QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - With a kindergartner, a two-year-old, a four-year-old, and long shifts as a nurse, you could say Amanda Hereim's life is chaotic.
"Trying to keep a calendar between my phone, a written calendar, and then communication between the husband and mother-in-law to make everything work," she told Arizona's Family on Monday.
On her son Logan's first day of school, the bus was late bringing him home. While the district told her that can be normal, she and her husband bought a GPS tracker for his backpack. When Queen Creek Unified School District offered the"Here Comes the Bus" app, she was sold.
"I was just so scared and nervous about how he would know how to get on the bus, if he knew how to get off the bus, if he would recognize where his house was," Amanda said.
She's one of nearly 800 parents with active accounts, the district says. It launched the app in October 2020. Peggie Overton runs the district transportation department and says it's been a huge success.
Here's how it works: parents have the option to register their kids for free. Using GPS technology on the buses, you can get alerts when your child's ride is nearby. When the kids swipe their passes parents can check and make sure they got to and from school safely.
In her 31 years in the in the industry, Overton says technology is catching up. "I’m a mom. My children are now adults, but I would have loved to have had something like this when they were school-aged," Overton said.
Starting school can be stressful, especially during a global pandemic. Amanda says her son's bus driver has been wonderful. A little technology goes a long way in giving her some peace of mind.
"I think I dreaded that day for years before it actually came, and with COVID I knew it would just add to it. I knew I couldn’t take him to school. I couldn’t drop him off and walk him into class," she said.
The Queen Creek district says about 70% of students rely on transportation. A spokesperson for the company that built the app says it is also offered in 8 or 9 other Arizona districts, including the Higley Unified School District.