On the second-to-last day in office for Assistant Deputy Education Secretary Kevin Jennings before returning to the private sector, the U.S. Department of Education unveiled its bullying response training module for school bus drivers to industry insiders.
NASDPTS representatives visited Washington, D.C., to receive a first glance at the training that was developed in conjunction with NAPT. NAPT President Dr. Linda F. Bluth told me the event was a highlight of her time in office.
The training is expected to be available free of charge to school districts "very shortly," she added, perhaps as soon as within the next week. She said districts will eventually no longer have an excuse that they are unable to respond to bullying incidents, whether they occur on the school bus or elsewhere.
"I think that training is too much [of a] one size fits all, and they're not thinking about the additional challenges," she said, adding that at no other point in the school day do kids need to sit in such close proximity to each other than on the bus, and the school bus can be the most unsupervised part of their the day.
Meanwhile, Jennings last day as a key federal ally to the industry was June 9.
"In the past two years in this role, I have had the opportunity to visit 33 states," he said in a statement. "I was consistently struck by the good work being done at the state and local level, the intelligence and passion of the people I met, and the difference they were making in the lives of young people. It was truly an honor to have the chance to work with folks – including my colleagues here at the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools – who truly care about students and are giving everything they have to make their lives better."
If you're a subscriber, Education Week published a story on Jennings' accomplishments and controversies as a key champion of students who are bullied.
The American Public Transportation Association, the advocacy group for mass transit nationwide, announced June 16 will be the latest "Dump the Pump" day for motorists to beat high gas prices by utilizing metro buses and trains. It begs the question, what can local school districts being doing to communicate throughout their communities the benefits of yellow school buses in reducing fuel consumption as well as traffic congestion. The American School Bus Council has some ideas with its online fuel calculator.
Some good news for school bus drivers in tornado-ravaged areas. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced it is making $1.5 million available in "quick-release emergency funds" so damaged roads and bridges can be fixed.
To those of you playing the STN EXPO Play2Win game, we goofed on the June 8 question, "This organization offers its members bulk discounts and other purchasing programs." The question was supposed to ask which of the choices "does not" meet this criteria. So, to be fair, all registered game players will receive credit for the question as they vie for the chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to next month's STN EXPO in Reno, Nev., plus $100 in spending money.
And, finally, talk about an attendance record ... a father in Utah might be known as "the most embarrassing Dad," but Dale Price is there every day for his 15-year-old son as junior boards his school bus.