Great leaders always value the input of those around them, and a Superintendent like Alberto Carvalho of Los Angeles Unified School District has a huge responsibility to his community this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on school districts across the country – but Los Angeles has been hit hard with staff shortages, transportation issues, loss of family engagement, learning loss, and much more.
After a successful 13 years at Miami-Dade County Public School in Florida, Superintendent Carvalho arrived at LAUSD with an ambitious 100-Day Plan to address his first few months at the helm of 1,000+ schools serving over 600,000 students. Caravalho’s plan outlines four key areas: learn, assess, communicate and act.
In this article, I’ll outline two problems the LAUSD Superintendent faces that are common across the country and possible solutions.
Problem #1: Transportation, Traffic & Bus Driver Shortage
LAUSD will be working closely with the City of Los Angeles to improve the safe routes of travel to and from our schools.
Access to transportation
Many families no longer have the ability to send their students to campus – and a district-wide bus driver shortage has not helped. Enrollment has been severely affected by transportation issues, with some schools seeing an attendance rate of half of 2019. This is directly addressed by Carvalho in the 100-Day Plan to “…re-engage families and students” (pg. 11)
It’s no secret that Los Angeles has a traffic problem – but when you factor in the issue that many families are picking up students by car rather than by bus, their after-school car pickup line is adding fuel to the fire of neighborhood street congestion.
In some cases, such as one middle school in the Larchmont area of West Los Angeles, car lines are blocking driveways, parents are double parking, and other drivers cannot bypass the school zones due to this influx of car pickups. LAUSD has been aware of this problem even before the pandemic, but limited access to bus routes has made this situation much worse.
Related Reading: The 2022 School Safety and Dismissal Trend Report
And even when students are taking the few bus routes offered, some are being left at the wrong bus stop or are unattended when dropped off. The leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14 in Los Angeles County is traffic collisions, so this situation is absolutely on the radar of LAUSD.
Carpooling has been encouraged by the district with hopes of easing congestion, but this has shown limited results. It has been hard for parents to coordinate with one another if a large portion of the student body is not engaged or parents have no way to delegate pickup to other people. LAUSD addresses this in the plan as well, with a goal in mind to “…increase internal and external communications”. (pg. 10)
In the 100-Day Plan’s section titled “Explore Options to Improve Student Transportation Services”, the office of the Superintendent plans to “…analyze technology implementation which will notify parents about…whether a student was picked up or dropped off.” (pg.16).
How we can help:
Pikmykid not only sends automatic notifications to parents when students are picked up at school or checked in during the morning, but the system also provides schools a timestamped audit trail of records detailing when each student arrived and left.
Pikmykid has partnered with several Departments of Transportation around the country to help ease traffic congestion in school zones by automating the car line. On average, based on a case study performed in schools, Pikmykid can speed up the car line by 33% and even help to reduce emissions.
Pikmykid also engages parents to make it easier for them to create a set schedule for pickup and drop-off. Even families with custody issues or lack of communication can be on the same page to ensure the student is going home the right way every day.
They can also manage school absences, tardies, and early dismissal without needing to call into the front office.
Want to see how Pikmykid can help your school or district? Learn more now!
Problem #2: Staff Shortage and Teacher Burnout
School faculty across the country are superheroes. But teachers and school administration alike are absolutely burned out this year. The pandemic has exacerbated issues that have been looming over school districts for years, bringing issues like burnout and re-hiring to the forefront of discussion.
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is trying to aid this by filling openings with retired teachers or teachers who have moved to administrative roles in LAUSD schools. He even plans on re-hiring people at the district level to take positions back in the classroom.
Approximately 23% of these vacant positions have been filled with substitutes as of July 2022, but more work needs to be done on retaining faculty and keeping them happy enough to stay.
How We Can Help:
Pikmykid is a school safety platform that makes teachers’ lives easier.
At the end of a long day of instruction, the last thing most teachers want to do is be involved in a chaotic dismissal process that can take up to an additional hour of their time. This also cuts into their schedule set aside for planning curriculum and, in some cases, even instructional time.
Instead of having all hands on deck to make sure students are going home safely, Pikmykid only requires a few staff members to be involved in the dismissal process.
Our goal is to provide an easy-to-use platform that lets teachers focus on their jobs rather than deal with unruly parents, neighborhood traffic, and custody situations. It reduces dismissal stress and gives faculty peace of mind.
Ready to transform your school’s transportation, dismissal, and safety processes? Get a demo of Pikmykid today.