MCLEAN, Va. — This year’s Transporting Students With Disabilities and Preschoolers Conference and Exhibition, scheduled March 3-8 in Orlando, Fla., will feature more than 40 “best practices” sessions for transportation professionals.
This will be the 15th year that the national conference, sponsored by the Edupro Group, has been held. “There’s never been a greater need for partnership and collaboration between transportation and special education,” said Roseann Schwaderer, the conference chair. She said this year’s event will help attendees meet challenges in the areas of partnership, preparation and professionalism.
Here is a sample of the 40-plus sessions on the preliminary agenda:
“Basics of Special-Needs Transportation” — Pauline Gervais, transportation director, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Thornton, Colo., and Cheryl Wolf, safety and training supervisor, Lafayette (Ind.) School Corp.
“Bridging the Gap Between Head Start and IDEA” — Lenny Bernstein, transportation director at Haverstraw-Stony Point Central School District in Garnerville, N.Y. Bernstein is also president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT).
“Creating Seamless Transportation Solutions Out of Unusual Demands” — Cheryl Wolf and Tom Italiano, transportation planner, Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools.
“Self-Assess Your Program With This Special-Needs Compliance Checklist” — Kathy Furneaux, executive director, Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, Syracuse, N.Y.
“Overcoming Cultural and Linguistic Challenges” — Marilyn Bello-Ruiz, project director, Family Network on Disabilities of Florida.
“Preparedness Training Before the Crash” — Kathy Strotmeyer, American Academy of Pediatrics.
In addition to the main conference, the program includes pre-conference demonstration and training sessions, such as the School Bus Watch train-the-trainer program. This session trains participants how to teach drivers to recognize and report potential terrorist threats and safety concerns.
Hands-on training in the securement of wheelchairs will also be offered. Q’Straint and Sure-Lok, manufacturers of wheelchair securement systems, will conduct training sessions on the use of their products. Q’Straint’s workshop will include training in evacuation, while Sure-Lok will be awarding certification in the use of its equipment.
There will also be “executive briefing” sessions that offer practical techniques for handling human resources challenges. Topics covered will include employment and discrimination law, writing job descriptions, hiring and orientation, and evaluating employee performance.
The conference will host the 9th National Special-Needs Team Safety Roadeo. The event is scheduled Saturday, March 4. It’s managed by Edupro Group and the NAPT.