Love the Bus comes to the West Coast this month with an American School Bus Council event to be headlined by a local EPA official at an elementary school outside of Sacramento, California.
ASBC said Jared Blumenfeld, administrator of EPA Region 9 that oversees California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and 148 Native American tribes in the Pacific Southwest, will use a morning assembly on Feb. 19 at Consumnes River Elementary School to discuss with 500 students and faculty how each school bus route can remove 36 passenger vehicles from roads during the morning and afternoon school commute.
Also scheduled to speak is Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Chris Hoffman, superintendent of Elk Grove Unified School District. ASBC will honor the district’s transportation department with a School Bus Champion Award in recognition of “exceptional support for student transportation safety, environmental stewardship and overall service to students and parents.”
Student transportation industry officials said the event also will celebrate the unparalleled safety record of school buses and the vital role of school bus drivers. Trish Reed, vice president and GM at IC Bus, one of the three major school bus manufacturers that are ASBC members alongside the industry’s three national associations, said school bus drivers perform similarly to teachers in the development of children.
“The school bus driver plays a significant role in each child's life, and the Love the Bus event is one of many ways to celebrate the importance of school bus transportation and the school bus driver’s work and dedication,” she said in a statement.
Todd Monteferrario, president of the National School Transportation Association, echoed Reed. “Love the Bus affords school children the opportunity to recognize the important role the school bus driver has every day in their education. Safe access to school is the first step toward success for all children,” he added.
Keith Henry, president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, said the school bus service “provides tremendous return for local taxpayers,” as budgets remain tight and much of the political rhetoric centers around the rising cost of government.
Leon Langley, president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, called school buses “an American success story.”
“They are the largest system of public transportation in the United States, and school buses ensure every child who rides is transported in the safest form of student transportation on the planet,” he said.
ASBC said the school bus will be made part of this month’s lesson plans at the school, located in Sloughhouse, about 17 miles southeast of Sacramento. Student artwork will incorporate the yellow school bus and will be displayed during the Love the Bus event. Students will be also provided with school bus yellow “I Love the Bus” T-shirts.
Meanwhile, students, teachers and administrators around the country can access free downloads of a variety of Love the Bus materials at www.LoveTheBus.com, including an educator’s toolkit for crafting school bus-specific lesson plans, Love the Bus T-shirt templates and bumper magnets.