Can Parent Portals Help with Driver Shortages?

This blog was updated on October 27, 2023.

Using a dedicated parent portal to communicate with parents can help ease the challenges associated with driver shortages in multiple ways. Below, we explore:

  • How schools can utilize a parent portal when a bus driver is unavailable
  • Improve communication with parents
  • How to cut down calls to dispatch and more

What Is a Parent Portal?

For those who are unfamiliar, a parent portal is like a virtual window into your child's academic world. It's an online platform or website that allows parents to access information about their child's school performance, including grades, attendance, assignments, and sometimes even communication with teachers. It's a handy tool for staying involved in your child's education without having to rely solely on them for updates.

Does all Routing Software Come with a Parent Portal?

The short answer is no. Some routing software systems currently on the market do not include a parent portal feature. Alternatively, a modern solution like TravelTracker-Routing enables simple, automated communication with parents. Transportation staff can reach parents faster to explain any potential changes, such as new or modified routes or why a new or different driver picks up their student.  

A friendly K-12 software provider understands the shifting needs of school districts. Included with any software license is unlimited support from a live team of people who can help you solve issues, train new staff, and learn new skills in your software – without incurring extra costs.  

How to Keep Parents in the Loop

Many transportation departments and schools have experienced the early morning phone calls from parents or guardians wondering where their child’s bus is. Late buses happen sometimes, whether it is from mechanical issues or traffic. Fortunately, TravelTracker-Routing’s Parent Portal and communication platform allow transportation to keep parents, administration, and drivers in the loop.

For transportation departments nationwide, communicating up-to-date on route assignments, late buses, and bus safety measures has been at the top of the list. One of our transportation customer service reps once said, “Phone calls are constant for transportation departments. Anytime we are on the phone with districts, we are continuously hearing the phone or radio go off and we built the communication piece and parent portal to aid in this area.”

How Does the Parent Portal Work?

  1. TravelTracker-Routing provides open visibility to transportation information across the district. Unlimited licensing provides administrators at school locations access to view routes and assignments, avoiding phone calls back and forth to transportation. Transportation departments can also send single notifications for new route assignments or mass notifications for bus breakdowns or delayed buses.
  2. The Parent Portal allows parents to request new route assignments removing the need for extra paperwork. Additionally, once the student is assigned, a message can be sent directly to all contacts listed for the student with new bus assignments.
  3. Parents can access an interactive map that allows them to set up a radius with notifications for when the bus is approaching, removing the need for long wait times at the bus stop and providing parents who may not be home notifications of when their children should arrive home.

These are just some of the many features the TravelTracker-Routing software has to offer. Hal Taylor from Cleveland City Schools, Tennessee shared, “[TransACT] did not oversell their product. The routing product did exactly what they said it would do. I cannot imagine being without this product amidst COVID-19. Also, the level of support we have received from [them] has been amazing. They have responded every time we have needed them!”

Join Cleveland City Schools and others who have made the switch to the App-Garden Routing software today! View a recorded demonstration now or schedule a demonstration with a TravelTracker-Routing team member to learn how transportation departments can respond to change quicker, with less downtime.