She said it was complicated, and most of all, induced more issues than there needed to be.
“Our previous pickup system is so complicated,” Lause said. “So, we were trying to figure out something that would help us solidify or expedite the process since we have so many kiddos. We wanted to figure out if there was a better way to do what we were doing.”
The old system of dismissing students matched a child to their parent or guardian by using yellow cards. The child would have one and whoever picked up the child had the other.
“We’ve always told parents that if they have the matching card, they can get their child,” Lause said. “But with custody issues, divorces and restraining orders, we’ve had issues that the parents would call to change who could pick their child up — it caused too many issues. This new system says who picked up the child and it time stamps everything for us.”
Now children use a badge system for after-school pickup.
“Each child gets two badges and we have someone come around and scan those badges,” Lause explained. “As it pops up, it pulls up everyone who is allowed to pick up that child. Whoever is picking that child up has to show their drivers license.
“We verify who picks that child up every day. If they’re not on the list, they have to come in and we have to make phone calls to figure out what is going on,” she added. It’s been a huge success for us in ensuring safety and security.”
Lause said she was expecting a large amount of pushback from parents on handing over their driver’s licenses, but was surprised to not have many disagreements. She said parents are happy with the added security.
Another bonus feature is that the system has an active, live bus roster for Central Elementary students.
“The kids hand us their ID cards and we mark them on the bus as they get on,” Lause said. “The live rosters are wonderful because if a child is absent or for example, if Sally is riding Bus 12 and not Bus 18, it adds her to that list.”
The new system doesn’t just improve the dismissal process, but also improves the child’s whereabouts throughout the school day.
For example, if a child is going to use the bathroom, a staff member can pull up an interface and write in where the student is headed. This is great information to have for any type of emergency situation such as a fire or tornado drill.
“Our teachers would take attendance on a piece of paper and hold up their red or green cards to let us know if they’re good (with everyone accounted for) or not,” Lause said. “This (new system) allows us to pull up our list. If they are missing a child, they can hit their red button and it says for example, Meg went to the rest room in the blue hallway. I can see it on the dashboard and all the other administrators can see that as well. On our dashboard it can tell us when they’re accounted for and crossed off.”
The old system required teachers and staff to speak to each other through walkie-talkies which made finding children much more difficult.
On the first day of school, Lause said a child set off the fire alarm during the middle dismissal. The Kid Account system made the process much easier to find where all the children were located, she said.
The system can even account for students moving from building to building.
“It has the ability of checking in and out of other buildings like for our A+ program kiddos,” Lause said. “They can check out of class and have a set time limit to get to the other buildings. If they don’t make it there, they notify the person in charge. So there are a lot of components that go with this to account for every single child.”
The digital program was purchased on a one-year contract. Lause said it costs just under $4,000, but it normally runs between $5,000 to $6,000.
The school got a deal on it, she said, because the district may expand the program to other schools next year.
“That’s one of the things we looked at with different companies,” Lause said. “They wanted us to sign five-year contracts, some were longer. Some companies would come to campus and help you with it and some did everything remotely from their office.”
Kid Account representative came to the school the first day, and was available additional days if needed. Lause said because of the ease of use of the system, they were only needed on the first day.
“They’ve been wonderful as far as support goes,” Lause said. “They are very open to suggestions since we are such a large school.”
According to the company’s website, Kid Account has been working with K-12 schools for over 20 years in security and communication.
Lause said Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold gave them the greenlight to look into a pickup dismissal system after the Prop Wildcats bond passed and due to the realignment that would happen to the elementary schools.
“We needed to find a company that works,” Lause said. “This company had a simple process which we were really excited about.”