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Back to School In-Service Prepares Bus Drivers and Monitors for New School Year

SSD Transportation staff take a photo on the bleachers.

August 9, 2023 - “It’s like a reunion,” said Amy Doering, bus monitor. She, along with 220 other transportation staff, geared up for the 2023-24 school year during SSD’s Transportation Department’s Back-to-School Kick-Off at South Tech High School. 

“I’ve been with the District for 22 years, so it’s great to see familiar faces again after a long summer,” said Doering. “I’m looking forward to learning new things and refreshing my memory on ride safety.”

The all-day training began with breakfast and a meet and greet, followed by sessions about equity, epilepsy, seat belt securement, and a review of different types of disabilities. 

“Our drivers and monitors have to be prepared to manage medical emergencies, student interactions, and behavior concerns, which is why these sessions are essential,” said Robin Ray, transportation manager. The importance of being a friend, learning students’ names, and their personalities were equally emphasized. 

“We are the first and last person a student sees when they begin and end their school day,” said Kenny Mulder, director of transportation. “We have a great impact on how a student's day starts and ends, so we want to make sure we greet every student with a smile and get to know them.”

During the Kick Off, staff learned how to conduct hydraulic brake tests, emergency evacuations, secure wheelchairs, chest straps, and buckles, and educated themselves on different types of disabilities. Tammy Moore, bus monitor, believes part of her responsibility is to help students achieve their academic goals, so she prioritizes learning how she can provide individualized support. 

“Even though I may transport some of the same students each year, they get older and grow, so their needs may change. It’s important to learn the students' personalities and stay updated on my role in making sure they are transported to school and home safely,” said Moore.

The first day of school is August 21. Kevin Knuckles, transportation manager, says his favorite part of working in the department for the past 13 years is the camaraderie among the staff. Knuckles, Ray, and Mulder are looking forward to a wonderful new school year. 

“I love my staff. I really do,” said Ray. “They are the most supportive group and I have found a family in transportation.”