In the wake of the Coronavirus, many schools in the Minnesota area have switched to distance learning, some presumably for the rest of the year. Whether you’re currently in distance learning or are back to in-person instruction, adjusting to a new system and way of doing things no doubt was, or is, a stressful time for your district. Teaching kids how to use new websites and technology from home, ensuring remotely that every student got their work done, making sure that everyone, staff included, has the technological resources they need to do likewise… the list goes on and on. Your school was no doubt facing challenges at all levels, and perhaps, even now, you’re working on getting back on your feet again.
However, this period of distance learning, whether it’s bound to the past for your district or continuing into the present, is the perfect experience to use to reflect on your school bus contractor. As you were not in need of this business’s services, your interactions with said business, no doubt, changed to fit the situation. Thinking about how these changes impacted the way you ran things during your period of distance learning can yield valuable insights as to how your student transportation services typically impact your students’ lives.
That idea is both a mouthful and a seemingly tall order, so let us break it down further. As you launched into (or continue to perform) distance learning, you probably ceased to use your school bus services for the time being, for obvious reasons. This no doubt affects everything from the amount of communication you, as an administrator, do with these services to your students’ interactions with the bus drivers. Considering what changes in morale or stress levels resulted from this change can tell you how well your group transportation services were/are performing and what sort of social role they play in your district.
That being said, isolating the effects of the absence of your school bus services in the wake of the Coronavirus can seem like a difficult task. Your students, administrators, and staff no doubt were stressed during the initiation of distance learning, simply from global events and adjusting to a new schedule. How can you gauge the effect of the absence of your school bus services if the stress was bound to happen anyway during this time?
Judging the quality of your school bus services requires a different way of thinking, and American Student Transportation Services, as a Blaine provider of student transportation services, is here to discuss it. If you put in the work and are willing to think critically about your student transportation services, your district will bounce back from the pandemic stronger than ever.
Using Absence to Judge if Your Student Transportation Services Are Up to Par
As stated earlier, your school bus services probably aren’t in use during distance learning. It’s a plain and simple fact, so let’s start there. Though this absence most likely affects everyone, from your students to your teachers, it also affects you as an administrator. The way you are treated, as the person in charge of doing business with the school bus contractor in question, often mimics the way that that contractor thinks about their job. You can use the absence of this treatment, whatever quality it was, to begin to get a feel for the role your student transportation services play in your district.
To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
● Are you/were you relieved to not have to do as much communication with your school bus services? Of course, open communication between you and your school bus contractor is always a good thing. However, if you feel relief that you don’t have to do it anymore, it pays to dig deeper to find out why. Does your school bus contractor not listen to your input? Do they constantly ask questions they already should know the answers to? If time away from keeping up with this service does you good, ask yourself if that service was really doing good for your district in the first place.
● Are you/were you relieved to not have to deal with loading kids on and off the bus? Regardless of if this is partially your responsibility or not, making sure your students get on the right buses at the right time can be a hassle if your school bus services do not properly organize themselves. Are you or were you relieved not to have to deal with this? Were you or are you frequently called in to sort out problems? If so, it might be time to ask if your school bus services are pulling their weight on the organizational side of things.
● Were far too many students getting written up by your school bus services? This could be a sign that your bus drivers are not nipping disciplinary problems in the bud. Some slack might be warranted if your school has resumed in-person learning in the aftermath of the pandemic, though. The pandemic can induce stress in even the most well-behaved students, which causes them to act out in unprecedented ways.
School Bus Contractor Seeming Lackluster? Make the Switch Now to American Student Transportation Services
Our Blaine terminal would be happy to provide top-notch service for your district. Give us a call now at 651-621-8900 and create the change your students need today.