We sat down again today with Tony Pollard, transportation supervisor for Baldwin County Board of Education in Alabama to get his perspective on Monday’s sessions. Here’s what he had to say:
His day started by attending the keynote “Precious Cargo” by author Craig Davidson, who spoke about his book of the same name that chronicled the year he drove a special-needs school bus route in Calgary. The experience literally changed his life.
Pollard said Davidson's description of special-needs school bus drivers as "Knights of the Road" was an apt description. He also commented on Davidson's observations that it was especially hard to say good-bye to his students at the conclusion of the school year.
“His explanation of the dynamics on his bus changing because of students moving or graduating is thought provoking,” Pollard commented. “Where he saw it as maybe not being able to rekindle the magic of the year, I feel drivers, educators, teachers, and administrators see that as a new, magic beginning."
He explained that, as a former teacher, he would shed a tear at the end of each school year.
“The bond teachers develop with their students can be wonderful, especially for those that care about the entire child, not just the student they serve,” he added.
Pollard also said he liked the breakout sessions presented by Alexandra Robinson, a TSD Conference Tenured Faculty member as well as the executive director of transportation for the New York City Department of Education. Robinson led discussions on “Bullying: Recognizing, Addressing, Preventing It,” which Pollard said fostered a “no-nonsense” discussion on bullying across the spectrum, not only of students with different disabilities but also perpetrated by educators, parents and other adults.