U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx met with teachers, administrators and more than 200 elementary school students on Friday during the American School Bus Council's "Love the Bus" event that celebrates the safety of school buses and recognizes the jobs of drivers.
Foxx braved heavy rains to fly down from Washington, D.C., to attend the event at Oak Hill Elementary in High Point, N.C., and share school bus safety messages with the students and to thank their bus drivers. He was joined by: U.S. Congressman Howard Coble; Carlas McCauley, the director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of School Improvement Grants; Mo Green, superintendent of Guilford County Schools; and High Point Mayor Bernita Sims.
"I was a kid who rode a school bus, and I know how much of an impression the school bus drivers made on me," commented Fox in thanking the drivers for all they do.
The students and school cheerleaders welcomed Foxx and other officials onto campus as they walked the halls decorated with school bus murals designed by an art classes. The program then began, which included a group of first graders wearing yellow "I Love the Bus" t-shirts interpreting the popular children's book "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," and a group of fourth and fifth grade students, who also wore the shirts, playing a song on their recorders.
Eighty percent of the Oak Hill's students ride the school bus and 99 percent of the children freceive free or reduced lunch. ASBC added that a large percentage of students come from single-parent households, and more than half speak one of 18 different languages other than English.
Despite these statistics, ASBC chose Oak Hill as this year's Love the Bus site after it was named the highest-performing Title I school for the 2012-2013 school year, completing a turnaround from being one of the state's worst. The school received a Federal School Improvement Grant in 2010, and the community, including nearby ASBC member Thomas Built Buses, has worked together to engage students and improve their educational opportunities.
ASBC is a coalition of public and private transportation providers, school bus manufacturers and state officials responsible for pupil transportation. In addition to Thomas Built, its members include the National Association for Pupil Transportation, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, the National School Transportation Association, Blue Bird Corp. of Fort Valley, Ga., and IC Corporation of Lisle, Ill.