Berkeley County

How Berkeley County School District improved student safety and streamlined parent communication

Learn how Berkeley County raises the safety and efficiency of their school transportation to the next level by taking a unified approach to their operations.

Berkeley County

Meet Berkeley County

Limited visibility into school bus safety and unreliable GPS data made it difficult to respond to call-ins

Transporting more than 17,000 students to and from schools across West Virginia every day, Berkeley County School District’s number one priority is student safety. With such high ridership, Berkeley County needed visibility into the real-time location of their school buses, both for administrators and for parents.

Previously, administrators had difficulty detecting risky driving behaviors and providing feedback in real-time. Berkeley County’s legacy camera system offered only basic functionality, and it took hours to retrieve footage. Unless the Berkeley County team received a call about unsafe in-cab activity such as speeding or inattentive driving, they had limited visibility into what was happening on the road—and no way of coaching drivers in the moments that matter.

In addition, parents often called the back-office about safety concerns and school bus delays, since they had no way of knowing if, and when, students were being transported safely. Due to considerable lag time from their legacy GPS vendor, Berkeley County couldn’t accurately pinpoint where school buses were along their route. And without real-time visibility, the administrative team couldn’t efficiently respond to calls around safety concerns either—each call would take as long as 15 minutes to investigate.

Berkeley County sought a solution that would improve visibility across their school bus operations, so they could ensure student safety and more quickly respond to parent inquiries.

A single platform to improve safety and increase efficiency

Berkeley County was able to solve their needs around school bus visibility, real-time GPS tracking, and parent communication with Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud. By implementing multiple Samsara products across their fleet—including Vehicle Gateways, AI Dash Cams, Camera Connectors, and an API integration with Edulog—they have taken the safety and efficiency of their operations to the next level, gaining real-time visibility into school bus and student locations.

Ensuring driver & student safety 

With dual-facing Samsara AI Dash Cams installed across their school buses, Berkeley County’s administrative team now has complete, real-time visibility into driver and student safety. In-cab alerts make it possible to proactively coach drivers on the road, and 1:1 video-based coaching has nearly eliminated risky behaviors like inattentive driving. “For example, we’ve seen bus drivers use their cell phone, which is an absolute no-no. Now, I can see what’s happening and call the driver to coach them,” said Eric Keesecker, Executive Director of School Transportation. 

Furthermore, auto-uploaded footage and cloud-based video retrieval make it possible for the administrative team to quickly investigate call-ins and easily share footage with school faculty, streamlining safety inquiries and saving hours of manual work. “We’ve saved so much time through Samsara’s real-time feedback and video retrieval,” said Keesecker. “Plus, now that drivers are being coached, we’re receiving fewer calls about safety because drivers are paying more attention to what’s happening on the road.” 

Streamlining incident response & communication

In addition to the video-based safety system, Samsara’s seamless API integration with Edulog—which Berkeley County uses for school bus routing—has helped alleviate the influx of parent calls. Before, Berkeley County experienced significant lag time with their previous GPS vendor, making it difficult to accurately pinpoint bus location. With Samsara, Berkeley County now has reliable, real-time GPS data and accurate ETAs for their bus routes. 

By combining Samsara’s Trip History with Edulog’s school bus routing software, the administrative team is now able to get the full picture of exactly where a school bus is and when it will arrive at its destination—all in real time. This has enabled Berkeley County to optimize bus routes and streamline parent communication. “Being able to integrate with Edulog was a very important factor for us,” said Keesecker. “Now, if we get a call from a parent about a delay, we can go into Samsara and tell them exactly where the bus is.”

Berkeley County is seen as an example of excellence for other school districts

As a result of their partnership with Samsara, Berkeley County has achieved significant time savings and improvements in driver and student safety. Now, the administrative team can easily retrieve video via Samsara’s cloud platform, reducing the time spent reviewing footage from hours to less than 20 minutes per inquiry. Along with Samsara’s real-time GPS data and API integration with Edulog, this has enabled their team to quickly and easily answer questions from parents and school officials about bus location and student safety—streamlining parent communication and saving 10+ hours per week across 5 administrators

Now, nearby school districts look to Berkeley County as an example of how technology can be adopted to improve the safety and efficiency for school transportation. This is just the beginning of Berkeley County’s partnership with Samsara. Next year, Berkeley County will be deploying NFC ID readers, automating student tracking and streamline ridership reporting for Medicaid reimbursement. “We’re just experiencing the tip of the iceberg with Samsara. Everyday, we're finding something that's so neat about the platform,” says Keesecker. “We’re just so glad we have Samsara for our students and our community.”

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