DOUGLAS COUNTY, GA — The Douglas County School System superintendent, Trent North, wrote a letter to county parents commending the staff for school year preparations and saying the system is in a “good place.”
In the same letter, North recognized that for many Douglas County parents, the “Here Comes the Bus” app, meant to boost parents’ knowledge of their kids’ buses’ whereabouts, isn’t working for many parents. It’s an issue with the company, he said, and they are working to fix it.
Here’s the letter from Superintendent Trent North:
A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you for a smooth start to the 2019-2020 school year. I have enjoyed my visits to schools over the last 13 days where I witnessed inspiring lessons, engaged students, and supportive parents. Our school administrators and office staff did a tremendous job over the summer of preparing for the start of the school year. Resources were ordered and in place on the first day of school, and teachers took advantage of five full days of pre-planning to prepare their rooms and lessons. We are in a good place in Douglas County.
I would like to address one area of concern. Unfortunately, it is an area over which we have limited control. We were excited to introduce the “Here Comes the Bus” app on the first day of school. Our transportation department spent time over the summer testing the app with our summer school students and with a group of staff members. The school system did its due diligence before inviting parents to download and use the new technology.
It became obvious after a couple of days that the app was not functioning as promised for many parents. The provider of the app, Synovia, disabled the app for everyone while working to correct problems. The app was turned on again on Monday, August 19. While it works for some families, others are still experiencing problems.
Please know that if it were in our power to fix the problems with the app, we would have done so. At this point, all we can do is turn the problems that are reported over to Synovia for the app provider to correct. Synovia has increased its customer base tremendously this year. Several other counties in Georgia and across the U.S. are experiencing problems with the “Here Comes the Bus” app or other transportation technology products provided by Synovia. We are not alone.
Please know that our intentions are always to provide services that benefit our families. If the app is not working correctly for you at this point, I understand your frustration and I apologize. However, we need our parents to be patient as Synovia works out its problems. We appreciate those parents who choose to assume the best about the school system. Negative chatter only hurts our community and discourages our hard-working teachers and staff.
Please don’t let a new app that isn’t working correctly by day 13 of the school year take away from all the positive activities that are happening on all 35 of our campuses. We have much to be proud of, and I’m looking forward to all we can accomplish this year with the help of our families.
Trent North, Superintendent