And you think your job stinks? This photo was submitted to STN by a reader in Texas, which goes to show that no matter how bad your day is going, it could smell a lot worse. At least it's Friday! Wind down by checking the following items in this week's blog roundup.
The National School Boards Association reported earlier this month that the Sweet Home School District near Albany, Ore., is considering a policy that limits after-hour communications between teachers and students. The policy, written by the Oregon School Boards Association and already been adopted by another school district, targets communication via personal communications devices. In other words, we're talking social networking sites but also texting, cell phones, email, Skype and any other "app" one can think of.
This begs the question, what about school bus drivers and other transportation staff who regularly interact with students during the school day? Does you district, or transportation department, consider this?
Last month, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan laid forth the goal that all school textbooks to be digital within the next five years. If that actually happens, or not, what effect might this have on school districts (and states) in moving ahead with Wi-Fi technology on the school bus?
Speaking of school bus Wi-Fi, West Virginia State Superintendent Dr. Jorea Marple was fired this month after leading education efforts for the past two years that includes an on-going pilot project to equip school buses with Internet routers.
Ben Shew, state director of student transportation at the state Department of Education, said Marple was a champion of school busing and related programs designed to improve the ability of rural students to get to and from class and their reading skills. She also was involved in updating state regulations to allow districts to begin purchasing propane-autogas school buses.
"She definitely would be classified as a hands-on superintendent and was passionate about her job," added Shew, who is also the East region director on the NASDPTS executive board.
Reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil has dominated national headlines for several years now and was a major issue during the recent presidential election. Last week, the National Resource Defense Council released its sixth-annual report "Fighting Oil Addiction" that ranks states on how well they are promoting policies that reduce this dependence as well as those that aren't doing such a bang-up job.
The states doing the best jobs of attempting to limit oil dependence are, according to NRDC: California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The 10 states that do the least to curb oil dependence are: Nebraska, Alaska, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, and Utah.
The report also claims there is a "wide gulf" between states that promote public transit (bus, shuttles, trains or light rail), smart growth and fuel efficiency and states that do little or nothing to expand less oil dependent forms of transportation.
As if school bus drivers don't already have a lot to be on the look out for, a study by the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland indicates that for the sixth straight year 60 percent of high school students surveyed use, store or sell drugs at school. The data was taken from the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse.
While school bus ridership generally decreases as students get on in high school years, does your operation offer any training to bus drivers on how to potentially observe if a student may be under the influence of drugs or may be carrying them on his or her person?