main content starts here

BCSD School Bus Transportation Parent Primer

Filed in Archive by on April 10, 2017

The Bethlehem Central District Transportation Department recognizes that starting a new school year is an exciting time for you and your family. But, maneuvering through the required policies and forms can be overwhelming. Our goal is to partner with you and make this process as stress free as possible. The following information is designed to guide you through some very important details regarding the safe transportation of your student. We encourage you to connect with our department early and keep our phone number handy for any future concerns. The number is (518) 439-3830.

A copy of this parent primer can be viewed or downloaded here [PDF].

Board of Education sets bus stop policy


The Board of Education has established a “walking Distance to a Bus Stop Policy #8412.” This policy establishes the following walking distance from home to a bus stop as:

  • K -5 grades up to 1/10th of a mile, 6-8 grades up to 0.5 of a mile,
  • 9-12 grades up to 1.0 mile.

General Information


Transportation routes, bus stops, and scheduled pick-up and drop-off times for all eligible students are usually posted to Aspen by August 1. Be sure to obtain your password and instructions to access your students information by contacting the office of the registrar.

All kindergarten students MUST have an authorized person to receive them at their stop at the end of each day. The Transportation Department will need a list of any and all persons authorized to receive your kindergartener each afternoon. This can include baby sitters, neighbors and students 12 years or older. A driver may ask for identification to verify an unknown adult.

The authorization form can be obtained at the Transportation Department located at 82 Van Dyke Rd or online at the Bethlehem Central School District website

 

NOTE: People listed as emergency contacts are NOT automatically listed as authorized persons. A KINDERGARTNER WILL NOT BE RELEASED TO ANY PERSON NOT AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE THEM. IF AN AUTHORIZED PERSON IS NOT AT THE BUS STOP, YOUR KINDERGARTNER WILL BE RETURNED TO THEIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PERSONNEL.

At the bus stop


Please remember that the pickup and drop-off times posted in Aspen are “APPROXIMATE.” Due to the unpredictability of traffic patterns, weather conditions and student schedules, we cannot guarantee an exact pickup and drop-off time. For the first few weeks have your student at the bus stop ten minutes early. Making sure the number of your house is visible from the road is a big help.

Once the routes settle down, after approximately two weeks, and times have been adjusted, the bus should be arriving at a consistent time. Please consider this the time your child(ren) need to be at their bus stop. For the remainder of the school year, we ask that each student be at their stops FIVE minutes prior to the time of the bus’s arrival.

Each student need to be safely visible while waiting at their stop, dressed for the weather and ready to board. Students should not wait in a house or in the garage. They should be standing 15 feet from the road lined up waiting for the bus door to open. Parents/guardians are responsible for assisting their students in getting to and from any bus stop. Students should never be playing in leaves, puddles, snow piles or anywhere near the road. If there is a crosser at your stop, know that they will be attended to first. Please remind your student never to chase a bus. Chasing the bus is dangerous! Buses are not allowed to return for a student who is not out at their stop at their designated time and therefore miss the bus. If the bus is later than ten minutes, call the bus garage at (518) 439-3830 for an update on their arrival.

Curb to curb stops may be scheduled for students who live on designated streets and those with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). All stops are subject to change. We are mandated by the State Education Department to run an efficient routing system. Therefore, changes are inevitable. A student and guardian is notified of any changes by phone, verbally, written letter or any combination thereof.

If you are dropping off a student at the Middle School for a bus transfer, please do not walk between the buses. There is a danger zone that surrounds each bus. Please drop off at either end of the sidewalk and have your student(s) walk safely to their bus using the sidewalk.

Any Changes to a student’s route made by you must be communicated as soon as possible. If this change is permanent, you MUST inform the transportation department using the Special Transportation Request form available on our website. If your student is occasionally going anywhere other than their home address you need to send a note with the student informing the elementary school. Emergency situations can be handled with a simple phone call directly to our dispatch office at (518) 439-3830.

Bringing items on the bus


Please note that space on the bus is extremely limited. Students only have their seat space to hold all of their personal belongings. Backpacks are kept on their laps leaving no room for additional larger items. Please make other arrangements for transporting large school projects, party food supplies, instruments and sports equipment. A more specific list of items not allowed on the bus is available on the transportation department website.

Labeling all personal items will increase the chances of seeing them again.

Bus Safety


The bus is the first classroom of the day. It is the last classroom of the day. Just like in school classrooms, bus rules exist to make sure the bus family is safe and the bus itself is secure. Please review these rules with your child(ren).

Four main rules for bus safety

  1. Follow the driver’s instructions
    The driver is trained to maintain control on their bus and instruct students as to what can and cannot be transported on the bus.
  2. Keep hands, feet and body to self.
    Students must refrain from touching anyone or anything that belongs to someone else.
    Students need to care and respect themselves and others.
    BCSD has a zero tolerance policy for all for forms of bullying.
  3. Stay seated
    Students must remain in their seats until the driver directs them to move.
    Students must keep the aisle clear.
    Driver has the authority to assign seats.
  4. Use inside voices
    Students need to distinguish between the loud voice we use when we are out on the playground and the polite, respectful voice we use to speak to the person next to us.

It is never too early to begin conversations that ensure your child is a proactive member of the bus family helping to create a safe bus environment. Together they can work to win the award:

The school bus remains the safest existing mode of transporting students to date.

The Bethlehem Transportation staff is a group of highly trained professionals. The safe transport of our students is our number one priority. 

Please contact us directly at (518)439-3830 with any questions regarding the transportation of your student(s). Our dispatch officers are very experienced and a wealth of knowledge. We look forward to partnering with you at this exciting time. Together we can make each bus ride a safe and healthy one.

Updated April, 2017