‘Kid Gopher’ Brings Safety and Efficiency to the Car Rider Line
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — ‘Kid Gopher’ is a new program only available in two schools nationwide, North Springs Elementary and Catawba Trail Elementary, both of those are here in Richland County. Even though it’s new, teachers say it’s proving to be safe and efficient when it comes to the car rider line. “The bottom line is children are safe,” says Denise Barth, Principal of Catawba Trail Elementary. Denise Barth, was at the forefront of ‘Kid Gopher’, a program she helped develop while serving as principal at North Springs Elementary school. Now, she’s bringing the program to Catawba Trail Elementary. “When I approached the district and said wow, I think the technology exists, wouldn’t it be great if…and the district immediately stepped up,”says Barth Something she was thankful for. “Because I knew they were thinking of the children, they were listening to the ideas and they were willing to take a chance on something that hadn’t been done before,” says Barth. The next step was to find a company to help develop the program. That’s where Jon West of Synergy Systems came in. “Richland Two came to us and ask us to provide them with a system that would help get children out the door safely,” says West, a Salesman with Synergy Systems. From there, ‘Kid Gopher’ became a reality. The program is based on a 3-point system. First, a teacher goes to the car rider line with an I-pod and a scanner. The teacher asks the parent for their ‘Gopher card,’ then scans the card. The system then sends a picture of the child to the I-pod, the parent verifies this and the teacher relays the information to the teachers in the cafeteria. The system sends the child name to a 4-matrix screen in the cafeteria, where the children are waiting. Once the child sees their name on the screen, they walk to the teacher standing at the door with an I-pad. The teacher then checks the students name off the list and sends them out the door. Once outside other teachers are waiting to walk the child to the proper car. “They come straight out, and they’re out here on the sidewalk to make sure that every child goes to the right car, and I like that,” says Ellen Jones, a parent who picks up her children through the car rider line. “We have a way to double check information, we have visuals, we have databases, and those things work together so that we can make sure that our children are being picked up by the right person, getting into the right vehicle and we don’t have to second guess that when they are rolling away,” says Barth. Right now, ‘Kid Gopher’ is only availabe at North Springs and Catawba Trail Elementary schools, but developers hope the program spreads. “We are planning to expand, but Richland Two really drove the technology here, they really wanted to see this happen,” says West. It’s technology that’s giving parents and teachers, peace of mind. “I know and that parent knows when that door opens, that child getting in, is the right vehicle and the right adult, everyday,” says Barth. Program developers say they chose the I-pod and I-pad, because they needed something that was hand held and easy to use. However, if another schools chooses to go with a different tablet, ‘Kid Gopher’ will work on those as well.