Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bus driver deserves medal

Recently I met a schoolbus driver from rural Illinois. She related how she had stopped disorder and chaos on her bus and turned long rides into profitable use of time by the students. This driver definitely deserves an award or medal!

The driver's name and school district have been deleted from her message. So the next time you are inclined to give a hard time to your kid's schoolbus driver, remember this driver.

"The peer mentoring on my bus was never planned - it was something that just evolved. It's on an as-needed basis and has slowed down now the weather is nice.

"The flash cards were the idea of a middle school girl who wanted to help her cousin and sister with math and help with two other girls to keep the kids busy so I could watch the road. We have a lot of white outs and icy roads in the winter.

"I can't give you hard numbers as to how much the mentoring helped because I never thought to keep track. I've always checked the local paper and announced over the bus intercom all the bug and honor roll students. Now there are so many I have to have it written down I can't remember all the names.

"I've had this route for two years, it was a route everyone turned down. Let's just say the town has a bad reputation.

"The kids on Honor Roll are a combination of every type of background. The three girls that did the flash cards - two are form the "wrong side" of the Fox river and the third one from the "right". The two boys that first asked for help, one has a slight learning problem and the other is autistic. The kids that volunteer range from smart-mouthed high school boys to first graders showing kindergartners how to sound out words in a book.

"It was never an everyday thing , with all the end of the year field trips to talk about and less homework it is maybe once a week. We only have the two rules on the bus, anybody can help somebody (everybody is good at something) and you can't give them the answers you have to show them how to find the answers.

"Besides better grades I've noticed there aren't any book bags, lunch boxes, clothes or projects left on the bus and very little trash.

"There have got to be other drivers that are doing the same things.

"Next year I'll keep record of progress and be able to give solid data on these things."

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