Drew Crocker has developed an informative app, Yelo, to track the status of school buses. CONTRIBUTED

Crocker’s Yelo app answers bus status questions

MADISON – An enterprising student at Bob Jones High School, Andrew D. ‘Drew’ Crocker, observed the end-of-day frustration that students and faculty experience with the status of school buses.

Using his knowledge of coding, he created a viable answer, and administrators at Bob Jones have been using his app, Yelo.

“In middle school, I noticed that the administration had a difficult time relaying bus information to students. In many cases, students were unaware of their bus’s status and were constantly asking questions to administration about where their bus was,” Crocker said.

Students had trouble knowing when their bus had arrived, departed or delayed. “I set out to create a web application that would help the administration better distribute this information to students. It’s called Yelo,” Crocker said.

Crocker found this problem also prevalent at Bob Jones . . . on a larger scale. “With almost 2,000 students, it can be difficult for the administration to relay end-of-day bus information over the school intercom,” Crocker said. “Because of these issues, I created Yelo that allows the school administration to inform students of their bus status in a more efficient manner.”

“Using their mobile devices, students can check to see whether their bus has arrived, departed or is delayed using our Yelo interface. They can view any potential bus changes. This direct connection to students vastly simplifies the after-school bus chaos for the administration at both middle and high schools,” Crocker said.

Bob Jones staff has used Yelo for more than two years. Crocker believes other Madison City Schools campuses could apply Yelo to improve their after-school bus management.

To use Yelo, schools provide students with a Yelo link, unique to their school. Students can view their bus’s status in the afternoons for “real-time updates. Schools (can) specify a location where students can find their bus in multiple bus loops,” Crocker said. If a bus needs a substitute, students will learn any bus changes.

“These quick updates for students greatly reduce the inevitable daily bus confusion when schools only announce bus changes over the intercom or microphone,” Crocker said. “Yelo does not use any sort of GPS tracking.”

School leaders have told Crocker that Yelo has vastly simplified distributing bus details. “Yelo simplifies after-school bus chaos for educators by connecting students with a user-friendly interface that allows quick access to view their bus status,” Crocker said.

To-date, Yelo has been entirely web-based, so students had to use a web browser. “In the coming weeks, we’ll release an iOS app that students can download to their mobile devices. This new mobile app will make Yelo much more convenient,” Crocker said.

Currently, only Bob Jones uses Yelo. “I would love for other middle and high schools in MCS to utilize Yelo’s features to streamline the after-school bus management process,” Crocker said. In the future, Crocker wants to expand into Huntsville City Schools.

In naming ‘Yelo,’ Crocker wanted to incorporate the color ‘yellow’ to represent school buses’ color. “However, I wanted to coin a name that was a bit more creative and unique. My dad suggested the word ‘Yelo’ because it creates symmetry in the logo and fulfills my original idea of helping people visualize a school bus,” Crocker said.

Some of Crocker’s other accomplishments include SGA Junior and Senior Class President, Service Project Coordinator for National Honor Society, Ambassador President and Eagle Scout, Troop 350.

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