Colton (Calif.) Joint Unified School District students decorate a school bus with slogans and pictures depicting kindness, and district team members ride the bus to various sites to spread the message.
I attended a Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation conference a couple of years ago where the theme of the event was "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize."
For three event-filled days, our focus was diverted from the distractions of dire budget projections (which still haven't changed much) and the overall busyness of our daily routines, and on to the key themes of why we do what we do in the pupil transportation business: ensuring that the safe transportation of "the prize" - the next generation - is maintained to the highest of industry standards. It was an appropriate title, especially given our trying times, when days are punctuated with challenge, change and ... stress.
But stress is not all bad. In fact, stress can be beneficial, as it releases a key "fight or flight" hormone in our bodies called cortisol.
Cortisol: the good and bad
Cortisol, like the other hormones in our bodies, is an important and necessary ingredient in our survival. Not only does it help regulate our blood pressure, it also helps metabolize glucose, kick starts our immune system and even helps keep swelling of muscle tissues in check after a physical injury. In short, it would be pretty hard for us to function without it.
Unfortunately, in the high-stress lives we lead, filled with "type-A-squared," multi-tasked-to-the-max people, keeping our stress levels in check is not so easy. In fact, the harder and faster we live, the less our bodies have a chance (or even the ability) to lower - much less regulate - elevated cortisol levels to a normal range. Unchecked, it can lead to what experts term "Chronic Stress Syndrome."
Award-winning family, marriage and corporate counselor Elizabeth Scott, M.S., has devoted her professional life to this subject, conducting individual therapy and compassionate counseling for couples. She has also facilitated scores of stress management workshops with a variety of individuals and groups. According to Scott, elevated levels of cortisol in our bloodstream for prolonged periods of time can do a lot of damage. Her research reveals some alarming findings: Higher heart rate and blood pressure, higher LDL ("bad") cholesterol, a decrease in bone mass and muscle tissue, reduced immune function and increased abdominal fat (which in itself can lead to all kinds of other health problems) may result from cortisol saturation.
Mind your stress level
So how do we get off the fast track to health problems and on the right track to good physical and mental health? Scott gives us a few good suggestions: Physical exercise is among the best, along with any other activity (e.g., deep breathing exercises, reading, prayer, etc.) that triggers your body's natural "relaxation responses," allowing your body, mind and metabolism to calm down naturally.
Another important discipline we can take up is to practice a positive outlook on life. One way we can do that is to live out "The Ten Commandments of Effective Human Relations":
Minding our stress levels by focusing on the positives is never easy, but it will go a long way in keeping our bodies and minds in proper balance. It will also keep us more focused and energetic as we help each other to "keep our eyes on the prize."
Terriel Price of Houston Independent School District uses her CPR, first aid, and cardiopulmonary training, provided by the district’s transportation department, after driver Liliam Lemus falls ill.
NAFTC’s Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training, which was launched at Blue Bird’s facility in February, is recognized by the Automotive Training Managers Council.
An Ohio school bus driver begins her morning route and is attacked by the suspect, who boarded the bus the night before, police say. Hilliard City Schools takes immediate security measures.
The Core Advantage Program is designed to help fleet managers cut costs by tracking and returning parts at the end of their product life for remanufacturing.
After ending a contract with a transportation company, Rockwood School District acquires its own fleet of 164 Blue Bird diesel school buses.
Dashcam footage shows an apparently impatient BMW driver speed up in an attempt to pass a moving school bus, only to end up on top of a concrete barrier.
The Texas school transportation agency’s event will cover such topics as safety innovations, emergency resources, training and education, and communications.
Amid a reported rise in prescription drug misuse and illicit drug abuse in the general workforce, school transportation providers stay vigilant with up-to-date training, education, and wellness efforts.
An event at the Governor’s Residence highlights school bus safety issues and recognizes winners of the state’s poster contest and safety competition.
The initial rollout will showcase companies in such areas as attendance, camera technology, GPS, fleet maintenance, and parent portal.
The New York School Bus Contractors Association holds a variety of school bus safety events throughout the state and renews its call for stiffer penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
NAPT and SBF are researching issues related to school bus driver shortage. Transportation directors and hiring managers are asked to complete a survey on the subject. The deadline is Monday.
Tod Eskra takes the reins of the school bus fleet management services firm, which is a member of the TransPar Group of Companies.
This powerful PSA tells the heartbreaking story of 12-year-old Adam Kempf, who was fatally struck by a van while crossing the street to board his school bus in 2012.