The ripple effects of the hurricanes that struck the Gulf Coast in late August and mid-September were evident in Austin, Texas, as city and convention officials weighed the possibility of canceling events at the Austin Convention Center, which was home to approximately 4,000 evacuees in early September.
But the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s (NAPT) 31st Annual Conference and Trade Show will not be among the shows forced into postponement or cancellation. According to Mike Martin, the NAPT’s executive director, Austin city officials and convention center representatives said the facility will be ready to host the annual school transportation meeting.
A good investment
For those who plan to attend the NAPT conference, the agenda promises a wellspring of educational and networking opportunities as well as numerous sponsored events, receptions and dinners.
First on the program, beginning Saturday, Oct. 29, will be the start of the NAPT Professional Development Series. This educational program requires special registration, and attendance is limited.
On Saturday, two courses will get underway: “Student Transportation Orientation” and “Risk Management and Emergency Planning.” Both are eight-hour workshops, with half on Saturday and half on Sunday. Another series workshop, “Special Education Transportation,” is offered on Sunday and lasts four hours.
Also on Sunday, a 90-minute course called “School Bus Watch: Train the Trainer Workshop” will be conducted. Co-sponsored by the NAPT, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the American Trucking Associations/Highway Watch, the course teaches participants how to recognize and report potential terrorist threats as well as safety concerns such as broken down vehicles, hazardous road and weather conditions, and traffic concerns.
On Sunday afternoon, the opening ceremonies and keynote presentation will take place. The keynote presenter will be Mike Rayburn, known as “The World’s Funniest Guitar Virtuoso,” who will use his musical skills and humor to explain the principles of personal development.
Later that afternoon, the breakout sessions will begin. Dozens of workshops will be held over the course of the conference, covering a wide range of school transportation concerns, from student management to budgeting to driver training to maintenance strategies to passenger crash protection.
On Sunday evening, the NAPT Awards Banquet will recognize noteworthy accomplishments in the industry.
Monday’s fast start
The conference hits full stride on Monday, starting with a breakfast honoring high achievers in the areas of special needs, training, maintenance and inspection and professional growth.
Monday’s general session will feature Bill Bond, who was the principal at the high school in Paducah, Ky., when a student shot eight fellow students on Dec. 1, 1997. His presentation is titled “Lessons Learned From Responding to a School Crisis” and explores the impact it had not only on students, teachers, parents and administrators, but also on his own life.
Following the general session will be another series of breakout workshops and more NAPT Professional Development Series workshops.
On the right road
On Tuesday morning, the general session features Peggy Burns, general counsel for Adams 12 Five Star School District in Thornton, Colo. “The Road to Learning” will explain how school transportation professionals can have a positive effect on student achievement.
At 1 p.m., the NAPT Trade Show opens for business, with more than 140 exhibitors displaying their latest products and services. The trade show provides a great opportunity to gather information from bus manufacturers, their suppliers and other resource providers.
Full day of learning
The trade show continues Wednesday morning, as does the NAPT Professional Development Series.
In addition to the closing keynote and business session, two blockbuster presentations will be held Wednesday afternoon. Randy Snow, who was permanently paralyzed in a workplace accident, will discuss his experience in a session titled “Safety: A Wake-Up Call.”
Last but not least
On Thursday, the final day of the conference, the NAPT Board of Directors will facilitate a 90-minute roundtable discussion on topics such as fuel prices, student behavior management, school bus inspections and No Child Left Behind.
For the latest agenda and registration information, visit www.napt.org or call (800) 989-NAPT.