EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
A Burnet Consolidated Independent School District tenet is to always look for ways to improve what it does, even something as mundane as after-school student pickup.
After years of relying on placards on which students’ names were written, BCISD is switching to the safer and more efficient CarRider Pro system at its elementary school campuses. It goes into effect the first day of school — Monday, August 19 — at Bertram and R.J. Richey. Shady Grove will implement the system later in the school year once improvements to the campus drive are completed.
“When parents register their (elementary) students, they’ll be assigned a unique tag, one for just their student or students,” said BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett.
The tag, to be hung from the rearview mirror of the pickup vehicle, will automatically alert school officials when the parent, guardian, or other authorized adult drives past a sensor placed in the pickup area.
The sensor reads the tag then sends an alert to a video monitor in the school, where students and faculty can see who is in the after-school pickup line and in what order.
The No. 1 reason for the change is safety, McBurnett explained.
“These unique tags are very hard to (duplicate) or just can’t be duplicated,” he said. “A student won’t be released to a car unless the right tag is there. So, it’s safer for our students.”
Another benefit is efficiency.
Using the old system of names handwritten on poster board or construction paper, a staff member would monitor cars as they pulled up. Then, they would call out the student’s name by radio or bullhorn to get them ready for pickup.
With the new system, a tagged car passes the sensor, and a notification is transmitted to a video monitor inside the school, showing in what order parents are in the pickup line and saving time.
Teachers and staff still will be outside monitoring the lines to assist when necessary.
When a parent or guardian registers their student, they will receive two hanging tags. They can purchase additional ones if needed. They can also give the tag to a grandparent or other authorized adult to pick up their child.
Parents who carpool can continue to do so with CarRider Pro. The system allows for multiple names in ride-sharing situations, even the ability to specify days of the week.
McBurnett pointed out that the system only works if the tags are hanging from a rearview mirror.
The school district has put together an FAQ page on its website to answer questions about the new system.
BCISD purchased the system with federal grant funds.
“This system is definitely safer,” McBurnett said. “It’s another way we’re continually improving here (at BCISD).”