School Transportation From The Eyes Of A Parent
published on April 24, 2015 by Nicole Martinez
4 Things Every Transportation Official Needs to Know
Prior to understanding the industry of student transportation I knew my child got on a bus, with a driver and other children and was transported to school. It was simple right? How hard could it be? Now that I have an in depth knowledge of the industry I have an unbelievable amount of respect for the men and women that tackle this task every day. From the directors, to the drivers, to the administrative assistants, I am here to say I could not do what you do! It is not an easy task, there are many factors that come into play. Below are some tips for transportation officials from a parent’s point of view to hopefully help make your lives a little easier and understand where we are coming from.
Please understand that my child is the most important thing in my life.
To most parents it takes a lot to hand over our most precious gift to a complete stranger. Watching that kindergartner get on the bus for the first time is one of those rights of passage we as parents have to go through. Are we worried? Are we proud? Are we scared? YES! Are we going to call? Most likely! We understand that we can get annoying at times and that we are most likely overreacting, but we just need reassurance. To lessen the amount of phone calls and emails, if possible utilize a notification system. Something that lets us know the bus arrived safely, or will be 10 minutes late, so that after two minutes of us waiting at the stop we do not have to call. If those two options are not available, an email, a text or even a post on Social media will do the trick, just so our worrying minds are not left wondering what could possibly be wrong. Communication is key!
Schedules are hectic:
We as parents understand that in this day and age our schedule can be somewhat difficult. There are many different family dynamics that make transporting our children to and from school a daunting task. We have multiple working parents, split custody arrangements, babysitters, daycare, friends and family that the student may have to go to for pickup or drop off. Please understand we do not do this to make your life difficult, trust me, we get how confusing it is. The key is transparency. If your district allows for multiple stops please have a standard way of doing this and stick to it. A system in place to keep track of multiple stops, addresses, programs, and details will make all of our lives easier. Somewhere or somehow allow us access to see the schedule. If you have a management system, see if there is a way to share it. Can you send emails or postcards periodically as a reminder? Understand that our schedules get busy and sometimes we forget as well so please be patient.
Have a standard and stick to it:
Parents talk, we talk all of the time. We talk about many different things. If you have a standard with “no exceptions” please stick to it, because we will find out. If you allow for only one stop, but little Johnny’s mom called to complain and now has a babysitter stop, please know I am now going to call in and want the same treatment. We do understand that there are extenuating circumstances, but for the most part please keep to the standard. This will lessen the amount of calls to try and change things. If the answer is simply; "This is our process, NO EXCEPTIONS." We will get the hint. Once again communication is key!
Last but not least, did I mention Communication is Key:
Like I stated in the beginning I completely understand you are busy, I completely understand I have called 5 times, and I completely understand I am not the only person in the world. Communication is key. If there is a way to be proactive instead of reactive please do so. This will lessen the amount of calls you get on a daily basis. If you have a notification system, use it, as much as you need to. If you do not, send emails, or post to social media. Keep us parents informed and I promise you it will make your job less stressful and easier. Fully understand that we as parents do not completely grasp everything that goes into transporting our children on a daily basis and I am here to tell you even though sometimes it may not seem like it we do appreciate it. Most of us couldn’t do what we do without you. We depend on you and entrust our most precious gift to you. The transportation department and the people who make it up are truly heroes in my eyes.