The Cyr Foundation for Excellence in School Transportation is increasing its education and training opportunities, with recently expanded webinar and video offerings, and will soon announce scholarship and award winners.

The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that provides education and training opportunities for bus drivers, monitors and mechanics to help them do their jobs better. It was established and is operated by the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) in 2006 in honor of Dr. Frank Cyr, a New York-based educator who was known as the “Father of the Yellow School Bus,” said Scott Goble, a foundation board member and director of transportation for Canandaigua City School District.

Cyr earned that title by convening the first school transportation safety standards conference in 1939. That conference, which eventually evolved into the National Congress on School Transportation, established the chrome yellow color for school buses. Coincidentally, Cyr went to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, just 50 miles from Des Moines, where the 2015 NCST was held, Goble pointed out.

Cyr also chaired a federal conference in 1942 that set school transportation policy during wartime, according to Columbia University Record.

More generally, Cyr also made several other contributions to the world of education. He published a policy for rural education in the U.S. in the 1940s, helped establish a television system for rural schools in the Catskills in the 1960s, and was working on a book about the rural school of the 21st century when he passed away in 1995, the newspaper reported.

For the Cyr Foundation, the most successful training tools have been the foundation’s e-newsletters and video training series, which cover topics ranging from personal wellness to transporting homeless students to driving in adverse weather conditions. The series was published in collaboration with the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute. The foundation offers webinars and regional workshops in conjunction with NYAPT. Popular topics include video surveillance and employee discipline, and working with students with disabilities.

The Cyr Foundation also offers a conference scholarship program, sponsored by New York School Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR), and has launched a new New York State School Bus Driver of the Year award. This year, the foundation board of directors selected five recipients for NYSIR-funded scholarships to attend their first ever New York 2015 Annual Conference. Meanwhile, the 2015 Bus Driver of the Year will be announced at the NYAPT 2015 Annual Awards Banquet on July 14.

The foundation’s work has been focused entirely in New York state, Goble said, and it is exploring training programs for drivers and attendants in the area of gender bias and gender-based bullying, as well as training related to special-needs transportation.

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