Colquitt County School System Promotes Positive Behavior on Buses
Story by The Moultrie Observer
March 27, 2017
Over 100 Colquitt County employees came together on March 22 to develop a district-wide plan for teaching and supporting positive behavior on the bus.
“Bus drivers are very important members of the Colquitt County Schools team,” said Dr. Irma Townsend, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. “They have the privilege of being the first ones to greet students each morning and the last ones to say ‘See you tomorrow.’ The bus is really an extension of the classroom. Colquitt County bus drivers do not merely transport students. Our bus drivers impact lives and set a positive tone each day for our most prized possession…our students.”
The drivers received training on PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) for the bus. PBIS is an evidence-based, data driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety, improve school climate, and support improved academic outcomes for students.
So, it only makes sense for schools to adopt this framework, and even more sense to expand it to the buses. “Our three year plan is to have all Colquitt County Schools trained and implementing PBIS by 2018,” said Tabathia Baldy, Director of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Response to Intervention.
“Since we already have nine school sites trained, and will bring the others on board next year, the timing is right to bring our bus drivers on board. They are such an integral part of our school community.” Baldy, along with Sherry Faucett, District Behavior Specialist, facilitated the day and strategically paired drivers, monitors, and subs with teachers, guidance counselors, social workers and administrators from all Colquitt County school sites.
The groups discussed the importance of connecting with students and parents, having clear and concise expectations for behavior on the bus, effective discipline practices, and acknowledging appropriate behavior. They also learned strategies for how to implement these ideas.
The district wide behavioral expectations for the bus are for students to Be respectful, Use self-control, and be Safe at all times. These expectations spell the acronym BUS. Students will be acknowledged for meeting the BUS expectations, and may even receive “BUS bucks” that they can cash in at the schools for incentives. Following Spring Break, every bus will have the BUS expectations posted and students will be eligible to earn the BUS bucks.
Christine Paige, Director of Transportation, and her department are working to make sure all drivers have what they need to implement PBIS with success on their buses when they return from the break.
PBIS is a great learning experience for bus drivers. It gives drivers the tools to successfully deal with discipline issues on their buses. Buses will be safer and more manageable as a result of PBIS training, said Superintendent of Schools, Doug Howell.
Colquitt County Schools is recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as a PBIS School District. To find out more information about PBIS in Colquitt County or how you can help, contact Dr. Tabathia Baldy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dr. Garry McGiboney, deputy superintendent of policy and external affairs at the Georgia Department of Education, noted that this type of PBIS training helps to improve outcomes for all children. “All students can thrive when they feel safe, secure, engaged, and connected,” he said. “That applies in school, at home, and even on their school bus. Using the PBIS framework to improve school bus climate will benefit students and bus drivers by reducing disruptions and improving safety.”