The HSD is constantly looking for efficiencies and areas of improvement. So we are excited to introduce families to our new student transportation provider, First Student. HSD Superintendent Steve Marshall explains the reasons behind this excitement:
August 5, 2021
Hello HSD Families:
We have been working hard to make improvements that will benefit our students and families. So I have some great news to report: Starting with the 2021-22 school year, First Student will be providing bus service for Hockinson students.
I visited the First Student Bus Yard today, met with our new transportation directors, and even drove one of our new buses around the parking lot! The entire experience was impressive and gave me a lot of confidence that our student transportation service will impress you in the areas of safety, reliability, and communication. Here are some highlights:
An entirely new fleet of 2021 clean-burning diesel buses.
These buses have the new bus smell! They are also fuel-efficient and equipped with multiple safety features, including: Large windshields for excellent visibility,
three security cameras,
and even an external PA system to communicate with students in the event of unsafe conditions.
Training and ongoing coaching on driving skills and how to effectively work with diverse students;
On-bus tablets to ensure consistent performance. These devices are loaded with route and stop information as well as turn-by-turn navigation for regular and substitute drivers
Daily safety inspections and disinfection;
and the FirstView app will be available to HSD families this fall that will enable parents to track pick-up times and also confirm the arrival time of your student’s bus. This app also alerts parents when bus is running late or if there are any safety notifications.
Finally, our schools will also have access to First Student's District Dashboard, which will provide us with a real-time snapshot of the status of all district buses. This 360-degree communication will go a long way in reducing surprises.
To ensure accurate routing and ensure an efficient first day of student pick ups and drop offs, our bus drivers will be participating in “dry runs” on Aug. 19 and 20. Expect to see First Student buses on Hockinson routes on these days.
The school year will begin with the same routes in 2019-20, but we want our families to know that First Student anticipates that these routes will be "optimized" (modified) a month into the school year once they have a better idea of ridership.
Routes will be made available the Week of Aug. 9. We will share the routes with newspapers and they will also be posted on our website.
Parents can contact First Student directly with any questions or concerns by calling their dispatch center at (360) 846-2922.
I know the state-wide masking mandate was received with a mixed reaction across HSD families. I hope we can all look forward to these upgrades in our transportation service. Stay tuned. I have more good news to share in the weeks ahead, which is why I feel the future is bright for the HSD!