With technology becoming more prominent in society, especially when COVID-19 forced many sectors to embrace digital capabilities, school transportation leaders took advantage of digital media by creating safety videos in addition to traditional National School Bus Safety Week celebrations.
The week held at school districts and bus companies across the U.S. last week encouraged directors to get creative and recognize their staff while also promoting safety. For example, as featured above, School Resource Office Shane Heisler reviewed Sharon Elementary School bus safety rules via a video made by Robbinsville Schools in New Jersey and posted it on YouTube.
The School District of Osceola County in Florida also created a video on the dangers of distractions when driving. The video featured a motorist on his phone, not seeing a stopped school bus and nearly hitting a child.
Washington, D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Division of Student Transportation (DOT) celebrate in numerous ways. One event, as seen in pictures below, was called “Scavenger Hunt Field Day.” Program Officer Brandee Reed said that staff across OSSE DOT’s four terminals helped identify safety locations throughout the District of Columbia that could support residence, businesses, and travelers in the event of an emergency.
Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia celebrated with various signage and goodies reiterating how much drivers are appreciated. “We are so thankful for our 1,500 drivers, and love to take the opportunity to show them our appreciation — both from the transportation department at-large, and from each of our 142 school locations,” said Hunter Blackburn, director of transportation and people operations at the district.
Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida served lunches to its 1,500 employees over the five days to recognize them throughout the week.
Thank you to all our bus drivers, mechanics, and behind the scenes crews that help us get more than 60,000 students to and from school safely, every day! #NationalSchoolBusSafetyWeek pic.twitter.com/Fh2qkaZtak
— Hillsborough Schools (@HillsboroughSch) October 19, 2021
Meanwhile, special needs bus contractor Dean Transportation in Michigan shared safety tips and other content on its Facebook page last week. It sent special bumper stickers saying Thank You to the drivers. It also connected with the school districts served and asked that they print and provide, “Thank a Bus Driver,” handouts to students.
“Dean created “Thank a Bus Driver” a few years ago, and we love that it gives passengers a chance to thank and recognize the school bus staff who make their learning possible,” Communications Coordinator Taylor Williams said.
Shannon Weber, director of transportation for Florence Unified School District #1 in Arizona, celebrated her drivers all week long and held various safety events. The transportation department had events like, Walk-up Trivia, where leaders would approach drivers while they’re doing their pre-trip checks and ask them a quick safety question. Those who got it correct received an on-the-spot prize.
Another event, If You See Something, Say Something, reminds drivers to take a second look. “It just takes a second to say what you see to kids, community, each other about safe practices around the bus, on the bus and at the bus stop,” Weber said.
The event consisted of a piece of tape or something that didn’t belong on a school bus. The driver who discovered what didn’t belong enhanced the object for a prize based on their detail and awareness.
At meetings, staff played a safety game, Show What You Know, where if someone caught the bouncing beach ball, they were able to provide an answer the question that was asked. Other activities included vendor-supplied treats, lunches and ongoing shout-outs for safety and school bus reminders and observations, Weber added.
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