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Celebrate Kansas school transportation employees, school bus safety Oct. 16-20

Kansas school bus drivers helped 191,379 Kansas students roll safely to their destinations during the 2022-2023 school year.

To help honor those 9,087 school bus drivers, join the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) in celebrating Kansas School Transportation Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Kansas School Transportation Appreciation Day falls within National School Bus Safety Week, which is Oct. 16-20. This year’s theme is “Safely Rolling to My Destination.”

National School Bus Safety Week takes place the third full week of October each year as a way for parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators and others to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety.

Kansas school bus drivers drove a combined total of 85.8 million bus route miles during the 2022-2023 school year and nearly 10 million miles for activity trips.

Nationwide, more than 25 million children climb aboard yellow school buses every day. These buses serve as a direct link between neighborhoods and classrooms and carry the most precious cargo – our students. So, it’s important to keep school bus safety at the forefront.

This year’s theme of “Safely Rolling to My Destination” is derived from the 2022-2023 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest. Avrie Siedschlag, of Minnesota, drew the national winning poster. Her artwork is being used to promote National School Bus Safety Week.

Thousands of school districts in more than 40 states, including Kansas, participate in local and state-level competitions by creating artwork that promotes school bus safety, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT).

The national poster contest is sponsored by NAPT, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA).

Last year, Jihyeon “Elly” Han, who at the time was an eighth grader at Altamont Grade School, Labette County Unified School District 506, became the first Kansas student to ever win the National School Bus Safety Poster Contest. The theme for Han’s poster was “1 Bus + 1 Driver = A BIG Impact on Education.”

The 2023-2024 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest theme is “Driving Safely Into the Future.” Art contest winners from each state competition will be forwarded to NAPT. National winners will be notified either in late spring or early summer of 2024.

For the Kansas School Bus Safety Poster Contest, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) School Bus Safety Unit and the Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association, any student enrolled in a Kansas public, parochial or other private elementary or middle school (plus high school for Divisions 4 and 5) can create a poster. Kansas students who are a member of a United States military family stationed overseas can also submit artwork.

Posters can be drawn anytime between Oct. 2, 2023, and April 1, 2024. Posters must be received in Topeka no later than April 17.

KSDE is responsible for submitting the first-place posters from each division to the national contest.

Categories for the Kansas and national contest are:

·         Division 1: Kindergarten through second grade.

·         Division 2: Grades third through fifth.

·         Division 3: Grades sixth through eighth.

·         Division 4: Special education, grades K-12.

·         Division 5: Computer-aided drawing (CAD).*

·         Division 6: International entries.*

*Divisions 5 and 6 are eligible for competition within those respective divisions but aren’t eligible to be the overall contest winner at the national level.

First-place winners in each division will receive a plaque and a $50 check. Each winner’s teacher also will receive a $25 check for the purchase of classroom materials.

State winners will be notified by May 1, 2024, and will be recognized at the Kansas School Transportation Safety Conference on June 7, 2024, in Wichita.

Prizes will be awarded in each division as follows at the national level:

·         First place and overall winner: $500.

·         First-place winners of the remaining three divisions: $250.

·         Second-place winners of each of the four divisions: $100.

·         Third-place winners of each of the four divisions: $50.

·         The first-place winner of the CAD division: $50.

·         The first-place winner of the international division: $50.

For more information about the Kansas contest, including rules and where to send submissions, click here.

Transportation employees play an integral role in the safety of Kansas children. That is why it’s so important to honor their dedication and expertise, the Kansas State Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Unit said.

Here are a few tips from NAPT to keep Kansas children safe at the bus stop:

  • Make sure children leave home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least five minutes early. Running after or in front of a bus is dangerous.
  • Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
  • Practice good pedestrian behavior. Walk on the sidewalk, and if there is no sidewalk, stay out of the street. If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.
  • Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.
  • Warn children that if they drop something getting on and off the bus, they should never pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver’s instructions.
  • Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus.
  • If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited to see you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.
Posted: Oct 13, 2023,
Categories: KSDE,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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