RENO, Nev. – Student transportation professionals from across the nation will hear the perspectives of three school districts that use lap-shoulder seat belts in school buses amid a Nevada law passed this spring that requires occupant restraints for schoolchildren, one of several hot-button issues the industry is challenged to discuss over the coming days.
Nevada school districts have two years to prepare for the mandate, which will require all newly purchased school buses on or after July 1, 2019 to be equipped with seat belts. Attendees at the North American School Bus EXPO, which starts Friday and runs through Wednesday, July 12 at the Peppermill Resort, will learn how and why school districts from California, Washington and Montana adopted the three-point restraints, their effects on student safety and behavior as well as how they’ve reduced distraction for school bus drivers. The panel will also discuss if they’ve experienced any oft-cited challenges, ranging from increased costs to student usage to evacuation issues.
Approximately 1,500 public- and private-sector school bus professionals will be based at the Peppermill Resort for this year’s STN EXPO presented by School Transportation News. The theme this year is "Crowdsourced Solutions" with the goal of increased participating of attendees to help address today's challenges facing school bus operations nationwide. The event kicks off with the new Transportation Director Summit, a two-day exclusive seminar on Friday and Saturday designed for school district and bus company leaders. More than 100 professionals will meet to discuss culture in the workplace and how that sets the stage for all facets of operation, from resource allocation to safety, budgeting to adoption of emerging technology, to increase safety and efficiency of school bus operations.
The full STN EXPO kicks off Saturday afternoon with an in-depth training on the causes of school bus fires and industry solutions on stopping them, amid a rash of incidents nationwide this year that grabbed headlines. The session is presented by certified fire investigator Norm Dube.
Saturday will also feature ASPEN training, developed specifically for student transporters, on de-escalation techniques for intervention with behaviors on the school bus, especially involving students with disabilities. It uses Applied Behavioral Analysis and Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports taught by Dr. Ben Springer, special education director of Wasatch County School District in Utah, and Dr. Ben Belnap, a certified child psychologist with the Primary Children’s Hospital of Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, trainer Betty Hughes will present a four-hour workshop for dispatchers, part of STN EXPO's special training series along with the eight-hour NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Restraint Systems on School Buses seminar.
Sunday’s EXPO schedule is kicked off with a keynote address from Dr. Stephen Sroka, “part teacher, part preacher, part showman,” according to USA Today. He will deliver the motivational message “The Power of One, The Power of Many” that addresses the challenges of communication, collaboration, culture and caring when working with today’s youth. School bus drivers are often the first school employee—and sometimes adult—who students encounter each morning and sometimes the last one they see at the end of the day. A late afternoon general session that day features several national education and transportation experts as they discuss what federal and local conversations on increased school choice options mean to student transportation, and how the industry can respond.
The Monday, July 10 keynote addresses will be presented by Don Harkey, chief innovation officer and founder of People Centric Consulting Group, and Jesus M. Villahermosa, Jr., founder of Crisis Reality Training, Inc. Also earlier on Monday, Villahermosa will present STN EXPO special training on surving active shooter incidents and defensible use of force for school bus drivers.
Following the conclusion of the July 11 STN EXPO Trade Show, which features 128 vendors at the Peppermill’s Tuscany Ballroom from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., is a general session panel of student transporters who will discuss the national driver shortage and how local districts and the industry as a whole can find a solution.
At 7 p.m., former Southwest and Braniff Airlines CEO Howard Putnam will present the closing keynote address, “Hiring the Right Attitude to Gain Altitude.” Putnam, member of the National Speakers Hall of Fame, will explore the importance of leadership, customer service and culture in creating and sustaining a successful organization.
The STN EXPO will offer three dozen breakout workshops and eight general sessions over five days. Other important topics to be discussed will include how student transportation can become a part of the national conversation on education reform, what pending federal greenhouse gas emissions regulations will mean to the industry, the role today and tomorrow of “autonomous” school buses and more.
A full schedule is available on the STN EXPO website as well as via official conference app, which is available for free download from iOS and Android devices by searching for STN EXPO 2017.
ABOUT STN EXPO:
Since 1996, School Transportation News has held the North American School Bus EXPO Conference and Trade Show in Reno. The conference offers dozens of workshops and general sessions as well as the NHTSA Child Passenger Safety on School Buses seminar. The STN EXPO Trade Show will feature more than 120 school bus companies on July 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Nevada Exhibit Hall and Silver State Pavilion. For all STN EXPO details, including a full schedule of events, visit www.stnexpo.com.
ABOUT SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION NEWS:
Launched in 1991, School Tranportation News is a monthly trade magazine that reaches about 25,000 readers with approximately 105,000 pass-along readers, as qualified by audit firm BPA Worldwide. Along with the website, School Transportation News influences roughly 650,000 school transportation employees nationwide.