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The importance of field trips
June 21, 2012
Although I didn’t ride a school bus growing up, I did take them when I went on field trips. One trip I remember vividly was a visit to The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It was an eye-opening experience, and it got me thinking ...
2 different takes on bus fees
May 21, 2012
In the ongoing struggle to protect pupil transportation service from the chopping block, many school district officials and even state legislators are looking for ways to help school bus operations generate revenue. One idea that has seen its fair share of controversy lately is school bus fees. ...
School buses on screen and after retirement
May 11, 2012
Outside of work, I’m often reminded of how school buses are an integral part of our culture. I recently saw a preview for “The Dark Knight Rises,” which included a scene with a school bus. This is one of many films where yellow buses play a role. They also remain useful after they’re retired, further exemplifying ...
Former bus safety champion goes yellow in wedding
April 30, 2012
For Kyle Alderson, having a school bus involved in his wedding wasn't just a fun and eye-catching way to get from the ceremony to the reception — it was also a meaningful link to his efforts for school bus safety in his youth.
The challenges of bus driver training
April 16, 2012
I read an interesting story recently that reported on an impending partnership for school bus driver training between an Augusta, Ga.-based school district and a local technical college. One of the objectives of the course is to help create a more qualified applicant pool. Around that time, I also spoke with a driver trainer at another operation, who shared with me some of the challenges she faces in instructing bus drivers. One thing she said was that ...
Driver training stays strong in tough times
April 9, 2012
About three-fourths of respondents to a recent survey said that no training-related budget cuts were made at their operation this school year. That finding and others in SBF's new Driver Training Survey suggest that the industry's commitment to thorough instruction of school bus drivers remains strong — even in a time of widespread budget shortfalls. ...
Rebel with a cause
March 16, 2012
As I researched former school transportation leader Joe Mirabella to write an article on him after his untimely death, I got the sense that he was committed to doing what he felt was right — even if that meant going against the grain. ...
Tips for an outstanding maintenance operation
March 12, 2012
In the March 2012 issue of SBF, I wrote an article wherein pupil transportation professionals at operations shared with me their thoughts on what helps keep school buses in good operating condition. The people I interviewed offered many more tips, which I'll share with you here.
Insight on transporting students with special needs
February 24, 2012
Providing school bus service can be challenging, but transporting students with special needs can present a wide range of additional challenges. I discovered this when I was working on our Special-Needs Survey earlier this year. But it seems to me that serving these students would also be rewarding. ...
Kids tell it like it is
February 13, 2012
As I did after the previous edition of the Children's Choice contest, I put together a collection of amusing and moving comments from the kids' essays. They provide a clear picture of how much school bus drivers mean to their passengers — and how dedicated the drivers are to the kids' well-being. ...
Frightening experiences on the job
January 30, 2012
I was driving to San Diego recently with my boyfriend’s aunt when a vehicle in the carpool lane of the freeway spun out of control and entered our lane, almost hitting us. The near-accident got me thinking about frightening experiences — specifically, those that have occurred in your work environment. As you know ...
The 10 Commandments for Pupil Transportation
January 23, 2012
Transportation Supervisor Louk Markham wanted something to help his employees work better as a team. He came up with a list of "commandments" — ranging from licensing requirements to bus inspections to treatment of others — and shared them with his 22 drivers ...
No shortage of holiday spirit
December 16, 2011
Quite often during this time of year, we hear about work that pupil transportation officials across the country are doing to help those in need. Here, I’ll share with you details on a few efforts that I learned of recently.
Yellow buses: a worldwide beacon
December 12, 2011
The U.S. catches a lot of flak — from inside and outside of its borders — regarding its military involvements, its other foreign policies, the practices of its businesses and on and on. But one area in which our great nation is widely admired by the rest of the world is school transportation. At the recent ...
Drivers get creative with bus safety musical
November 28, 2011
School bus drivers at Mercer Island (Wash.) School District developed and performed in a play called “School Bus: The Musical” to teach elementary school students about bus safety. It presents several rules regarding waiting for the bus, crossing the street safely and correct bus passenger behavior.
School bus company helps promote music education
November 11, 2011
Music influences me on many levels, so I was intrigued when SBF received word that school bus contractor Student Transportation Inc. was involved in a media art and music education project. The company recently unveiled a mobile recording studio in partnership with Carolina Studios, a nonprofit organization.
Out of my control
October 28, 2011
While I’m well aware that the statistics show that the yellow bus is the safest form of school transportation, the thought of letting someone I don’t know drive my sons is, to be honest, a little scary. This raises a pertinent question: Do some parents decline the school bus because they feel it’s safer for their kids to ride with Mom,
Does bus seat height affect behavior management?
October 17, 2011
Two years ago, a federal rule went into effect that raised the minimum height of seat backs on new school buses from 20 inches to 24 inches. The goal was to help prevent taller and heavier children from being thrown over the seat in a crash. But can the taller seats have an unintended impact on another aspect of bus safety?
Target bus stop dangers
September 16, 2011
This summer, I heard the harrowing story of Jaycee Dugard’s life for nearly two decades after she was abducted from a school bus stop in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., in 1991 by convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido and held captive in the backyard of his home. This got me thinking about what school districts can do to maximize student safety at bus stops.
Getting to know my driver
August 19, 2011
I usually sat near the back when I rode Diane's bus in high school, and I never really got to know her over those few years. But now here we were, nearly a decade and a half later, both in jobs that led us to this same pupil transportation conference in a faraway state. ...

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