Why set a goal when you can make a promise?” These powerful words were shared last month with attendees at STN EXPO Indianapolis by keynote speaker Jason Hewlett. His question resonated with me.
Every day, I hold myself accountable for the promise to all readers of School Transportation News. Our company’s pledge is to be the definitive news source for the school transportation industry, providing you with the latest trends, insights and stories from around the industry to help you do your jobs better. It all comes down to trust, knowing that every month readers are going to get the consistent and objective content they expect and deserve.
Our entire team at STN makes this happen, and it’s reflected in the work they do every day. Consider your own school transportation operation. Are you simply setting goals or making promises? If you miss the goal, you can always adjust. A promise has a different meaning and set of expectations you hold yourself accountable to. What promises are you making each day versus your goals?
Recently, I spoke with John Wilcots, transportation director at Houston Independent School District in Texas. He shared that the big promise that he lives by is striving to positively impact student outcomes for the better. This includes physical health and looking at the carbon footprint of the school transportation department.
“I believe that the more children that ride the school bus every day will allow them to thrive and receive better outcomes in the classroom,” he shared. “I hold our school transportation team accountable by asking how we can make it better for the kids each day. We must examine the staff-ing talent we bring in from the managers to the drivers in school transportation. Who on the team can provide the best outcome for the kids that ride our school buses? We want to prescribe a better way of life. As the leader, I strive to be the most dependable person in school transportation and lead by example with open lines of communication with educators. Our team is committed to raising the bar for better student advancement.”
For Kenni Jean Schrader, the transportation supervisor for Three Rivers Community Schools in Michigan, that promise is to provide the safest and most efficient means of school transportation. “Our goal in transportation is to create better learning opportunities while fostering goodwill through the community by investing in green energy. We have two EV school buses, and I don’t plan on stopping there either,” she added.
It’s truly inspiring to me to see the passion school transportation professionals have when making a promise and demonstrating the accountability to keep it. The commitment of state and national associations to bring conferences and meetings to connect school transportation professionals this summer has provided the industry with more life and energy.
In May, I had the opportunity to attend Tyler Connect, a learning and networking conference for end-users offered by software giant Tyler Technologies. During the school group opening session, attendees were recognized with the Tyler Excellence Awards. The promise was made to implement crowdsourced client ideas advancing the software and implementing it for actual use by all clients. It was amazing to watch each district present their idea with passion and commitment to the group with the goal of helping each other.
“We consider it a privilege to honor the promise to our clients to implement these new ideas into our software by 2023,” said Ted Thien, vice president and general manager at Tyler Technologies.
Every time you go to a conference, you have a certain expectation of what you are going to get out of it. You either walk away satisfied, unsatisfied or with an experience that exceeds your expectation. I hope when you come to any STN conference that you experience the latter. The team at STN prides itself in delivering “Content. Community and Commerce.” as our promise to you.
I hope to see you later this month at STN EXPO in Reno, Nevada on July 15-20 or at the Transporting Students with Disabilities and Special Needs Conference in Dallas/Frisco, Texas on Nov. 8-13. Let’s keep our promises and hold each other accountable so everyone benefits, especially students.
Editor’s Note: As reprinted in the July 2022 issue of School Transportation News.
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