NAPT Dispatch
Nov. 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!
On behalf of the NAPT Board and staff, we wish you all a very safe and happy Thanksgiving. May the long holiday weekend be filled with family, friends, food, and football!

In observance of the holiday, NAPT headquarters will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27-28. More

Take your leadership to a new level with NAPT's 2015 LED program
NAPT’s 2015 Leading Every Day (LED) initiative has been designed to help you take your career to new heights! We’re excited to launch an expanded LED initiative that you can access anywhere — even on your phone or tablet! Online registration is open!

At the end of the 2014 LED Program, you will:

Guest Lecturer, George Pitagorsky, PMP, will teach you his Optimal Performance Program, which is about project management & long term process initiatives that focus on improving behavioral skills. Click here for additional program details.

Meet Our Guest Lecturer
George Pitagorsky, PMP is a well respected author and thought leader in project, process and knowledge management. His perspective is influenced by an extensive career in process management, product development, learning and development, engagement management and project management and by decades of experience in meditation and its application in daily life.

Familiar with the world of pupil transportation, George's tailored program will be anchored in the real world practicalities of school systems and transportation.

Join your colleagues for a comprehensive leadership program in 2015 — registration is open!More

Congratulations to 2014 America's Best Winners!
Each year NAPT holds the America's Best Training & Skills Challenge, and in 2014 we offered an enhanced program for participants. As part of our overall Summit program, this year's America's Best included the first-ever Specialized Transportation Personnel component. Congratulations to our 2014 winners!


Technician Specialized Transportation Personnel More

Have you visited NAPT's Data Driven Decisions website yet?
Earlier this month NAPT launched its new website designed to provide school transportation service providers with information and feedback that will encourage them to speak a common language and make more data driven decisions. Check it out!

With Phase 1 now complete, we encourage all NAPT members (and non-members too) to visit the 3D website, download a data worksheet, compile the necessary information and then enter it in the system to receive instant feedback via 5 free KPI's.

Stay tuned for additional information about Phase 2, which is slated to begin next month. More

2014 Award Recipient Spotlight: NAPT Distinguished Service Award
Congratulations Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher and Vice President, School Bus Fleet

Frank Di Giacomo has been involved in the pupil transportation industry since 1981, when Bobit Business Media hired him as eastern sales manager for School Bus Fleet magazine. In 1991, Frank was named publisher, a role in which he has set the direction and tone of the magazine, both in sales and editorially.

Frank has been a longtime active member of NAPT and has been a fixture at conferences and trade shows over the past three decades. Several years ago, he formed an agreement with NAPT to publish the association’s News & Views column in SBF on a monthly basis. Frank has also regularly promoted NAPT and its initiatives and events through his own editorials in the magazine, which influences thousands of people throughout the school bus field.

For example, in one of his recent Last Word columns, Frank described the benefits of NAPT’s professional development and certification programs, pointing to the positive impact that they can have on career advancement. He has also taken on pressing safety issues, such as children being left stranded on school buses, and industry concerns such as the protection of the fuel tax exemption for school buses.

Frank is also an active member of other school bus industry organizations. For example, he has served on the Supplier Council of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services. In 2009, the National School Transportation Association presented Frank its Meritorious Service Award.

Congratulations Frank; thank you for all you do for NAPT and our members!More

NAPT & Zonar announce $50,000 grant winners for school bus security, efficiency enhancements
The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and Zonar recently announced the 2014 recipients of $50,000 technology grants at the NAPT National Summit held in Kansas City, MO. Grants were awarded to the school districts that submitted the best proposals for utilizing Zonar's widely acclaimed school fleet management platform, including the Electronic Vehicle Inspection Reporting (EVIR®) and Z Pass™ student ridership systems.

The 2014 grant recipients are:

NAPT Executive Director Mike Martin said, "This is a tremendous opportunity for some of our members to acquire what in our industry is already recognized as equipment with a track record of saving dollars, improving safety, security and overall efficiency of school bus operations."

Martin explained that Zonar's patented EVIR and Z Pass systems provide increased safety by ensuring pre- and post-trip inspections are complete and student bus riders are accounted for. Integrated with Zonar's cutting edge Global Positioning System (GPS) and telematics technologies, it gives pupil transportation service providers the vital ability to measure and improve the efficiency of their drivers, routes and maintenance operations.

In addition to enhancing child safety and operational efficiency, Zonar helps improve time and fuel savings through fuel usage tracking, idling and speed monitoring, and electronic timecard and paper reduction. "The bottom line is that with this equipment you will have at your fingertips everything you need to know about every bus in your fleet," Martin added.

"NAPT applauds Zonar for its many contributions to the school bus industry, and for this generous grant opportunity. It couldn't come at a better time, as every school district is facing tight budgets that demand more efficiency and cost savings. Some of our members will soon have equipment free of charge that provides a tremendous management advantage," Martin said. Zonar has awarded seventeen (17) equipment grants in collaboration with NAPT over the last few years.

NAPT accepts and evaluates applications from NAPT members for awards of $50,000 worth of equipment/hardware provided by Zonar Systems, Inc. Zonar determines the number of grant recipients after reviewing the applications.

Applicants must be NAPT members in the U.S. and Canada that are not currently using such equipment. Non-members of NAPT may join the association for just $100 and become eligible instantly to submit an application.More

TSA/OSPIE announces new online training module
The TSA Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement (OSPIE), Surface Division, recently announced a new web-based restoration of the First Observer™ Program, a security awareness training initiative that focuses on enhancing security across all highway surface transportation modes. After an interruption of the program, they have now re-tooled all of the critical training modules and have made them available on-line at Although a link will be available through the Homeland Security Information System (HSIN), this is the only website providing official, recognized First Observer™ content.

Visiting the official TSA website will provide end-user access to all of the original First Observer™ training videos that have now been updated with corrected Call-Center information, made accessible to persons with disabilities (508 compliant), and now include Learning Objectives and Key Learning Points. The user will also be able to print a "Certificate of Completion" after viewing the lessons applicable to their job. Unfortunately these web-based modules do not currently support in-person classroom training or "Train-the-trainer" development, but we are hopeful this training can be restored in the future.

The on-line First Observer™ training video modules again available for Highway stakeholders include:

The Future of First Observer™ — Web-based access to the original (but updated) First Observer™ end-user modules will remain fully functional as TSA moves forward in the production of a completely new and expanded First Observer™ Training Program. The new program will remain true to the core "Observe, Assess, Report" message established by the program’s originators, but will also evolve into new areas. Highlights tentatively envisioned for the new First Observer™ Program include: expansion into additional surface transportation modes (mass transit/passenger rail; freight rail; pipeline); production of all new videos for all surface transportation modes; inclusion of training guidance for all modes that aligns with Public Law 110-53; information/record management capabilities, and a comprehensive "train-the trainer" in-person instructional component. No clear time frame for bringing this enhanced First Observer™ Program to fruition has yet been established, but first phase implementation may be seen by the end of calendar 2015.

TSA OSPIE apologizes for the temporary interruption of the First Observer™ program, and will strive to ensure there are no lapses in the future. TSA believes the First Observer™ Program holds great value to our constituents, and with expansion of its intended audience and a re-energized engagement effort, we feel it can effectively reduce the risk of a terrorist attack against surface transportation assets.More

Vendor Spotlight: On the spot? Come to the spotlight
Business Partners are special members of NAPT. They provide expertise, products and services to the pupil transportation industry, helping to maintain and improve the safety and efficiency of operations and processes. Knowing who to call when you're on the spot is important.

To help you find solutions, we highlight our business partners in a scrolling logo format on the NAPT homepage every two weeks. Just click on the company logo to find out more.

Featured in our "Business Partner in the Spotlight" section are: BlinkSpot, ProFusion Industries, School Transportation News, and Trinity Transportation. Their logos will be posted for the next few weeks, so please take a moment to become familiar with the products and services they offer.

BlinkSpot ( system utilizes non-harmful biometric recognition technology to instantly identify personnel as they enter and exit secure areas. This system allows the operator to know in real time the whereabouts of personnel and visitors as they move throughout the facility. BlinkSpot™ has you covered.

ProFusion Industries ( is a leading provider of transit step treads and transit flooring, custom specialty film products and protective linings. With a 60+ year history of technological innovation, the company has established a proven reputation in developing and delivering highly engineered solutions for a broad range of demanding environments and industries.

School Transportation News ( is a monthly news and feature magazine serving the field of pupil transportation. It was first published in September of 1991 by founder Bill Paul, who held the title of editor and publisher of the magazine until 2007. Paul reported on the pupil transportation industry for nearly three decades, previously serving as the editor publisher of School Bus Fleet and Metro magazines.

Trinity Transportation (, a private transportation company was incorporated in 1981 to provide sedan and van service to senior citizens and other customers in the southeastern Michigan region. It is their mission to provide efficient, reliable and safe transportation services to customers at all times; approaching their jobs with passion and commitment toward their customers and community.More

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Should cameras be used to enforce bus laws?
During the two-and-a-half years state trooper Kelly Rhodes drove a school bus when he was a high school student in the early 1980s, he says there wasn't a single time when someone passed his bus when the stop sign was deployed. But today, Rhodes said drivers are "texting, they're fiddling with the radio, dealing with their kids" — and sailing right past stopped school buses. A statewide survey indicates that a typical school bus in North Carolina is passed illegally about once a week.More

How do schools decide delays?
Subzero wind chills are on the way. Temperatures will be in the teens on Tuesday. That could mean buses will need extra time getting kids to school. "If it's very, very frigid, and other districts are calling delays because of cold weather, and we've been told by our local police officers and our bus company that our buses are not ready to run, then we'll call a delay," says Tracy McNelly, assistant superintendent of the Norwin School District. Buses need time to warm up, and sometimes their engines won't start right away in freezing temperatures. A couple extra of hours helps remedy that, though the delay is not ideal.More

Unlocking extra money for your schools
Scholastic Administrator
School spending varies greatly around the country, but the one constant is that every school would welcome more money. Since the 2008 recession, at least 29 states are spending less on education today than six years ago, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Fourteen states' funding has dropped by at least 10 percent since 2008, and Oklahoma's per-pupil spending plunged almost 24 percent in that time, according to an article in USA Today.More

Alabama county unveils new fleet of high-tech school buses
The News Courier
Limestone County Schools in Alabama hosted a press conference to showcase the newest additions to its school-bus fleet. Ten Thomas-brand school buses rolled into the LCS Transportation Department with all the latest bells and whistles, transportation director Rusty Bates said. "These are mobile classrooms," he said. "We're excited about having them." While they still look like a classic yellow school bus on the outside, what makes these $95,000 buses different is what's on the inside: air conditioning, staggered seating, four security cameras, graffiti-proof seats and Wi-Fi capability.More

Thumbs up: School buses in cyberspace
The Desert Sun
The Coachella Valley Unified School District in California is wise to install routers on school buses to help provide Internet connections in remote parts of the east valley. District voters approved a $19 million bond issue in 2012 to distribute iPads to students. However, the mostly rural district has weak Internet connections and many residents can't afford to pay for them where they are available. The district has decided to spend $270,000 to put routers on about 90 buses over the next year. One has already been installed on a bus that carries West Shores High School students to and from the coast of the Salton Sea — a ride that takes 45 to 60 minutes. The district covers 1,200 square miles, so turning long bus rides into productive homework and study time is a smart idea.More

School districts weigh pros, cons of later start times for high schools
By: Brian Stack
The American Academy of Pediatrics published research this summer that will likely become a hot topic at many school board meetings in the coming months and years. After studying the sleep patterns of teenagers, researchers determined that teens are not getting enough sleep, and it is impacting their ability to perform in school. According to the report, teens need at least 8.5 hours of sleep each night. The report called upon schools to move their start time to a more reasonable 8:30 a.m. to accommodate this increased sleep need.More

Red-light cameras capture dozens of Wake, North Carolina, school buses
Each day, about 800,000 public school students across the state take the bus to school. Parents expect school bus drivers to obey the rules, but WRAL Investigates found that doesn't always happen. WRAL Investigates uncovered red-light citations involving Wake County Public School System min North Carolina buses from Raleigh's SafeLight program. Since last year, dozens of buses have been snapped running red lights, even though only a handful of Raleigh's intersections are monitored.More

More Michigan school buses flunk safety inspections
The Detroit News
If Mason County Central Schools had its way, it would replace a few of its aging buses every year. But because the district doesn't have enough money, it went a decade without replacing a single one. As a result, the rust on some buses is so bad that holes have formed on side panels, exposing the insulation beneath. Some of the district's 18 vehicles have logged 300,000 miles since 1995. The western Michigan district is far from alone.More

Modern-day segregation in public schools
The Atlantic
A U.S. Department of Education press release last month had a disorienting, retro ring to it: "Black students to be afforded equal access to advanced, higher-level learning opportunities," the announcement proclaimed — six decades after the country's Supreme Court determined that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in the landmark ruling known as Brown vs. Board of Education.More

School physical security spending to top $1.1 billion within 4 years
THE Journal
Annual school expenditures on surveillance and access control systems will reach more than $1.1 billion by 2018. According to a recent forecast from market research firm TechNavio, the total global market will grow at a five-year compound annual rate of 14.3 percent through 2018, with 2014 expenditures expected to hit about $563 million. Much of that growth is being driven by K-12 schools and higher education institutions in the United States, though K-12 schools are the larger of the two groups when it comes to expenditures on physical security systems.More