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Pikmykid just returned from Dallas for the Texas Computer Education Association conference (TCEA) and we’re proud to have another event in the books! Here are 4 things that we learned at TCEA.

Over the course of the 3 day expo, we met with over 250 attendees to talk shop about all things school dismissal, campus safety, and parent engagement. Though each school brought its own unique perspective to the booth, there were 4 things we heard over and over again that really hit home for the Pikmykid team. 

1. Schools use technology all day long… until dismissal

Google classroom, smart boards, school information systems – there’s no shortage of tech tools when it comes to running a school day. Despite this impressive tech list, teachers and superintendents alike told us how quickly technology goes out the window when it comes to dismissing their students.

Whether it’s paper spreadsheets tracking approved pickups, sticky notes that go back and forth to the office, or colored tags for kids going to different drop off zones, many schools are still in the dark ages when it comes to dismissal, as we learned at TCEA.

How we help:

Pikmykid combines dismissal management, safety and emergency tools, parent messaging, and real time reporting into one powerful platform. That way, parents are empowered to make their own pickup changes, car lines move faster, and every student is accounted for at the end of the day. The best part? Happier teachers and staff that are freed up to focus on what really matters – learning.

2. Allocating ESSER funding is easier said than done

As a refresher, ESSER stands for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. This grant offers public schools emergency funding to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on education. Think health screenings, social distancing, and quarantine communication. The problem? One of the 4 things that we learned from many schools at TCEA is that they were struggling with how to use their ESSER funding towards technology or programs that actually keep their students safe.

How we help:

Luckily, Pikmykid’s platform goes far beyond dismissal and is 100% covered by any ESSER grants. Want more info on how we align to ESSER? Check out our grants and funding page to see how your school can get covered.

3. Parents are tired of the car line (but so are teachers)

If you do a simple Google search for ‘car line meme’, you’ll get a whopping 500 million results that show just how much parents hate dealing with their kid’s end of day dismissal. And though every parent is valid in wishing their car line was faster, easier, and more streamlined, they’re not alone.

Over our three days at TCEA we talked with dozens of teachers and school staff that live the pain of dismissal every day. With a record high number of teacher vacancies and bus driver shortages, managing dismissal has become an even harder (and under appreciated) part of a teacher’s job. Whether it’s losing classroom time, dealing with angry parents, or losing track of a student – managing a car line is just one more thing on a teacher’s already full plate.

How we help:

Pikmykid’s school dashboard and student dispatcher work together to communicate which parents and busses are on campus and when. By streamlining the arrivals and dismissal process in one platform, fewer staff and faculty are required to run your school’s car line. In fact, schools that adopt Pikmykid often save each teacher at a school 7 minutes per day (that’s over 20 hours a year!). Those 7 extra minutes add up across a school to mean more meaningful instruction time at the end of the day and one less thing an already overworked teacher has to navigate.

4. When the dismissal plan is longer than the lesson plan, you’ve got a problem

In what may have been the funniest teacher confessions at TCEA, we learned that when a teacher is preparing lesson plans for a substitute, they often have to dedicate half their page count to documenting the school’s overly complicated dismissal process. As if it wasn’t hard enough being a substitute teacher, imagine walking into a school more panicked about mastering a school’s car line than refreshing yourself on Pythagorean theorem.

This complication makes schools vulnerable to any sort of unplanned change – not just substitutes. Whether it’s inclement weather, construction in the building, or a school field trip, when schools have overly messy dismissal procedures, it’s hard for them to remain agile in the face of challenges and ensure student safety.

How we help:

Pikmykid was designed by parents and former educators that understand if a tool is going to be adopted, it needs to be easy to use. Our all-in-one platform makes it easy for everyone involved with dismissal – from parents to teachers to superintendents – to make dismissal updates in real time, communicate changes, and ensure each student ends up in the right place at the end of the day. Need proof? We were just ranked in the top 5 school management softwares from Gartner on the usability + customer satisfaction matrix. 

Closing thoughts

Though many of the stories we heard and learned at TCEA were funny and relatable, it was clear how painful most schools’ current approach to dismissal and safety really is. Beyond Hunger-game-style car lines and exhausted teachers, there’s a very real safety and efficiency issue that schools face every day when trying to get students home. And as long as we know this pain is out there, we will continue to try and serve schools with easy-to-use technology that simplifies their dismissal and ensures student safety – no matter the zip code. Those are the 4 main things that we learned at TCEA!

Ready to transform your dismissal? Simply book a demo on our calendar and we’ll get you a personalized 1:1 walkthrough of the platform.

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