February is one of the last months of winter in the Midwest, so I quite look forward to it. It also signifies “Love the Bus” month throughout the student transportation system in the United States, yet another reason this month tops my list of favorites. This yearly celebration has been largely curtailed the past two years due to the lingering effects of the COVID‐19 pandemic. Under “normal” circumstances, NSTA representatives would join with our colleagues from the American School Bus Council (ASBC) at a host school location to engage with students, teachers, bus drivers, monitors, and transportation staff to celebrate the occasion.
In place of our regular in‐person activities, private school bus operators and school districts everywhere are showing their appreciation in creative ways during Love the Bus Month. Locally, we are posting photos on social media, sending cards, and honoring drivers with certificates of appreciation. In class, students are learning more about the importance of the school bus, coloring school bus safety sheets, and planning celebrations for their drivers.
While the focal point of the campaign is centered on the iconic school bus, what student transportation professionals are really trying to convey is a profound appreciation for all the individuals who make the yellow bus so loveable and dependable.
During the month of February, we have heard and seen a great deal of gratitude from parents and students for bus drivers and monitors, who are an unsung group of caring and giving individuals. So many lives are impacted through the positive relationships that drivers foster with students. When students start their day on a good note through regular and comfortable transportation directly to the classroom, it creates a solid foundation for learning.
Many of our drivers remain energized through their ability to impact local communities in a tangible way. In fact, some of the most inspiring comments have come from the school bus drivers themselves. The stories they’re sharing about why they love to drive the school bus make us even more grateful for the important role they play.
Everyone understands the current environment, as the driver shortage has been a national story since the beginning of school last fall. It is unfortunate that it took the shortage for many people to clearly understand that school bus drivers are incredibly important to the success of the overall educational system. Education begins and ends with successful transportation to‐and‐from school.
Student transportation professional have always understood this fact, which is why this year’s celebration has been impactful. As the largest mass transit system in the country, student transportation must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities. Events like “Love the Bus” have added importance these days. Not only does it shine a glowing light on the school bus driver profession, it also can be a “call to action” by raising awareness of this importance position.
If you’re a school bus driver, we want to hear from you too! Tell NSTA and ASBC why you love your job or how your district celebrates Love the Bus Month. Be sure to use #lovethebus on social media to share your story with others or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe you can inspire someone else to explore a rewarding career as a school bus driver.