NAPT Dispatch
Dec. 2, 2014

Hit the ground running in 2015 with NAPT's LED program
Space still available…register online today!

Are you looking to:

If you said yes to any of these questions, join George Pitagorsky and your fellow industry experts for a series of webinars. NAPT’s 2015 Leading Every Day (LED) initiative is 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!

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. Reserve your spot today! More

2014 NAPT Award Recipient Spotlight: Transportation Department of Volusia County (FL) Schools Wins Larson Quality Award
The Volusia County (FL) Public Schools, led by Director of Transportation Gregory Akin, have earned one of NAPT’s most prestigious honors, the Larson Quality Award.

The Larson program is the brainchild of Leland E.G. "Lee" Larson, the former owner of School Bus Services, Inc. (SBS). When Larson took over the Gresham, OR-based company in 1971, it had approximately 40 school buses and no facilities to house the operation. After 28 years, SBS operated more than 600 buses in four states. Larson sold the company to Ryder Student Transportation in 1999, and became a philanthropist, donating $50,000 to NAPT for the specific purpose of establishing a program to shine light on operators that provide high quality customer service in safety centered operations.

The Larson program includes a sequence of three increasingly comprehensive activities, including an extensive application, a subsequent interview process and finally a multi-day on-site evaluation/assessment. The program encourages and empowers pupil transportation professionals nationwide to document and measure existing quality and, at the same time, identify areas for improvement. To learn more about the Larson Award, click here.

The Larson Quality Award Committee noted a variety of reasons the transportation department of Volusia County Schools is outstanding:

  1. Director of Transportation Gregory Akin is among just 10 direct reports to the school superintendent and is also on the Volusia County Safety Committee, which offers the transportation department unique opportunities to communicate, collaborate and receive feedback on their work. The transportation department’s communication chain is outstanding both up and down the ladder.
  2. The department utilizes comprehensive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and the majority of decisions are data-driven.
  3. The department conducts regular audits of its data and seeks continuous improvement.
  4. Facilities are generally excellent, although one satellite facility needed some improvement.
  5. Their fleet maintenance records are excellent.
  6. Training programs are comprehensive and training records are excellent.
  7. Safety records are very good.
  8. Central office staff members and all employees in leadership positions are very professional and knowledgeable of their assigned duties and responsibilities.
  9. Methods and procedures are in place to address parental concerns in a timely manner.
  10. The department routinely evaluates bus routes and school loading/unloading procedures.
Additionally, the Larson Quality Award Committee made several suggestions for improvement during their exit interview with Volusia County Schools transportation staff and every recommendation was either implemented or initiated within one month.

As a result, the Larson Award Committee unanimously agreed Volusia County Schools would be just the 7th recipient of the Leland E.G. "Lee" Larson Quality Student Transportation Award. Director of Transportation Greg Akin was presented with the distinctive "Larson Quality Award" plaque at the 2014 NAPT Summit in Kansas City, MO last month.

Congratulations to everyone in the transportation department of the Volusia County Schools and, especially to Greg Akin. THANK YOU for providing high quality customer service in a safety centered operation!More

2014 NAPT National School Bus Safety Week Poster Winners
Congratulations to this year’s National School Bus Safety Week poster winners! Each year school children from around the globe submit poster designs based on a theme determined by the NAPT School Bus Safety Poster Contest Committee. This year’s poster theme was "Be Smart — Be Seen, I Wait in a Safe Place!" Take a look at this year’s winners (to view the winning posters, please click on the links below).

Division I (Grades K-2)

Division II (Grades 3-5) Division III (Grades 6-8) Division IV (Special Education) Division V (Computer Aided Design) Division VI (International) The theme for this year’s poster contest — “Be Smart — Be Seen, I Wait in a Safe Place!" — will be the theme of next year’s National School Bus Safety Week from October 19-23, 2015.

The theme for next year’s National School Bus Safety Poster Contest is “Bully Free Zone!” Poster rules and additional information will be available here.More

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As winter approaches, virtual school replaces snow days in some districts
The Hechinger Report
In the Owsley County School District in Kentucky, each winter there are more than 30 days when there’s too much snow to get students to school safely. So the district, located in a rural area south of the Daniel Boone National Forest, pioneered virtual school in the winter several years ago, getting students to hang up sleds and log online for classes on snow days. More schools around the country are considering the options for virtual school when teachers or students cannot get to school. More

Indiana city's school bus question heard in state Supreme Court
Do Indiana schools have to supply bus transportation for all students? That’s the question that was at the heart of a case heard in the state Supreme Court recently. Bus transportation found itself on the chopping block in Franklin Township in the 2011-12 school year. If families wanted to take a bus to school they had to pay an outside contractor. The school system claimed that due to property tax caps, it just didn’t have the money to do anything else.More

Caution urged on personalized learning with ed-tech
Education Week
Using technology to educate students isn't always effective, or cost-effective, and doesn't necessarily translate into what is often called "personalized learning," according to a report released Nov. 24. The review of various studies by Noel Enyedy, an associate professor of education and information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, concludes that education technology deployed in the name of personalized instruction yields modest improvements in educational outcomes, at best, in some cases, and none at all in others. More

Bipartisan push needed to protect children in North Carolina
Winston-Salem Journal
A panel of a Child Fatality Task Force has approved a plan put forward by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper that could well help reduce the number of children who are being injured or killed by careless drivers who passed stopped school buses. The state legislature and Cooper should put aside politics to get this plan passed. The Unintentional Death Committee of lawmakers, safety advocates and health professionals recently backed Cooper’s plan to attach more cameras to school buses to prevent child injuries and deaths from passing cars, The Associated Press reported. The full task force is expected to approve the plan this month, but then it would still have to pass the legislature in bill form.More

New Jersey bill would require schools to provide police with list of bus stops to protect children from predators
The Lakewood Scoop
To further protect students from offenders, New Jersey Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation requiring school districts to provide local police officials with a listing of bus stops so that police will be aware of those that are near the residences of predators. "With today’s computerized listings, cross checking the school bus stop list against the Megan’s Law registry will provide another layer of protection for children within seconds," said Dancer.More

Could Michigan lawmakers trade education funding for roads?
Michigan Radio
State lawmakers return to Lansing this week after a two week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving. Every Republican and Democratic leader at the state Capitol says fixing Michigan’s roads will be the top priority between now and the end of the year. However, Democrats and school groups are worried lawmakers will pass a plan that cuts money from the School Aid Fund.More

Criminal school bus drivers discovered in Ohio, attorney general pledges changes
WBNS-TV uncovered holes and vulnerabilities in the state's system designed to protect Ohio children from criminal school bus drivers. There's a state notification system meant to automatically tell school districts when one of their bus drivers face criminal charges. It's called RapBack. After the news station highlighted where the system is broken, both the attorney general and a state representative are calling for a review.More

Republicans push to update education law
Boston Herald
The No Child Left Behind education law could be making a political comeback. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who is the incoming chairman of the Senate committee overseeing education, says his top education priority is fixing the landmark Bush-era law. His goal? Get a bill signed by President Barack Obama early next year. Doing so will require bipartisanship that's been elusive since the law, primarily designed to help minority and poor children, came up for renewal in 2007.More

Glastonbury, Connecticut, school bus fleet in need of a safety coordinator
Hartford Courant
The biggest privately owned school bus fleet in Connecticut is missing something — a safety coordinator. That's the view of Angelo Balesano, the school system's transportation coordinator, who has asked the board of education to fund a full-time position. He said the work is currently split up between several people in his department. Balesano said over the past five years, it has been "challenging" to keep up with all the changes in state Department of Motor Vehicle regulations.More

Make drivers a part of your fuel efficiency efforts
Fleet Owner
Drivers have a significant impact on the overall fuel consumption of the vehicles they drive. Some say as much as 30 percent. So developing a culture of fuel efficiency, as one fleet executive called it during a recent workshop in Indianapolis, is an important step for your fleet. And it starts at the top of the organization. For success, fleet owners and top managers must make a commitment to fuel efficiency and then spread that message throughout their entire organization.More

Old school buses investigated in South Carolina
Funding delays mean South Carolina is lagging in efforts to replace aging school buses in a timely manner. With a fleet of buses that are among the oldest in the country, that means some buses taking children to school today may have been ridden by those students' parents or grandparents. State School Superintendent Mick Zais testified to the state senate that, "South Carolina maintains the only state run school bus fleet in America," and is also the oldest fleet in America.More