SANDPOINT, Idaho — A special-needs school bus driver and aide here were recently awarded for their hard work by the Idaho Association for Pupil Transportation, Bonner County Daily Bee reports.

The association recognized Pam Rogers as its 2016 Special Needs Driver of the Year and MaryAnn Kraemer as its 2016 Special Needs Aide of the Year, according to the newspaper. Both work for Lake Pend Orielle School District No. 84, and are active in the district’s transportation association, which raises money to fund scholarships for school district graduates.

James Koehler, the district’s transportation director, told Bonner County Daily Bee that Rogers has worked for the district for the past 29 years and for 17 of those years, she has transported special-needs students to and from school. She typically drives 10 special-needs students and 10 life-skills students. Koehler added that Rogers has developed a personal relationship with every family on her route, a “way of communicating and interacting with the students that other special-needs drivers strive for” and that other special-needs drivers at the district all thought that the recognition for Rogers is “long overdue.”

Kraemer has worked as a special-needs aide with the district since 2011, and has completed professional development training in first aid/CPR, non-violent intervention, sign language, autism spectrum, and wheelchair restraint over the last five years, the newspaper reports. Koehler told Bonner County Daily Bee that Kraemer “has developed a special and personal relationship with each student” and that she helps them “enjoy the ride or [give] them their space to be independent on the bus, while still keeping safe watch over the students.”

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