At an OPTA Winter Workshop, special-education expert Patrick Mulick spoke on such topics as autism and behavior change on the bus.

At an OPTA Winter Workshop, special-education expert Patrick Mulick spoke on such topics as autism and behavior change on the bus.

EUGENE, Ore. — Student management was the focus of a full-day training event for Oregon pupil transportation professionals on Saturday.

The Oregon Pupil Transportation Association (OPTA) South Willamette Chapter held its annual Winter Workshop at South Eugene High School, drawing 790 attendees from 61 school districts and locations across the state.

The theme of the workshop was “Driving and Thriving: Successful Student Management Techniques.” Sarah Drinkwater, assistant superintendent of student services at the Oregon Department of Education, kicked off the program with an inspirational message of appreciation for the state's pupil transportation professionals.

One of the workshop sessions, presented by Chris Ellison and Sandi Miller of Eugene School District, covered bullying prevention and de-escalation.

Special-education expert Patrick Mulick gave presentations on such topics as behavior change on the bus and “Autism: What It Means to Us, What It Means to Them.”

Workshop attendees earned six hours of classroom credit through the Oregon Department of Education. Ellison said that the event earned "rave reviews."

The OPTA South Willamette Chapter has gained a reputation for engaging training in its Winter Workshop. Last year's edition offered a variety of hands-on exercises, including an overturned school bus, goggles that simulated being under the influence, and a smoke-filled bus. See photos of the 2016 workshop here.

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