West York Area School District pursues bus routing and positive behavior support system
The new bus routing initiative at West York Area School began began in December where the district assigns one teacher to each of the 25 elementary bus routes. Below are some details about the program.
In Pennsylvania, West York Area School District Superintendent Todd Davies has assigned one teacher to each of the 25 elementary bus routes. These educators usually ride on afternoon runs, but they sometimes ride on morning runs as well. A teacher can report incidents to principals after the driver brings them back to their school.
“When principals have to track down an incident and talk to different students, that takes up a lot of time,” says Davies. “Having an adult who can witness incidents makes the process run much more smoothly.”
The district pays these teachers, in part, from money saved by not having to hire bus company monitors.
“Training” bus drivers
Bus drivers who don’t have specialized training can learn behavior management skills from certified teachers. “It’s easy to transfer that training to the bus by showing the drivers the tricks of the trade on how to get students to behave,” says Davies. For example, teachers in class get their students’ attention by saying “Class, class, class,” and the students respond by repeating it back. Now, drivers do the same by saying, “Bus, bus, bus.”
“These gimmicks may seem normal to a teacher, but drivers are unfamiliar with them,” says Davies.
Bus drivers have also adopted some reinforcement techniques from elementary schools. “Our mascot is a bulldog, so we award ‘biscuits’ and ‘barkouts’ to students who do something positive,” says Davies. “This gives students an incentive to control their behavior.” Students who collect enough biscuits or barkouts can win prizes, such as having a wacky dress-up day or a party at lunchtime.
This year, middle schools have adopted this program, and they have added visual components, such as banners and decorations, and displays of students who have behaved well.
For more information about the district’s bullying prevention policies, click here.