Of course, drivers can and do make their own impressions in the community in the way they handle their duties. A smile and greeting from the driver’s seat certainly go a long way. But the good work of school bus drivers isn’t limited to the bus.
At Cecil County Public Schools in Elkton, Md., drivers are encouraged to join an elementary school mentoring program.
“They’re looking for somebody to come once a week and spend half an hour with a student — playing chess, reading books, just being a positive adult role model,” says Bob Markwardt, supervisor of transportation. About a dozen of the district’s drivers have committed to the program.
At Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. in Columbus, Ind., the transportation department participates in the county fair, which takes place about three weeks before school starts. The county gives the operation space to park a bus and pitch a yellow and black tent.
Drivers donate time to man the tent and pass out fliers and coloring books on safety. Children and parents are encouraged to explore the bus.
“This has been a real positive, especially for kindergarten kids who have never been on a bus,” says Transportation Manager Monica Coburn. “And it lets parents see how committed and caring the drivers are.”