HomeResourcesCase studiesCristo Rey Jesuit High School keeps career-focused students on track with Verizon Connect Reveal

Case study

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School keeps career-focused students on track with Verizon Connect Reveal

I think any transportation company or department would be lost without GPS and cameras. It’s huge for us.
Alicia Foster
Transportation Manager, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

At Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, learning extends beyond the classroom.

Through an innovative corporate work-study program, students at Cristo Rey gain real-world work experience by leaving the school campus once a week to work with one of the school’s corporate partners. The program is designed to help college-bound students develop the essential skills and work ethic to set them on a path toward meaningful careers. It also helps cover part of the cost of the private high school tuition.

This educational model has been a proven success at Cristo Rey. According to administrators, each member of this year’s senior class has been accepted for college enrollment next school year.

But this innovative work-study program creates some extraordinary challenges for the school regarding transportation, safety and accountability. With more than 430 students leaving for off-campus work assignments at least one day each week, the school needed to build in some operational efficiencies.

To help keep track of all that coming and going, Cristo Rey employs a transportation manager—Alicia Foster—who communicates with parents, bus contractors and taxi services to keep the plan in motion. Foster also manages the use of the school’s four minivans which are deployed daily to transport students to their assigned workplaces.

“It’s important that Cristo Rey has a transportation manager because we create our van routes to take our students to work, and we also coordinate how those students get home,” Foster said. “That’s a tidy job in itself. It’s always on, and it’s always moving.”

When she came on staff, Foster discovered the school already had a tool to help keep track of the school’s minivans and monitor how they’re being used: Verizon Connect Reveal with Integrated Video.

Keeping track of passenger transport vehicles

Knowing the location of the school vans and how they’re being operated when the students are off campus is essential at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School for several reasons, including:

Safety: Parents and administrators need to be assured the students are where they’re supposed to be under proper supervision, and that they’ve been transported from the school and home in a safe, consistent manner.

Accountability: Corporate partners need to prepare proper supervision knowing the students will arrive for work on time and have transportation ready and available at the end of the work day. “With our partners, the supervisors can’t leave work until our students are picked up because they always have to have somebody supervising them,” Foster said. “So, it’s very important that we know where the vans are at all times.”

Route management: School staff need the right data to systematically plan for transport of the students and to efficiently schedule part-time drivers to operate the transport vehicles. Smart travel-route planning can reduce wear-and-tear on vehicles, save on fuel costs and is especially important in Minneapolis, where big city traffic and snowy winter weather conditions cause delays and increase the anxiety level for all involved.

Labor management: Staff need to know the vans are being driven safely and efficiently to continuously train, review and retain a pool of responsible drivers. Cristo Rey has rules and regulations in place to make sure drivers are certified with clean driving records, but Foster needs the ability to know that drivers are following both the rules of the school and the rules of the road. Year-to-year turnover can be high in these positions, so retaining good drivers and weeding out the bad ones is a priority for Foster.

“Our main goal is safety,” she said. “I can’t have unsafe drivers out there transporting our students. That’s someone else’s precious cargo, right?”

Location date and video footage provide necessary proof

To monitor the location of Cristo Rey’s transport vans, Foster relies on the GPS tracking ability of Verizon Connect Reveal, an intuitive, cloud-based fleet-management system that monitors and manages a mobile workforce.

Using Verizon Connect Reveal from her school office computer, Foster has a near-real-time, 360-degree view of each van’s daily operation, with accurate times of the students’ arrival and departure from each workplace. She also has proof when every route has been completed, helping provide assurance to parents who may be concerned with their child’s whereabouts.

Foster also can use data from Verizon Connect Reveal to plan daily van routes, assess the efficiency of the routes, track idle times and make sure vans are arriving at their destinations safely and on time. “We create our own van routes,” Foster said. “So, if I switch a van route, I can pull up the GPS information, compare the routes and see what way works better.”

When she’s away from her desk, Foster said she relies on the Verizon Connect Reveal app—Spotlight—to monitor the movement of the vans from her phone.

“I am a very hands-on manager,” she said. “Even when I’m not at school, I’m working. I’m still connected with the app on my phone so I can see our vans wherever I am.”

Verizon Connect Reveal also features customizable, user-friendly dashboard alerts that are triggered when drivers are speeding, driving harshly (hard braking, cornering, hard accelerating), idling for long periods or even operating a vehicle during off hours.

The dash alerts also work hand-in-hand with Verizon Connect Integrated Video, an intelligent dashcam solution.

All four Cristo Rey transport vans are outfitted with road- and driver-facing AI-powered dash cameras which provide visibility of activity in and around the vehicles. If a driver runs a red light, blows a stop sign or passes idling vehicles on the shoulder of the road, outward-facing dash cams will record and provide proof of the event. If a collision or other incident occurs, school administrators can review high-definition footage within minutes to quickly assess the event. Footage can help verify what happened and help mitigate risk in the case of false claims against a driver.

Video also can be used to review a driver’s behavior while operating a van.

“I did have a report of a driver smoking in one of the vans, and was able to verify it with video. So, it was helpful there,” Foster said. “Our policies are pretty easy to follow. No smoking in the vans. Follow the laws of the road. Don’t abuse the vans.”

Safety and accountability arrive on time

Foster said Verizon Connect Reveal and Integrated Video have helped her reinforce safe habits with her team of drivers, and in one case, show cause for letting a driver go.

“I always give them a chance to explain what happened,” she said. “We had someone who was driving on the shoulder, and it happened more than once. I brought them in, showed the video, and explained why that’s not acceptable.

“I use it as a coaching mechanism. I check the speeding alerts all the time, and say, ‘Hey, look at this. Is it appropriate for you to be going 20 over the speed limit?’ And I’m not guessing. It tells me.”

Overall, Verizon Connect Reveal and Integrated Video help provide peace of mind for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School parents and school officials who have chosen this work-study model.

It also makes life a lot easier for the school’s transportation manager.

“I think any transportation company or department would be lost without GPS and cameras,” Foster said. “It’s huge for us. We can see where our vehicles are at all times, and we can let parents know where their student is or why they’re not home yet. Most of the time, it’s just bad traffic. But it’s great to have the facts.”

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