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    Juneau's Journal December 20
    Posted on 12/20/2019

    Safe and Consistent Transportation Services

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    Juneau’s Journal December 20, 2019

    Superintedent Juneau: Hi. I’m Superintendent Denise Juneau. With the year almost over, we are preparing for winter weather and potential schedule changes due to snow. A key part of that is providing predictable and consistent transportation for our students.

    I’ve been focused on improving transportation in our district since I started as superintendent. On my Listen and Learn tour last year, I heard from many families that Seattle Public Schools needed to do a better job of getting our students to and from school. Students should be focusing on learning, not worrying about if their bus will get them to school on time.

    We’ve been working with the Transportation Task Force, industry partners, and community to identify innovative solutions that ensure predictable transportation for our students. And in September, I hired Jeff Bronstein to oversee transportation in our district. I sat down with Jeff last week to talk about the innovations and changes we’re implementing.

    Superintendent Juneau: So, Jeff as you know we have Seattle Excellence, our strategic plan—which in part one of the priorities is saying that we are going to have some consistent and predictable operation systems. Can you fill us in on some of the supports that you are putting in place to ensure students, family, and staff experience to have a safe and productive day of learning?

    Jeff Bronstein: One of the things that we're really trying to do as quickly as we can is to get information into the hands of parents and students and school administrators.

    Superintendent Juneau: Can you give us a little bit of information about your partnership with Seattle Department of Transportation and how those kinds of things are tightening up now?

    Jeff Bronstein: The partnership with SDOT is pretty amazing. Together, Seattle Public Schools has been working with SDOT to make sure that we are prepared for this type of snow event and that we are very clear, concise, and responsive to the community needs to make sure that we're ensuring the safety of our students every day on the roads even in the snow event.

    Superintendent Juneau: I know you've been out meeting with families a lot, which I really appreciate because when I started last year being superintendent there were a lot of issues with school transportation, delivery, bus driver shortage, all those types of issues that I know offer a lot of frustration for parents and families a lot of times.

    So, can you tell us a little bit about some of the alternative contracts and pilots that we're trying in order to better deliver students across the district?

    Jeff Bronstein: By having the ability to not only use our yellow bus service but having alternative transportation providers allows the school district and the schools to really look at the best options that we have to provide for the wide variety of students and situations that they have.

    We can now program transportation in a more efficient and effective way and that is responsive to the individual student's needs. Each and every student gets looked at and is programmed to the type of transportation services that is going to be best for them to get to school on time and ready to learn every day.

    Superintendent Juneau: I know that we are piloting an app as well that has the ability to track where the buses are and whether they're on time. Can you speak a little bit about that?

    Jeff Bronstein: We're really excited about that! This app is a GPS-based technology developed by First Student. It's called First View, and essentially, it is password protected. So, it goes into the hands of parents of students who ride buses, and we can actually look on the app at any point in time that the bus is traveling to see where the bus is. So, we're really giving the information and handing it to our stakeholders, to our students and to our parents, so that they can really track and monitor. And so that'll be a great tryout for the rest of the year and a lot of learning will take place.

    Superintendent Juneau: I hold those same hopes. This has been an ongoing challenge I think, not just for Seattle Public Schools, but for other districts across the country when I visit with them. They are struggling with on-time school transportation as well. But I would put us at the front—the leading front—of that effort of trying out new alternatives, working with our contractor to get apps, and just pulling together and your ability to be out with families and do customer service.

    What my hopes are for transportation is that our families and our students of course get delivered to school on time but that they are satisfied with all of our operations, including transportation.

    That is the goal of Seattle Excellence, our strategic plan. So, I just thank you for your work in that. And I think families will see a benefit from the work that you're putting in.

    Jeff Bronstein: We want to make a difference for our students and families in Seattle Public Schools. So, thank you.

    Superintendent Juenau: Thank you to Jeff, our operations team, and the Transportation Task Force for working to ensure more predictable and consistent transportation systems for our students.

    And thank you to our teachers, staff, and students for a great year. Together, I know we can finish 2019 strong! And you know I love a good corny joke, so why is Seattle Public Schools already talking about winter weather transportation plans for the new year? Because we have 2020 vision. That’s snow joke. Thank you.