February is a time to show your love and appreciation for that special someone ... the yellow school bus.
That's right - along with the other important observances that take place during February, it's "Love the Bus" month.
The celebration, which was founded in 2007 and is coordinated by the American School Bus Council (ASBC), aims to recognize the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely shuttle the nation's children to and from school each day.
While the focal point of Love the Bus is Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, events can be held any time during February. So even if you don't already have a celebration planned, there's still time. Here are ideas from ASBC to help in spreading the "Love."
For district transportation directors
1. Send a letter or e-mail to all principals with ideas and links for their teachers for Love the Bus week, and encourage them to send info home with bus-riding students.
2. Work with the district communication office to have a press release sent out one week prior to Feb. 14.
3. Encourage drivers of elementary students to decorate the inside of the bus with valentines or start a bulletin board in the bus for kids' notes and drawings.
4. Allow buses to park at schools on Feb. 14 so classrooms can come out to visit the bus, thank the driver and leave a note. This is also a good way for non-bus riders to experience the inside of a bus.
5. Ensure that all transportation staff and school board members are aware of national Love the Bus activities and resources. Visit www.naptonline.org for school bus facts and figures to use.
For state directors
1. E-mail all local directors encouraging them to participate. Point them to www.lovethebus.com.
2. Create a web page specific to your state's Love the Bus activities. Many districts love to send in pictures and report on what they did. See a great example at www.ncbussafety.org/LoveTheBusNC.html.
3. Coordinate a state official riding the school bus and notify the media.
4. Personally get involved in a Love the Bus event and make some kind of official announcement or proclamation.
5. Host a web seminar or post a video explaining to districts what they can do and why it is important.
For school bus contractors
1. Give drivers a Love the Bus logo item (T-shirt, pin, sticker, etc.) to wear while driving throughout the week.
2. Host a driver appreciation event in your terminal.
3. Purchase ad space on a billboard near a high-traffic area for the week or month thanking the drivers for their service.
4. Issue a release with the school district to the local press about Love the Bus, asking the community to recognize school bus drivers they see.
5. Co-host an event with school district administration. ASBC coordinates Love the Bus and provides resources (see www.lovethebus.org), but it's up to you to make sure there are celebrations in your area. Let's keep this noble tradition rolling.