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Priorities in Training

A parent approaches a school bus door as he is just finishing a conversation, which you overhear, about his recent trip to West Africa. It looks like he might have a fever as he is sweating profusely.

Training

How Do You Choose

Pete: In modern America, with its 24 hour news cycle, most bus drivers not only became aware of Ebola but probably became sick of it (as opposed to sick from it.) Despite all of the publicity, they came to know that the chances of this deadly disease affecting them or anyone on their bus are beyond miniscule. There’s a comparable chance that their bus will be hit by a meteorite. Nevertheless, some drivers, swayed by the incessant media publicity, might overreact to the sweating parent at the school bus door. Worse yet, some supervisors and directors might do the same.

Peggy: As you know, Pete, with the holidays, the indecision and confusion of planning a kitchen remodel, and other professional and personal distractions, I’m just now reading your late November thoughts. Interestingly – and sadly – the first paragraph might now say: “A parent approaches a school bus door as he is just finishing a conversation, which you overhear, about his unwillingness to have his son vaccinated for measles.” Unlike Ebola, measles is a more real, “trending” threat. While a driver – and a supervisor – might have a far more legitimate fear about letting this student on the bus, how does planning for the possible impacts of unvaccinated students on the bus impact our actions? Read the rest of this entry

The Guts to Keep Pushing

We’ve all been there. We make a suggestion that we’re certain will make things better. Instead of being greeted with support or acceptance we’re met with waffling, or worse yet, resistance.  Whether it’s stated or not, the message is clear –  “Please move on to other issues.”  Frequently it sounds something like this, “Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll take it under consideration. “

I recently attended an IEP meeting where I was invited to review a student’s progress towards transportation independence. This junior high student with special needs was to be learning “stranger danger” so that she would be able to travel to the neighborhood bus stop safely. Eventually, the goal was that she would be capable of getting to school as her non-disabled peers do. This student was very “high-functioning” and just needed to learn some safety habits. It would not have been unreasonable to expect her to not require special education transportation at all by her sophomore year in high school. Read the rest of this entry

Having the Guts to Make Fewer Commitments

I did it again.  I said the words “If I can help. . .” without thinking through the implications.  This time, I was offering to babysit a neighbor’s children.  When I said it two weeks ago to a brand new acquaintance, she emailed me within days to ask if I could take her to a doctor’s appointment (I couldn’t, and I didn’t).  I told a fellow member of a social organization to which I belong to “call me if you need anything,” despite the fact that I’m truly booked out through Thanksgiving.  My frequent offers to help – well-intended though misguided – are symptomatic of my tendency to overcommit.  I genuinely wish I could be “there” for everyone.  Maybe it takes guts I’ve not yet developed to refrain from offering more than I can give. Read the rest of this entry

Starting with “Fine”

It may be telling that Pete often finds inspiration for blog posts in business articles and publications, and I’m often moved to write by something I read in less relevant sources.  I don’t know what that “tells,” in fact, but I’m sure it reveals something about us as bloggers. Read the rest of this entry

A Confession of Confused Values

 Legendary Oklahoma weathercaster Gary England was the subject of an article in the August 11, 2013 issue of New York Times magazine.  The author of the article, after spending three days in Gary’s studio, noted that “One tension of covering severe weather is that you often find yourself rooting for the storm.  You don’t want it to do serious damage, of course, but you would like it to be interesting, and these desires are often at cross-purposes.” Read the rest of this entry

Repeat Performances: A Rant

Sometimes a school transportation director or manager who has been to one or more of my presentations pays me the ultimate compliment:  “You’ve made a difference for kids.”  What more could I ask for?  Well, the “more” I seek is a sense that the same problems don’t constantly recur.

I’m a story teller, and the stories I tell in my presentations are the situations I read about in lawsuits.  They can make for heart breaking reading, tragic tales, but serve as excellent training tools.  And so, when I put my hard-core lawyer’s suit of armor on, and steel myself to the reality that these stories are about real kids who have, often, suffered real pain, I can actually find some perverse satisfaction in coming across a new story. Read the rest of this entry

Preparing Students for the World Beyond

We frequently urge school transportation professionals to see themselves as an integral part of the education process.  At the same time, I often become aware of drivers’ reluctance to comment on students’ inappropriate communications, disrespectful behavior, and failure to follow the rules.  Sometimes that reluctance is the subject of court cases that have led me to say, often, “Doing nothing is never the right thing” when students bully or harass other students.  “Doing nothing” is certainly “never the right thing” when students fail to follow essential rules of conduct that are directly related to the safety of everyone on the bus – rules as basic as staying in their seats while the bus is moving. Read the rest of this entry

Billboard Inspirations

White blank billboard, blue sky behind. Outlined with clipping path.

What’s on Your Billboard?

We travelled by car recently from Pueblo Colorado back home to Kansas City after our nephew’s high school graduation.  I love a car trip, but the scenery on this particular stretch leaves much to be desired.  I amused myself by seeing how I might modify the billboards that proliferate before you reach a town of any real size.  Read the rest of this entry

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