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One of the biggest worries a parent, teacher and school district can have is when there is a need to quickly locate a missing student. Unfortunately, this can be a daily occurrence, even with students in our district. For any of us in this situation, it is a very frantic and stressful time until the student is located. The need for Eagle County School District to help provide a faster, more efficient way to help determine a student’s location is a vital one for all parties especially when a child does not come home from school or is not where they should be. 

In looking for a solution, we researched many systems until we found a product that not only would help narrow the window of time it takes to locate a student, but also would also help us to know, without a doubt, that we are dropping students at their correct bus stops. It was decided at the board level that the need for such a system was paramount to the safety of all our students.

We chose SMART tag for its multiple functions and minimal costs to the district.

SMART tag is a student pass system that utilizes RFID technology, much like a ski pass, and cloud-connected tablets, allowing for real-time, accurate information in a secure and affordable way. SMART tag will help us provide a faster-informed response to worried parents and guardians looking for their child. 

All school offices and our dispatchers will have the ability to immediately “see” if the student got on a bus and where and when they got off, providing rapid and immediate information for parents to narrow their search time and area.

According to, “The less time lapsed between when the child is missing and when a search begins, the better the chance for recovery." Our goal is to assist in locating the student as soon as possible. This system will significantly reduce the amount of time it would take for a parent or police officer to find the child. 

For the system to work effectively, it will require students to touch their pass to an RFID reader as they enter the bus, and again as they get off the bus, allowing drivers to see each student’s picture on a green screen, indicating they are an authorized rider, or red screen, for a student who is not. This will prevent a student from incorrectly being transported on the wrong bus or getting off at the wrong stop. This is especially important for our younger students who often forget where their stop is or for sub-drivers who may not know students and their correct stops. 

To date, all students who had been reported as missing were found safe and unharmed. Our concern is that there may be a time when a parent cannot find their child. We believe that SMART tag will provide our families the ability to quickly identify whether a student has ridden their correct bus, and eliminate the often time-consuming search of all of our school buses. This new system will expedite the process for parents and law enforcement to navigate from the student’s last point of contact.

SMART tag also has many other time- and cost-saving features, including (but not limited to):

  • A GPS allowing for parents with the Smart Alerts app the ability to know when the student scans on and off and their locations.
  • Allowing school administrators to identify where their buses are along on the routes and which students are on board in the event of an emergency. 
  • Listing which bus stop a kindergartner/new rider is assigned to be dropped off, virtually eliminating incorrect drops.
  • Allowing for immediate contact of emergency responders by the driver in case the bus radio is not functioning.
  • Providing emergency alerts about medical and updates of students.
  • An end-of-route student bus check reminder system.
  • Giving parent/guardian authorization alerts.
  • Allowing the driver to pre-trip and post-trip the bus electronically.
  • Remotely sending reports of bus issues to mechanics for quicker repairs.
  • Issuing immediate reports for number of student names, busloads counts, late buses, fuel use, speed reports, off route reports, and route times.

The system was invented and developed by a bus driver, so the actual needs of a driver and their students have been carefully planned within the system. Currently, there is no other system that can fully provide this type of detailed information for bus drivers.

We look forward to better serving our district families, schools, and community with this exciting new level of student protection technology.