Tips for Pick Up and Drop Off

Possip / /

Schools spend a lot of time planning for pick up or drop off, carlines, and bus transportation.  Possip hears from parents about pick up and drop off, buses, car lines, etc.  We have been at a few schools recently where we saw some dismissal and arrival and car line wins so wanted to share them here:

  1. Put teachers and staff on carline duty.  This way parents don’t have to get out of the car but rather can just have their kids sent to them.  At one school I talked to multiple teachers and staff members who said carline duty or pick-up duty was one of their highs. They loved the opportunity to see families.  Now they’ll have to see car duty as more than a purely logistical task.  It has to be one of joy.  At one school the French teacher is out there saying “Bon jour” every morning.  We laughed as one kid got out of the car and asked how to insult his sister in French.
  2. Use cones to direct where you want traffic to go – and have signs ready to go and visible directing traffic.  You can intersperse directive signs with encouraging ones (with quotes, quick sayings “We love you!” or “Your day will be great!”)
  3. Put staff in brightly colored vests (of course you’ll want to determine what makes sense based on the location – but if there are lots of people out, especially with high schoolers, having staff
  4. Use cell phones as walkie-talkies and to text information.  Have parents use placards with their kids’ names. As parents come to pick up kids text someone inside with the order of kids who should be coming out based on the order of parents in the car lines.
  5. Create a designated space for parents who prefer to park and walk.  Some parents aren’t in a rush and may be content parking and walking.  Give them some direction of where they can go.
  6. Create a separate space for each group of transportation (buses, walkers, and car pick up).  Consider letting your bus riders dismiss even a few minutes before the bell rings to get them cleared out and on their way.
  7. Include older students if you have older students who can help dismissal and arrival is a great place to give students leadership opportunities – whether helping to greet younger kids, being a walking partner for a younger student who is still having a little separation anxiety, or serving as a crossing guard.

We know drop off and pick up is no small feat.  It is driven by the actions of parents and families, strangers, physical facility constraints, and even weather!  So we don’t have a silver bullet – but wanted to share some of what we have seen.

We’ll keep adding to this list as we see and learn about best practices!  If you have great ideas to share with us, email us at  We’d love to hear from you!