The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) teaches special needs students the skills they need to live an independent life once they leave school.
Pete Meslin, transportation director of Newport-Mesa USD, stressed the significant role transportation departments—from directors to drivers—play in achieving the objective of “pushing (special needs) students towards independence.”
“Students are our customers, and we are here to serve them, and if we think like educators, we can serve them more safely; we can serve them more efficiently,” said Meslin.
The STN-sponsored webinar, ‘Transportation: Thinking like an Educator,’ illustrated the importance of using the school bus to help train these students for a successful, post-secondary life, which includes bus safety.
The webinar also promoted the concept that student transporters need to take cues from special education teachers on how to serve their special needs students by learning the “difference between caring for a student and sheltering a student,” said Meslin.
“We’re not just going to talk about being an educator; we’re going to talk about being a good educator,” said Meslin.
To accomplish this goal, Meslin emphasized the value of student transporters utilizing the classroom to teach these lessons, “so if students know how to behave around the bus, because we’ve educated them properly, they’re going to be safer,” said Meslin.
You can view a recorded version of Meslin's full webinar, ‘Transportation: Thinking like an Educator,’ at stnonline.com. Meslin will also present an overview of the program at the TSD Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.