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Some industry professionals expressed concern that the training


drivers receive is not keeping pace with technology. It takes longer to prepare a bus driver to master the bells and whistles, which ex- acerbates the ongoing driver shortage. Still others wonder whether “school bus driver” adequately describes the evolving duties and responsibilities associated with the job.


WHAT’S IN A NAME? Arby Creach, president of the Florida Association for Pupil


Transportation, said the official name in the Sunshine State is school bus operator. “We felt it was a little disrespectful to call them a driver.” said


Creach, who is also the transportation director for Brevard Public Schools. “Tey are operating a very highly technology-based vehi- cle now. We want so much more from them and they’ve evolved so much, that now they are a highly skilled person operating a sophis- ticated vehicle and they’re still charged with student management, which is more complex than ever before.” NASDPTS Executive Director Charlie Hood, also a Floridian,


agreed. “We have started referring to them as school bus opera- tors to recognize the job is more than just navigating the bus in traffic,” Hood said, who retired several years ago as state director of transportation at the Florida Department of Education. “Te job


entails a wide range of duties and responsibilities that go beyond just driving the vehicle.” Vincent Evans, transportation director for the Merced Union


High School District in central California, said he and several of his colleagues refer to the position as “professional student reloca- tion specialist,” because of the multiple duties the job entails. “It’s a nice, techy term that addresses a lot of things,” Evans said. “Te job evolved because of the different types of technology and programs that assist the driver. Tey have to be involved with many other facets while transporting students from point A to point B. Tey must play a lot of roles to relocate these students.” Evans said his district employs “a whole host of technologies” on the bus, ranging from Wi-Fi to tablets. “We are integrating our camera system into our tablets for an accurate GPS,” he explained. “We can also get a live look inside the bus at any time and the forward dash camera will allow us to see what the driver sees in real time.” Evans added that the district’s tablets will display student images when their RFID cards are scanned and give the bus driver audible GPS directions. Te district also has back-up cameras. Doris Bean, transportation manager for the Glendale Elementary


District near Phoenix, said the job of bus driver continues to evolve every day as familiarity with technology is a must and training is on-


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Client: Zonar Systems – Child Safety Ad #2 - No child left behind Created by: Publication: Dimensions:


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www.stnonline.com 23


Student Transportation News, STN, 11/17 issue 1/3rd Page 4.5625”x4.875” Non-bleed


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