|Mar. 3, 2015|
Thank you for celebrating #LovetheBus month with NAPT
Throughout the month of February NAPT joined in the celebration of ‘Love the Bus’ month and challenged our friends and colleagues to show how they #LovetheBus #LivetheBus. Executive Director Mike Martin posted a picture, or two, every day demonstrating his passion for the yellow bus. We also received lots of pictures from friends around the country — visit our Facebook page to see some of the photos. The winners of the contest will be revealed later this week on Facebook, Twitter, napt.org and in next week's Dispatch.
Many thanks to everyone who celebrated 'Love the Bus' and helped raise awareness and appreciation for the dedicated professionals who transport our students to and from school safely every day. Let's keep the momentum going all year long!More
The 16th National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) updates schedule & continues registration
The Steering Committee for the National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) is pleased to announce that registration is moving forward rapidly for the 16th NCST. State Delegates, Alternate State Delegates, and all other interested parties are encouraged to visit the NCST website and register online. For all information on registration, hotel accommodations, the Congress agenda, and FAQ's, go to www.NCSTOnline.org.
The new location in Des Moines, Iowa, has space for all interested parties. The registration fee of $300 includes two dinners, three lunches, refreshment breaks, and an electronic copy of the 2015 National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures (NSTSP) document. Commemorative "NCST: Celebrating 75 Years" printed NSTSP books can be preordered for $55 each.
Writing Committee Work and State Delegation Input — The initial work of the NCST writing committees in preparation for the 16th Congress is now posted on the NCST website and has been forwarded to state delegation chairs for input by their state delegations. All input and comments on the writing committees’ proposals for amendments to the NSTSP should now be directed through state delegations. In order to give committees time to respond prior to the Congress, comments from state delegation chairs must be submitted by March 15, 2015.
16th NCST Schedule Overview — The Congress begins for state delegations and other interested parties on Sunday, May 17, 2015 with a Welcome Reception at 5pm CST. Sunday evening opening ceremonies will begin at 6:30pm and will include the charge to the delegates and a review of the Congress's organizational procedures. Parliamentary deliberations and voting will take place all day Monday and Tuesday and a half day on Wednesday, concluding with lunch on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The Congress will adjourn when lunch ends at 1:15pm.
Additional NCST Updates — The steering committee is pleased to announce that Ron Kinney has been selected by NAPT to replace Don Carnahan, who passed away in October. Don will remain an honorary NCST Steering Committee member. Other Interested Parties should review Appendix E of the NCST MOP for guidelines and restrictions.
Chronicling Innovations Committee Eliminated — After careful consideration from the NCST Steering Committee, the Chronicling Innovations Committee was eliminated. The Steering Committee determined that the intended purposes can best be addressed by the research and development of new innovations within the industry. Once a new innovation has been vetted and proven in the industry it can be directed to the existing applicable writing committees for consideration. New innovations can also be considered by states and deliberated through existing formal NCST processes.
For more information, please contact the NCST Steering Committee Chair, Murrell Martin at Murrell.Martin@schools.utah.gov or by phone at 801.538.7666.More
NAPT member question
Many thanks to those who have participated in our member district question: Does your district or transportation department have a dedicated GIS/Mapping person?
There's still time to help your colleagues and complete the 1-question survey today.
Thanks in advance for your assistance! More
Check out upcoming NAPT member webinars
As promised, NAPT continues to offer monthly webinars — FREE for members. Take a look at upcoming topics:
Connect with NAPT
Let NAPT help you stay in touch with colleagues and up-to-date on industry news and interesting stories from around the nation.
How can low gas prices be bad for the transportation industry?
By: Ryan Clark
Nothing affects the transportation industry quite like fuel. Whether it's price, type or scarcity, the specter of gas always looms heavy over the nation's infrastructure and the industry of trains, planes, boats and automobiles. It seems, now more than ever, low gas prices are helping alleviate pain at the pump, while also pushing economic and political movement forward. So why are so many in the transportation industry unhappy?More
More conflict over cutting federal role in education
The New York Times
As the House of Representatives prepared to take up a Republican proposal for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, Congress and the White House inched toward a confrontation over the federal role in education. The House is expected to pass a plan this week that would cut back federal regulation of education from kindergarten through 12th grade and give state and local authorities more discretion over everything from assessing teacher and student performance to the flow of Title I money, the largest stream of federal funding for low-income students.More
Bus app is a life-changer
There's revolution in the air. Robbinsdale Area Schools is rolling out an app that will tell parents and students where their school bus is and how long it is estimated it will take to get to their stop. In real time. On their cell phones. On frigid corners and in idling cars. You access the app on your phone, tablet or computer, sign in and there's your bus, blinking along its route on a map. Unless you missed the bus, in which case — sad panda — the app lets you know it has come and gone.More
A town where a school bus is more than a bus
The New York Times
For the bulk of her career, Lavonda Thompson, a 48-year old bus driver and school custodian in Hartsville, S.C., never questioned either her role or the larger system she was serving. "My job was to drive the bus and clean the buildings," she said. "The child's job was to act respectful and follow directions." Today, however, Thompson and her fellow drivers understand they are uniquely positioned to play important roles in children's experience of school, beyond getting them there and back home safely. As the literal transition guides between home and school life — and the first and last adults with whom children interact before and after school each day — bus drivers can help recognize how children are faring emotionally, respond to behavior problems in thoughtful ways and set a welcoming tone for the day.More
FAST bus passes allow students to stay after school for activities
The Fayetteville Observer
Terry Sanford High School student Akia Patterson was struggling in math last year and wanted to stay after school for tutoring help. But she couldn't because she had no way of getting home if she missed the school bus. Then school social worker Pamela Stevenson gave her some passes allowing her to ride for free on the city's bus system, the Fayetteville Area System of Transit. It was a huge help, said Akia, now a 17-year-old senior at Terry Sanford. Stevenson got the passes for Akia through the bus service's Ride FAST program, which is aimed at helping students who can't participate in after-school programs because they lack a reliable way to get home.More
Why more schools are letting their students sleep in
The Huffington Post
It can be downright Sisyphean to get a teenager out of bed. Just like adults, they're often significantly sleep-deprived — and the first period bell is doing them no favors. Adolescents have been steadily logging fewer hours of sleep over the last 20 years, according to a recent study. Surveys from the early 1990s found that 52 percent of 15-year-olds and 36 percent of 18- year-olds got at least seven hours of shut-eye a night, LiveScience reports. For teens in 2011 to 2012, those numbers dropped to 43 and 33 percent, respectively. The National Sleep Foundation currently recommends that teens age 14 to 17 need eight to 10 hours a night, while and 18- and 19-year-olds should aim for seven to nine.More
Gary, Ind., schools seek more transportation money
Taxpayers will be on the hook for more money after the School Board voted to amend its budget to reflect a $4 million levy increase in its transportation fund. With state approval, the board voted to raise the transportation fund from its advertised rate of $9 million to the maximum allowable levy of $13 million. School officials said the raise would be reflected in the June tax disbursement. Interim Chief Financial Officer Michael Washington said taxpayers will see an increase of 14 cents per $100 assessed valuation, as the rate moves from 48 cents to 62 cents. It represents a 31 percent increase within the fund, he said.More
In Los Angeles, missing kindergarten is a big deal
In kindergarten, kids are learning really important stuff. Basic reading skills. Numbers and math concepts. And to keep from falling behind, one of the major things they need to do is make it to school every day. In Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest school district, kindergarten absence is a big problem, with some students missing 10, 20, 30 days or more. In 2012, district officials say that almost 10,000 students were chronically absent from kindergarten. Last year that number improved, but only slightly. It's a problem around the country as well, and research confirms the academic peril chronic absence creates for the youngest students.More
Challenges for school bus drivers
Cold temperatures can be a headache for kids going to school in the morning, and school bus drivers have another set of problems to worry about in winter weather. Despite having a bus garage to keep them out of the cold, Palmyra School District Transportation Director Brian Wosman says they do worry about the fuel gelling up in the freezing temperatures. The gel point for diesel fuel is around 18 degrees. Wosman says where the buses sit in the garage is insulated, but not heated. Typically the temperature in there sits around 20 degrees in those cold mornings, but Wosman says they do have back-ups in place in case something were to happen. More
The biggest losers in the No Child Left Behind rewrite
The Hechinger Report
Rural school districts and states with large, rural populations are poised to lose a disproportionate amount of funding and opportunities to innovate under a bill proposed by House Republicans, according to a report by the Obama administration. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at an on-the-record breakfast with reporters to further detail his concerns with the bill, which would rewrite No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Duncan and the White House have been vocal opponents to the proposed bill, which faces a House vote.More