Customer Stories / Education / United States

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Enhancing School Safety and the Student Pickup Experience Using AWS with Pikmykid

Learn how educational technology company Pikmykid makes school dismissals simpler with its Dismissal Management software, developed on AWS.


hours of personnel time saved per school year


uptime for Dismissal Management application

20,800 pounds

of carbon emissions reduced per school year

30 hours'

worth of car line waiting time prevented per school year

Dramatically reduced calls

from parents or guardians


Few things are as stressful for elementary school personnel and parents as after-school dismissals. The long-standing tradition of dismissing kids using clipboards and walkie-talkies is time-consuming for both teachers and parents. And not only that, it is also prone to mistakes.

North Joshua Elementary School (NJE) in Burleson, TX, was one of the many schools in this predicament, until its principal at the time decided to look for solutions to make its dismissal process less chaotic. She turned to Pikmykid and its Dismissal Management software, all built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). In the 7 years since, Pikmykid has saved NJE teachers time, provided flexibility during emergencies, and even reduced the school’s carbon footprint.

Teacher giving student a high-five at bus stop

Opportunity | Using AWS to Build Pikmykid’s Solution

Pikmykid is the brainchild of Pat Bhava, a serial entrepreneur who used to spend hours in lengthy car lines when picking up his daughter. One day, school staff guided a child who was not his daughter into his car by accident. That was when inspiration struck. He founded Pikmykid in 2013 and built Pikmykid’s first product, the Dismissal Management software, completely on AWS.

In 2017, NJE’s administrative staff took notice. “AWS was known for its reliability and scalability,” says Virginia Parish, senior director of marketing at Pikmykid. These features were precisely what Pikmykid needed to be successful, especially scalability. After all, teachers would only rarely need it during instructional hours. But when the bell rings, usage instantly spikes. With Pikmykid on AWS, the app can use scaling solutions like Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), which distributes network traffic to improve and automate application scalability.

At the time, NJE was straining under the increasing size of its student population and looking for a solution. Between 2016 and 2023, NJE’s student body grew from around 550 to 700. About 80 percent of them were picked up in cars at the end of the school day. The traditional radio-and-clipboard dismissal method became a logistic nightmare. When the principal at the time arranged a search for a more efficient solution, NJE found Pikmykid.


AWS has been such a good service for us. With its scalability so cost effective, AWS can grow with us as we grow as a company."

Virginia Parish
Senior Director of Marketing, Pikmykid

Solution | Working with Pikmykid Saves NJE Teachers 5,000 Hours a Year

NJE soon found that Pikmykid’s Dismissal Management was the right choice. The Dismissal Management service was simple to learn, and the company provided useful learner’s guides. When problems arose, Pikmykid’s support team resolved most of them in 10–15 minutes. And the solution itself was user friendly. Instead of clipboards, staff now carry smartphones to keep track of students. For car pickups, it is a matter of two swipes: one to check in the driver and the other to dismiss the student.

“My current receptionist has worked at several schools outside of the district—before Pikmykid,” says Tammy Watts, NJE’s current principal. “At first, she was a little skeptical. But then, 2 days into the school year, she told me that the front office was now like heaven on earth.” Dismissal Management got rid of calls from parents or guardians who wanted to change their child’s pickup plan or were wondering where their child was. With Pikmykid, parents can send the school updates through a separate parent app, which then feeds into the staff dashboard on the school’s Dismissal Management portal.

Pikmykid’s service has a 99.9 percent uptime, meaning near-real-time updates from parents or staff are seldom delayed because of downtime. This is possible through AWS services like Amazon ElastiCache, a fully managed service that delivers near-real-time, cost-optimized performance for applications.

Dismissal Management also addresses security. Pikmykid helped NJE set up a geofence—a virtual perimeter that can detect movement within its boundaries—around its car lines. When the geofence is connected to Dismissal Management, the software informs staff when a particular car enters a car line. To help NJE keep its students’ data safe, Pikmykid uses AWS services like AWS Shield, which automatically detects and mitigates network-level distributed denial of service events.

Pikmykid studies have found that its service saves teachers about 5,000 hours throughout the school year. And the software saves about 30 hours’ worth of waiting in car lines per year. Furthermore, with less waiting and more efficient bus loading, a school can save 20,800 pounds of carbon emissions per year.

Dismissal Management has the flexibility to deal with unexpected situations. Around 2019, a water main broke, and NJE had to dismiss its students early. The school notified families through the parent app and only had to change the dismissal time in the Pikmykid software. The rest went like any other day. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were facing bus driver shortages, resulting in longer bus routes and more pickups by car. Besides notifying parents about bus schedules, Dismissal Management’s efficiency optimization helped make NJE’s increased number of car lines manageable. “It has run the test of time by now,” says Watts.

Pikmykid will always remain a part of NJE’s workflows. “I think if I told my teachers that there was no more Pikmykid, there would be pushback. They would donate their own money to pay for it,” says Watts. “It’s the first thing I budget every year. It’s a no-brainer to me.”

Outcome | Making More Educational Technology Using AWS

Pikmykid continues to explore ways to improve school safety with educational technology. In April 2023, it released Hall Pass, which documents students’ locations during school days. This service was also built on AWS.

“AWS has been such a good service for us,” says Parish. “With its scalability so cost effective, AWS can grow with us as we grow as a company.”

About Pikmykid

Pikmykid is a software developer that offers a dismissal-management service for teachers, school staff, and parents to simplify the end-of-day dismissal process. It serves over 2,000 schools across the United States.

AWS Services Used

AWS Shield

AWS Shield is a managed DDoS protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS.

Learn more »

Elastic Load Balancing

Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets and virtual appliances in one or more Availability Zones (AZs).

Learn more »

Amazon ElasticCache

Amazon ElastiCache is a fully managed, Redis- and Memcached-compatible service delivering real-time, cost-optimized performance for modern applications. ElastiCache scales to hundreds of millions of operations per second with microsecond response time, and offers enterprise-grade security and reliability.

Learn more »

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