STERLING, Colo. — In order to provide training for school bus drivers at rural districts who might not otherwise receive it, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) organizes workshops through the state’s Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
Greta Bleau, CDE nutrition and transportation consultant, recently led an in-service at Northeastern Junior College in partnership with the Colorado School District Self Insurance Pool, drawing about 40 drivers from five surrounding counties.
Bleau invited the local fire department to lead a bus evacuation drill and fire extinguisher training. During the evacuation drill, firefighters filled a school bus with fake smoke, and drivers searched the bus for a hidden teddy bear. “I worked with the drivers and told them, ‘Here’s how you do your inspection when you can’t see your hand in front of your face,’” Bleau explained.
In addition, drivers attended sessions on bullying, sexual harassment and liability led by Patty Gibson from the Self Insurance Pool. In the afternoon, Bleau brought drivers up to speed on CDE operational rules and regulations, and then the attendees took the required annual written test.
Bleau, who has experience working as a bus driver, trainer and licenser, says she works with the different BOCES in the state to customize in-services based on what topics schools feel need to be addressed with their bus drivers.