SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services (WSWHE BOCES) launched a pilot program in August to simultaneously train drivers in different locations.

The board used its Saratoga-Adirondack Distance Learning network at the F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga Springs to simulcast the School Bus Driver Training class — a two-hour safety refresher required for the state’s drivers.

Lance Freiberger, WSWHE BOCES transportation safety coordinator, said the Distance Learning Lab allows for a two-way interactive video/voice network between two or more districts simultaneously.

The pilot program was simulcast to Waterford-Halfmoon and Newcomb Schools. A total of 31 bus drivers participated: 10 in Saratoga, six at Waterford and 15 at Newcomb, which includes bus drivers from Indian Lake.

“We’re excited about being able to offer this course using the technology that’s already being used by school districts,” Freiberger said. “Bus drivers within a 100-mile radius will now be able to take this two-hour refresher practically without leaving home.”

Freiberger said the goal is to build a statewide learning network to allow school districts access to affordable and necessary bus driver training programs, such as crisis intervention, emergency planning and student management.

Another potential use for the technology would be to tie it in with community colleges to provide degree programs for transportation personnel.

Freiberger said the Distance Learning Lab can also be used in teaching bus safety to students in several districts at one time.