WATERBURY, Conn. — All-Star Transportation pulled out all of the stops to celebrate this year’s National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 22-26), hosting a variety of safety exercises, organizing community events and providing special T-shirts to all of its drivers.
The T-shirts, sponsored in part by Blue Bird Corp., featured the winning poster from this year’s National School Bus Safety Week poster contest, which is hosted annually by the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT).
Employees wore the T-shirts while making their daily runs, to remind students, parents, teachers and school administrators of the importance of their role in school bus safety. The winning poster was designed by Aumkar Patel, a student at East Lake Elementary in McDonough, Ga.
“We really liked this year’s poster and the message that it delivered,” said Leslie Sheldon, All-Star’s operations manager. “Our employees truly are our safety heroes, and we wanted to celebrate them, while also taking the opportunity to collaborate with our schools to focus on important safety issues.”
In advance of National School Bus Safety Week, All-Star reached out to all of the school districts that it serves to alert administrators to the upcoming week. The company encouraged administrators to commemorate the week and offered to collaborate on special events that the schools organized. All-Star also sent notices by email and social media to its employees to remind them of the special week.
The weeklong celebration featured safety events, such as bus evacuation drills and reviews of school bus rules with students that were conducted on buses during school hours. At the terminal in Newtown, meetings were held with elementary school principals and lead teachers, to discuss “bridging the gap” between the classroom and school bus behavior.
“Newtown has been trying to reinforce student management strategies with the drivers, and wanted to get the school administrations more involved, so meetings were done each day this week by elementary school,” explained Newtown Manager Alan Colangelo. “School principals or lead teachers were invited to speak. After reviewing a student management training video and discussing different techniques, the drivers were able to share some of their frustrations, concerns and suggestions with the principals. School administrators were happy to get involved, and collaborate with the drivers and office staff to make bus rides safer and more enjoyable for all.”
In celebration of drivers and monitors, events were also held at each of the terminals, including breakfasts with coffee and donuts, pizza lunches, free balloons and flowers. At the Washington terminal, local firefighters and police officers were invited to join the celebration of drivers, because of their special role as “local heroes.” The company also posted photos and stories daily on its Facebook page to build excitement and keep employees engaged.
“It was a great week,” Sheldon said. “And we feel that the extra effort everyone made to celebrate the week was really worth it.”