Beginning February 1, elementary students in Bethlehem who ride the bus will take part in a new program designed to strengthen school bus behavior.
With a simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” bus drivers will report daily on overall behavior of students who ride the buses to and from the district’s five elementary schools. Personnel at each school building will record the bus results. At the end of each month, the bus with the highest number of positive reports at each school will be awarded with the Bus of the Month placard and each of the students who ride the winning bus(es) will receive a small prize, such as a pin or token, recognizing their efforts to boost bus safety.
“The bus often presents unique challenges when it comes to student behavior,” said BC Transportation Director Cindy Jurewicz. “We want our drivers to be able to focus solely on safe driving but that requires the cooperation of all on board. When students are not following the rules, it puts undue pressure on the driver and in some cases can lead to disciplinary referrals.
“The new Bus of the Month program is intended to help remind students of our four important bus rules and provide an incentive for students to work together to earn that all-important thumbs up,” said Jurewicz.
The district is asking parents to review the four Rules of the Bus with their students:
1. Listen to your driver.
2. Keep your hands to yourself.
3. Stay in your seat.
4. Use your inside voice.
Jurewicz said every bus will be outfitted with an easy-to-understand poster outlining the four rules. The rules are shared with students annually during the Transportation Department’s BEATeam’s safety presentations, are included in kindergarten orientation programs held in August, and are reinforced by drivers on a regular basis.
Drivers will use afternoon bus runs to record whether students earned a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” and they will report their findings to school personnel when they arrive at school the following day. Schools will tally each month’s results and will announce the Bus of the Month winner(s) at the beginning of the following month.