They're Headed Back to School!
As students from all over the state get ready for their first day of school, the Bloomfield Hills Schools bus fleet rolled out on test runs, ensuring the first day goes as smoothly as possible. “I believe we have the best bus drivers and mechanics in the state,” says Superintendent, Rob Glass. Bloomfield backs that statement with 20 years of perfect bus inspections.
Diane Holden, Transportation Manager of Bloomfield Hills Schools, says that her team’s commitment to keeping the buses in perfect inspection condition for twenty years running is impressive. Diane is responsible for ensuring each bus is put through a complete inspection over the summer, so school is able to begin with the least amount of technical problems. Diane and her staff also review each bus route and make changes to optimize efficiency and create the shortest ride possible for each student. It’s a task that takes nearly the entire summer to complete.
Kathy Cox was the first bus driver to select her route. Kathy has been a valued employee of Bloomfield Hills Schools since 1988 and has driven this particular route for seven years. After Kathy selected her run, her bus was put through a mirror check and the mechanical team did a final spot check of the bus. During the mechanical check, Kathy noticed a her warning lights were not working properly and a mechanic quickly performed the repair before Kathy headed out on her test run.
As Kathy performed her test run, she highlighted the importance of the warning lights. “We try to make the stops on the right hand side, so the children don’t have to run across the street to get to the bus door,” she said. “There are certainly spots along my route where cars consistently don’t stop for my yellow lights or even my red lights. It’s a real concern I have every day and sometimes we will ask the police to help out. I tell all of the students to cross in front of the bus because I control that intersection and they’ll be safer that way.” She worries about the start of school in particular because the students are eager to get to school and motorists aren’t accustomed to seeing and stopping for buses. “They get used to not having us on the road over the summer. So, when school starts back up again, we do our best to make sure cars see us in plenty of time to come to a full stop and ensure the students’ safety,” Kathy said.
Kathy also talks about discipline on the bus and how her strategy is to get to know the children in her care. With her proactive approach, she says she has very few discipline issues and compliments the Bloomfield Hills Schools parents for being so involved and having such high expectations for their child’s behavior on the bus.
Diane says that parents often like to meet the bus driver and take pictures of their student with their bus driver on the first day of school. “I’m the first and last person a child sees in their school day. I know I can be the difference between a child heading home in tears or with a smile. If I get to know each one of them, talk to them, and take an interest in their lives, I can hopefully improve their overall school experience,” said Kathy. Superintendent Glass says that a bus driver is a key person in a child’s life and can set the tone for the day and the school year.
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