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SPECIAL REPORT


and can start a conversation about last night’s game, know their students’ names, welcome them on the bus and always have a smile on their face. Patrick Mulick, a board-certified behavior analyst,


told School Transportation News that students will most likely respond to bus drivers, and people in general, who they respect and feel are there for them, for more than just the sole purpose of telling them what to do. “The student senses the comforts of a welcoming bus and that welcoming environment. That tone is set by the bus driver,” Mulick said. “Based on the interac- tions that happen over the school year, that student is going to feel welcomed or not welcomed. And that sets the tone for their behavior and everything they do.” Tiedens and Odom


implemented a framework that was originally created for the classroom that is also reaping big benefits in the school bus. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are focused on training bus drivers and students on the expectations that are required while riding the school bus. Tiedens and Odom both said they have seen success with this program, including an increase in positive student behavior and a decrease in write-ups. “The biggest thing is,


For Safe: Sit facing forward, fasten seat belts, keep hands,


feet and objects to yourself and keep the aisles clear. For Respectful: Be kind, use a quiet voice and follow


directions. For Responsible: Be on time, pick a seat quickly, and keep food and drinks in your backpack.


Tiedens added that one of the main procedures her school district follows is not for staff to tell students “no” or “don’t.” Instead, PBIS encourages positive behavior and positive tone of voice. “With any kid, but especial-


ly with kid’s with emotional and behavioral disorders, you have to concentrate on the positive and not the nega- tive,” Tiedens said. “When they get on the bus and put their seat belt on, instead of not saying anything, which is the old-fashioned way of doing things, you can say to them, “Hey, great job today getting on the bus and put- ting your seat belt on.’” Odom implemented PBIS


School bus driver Gary Wozniak of Koch Bus hands a student a “Success Ticket” as part of a Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports program used for student transportation at Intermediate District 287 near Minneapolis. Also pictured, (left) is Laury Force, a job coach at Ann Bremeer Education Center, and (far right), Transportation Manager Amy Tiedens.


on his school buses in 2008 and has seen much success since then. He noticed a big difference between imple- menting the program on the bus and the classroom. In the bus, the drivers have their back to the students, so he reminds bus drivers to reinforce and set clear ex- pectations for the bus ride. Odom said his district has PBIS coaches that he places


some people think it’s trying to teach the kids how to be- have. It’s more (about) teaching the adults behavior and language, and then in turn, the kids feed off that energy,” Tiedens said. Tiedens implemented PBIS in her school district about


a year and a half ago, and said she has already seen an improvement in her student’s behavior. The first steps are to create a PBIS team, train everyone involved, then set clear expectations and guidelines for the school bus. PBIS stems from being safe, respectful and responsi- ble, then the expectations come as a build-off of those three words. Tiedens made posters of the expectations and posted them on the district’s school buses:


22 School Transportation News • MAY 2019


on select school buses. The coaches aren’t there to grade the drivers. Instead, they make recommendations and help the drivers. Sending PBIS coaches on a bus without disciplinary problems, allows the coaches to gain ideas and knowledge that can be implemented in other buses. PBIS focuses on acknowledging the good behavior and then recognizing it, so the students know what the desired behavior is. Recognizing positive behavior on bus routes can reinforce that behavior. For exampe, Tieden’s school district uses success tick- ets to acknowledge good behavior, while Odom said his district gives out tear sheets with the child’s name on it that can then be placed in a drawing for weekly prizes.


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