Comments in a few of the latest Thomas Built Buses Children’s Choice School Bus Driver of the Year essays pointed to a negative perception of school bus drivers that the children had developed based on what they had read or seen on screen. But, fortunately, the kids’ worries were put to rest when they actually rode the bus and had positive experiences with their drivers.
Two months after becoming president of NAPT, Alex Robinson began running the largest school district transportation department in the nation in December 2011. Since then, her staff at the NYC Office of Pupil Transportation has undergone more than 40 hours of training, and NAPT has grown its connections to relevant organizations around the globe.
The director of transportation and fleet service at Colorado’s Adams 12 Five Star Schools has orchestrated adjustments to school bell times to make busing more efficient, for an overall savings of $900,000. He has also set up mechanic apprenticeship programs to help young people enter the field.
From routing strategies to innovative facilities, speakers at the state directors conference share numerous ideas for enhancing school bus service and training. The NASDPTS membership continues to change, with more state directors announcing their retirement.
A session at the NAPT Summit addresses ways that managers contribute to distracted driving, while a keynote presentation covers fatal school bus accidents caused by inattentive drivers. Handling problematic student behavior is the focus of a panel discussion and a joint presentation. At the trade show, Blue Bird unveils its redesigned Type D buses.
Many actions have resulted in reducing the overall average danger zone fatalities from 29 to 12, but by far the greatest reduction is in front of the bus — a 73% reduction compared to 47% in the other positions. Jeff Cassell, president of the School Bus Safety Co., says he believes the answer is crossing arms.
At Shelby County Schools, enhanced driver training and partnerships with school staff have led to drastic improvements in student behavior on the bus. Here, we spend a day with Director of Transportation Debbie Rike to see how she steers the operation toward success.
The message should be framed not as “this monitoring device is here to make sure you don’t break the rules” but as “this device is here to protect you as well as the students.”
NAPT is going to be very involved in making policymakers at all levels of government aware of the vexing problems created when school bus service is threatened by cuts (in dollars or routes) or eliminated.
Clearly, the job of transportation director is not getting any easier. It takes people with a healthy supply of those “Top Traits” to lead transportation departments through these challenging times.
Now in its 37th year of business, Central States Bus Sales recently strengthened efforts to focus on the school bus manufacturer’s green technologies and provide comprehensive instruction for customers in the process.
If the fleet gets past a certain age, we can count on higher maintenance costs, reduced dependability, driver frustration, the need for more mechanics and maybe not meeting our school customers’ expectations.
Expanding discipline policies to cover both transportation and campus life, providing crisis intervention training to staff and sharing relevant student information with the right personnel will help minimize student violence on the bus and in the classroom.
Pupil transportation officials must have access to medical information on the students they are transporting, especially when the students are dependent on medical equipment and others for their care. They must also have a well-developed evacuation plan for all students that they transport.
Officials from transportation cooperatives around the country also say that they can lead to consistency in employee training and hiring, and managing and scheduling bus routes for districts. Officials discuss factors to consider when forming a cooperative, as well as potential challenges and ways to resolve them.
What are the essential qualities for success for a school transportation leader? Here, more than 50 directors and managers explain vital traits for the job, from communication and problem-solving skills to a willingness to get down in the trenches.
At this year’s NASDPTS and NAPT conferences, speakers are scheduled to discuss such topics as advanced school bus design, performance-based management and transportation safety trends. NAPT workshops will cover social media and other interesting issues, and the association’s conference will feature a revamped awards banquet and a two-day trade show.
At this year’s conference in Memphis, Tenn., Max Christensen will become president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. He plans to keep the association focused on changes in technology, build upon its relationship with other industry groups and work on growing its ties to federal-level agencies.
If drivers know in advance that they should be looking out for those stopped buses, and if they’ve been educated on the danger that illegal passing poses for students, they should be more prepared and more convinced of the need to stop.
I understand the concerns, and while I don’t have a solution, perhaps furthering the discussion on the issue is one step in the right direction.
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