Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan met with all HISD bus drivers and transportation staff on Friday to deliver a simple message of support: “I hear you.”
Lathan called the meeting so she could directly address employees and reinforce the important role they play in the success of students across the district.
“You truly are the first contact every child in this district has each day on his way to school,” Lathan said. “People think it’s just about the principals and teachers, but it’s about our bus drivers, our food service workers, our custodians. You are essential.”
The meeting marked the first time Lathan has met with the entire Transportation Services department. She was joined by HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and Transportation Services General Manager Timothy Brown. Continue reading →
MYTH: Old, unsafe Carpenter school buses are being used to transport HISD students to and from school.
FACT: HISD no longer uses Carpenter school buses.
In 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an advisory about Carpenter school buses, warning that the roof could cave in should the bus overturn. As a result, HISD removed about 525 Carpenter buses from the fleet at that time.
Government Fleet, a leading transportation industry magazine, has announced the top 100 fleets for 2013 and HISD is once again the only school district in the country to earn a spot on the list (not including Honorable Mentions).
2013 will mark the third consecutive year for HISD’s Transportation Services department to be on the list. In 2011, it ranked 57th in the nation among the best fleets in North America, and last year, it moved up five spots to number 52. This year, HISD broke into the top half of the list, with a ranking of number 47.
[slideshow]While parents prepare their children for back to school, HISD’s Transportation Department is preparing all of the district’s bus drivers and attendants with training and tools to safely drive the students to and from school every day. This year, HISD’s Transportation Department is adding counter-terrorism training which will include a mock disaster drill on Thursday, August 9 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.at 6351 Pinemont Drive.
“We can never prepare our drivers and attendants too much to be successful on the road,” HISD Transportation Senior Manager Chester Glaude said. “It is important that our team is fully prepared for all situations to make sure that HISD children feel comfortable and safe on our school buses.”
The mock disaster drill involves an overturned school bus. To add a touch of realism, an older model school bus has actually been overturned on its side and will be used as a hands-on learning lab for all district bus drivers and attendants. This drill will allow staff to incorporate previous trainings such as student management, emergency evacuation, and counter-terrorism. In addition, this mock disaster drill will also involve staged human injuries which will allow district bus drivers and attendants to utilize the first-aid training they recently received in May.
In addition to the technical skills the transportation team will learn and practice during this event, they will also be reminded of the basics such as:
The importance of performing pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the bus
Looking for suspicious items such as canisters, metal boxes, or containers
Immediately reporting suspicious items
In May 2012 the HISD Transportation Department was selected as one of two districts in the nation as a finalist for the prestigious Larson Quality Award.The Leland E.G. Larson Quality Student Transportation Program was developed to spotlight school bus operations that provide high-quality customer service in safety-centered operations.
Each day, about 875 HISD school buses travel 80,000 miles as they transport 30,000 students to and from school.
For the second consecutive year, the Houston Independent School District made the list of the top 100 fleets in the nation for 2012, according to Government Fleet, a leading transportation industry magazine. HISD moved up five spots to number 52 on the list and once again is the only school district in the country to earn a spot on the list.
“Ranking among the best in the nation is a clear reflection of the hard work of our transportation team, from our bus drivers to our mechanics and our entire staff,” HISD’s Chief Operating Officer Leo Bobadilla said. “HISD’s Transportation Department is truly dedicated to safely transporting our students to and from school every day.”
Student and employee safety is the top priority of the Houston Independent School District. HISD’s efforts to protect students and staff include a comprehensive school bus safety and student discipline strategy. HISD officials are aware of the student discipline concerns raised by the Houston Educational Support Personnel union and the district takes these concerns seriously. District officials are reviewing the Student Code of Conduct to determine whether revisions are necessary. This review will include an evaluation of the union’s request to include a more specific mechanism for suspending bus riding privileges for students with ongoing disciplinary issues.
Steps HISD has taken to ensure bus safety include:
• All bus drivers this year received four hours of student management training.
• Every HISD bus is equipped with at least two security video cameras.
• HISD transportation administrators conduct monthly roundtable discussions with employees at each bus terminal to hear employees’ concerns and address them.
HISD bus drivers are asked to report all disciplinary issues to their supervisors. The supervisors then investigate the incident by reviewing videotape, usually within 24 hours of receiving the complaint. Based on the results of the video, either the school and/or HSID police are informed of the incident and given the opportunity to review the video. Appropriate action is then taken by the school or police.
The HISD transportation department is unaware of any unresolved issues regarding specific incidents brought forward by bus drivers. Transportation officials have asked union officials to provide a list of specific instances in which they feel appropriate action was not taken, but we have received no such list at this point. If such a list is provided, HISD will investigate thoroughly.