Dear Marple Newtown Families:
During the past two months, members of our administration have attended building-level PTO meetings to begin a conversation regarding some changes that will be occurring in the Transportation Department at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Before we outline the major points of the conversation, we want to provide you a few important facts and updates regarding the transportation in our district.
The Transportation Department employs approximately 120 employees, operates 88 vehicles, and transports approximately 5,500 students in grades 1 through 12 to 104 schools every day.
The MNSD School Board has put a great deal of investment into the Transportation Department during the past two years. For example, the below items have been approved and purchased and will enhance the services we are able to provide to our students and families.
- Snow Scraper system – this system has reduced the labor and time required to remove snow from the buses by at least 50%.
- Updated bus routing software – the School Board approved this updated technology some time ago; the district has been planning and testing the software and is on-track to roll it out for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Security cameras – to be installed on all the school buses (2- year project).
- GPS tracking devices – installed on every vehicle.
- “Here Comes the Bus” application - to be rolled out no later than October 1, 2019, along with information to all MNSD parents about the application.
- Updated (district-wide) communication system – operates very similar to cell phone technology.
The administration has identified three goals:
- Make every effort to reduce the amount of time a student spends riding the bus.
This goal is a large undertaking, but every attempt will be made to make each bus route as fair and safe for students as possible. This means that there will be changes made to some existing bus routes. Currently, there are too many “house stops” and an excessive number of stops that contribute to longer bus rides for all. Our buses are also entering too many cul-de-sacs and dead-end streets; these tight areas can present dangerous situations for the buses. If you live on a cul-de-sac or a dead-end street, we will more than likely be relocating your child’s bus stop closer to a main roadway. Our goal is to identify and create safe bus stops in each neighborhood. Each bus stop takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes to complete. If we are able to cut down five stops on each bus run, we could potentially shorten that run by 10 to 15 minutes. Again, the intent is not to eliminate or relocate every bus stop—some stops are necessary due to the identification of a “hazardous route” (which only Penn Dot has the authority to identify.) Our aim is to lessen the length of school bus rides for your child and family.
- Make every attempt to have the same bus driver for the morning and afternoon bus run.
Again, this is another huge undertaking, but this goal deserves our attention. Just like you, we value and honor the relationship a bus driver establishes with his/her students and families. This may be very difficult to achieve, but we will take a very close look at each bus route’s design with this goal in mind. Please remember that we bus children to 104 schools each day, and often the dismissal times of each school do not align. We respond by sending available buses, often based on the logistics of which bus is closest to that specific school at that dismissal time.
- Roll out the “Here Comes the Bus” application no later than October 1, 2019.
Here Comes the Bus is an easy-to-use website and application that enables you to see the location of your child’s school bus on a smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. This way, you know when the bus is near your stop, so you can send your child out to catch the bus at just the right time. Here Comes the Bus uses global positioning system (GPS) technology to locate and track your child’s school bus. The application also uses HTTPS, just like a bank or online store, meaning all communications between your web browser and the site is encrypted and secure.
Postcards containing bus information will NOT be mailed to MNSD Families this coming school year. You will need to access your child’s bussing information via the Campus Portal. Below are the procedures that will allow MNSD Families and students to access updated bussing information through Infinite Campus. Additional instructions to access the Campus Portal will be posted on the District’s web page.
Postcards will be mailed to those families whose children require transportation, but do not attend a MNSD school.
Your child’s bussing information will be available in the Campus Portal by August 7, 2019.
Infinite Campus access – Parents who have children attending Marple Newtown School District Schools can access their child’s bussing information through the Campus Portal. (We strongly encourage this option to obtain bussing information for all students.) Please refer to the instructions noted below regarding how to gain access and/or log into the portal.
Viewing Transportation Information in the Infinite Campus Portal:
- Using an internet Browser, navigate to the following site:
- Using your Infinite Campus login or the login of your student, log in to the portal. If you do not have an Infinite Campus account, you can request an Infinite Campus login by sending an email to the following address: email@example.com. Please be sure to include your full name, the full name of your child attending a MNSD school, the birth date of the child and your full mailing address. Instructions will be emailed to you within 24 hours.
- Once logged into the portal, click on the “Transportation” button on the left-hand side of the screen.
- The transportation information will appear in the middle of the screen.
If you feel that the information displayed in the portal is incorrect or you have questions, please contact
the Transportation Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-359-4299.
Thank you for your continued support, cooperation and anticipated understanding!
Kathryn Chandless Matthew Bilker Nick Reynolds
MNSD School Board President MNSD School Board Vice President MNSD Board Member
Committee Chairperson for
Facilities and Transportation